Have you seen what went down on the blogs today? It doesn’t matter what blog. It doesn’t matter what day. Whenever two moms disagree on anything, it’s like the whole web blows up with a frenzy of anger, frustration, and a big mess of hurtful and judgmental opinion-hurling.
Choices, choices. There are so many possibilities. Strollers. Babywearing. Working. Staying at home. Cloth vs. disposable. Breast or bottle. And that’s just the baby years! What about education, playdates, playground mishaps, injuries, bedtime battles, picky eating, TV, extracurriculars, sheltering vs. free range, city vs. suburb vs. rural? Or whether it’s time for #2 (or 3 or 4)?
It boggles the mind.
Every day, we’re faced with a barrage of choices–and we consider each with such care. Yet rarely does that same sensitivity overflow when looking at the parenting choices of others. “Mean, judgmental mommies” are the new high school alphas, and the claws are out.
How come we’re so cruel at a time when we all should have each other’s backs?
Why indeed? Last night, Amanda from Three Fabulous Mommies expressed her own frustration with sharp-tongued moms: “Why do we criticize each other? Is it because . . . we become defensive of our choices as parents?”
I’ve long been convinced that most of the judging and meanness among us moms comes from the doubt we’re experiencing about the choices we make each day.
Because really, who hasn’t been there? We want to give our little ones the very best upbringing we possibly can, and we’re so terrified of doing it wrong that we’re constantly, constantly, constantly second-guessing ourselves. Am I making the right choice? Am I? Am I SURE? It makes us a bit defensive–after all, if someone can prove we were wrong then surely it means we’re failing our children.
So we lash out at a mom who’s chosen differently, all the while hoping to prove–to ourselves as much as to the world at large–that we really are doing the right thing for our kids. That we’re slowly turning them into responsible, mature adults. That we won’t screw them up after all.
We. We. We.
We all want our kids to thrive–physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. And parenting is an important aspect of our child’s experience.
But it’s only one part.
Ultimately, we are not center stage. We have a supporting role. The success of the show–or of our kids–isn’t solely dependent on what we do and don’t do.
There are countless factors contributing to how a child–and later, an adult–will act and react. Factors far beyond our control. Factors far beyond even our knowledge, because who can predict the future behind the curtain?
It’s time for a good dose of humility.
We’re stagehands, supporters, camera wranglers, musicians, set artists, costumers, producers. We’re minor cast. We’re not the heroines here. We’re Villager No. 2.
It’s time to acknowledge our true role in our kids’ lives. It’s not about us. It was never about us. We get on stage and do just our part–and do it the best we can.
That’s all the directors need.
And a big part of that role? Seamless integration with Villagers No. 1 and 3. Even if we think they forgot their lines or improv’d a bit.
Small? Yes. Insignificant? Hardly. Because it’s only when all the minor cast work together that the great drama of life can premiere with a resounding success.