Friday, February 24, 2017

Lead Me to the Village

     I'm going to take a moment to get a little more serious with you today and explain one of the reasons behind starting my blog. I have appeared, as a guest blogger, on my dear friend, Katie's page several times. The most recent post I wrote for her is something that has weighed heavily on my chest for quite a while.

     First of all, I met Katie in a June Mommy Group on FB. Funny I should mention social media, as I'll be further discussing it later in this blog. I was and still am so grateful for her friendship. We were shoulders for each other to cry on during our difficult pregnancies and we continue to be a source of companionship and support as we deal with the everyday of motherhood. a mother of three, I should be able to sit here and say "Been there, done that" or "This is a walk in the park," but the truth is, that couldn't be further from the truth. Just as every single one of us is unique and different, so is every single pregnancy and every single child. Motherhood. is. HARD! There...I said it. I can almost hear the gasps coming from my social media "friends" and followers. "What does she mean 'it's hard'? She always seems to have it all together?" NOPE! N-O-P-E! Just like every other person on FB, Twitter, and Snapchat, my posts and pictures are snapshots of my life; snippets of the whole picture. Of course I'm sugar coating and scrutinizing over every single post and picture I make public. "Why?" you ask...because social media has become nothing but a judgment zone. From a mother's perspective, posting to these sites is very similar to being thrown out in the middle of the Colosseum in Rome, just awaiting the moment we're ripped apart by savage beasts. When did motherhood become something judged and criticized, rather than supported by those who supposedly love and care about us? 

     I'm apart of several FB groups and I've played witness to the awful, threatening, bullying behavior of fellow parents that leaves a lump in my throat. Why must we treat each other this way? Aren't we ALL trying to figure this whole parenthood thing out? "What may work for one, might not work for another," isn't that what they say? Or "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." I've watched as people are ripped apart on these sites, families destroyed, and it literally makes me sick. What happened to supporting each other as parents and women? Why is it that we feel better tearing each other down than building each other up?

     Sadly, it's not just social media either. These "Mommy Wars," as they're so sadly called, are everywhere. It's downright terrible. Isn't that half of the problem of being a parent? Needing someone or somewhere to turn to when you've hit rock bottom and all you want to do is cry? We've all been there, believe me. There should be safe places for us to turn to, where others will support you and guide you in the right direction instead of looking to tear you down even more. We need to do a better job of being "that village" that it takes to raise our children. I truthfully think twice about every single thing I post or even discuss in public, because you never know who will attack you or throw you under the bus for being honest and for being the best mother to your children that you can possibly be. 

     Everywhere I turn these days, it's bottle vs breast milk, immunizing vs non-immunizing, disposable diapers vs cloth diapers, co-sleeping vs CIO, organic vs non-organic, homemade vs fast food, baby carriers vs strollers, circumcision vs intact, vaginal vs cesarean deliveries and EVERYTHING...literally E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G is a competition! Whose baby is walking/talking/crawling first? Whose school is better? Whose child is more active in the community? Please just stop. It's literally disgusting what parenting children in this day and age is truly like. It makes me so sad and it's utterly exhausting being made to feel like you have to keep up with the Joneses! But believe me, the Joneses are human too. The Joneses, ladies and gentlemen, are not perfect!

     Absolutely nothing about raising my children is a competition and absolutely none of mine nor my husband's choices, for our own babies, make us any better or worse than the rest you. Why can't we be that "village" that each of us so desperately needs? Sometimes all that means is knowing you have people in your life who love you and support you and know that you are doing the best job that you can possibly do.

     Aren't WE supposed to be the role models for OUR children? Aren't we all raising our children to be kind and respectful human beings? I know I am. How, in any way, is being cruel, judgmental, and a downright bully teaching our children kindness? You never know the battles someone is fighting in their private lives. Can't we all just be nice to one another? In starting this blog, I'm hoping to make a small difference. This is a judgment-free zone. The things I write about are raw and real. There are certainly happy times, but there are also sad times and everything in between. I will write about it all. 

     So please know that as your friend, family member, or even as a stranger walking down the street, I am in no place to judge the decisions you've made for you and your family. I'm here to say, I'm so happy you're in my life. I am so blessed to know you. I support you. I am here for you. 

     I am the furthest thing from perfect. I am still learning what it takes to be a parent. My children will continue teaching me new things for as long as I am their mother. This adventure we're on is nothing but a day-to-day trial and error game. Sometimes my children devour the fruit I bring home before I even have a chance to wash it...<gasp>....sometimes the video monitor dies in the middle of the night and I awake at 6:30 unsure whether my baby fussed for me during the night...<gasp>...sometimes my children go days without a bath...<gasp>...that's right! I'm human, just like the Joneses, but I can guarantee you that no matter what the decisions are that you make for your family, whether they be similar or very different from my own, that we can, as parents, agree on one thing:

We are doing the best we can! Our babies are fed, our babies are cared for, and our babies are loved!

*Disclaimer: I feel like this goes without saying, but there are some truly awful, ugly, evil people in this world that abuse and neglect their own children. In no way, shape or form, am I talking about these individuals in this blog post. They don't deserve a second thought.

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