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For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully & wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

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MOR Monday ~ Choices

Since becoming a mother I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. We Mom’s, we take things personally. If I am talking to another Mom and say something like “My daughter just loves Dora!” (that’s a TV show character for those without toddlers.), and this other Mom responds with something like “Oh, my kids don’t watch any TV.”. I feel deflated. I feel judged. I feel like a loser mom. Now, this “Other Mom” didn’t say “Wow! That’s horrible! I can’t believe you let your daughter watch TV! You’re rotting her brain!”, she simply stated a fact. And it’s a very appropriate thing to say since it explains why her child wouldn’t know who Dora is, right?

And it works both ways. My husband & I chose not to circumcise our son. This decision was based on our own research and discussion that this was the best thing for him. It was difficult for some friends & family to understand and at first I wasn’t sure why. Then I realized that it is a lot like the TV incident. The logic goes like this:

I did not circumcise my son -àI believe circumcision to be unnecessary and possibly even wrong -àYou did circumcise your son à I believe YOU ARE WRONG.

And this is why it’s hard to be friends with parents if your parenting choices are really different. The same thing goes for choices about vaccines (we do), spanking (we don’t), organic  food (a little), and all of the other difficult choices parents have to make every single day. There is a part of me that believes we should live and let live. As long as you are making these choices based on your love for your kids and what you believe to be the best thing for your family then it’s none of my business.

Now I might still think that there is an ideal, or that the way I am choosing to do something is better than what another Mom has chosen. But I might be wrong. The reality though is that as much as I don’t want the choices I make for my family to be a judgment of anyone else, it kind of is. That “Other Mom” doesn’t let her kids watch TV because she believes it’s bad, or a waste of time, or harmful to them…so she disagrees with my choice. What I am working on, what I think we all need to work on, is separating our choices as parents from who we are as people. It is possible that I am making a bad choice. That does not define me as mother, or a woman.

My hope is that I can convey that to my mommy friends. That I would be a friend who is compassionate, encouraging, and willing to hash things out when big decisions need to be made, even if we don’t agree in the end. And it’s okay to disagree, because it needs to be okay for me to think your choice to spank is wrong and it needs to be okay for you to think my choice to let my kids watch TV is wrong. Because this is my new motto:

I am more than sum total of the choices I make. I am wonderfully & fearfully made, and am grateful that my children have a heavenly Father who loves them more dearly than I ever could.

8 Responses to “MOR Monday ~ Choices”

  1. 1
    Jo:

    Oh, beautiful written!!!

  2. 2
    MinistryofReality:

    Amen!

    Women relate to one another through the “sames” in their lives… which makes the “differents” have power that is unreasonable.

  3. 3
    Marianne:

    Kate, I think I’m a lot like you and can take another person’s different parenting style as a judgment on mine! I know this isn’t necessarily the case, but I’m just overly sensitive by nature :-) I know even you and I have different parenting styles (my boys are circumcised, etc.) but I totally respect you as a mom! Your choices as a mom don’t make me think differently of you or think that you’re judging our choices in how we raise our sons. I think the main goal as parents is to raise kind, gentle, compassionate, and Christ-loving people! Whether my kids watch Dora (they don’t…they’re boys!) or if they eat all organic (they don’t) doesn’t make much of an impact as the kind of men I want them to grow up to be. We need to focus on what matters and not take things so personally or be judgmental on others in the things that don’t really matter. Anyway, that’s kind of how I take what you’re saying.

  4. 4
    Sonia:

    Amen to that, Marianne! I’m totally with your “main goal” which really is the bottomline for me. I definitely have my own personal parenting preferences and I think I’ve become more comfortable with how I’m doing things (most of the time ;) ) b/c I realized that even within the “Christian” realm of parenting, there are so many different ways to do it! I think sometimes it is very attractive & mentally easy to want to follow a prescription for life, but striving to live a thoughtful, deliberate life is what I hope to teach my kids. My current family life defies any sort of pattern or normalcy (at least in this stage) & I have to find a way to seek contentment with that, even when it feels so sucky at times. Why do I bring this up? B/c trying to fit my life into someone else’s mold has left me feeling wanting- it’s hard not take it personally when my life looks different than most others. So if Dora is Charley’s main thing, then let it be! Different houses, different rules.

  5. 5
    Chloe:

    This is awesome!! The thing is with me (I don’t know bout anyone else) that I am far too busy worrying about my choices to worry much about other peoples!!! …and everyone else always seems so much more on to it than me! TV or not (-;

  6. 6
    andrea:

    I didn’t know you didn’t circumcise (spelling?) Matthew. That is interesting but not a huge deal to me. I can’t believe you got grief from people about it. My kid watches way too much TV. My mom bought him a Swiper stuffed animal and he can quote way too much Spongebob. I also feel like a bad parent/mommy most of the time for the things I do or do not do. Why must we compare ourselves to everyone? It completely drives me crazy. On a personal note…I think you are a great mom, friend, wife, sister, daughter and woman…love you!

  7. 7
    Sarah CJ:

    This is my favorite. Thanks Kate.

  8. 8
    Lisa Lam:

    I especially like what you said about separating our choices as parents from who we are as people. When we can’t do that, we find that it’s difficult to be friends with other moms!

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