Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For The Sandy's Of The World.

(DISCLAIMER! This post is to encourage the "Sandy Moms". It is not intended for any other reason but to be honest about what I feel about Mothering (you ask for honesty, you get it). It should not be taken any other way than to encourage those Moms who are made to feel "subpar" because they DON'T do these things, not for the Mother's who DO do these things. Because if you DO do these things and are passionate about why you do, that's great....just don't judge Sandy for not. So if you are not a Sandy, you might want to skip this post, because again...this is JUST FOR THEM.)

When I hosted my giveaway last week asking your New Years Resolutions, Sandy left a comment that not only made me laugh, but also made me want to stand up and applaud her. And so I wanted to write about it.

This is Sandy's NYR:

"My resolution this year is to find other crappy and unpretentious moms to hang out with. moms that are not going to judge me for my baby not having taken to my breasts, or not using cloth diapers because it is too time consuming to do that and make meals and clean and look presentable, or my baby not having organic clothes. I just want to find friends that can admit how hard it is. I resume to not judge or compare myself to all my hippie darling friends but to find other "crappy" moms!
love, sandy"

So Sandy, this is for you. And for all of the rest of the Sandy's of the world. Which I'm sure, is all of us at one time or another.

Dear Sandy,

Being a Mom IS HARD. It is the single hardest job on earth because not only are you responsible for a tiny human's LIFE (that in and of itself is stressful enough), but you rarely get a break. It is a 'round the clock job and while those who sit around and say "Stay at Home Mom's have it made", well, they clearly have never been a Mother. And those are the same people who slave at work all day but when they go home they're "off work". We, as Mothers, are never "off work".

Nursing. You should NEVER (let me repeat...NEVER) be judged for not breastfeeding your child. That is a personal choice and no one knows what is best for your child and yourself other than YOU. If your friends look down on you for not doing it, well, I would question if they were truly your friends. In my opinion, nursing is the best option. After all, it is the way God designed it, and the whole process of solely providing the nutrients to fully sustain your child is pretty incredible. BUT. It is not for everyone. It was not for me. It was not for Levi. A series of events/problems took place during the first 4 days of Levi's life (ones that I would rather not discuss with the entire world) that led us to bottle feed. Not once did I feel bad about it. I knew that it was best for both of us. I feared having a sickly baby if I didn't nurse him, but God has been so gracious to us. Levi is 7 months old and the only thing he's ever had is a little runny nose a month ago. No ear infections, no fevers, NOTHING. I have several friends who breastfed and it seems like their babies are always sick! Which is why I believe that while breastfeeding is best (nothing can beat those nutrients), I also think your child is either going to be prone to colds, ear infections, etc, or just isn't - breastfed or not. Not nursing does NOT make you a cruddy Momma!

Cloth diapers. Okay, seriously. Are we living in the 1800's or what? That is just a concept that I can't understand for the life of me. I know, I know, it is cheaper and it "saves the earth" yada yada, but seriously - who has time in between laundry, dusting, baby crying, vacuuming, baby screaming, changing sheets, making beds, feeding baby, doing dishes, cooking supper, changing baby diapers, scrubbing the toilets and tubs, picking up toys, playing with baby...etc, etc, ETC!!!! to rinse out cloth diapers 292,034,829,343 times a day?!?!? The whole idea gags me and makes me frustrated. I would be a screaming mess if I had to deal with cloth diapers on top of all of my other responsibilities. Not using cloth diapers does NOT make you a cruddy Momma!

Cooking, Cleaning, Looking Presentable. If you asked Husby how many meals I cooked in Levi's first few months of life, he would probably laugh in your face. Even now, there are plenty of nights during the month that we have something super easy or we drive through something. There is a fine art to timing everything to where Levi is either napping or happily playing so that I can start supper and keep it going without interruption. And some nights, it just doesn't happen. Likewise, some days the house is clean, other days it's a wreck. Some days I look cute when Husby comes home, other days, I look like a hagged out weirdo! Some days, I feel like I have it all together - supper is on, the house is clean, Levi is happy and I look refreshed. Those days are awesome. But inevitably there are other days when I simply can't balance it all and somewhere along the way, something gets out of control (usually the laundry) and the whole day feels like a disaster. Not always cooking, not always cleaning, and not always looking presentable does NOT make you a cruddy Momma!

Moms should never compare themselves to anyone else, because no one has YOUR LIFE. We are all in different circumstances, our babies have different needs and personalities and we all have different opinions on how to rear our children. If someone judges you because you don't do it like they are doing it, chances are, they need to self examine and reevaluate. We need to realize that if we all methodically raised our children in the same manner, we would end up with a planet full of robots.

I think so many Momma's get wrapped up in useless details of organic products and parenting "fads" and they lose sight of the big picture -> Are You Training Your Child In The Way He Should Go? A good Mom is not determined by if you nurse, what type of diapers you use or if you look cute at the end of the day. A good Mom is one that loves her baby unconditionally and shows that with lots of hugs, kisses and snuggles. A good Mom is one that interacts with, plays with and works with her baby to teach and develop their little minds. A good Mom is one that is in tune with her child's needs and goes out of her way to make sure those needs are met. A good Mom is one who covers her baby in prayer every day and works on herself to become a better example of Christ to her children. A good Mom works to love her husband deeper so that they can be the living picture of a covenant relationship to her children. These are the things that MATTER. These are the things that your child will grow up appreciating you for. These are the things that will help your child become the best person they can possibly be.

So for all of the Sandy's out there, keep doing what you are doing. If you need to, put horse blinders on if you are tempted to watch other Momma's and compare yourself. Keep loving on, teaching, playing with, and instructing your little one and never buy in to the lies that nursing, diapers and an immaculate home make you a "Super Mom". Because really, there is no such thing. (Well...besides my Mom.)

Love,
Whitney

49 comments:

  1. While I agree with the basic premise of this post (Do yo' thing, girl, and don't mind anyone else), at the same time, I can't help but feel that with this post, you are judging those of us who do those things Sandy posted about in a negative manner. Because I use cloth diapers I live in the 1800s? Because I buy organic fruits and veggies I'm a hippie?

    It goes both ways. Just remember that. I am no more a hippie or living in the 1800s than you are. And yes, you can keep house, play with your baby, and do all that stuff too, if you decide it's important to you. You make time for what you decide is important. Living a greener lifestyle may not be important to you (and that's okay, I'm not judging you) but it is to us. Heck, I even find time to bake and do crafts!

    So I'm asking you to please remember when you're trying to defend yourself against the so-called "Sanctimommies" to not slip into the role yourself.

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  2. Lovely post Whitney. I completely agree. I'm happy to report that it does get easier to get everything done as they get older. However, I'm back in the baby stage again with my 5 month old daughter, so with three children 5 and under I am most definitely NOT on top of the laundry!

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  3. I agree with Miss M :-) I don't buy organic foods/clothing, but I do love cloth diapering and I am currently hosting a huge event on my blog. I don't do it for the environment really. I save so much money cloth diapering and don't have to deal with diaper rashes. That is why I cloth diaper :-)

    I agree with moms being too judgmental!! Back in November I ran across a Twitter chat about a girl who was sharing her live birth online. I watched her birth and followed the Twitter chat. There was a lot of negativity toward her not completing her birth "natural". I posted my thoughts about the Twitter chat, etc the next day: http://taketimetosmelltherose.blogspot.com/search/label/My%20Thoughts

    In my post I talk about the various ways moms judge each other. We all have choices of how we raise our kids but we must remember what matters the most, a healthy happy child!

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  4. Sorry wrong link, this is the correct one: http://taketimetosmelltherose.blogspot.com/2009/11/remember-what-matters-most.html

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  5. AMEN sista! Moms can be SO judgemental and I just DON"T get it! It's such a hard job! Why wouldn't we all just want to stick together and help each other out!

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  6. At the end of the day, I think it's all about building good memories for your child. Your child is not going to remember what kind of nappy he wore, trust me. They are going to remember if you had time to play with them and tickle them and read them stories. They won't care if the story book was made of recycled paper either. I can remember my sister sobbing down the phone to me when my niece was small, saying "She wants me to play with her and I have so much housework to do!" The thing about housework is, no matter what you do, it comes right back. But the time spent 'investing' in your child is there to stay and reaps far more important rewards.

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  7. I think it is great that Miss M added what she did about being careful not to judge back the other way. It is so true that we make time for what means something to us. I do just want to add, though, that a lot of the women who work all day are not OFF when they get home. The ones that are moms still have laundry and house cleaning and meals and child-rearing to do AFTER the 8 hour day outside the home. The bottome line is this: Mothering is the absolute hardest job in the world whether you stay home, work outside the home, have help, don't have help, go organic, choose plastic everytime or whatever. But, the reason women keep on doing it? It is the BEST job in the whole world.

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  8. I totally agree that moms can be way too judgemental these days. You're right that we just need to focus on our little ones, because they are the only ones that count...but sometimes it is hard!

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  9. While I'm all about breastfeeding, I love the premise of what you wrote. It is true that the best things we can give our baby are not physical things!

    And while I'm all about Luvs, I do have a lot of friends who use cloth diapers, and they are some of the best moms I know and aren't "hippies" at all. I do think your post had a bit of a negative tone against "green" moms, but, because I know your heart, I know exactly where you were coming from. And, you're right--like I said, it's the memories and the love that will live on with our children ... not whether they were nestled to our boob or wore cloth (albeit stinking cute) diapers. :)

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  10. Fabulous post. It's nice to know I'm not the only mom looking haggard some days! My first born was bottle fed and the second breast. And really, cloth diapering is ALOT easier than you think. Babies on the bottle/breast don't have to have their diapers rinsed either, it is not thick enough to come off.

    And cloth diapering and organic buying (clothes, produce, whatever) don't go hand in hand, that's for sure. Organic costs too much. A lack of money is why I cloth diaper!

    Anyway, I like this post, and I like what Miss M said too. Hurray for mommies everywhere whether breast or bottle, whether cloth or disposible, organic or not, working in the home or out, being put-together or just surviving how they can! It's not an easy job, nor is it rewarding until the kids become parents themselves and see what you've gone through (I appreciate my mom so much more now and understand why she did what she did and does what she does now!)
    Being a mom is a blessing, we just gotta remember that!

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  11. I loved Sandy's honesty - and yours too. It is HARD. And it's even harder not to compare ourselves to other moms and what they're doing. I catch myself doing that all the time!

    I think all of us momma's have to find what works for us and our babies. And you're right - the loving, and the snuggling and the praying and teaching - those are the most important of all!

    Amen girl! (o: Thanks for sharing.

    PS - I didn't think you were being negative or judgemental at all (if anyone else seems to think so!)

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  12. Great post...very very true. I think that if you spend all day trying to keep your house super spotless, you're missing out on important moments in your kid's life! You can cook dinner, and have a spotless house when they're older! lol The right now is what is important! Thanks for the post!

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  13. You made a great point when you said that no one else has your life. My life is worlds apart from yours, just as yours is worlds apart from other mothers' lives. We have no idea what goes on in people's homes.

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  14. AMEN!!!! As mom's we should be raising each other up in support not being judgmental about how someone does something. Working moms and SAHM both struggle with feeling overwhelmed and like they never get a break. I have to work, there was no option to stay at home after maternity leave and I tell people that I have two full-time jobs. When I leave the one that pays the bills, I go home to the job that fills my heart and soul. But I will not lie being a wife and mom takes work but is also the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life.

    I say that if what you are doing (breast or not, cloth or disposable, etc) is working for you then kudos but please don't look down on me for my decisions just like I do not look down on you for yours. The time would take me to judge you is better spent getting kisses from my little one.

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  15. AMEN To THIS POST!!!! Woohoo. I loved everything about it and you were NOT judging others just simply stating that some people might jump on the "band wagon" of what they are supposed to do instead of what they want to do. Thanks for posting this...thanks for being honest!!! I completely agree with everything you say and I LOVE that there are other moms out there like me :)

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  16. Oh Whitney, I love this post! So many times I have gotten negative reactions from people because I don't breastfeed or I don't cloth diaper. It is so frustrating.

    I don't think you are judging at all with this post. You are just saying we are in modern times now and everyone shouldn't expect other moms to all do the same thing. In the 1800s, everyone cloth diapered, now that we have other options, we shouldn't be judged for our decisions to use them.

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  17. Good post -- I'm not a mother yet, but sometimes my friends and I talk about these same issues. It's strange to see how judgmental and silly people get (in both directions sometimes) when it comes to child rearing. Everyone has a lot going on, working mother or SAHM, private school or public, cloth or disposable, etc. etc. :-)

    BTW -- Miss M, I'm not sure it is necessarily true that "living greener" or (insert whatever mothering/living issue here) isn't important to the author or others. Maybe something else requires more time, maybe her baby is more trying or sickly, maybe that mother/father doesn't have the necessary skills developed yet to cope...etc. Congrats on finding time to bake and do crafts -- I assume you're finding a good balance of everything at this point!! That probably takes a lot of work or you've just got it together! I imagine I'll have a hard time keeping my head above water when I eventually have kids!

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  18. This is a very interesting post from you, as usually your posts are not "controversial". Not that this one necessarily is, but I think I raised my eyebrows a couple of times. I don't have a baby (clearly), but I will considering cloth diapering. My guess is I will try it and not stick with it, but who knows? I might love it and I'm all about saving money so I figure it's worth a try.

    I am quickly becoming very into a holistic, organic lifestyle, for the health reasons associated with it. I have been doing a lot of research and I will say ignorance is bliss when it comes to what people are eating. Now that I'm learning what the food industry does to our food, I can't continue to eat the same processed, antibiotic pumped, pesticide sprayed foods. I try not to talk a lot to people about it because inevitably I get get labeled "hippie", and they think I'm crazy. I have to remind myself that we each make our decisions and it doesn't matter if other people think I'm a weirdo.

    A great starter book is "Super Natural Home" by Beth Greer. You should check it out.

    I bet you will get a lot of comments on this post.

    ~Kathryn

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  19. Hmmm...I can totally see where you're coming from and I don't think the term hippie or living in the 1800s is necessarily a bad thing...I love hippies and life would have been much simpler in the 1800s - no vacuums!! :-) I just don't think it's "you" - to each his own...I would love to be able to do more for my little ones, I think we all would, it's just about finding balance and peace in your household - if your babies are loved and comfortable in their home, you are doing a heckava job. My brother always says "as long as you don't drop 'em, you're way ahead." Love to all Momma's out there!! Amen Whitney!!

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  20. (I love your disclaimer by the way ... I felt like I should have plastered one all over my breastfeeding post!! You never know with blogs!!)

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  21. People judge...and somehow typically think their way is the best way. My roomie from college is getting married & she has told me the crazy amount of unsolicited 'advice' she's received. It tends to be more of judgmental comments rather than actual advice. I hear it gets worse as you have children...that even strangers give approach you to give you advice.

    I'm not a mom and have no idea what we'll do if we're blessed with children one day. I love the idea of cloth diapers (but using a diaper service) and breast feeding but it might not work out for us. And as it goes even now i have trouble with my laundry piling up so I can only imagine what it will be like to be married and have children and stay on top of household duties. yikes.

    i love that you took the time to address Sandy's comment and that you were so honest about not being perfect. way to be transparent!

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  22. What a great post I completely agree and thanks for throwing that one out there I'm sure it's hard to do that at times. :)

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  23. Great post and great comment by Sandy - I am not even a mom yet, but have been thinking about that time coming up in my life. Reading these types of ideas and opinions BEFORE being pregnant will really help me keep a level head and I'm appreciative of that. Kudos.

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  24. I'm pretty crunchy but I don't do the cloth diapering. It's just one thing that I haven't done and sometimes I DO feel judged for not doing it.

    Parenting is hard. Parents who do buy organic and cloth-diaper and breastfeed aren't "fake" or pretend like parenting isn't hard. It is just one way of parenting that has nothing to do with appearances.

    While my baby is breastfed and food is cooking in the crockpot I'm still in the pajamas I put on two days ago and my hair still hasn't been brushed. I don't pretend to be perfect.

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  25. Wow, what a controversy Whitney! I'm like you, I don't want any type of fighting, so I avoid topics like this like the plague. But, since you brought it up...

    I wanted to encourage you that while parenting does not get any easier, it does get more do-able in a sense. While my house is still often messy and all of our food is not the healthiest of choices, I can see significant progress from when I first began. In fact, just yesterday I was looking at some old pictures when I had a 2 year old and a newborn and I had to catch myself from being disgusted with what the house looked like in the background. And then I remembered how hard those days were. Everything was completely overwhelming and I didn't have a clue where to begin.

    I will say that as the Lord has taught me more and more about myself, my children, and my husband, I have gotten a better handle on this whole parenting thing (in terms of cooking, cleaning, getting dressed, etc.). I am willing to venture more into uncharted waters like cloth diapering and eating better. I do not pretend that parenting is easy or that I have my act together at all. I also have many friends who say the same thing. We are all striving to be the *best* moms that we can and we all have personal convictions about what is important and what that looks like.

    Coming from both sides of this issue (I do some things that some might consider "supermomish" but I also have a long way to go in many areas), I think it is just silly. It is human nature to compare ourselves but ultimately we are held accountable only to God. He has given us all unique gifts and personalities to use for His glory and for that I am thankful. I have learned a lot from my messy, never put together but extremely loving and laidback friends as well as my organic, crunchy, perfect-on-the-surface ones. I think that there is a balance and that each one of us is responsible for finding that in our own lives without looking down on others for what they are or aren't doing.

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  26. You deserve a big gigantic high five for taking the emphasis off Happy Heiny's cloth diapers and organic baby food and reminding everyone what is truly important when raising a child: SHARING AND SHOWING THEM THE LOVE OF CHRIST.

    Fabulous post. Thanks for being brave and sharing your opinion...and for being flat out honest with everyone! :)

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  27. I love how you changed "crappy" to "cruddy". Haha, it's so YOU!

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  28. As "judgemental" as we are of ourselves as mothers, parent, wife, friend and person, we are the most critical of ourselves. That being said, my daughter, who was a preemie and I did NOT nurse, gave me the most highest compliment the other day! She said, "Even though I may have whined or complained about the simplest things and never even thanked you for some things, know that I DO appreciate you and I thank you for who you are and for what you have done for me. While all my other friends are in "divorced" families and are "latchkey" kids, thank you for always being there when I needed you." Grant it, it has taken her 16 yrs to come to this realization, but I know I have always done what is best for my family and will continue. I will do that for THEIR approval, not anyone else. So, I applaud all Moms out there doing what they can to provide for their family the BEST and ONLY way they know how and I will NOT judge anyone for the way they are rearing their children. Only our Father in Heaven should be our Judge and He loves us unconditionally.

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  29. I wonder if being a little judgmental is just part of being women/girls. I remember when I was in 7th grade and realized that I was judging other girls all the time. I figured out that when I was judging the other girls, I was just trying to make myself feel better about myself. I definitely think we should all just be there and support each other as much as we can no matter what is going on in life!

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  30. I disagree with the breastfeeding and the cloth diapering, after doing it for 5 months now, I totally see the value in it.

    And I think its a little sanctimommious of you to say that because I value both of these I'm some sort of mean judgemental person.

    I can think I know what is best for babies and not be a jerk about it.

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  31. Thank you, Whitney. I'm a member of a couple of different mothering boards and my mantra is always "Do what you feel is best for your child. That's what I'm doing - that's what we're all trying to do. Judging each other helps no one so mind your own business" :)

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  32. Mrs. Haid, good for you. Just don't look down on Sandy for not.

    And I think those of you who found negativity in this post aren't seeing what this is all about. I'm pro-organic myself, pro-looking nice and having a clean house, and pro-several things that Sandy's comment encompassed. That does not make me any better of a mom than anyone else! Bottom line: none of those things matter in the grand scheme of what "being a good mom" is all about. It's about RAISING YOUR CHILD IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO.

    Encourage your mom friends. Don't correct.

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  33. Great posts, and it makes me less apprehensive about how it's going to be in the first few months of our son's life. I'm so nervous, but posts like these make me know that we'll make it through, and I can do it. Thanks!

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  34. standing ovation for whitney and sandy! :)

    and i had lots of trouble after hudson was born and breastfeeding just became another stresser for me. so i stopped early and he is a healthy kiddo! 24 pounds healthy!: ) haha

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  35. kudos Whitney...I love being able to hear other moms say...this is a tough job...whether you stay at home or work 40 hours a week....breast or bottle...organic or not...it is hard to find that balance in life to "make it all happen...all the time" Mothers need the support of other mothers...Loved your post!!

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  36. Thank you so much for this post! While I am very much an advocate for breastfeeding, I also did NOT breastfeed my third baby for my own reasons. I didn't even try, because I knew I wasn't able to keep up with it...and some people made me feel like a lousy mother! Never mind the fact that I had nursed his brother til he was 11 months old, I was an ignorant d-bag because I didn't do the same with Silas.

    I understand some people wanting to cloth diaper and I just wish that I had the energy to do it...but I don't. I just know I can't keep up on the extra laundry that cloth diapers cause and so I won't even bother. Pampers for me!

    My house isn't always immaculate. I keep it as tidy as possible while suffering morning sickness and chasing around 2 little boys aged 5 and 3. I don't always cook a healthy fabulous dinner. Sometimes we eat Kraft Dinner. But my kids are happy, healthy, loved and doted on. And they know it.

    So to all of you other "Sandy's" out there, feel free to drop by for a playdate. Shove aside some Transformers and Bakugan and pull up a seat. I can't promise you won't get something sticky on your pants, but I can promise you a few good laughs!

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  37. I'm not even a mom and I felt like standing up and applauding you! Well put, my dear! Well put!

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  38. oh i wish i was a mom so i could weigh in on the debate.. however i'll just say that living in england where people compete to see who's the worst mom, it's fun reading about going the opposite way, where people try to be so good, LOL!! my mom was TERRIBLE (sorry mom.. she won't read this) and i think i turned out sort of ok.. :)

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  39. I think this was VERY well said! I'm think everyone has their own opinions and that is just the way the world works. No one mommy is better than another as long as your putting forth the effort to be, in fact, a good mommy!

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  40. First of all, Thank you Whitney! I was very encouraged by your post. Love you girl!
    Secondly, I should clarify that I did not mean "hippie" as a derogative term, as I myself am considered a hippie girl by many.
    To Miss M and all the moms with similar comments, I do apologize. These days I find myself comparing myself and wondering how you all do it! And I have really had to pray for the Lord to change my heart about this and to help me LEARN from you wonderful ladies instead of closing myself off because my pride is to big to stand next to you.
    I also want to say I have nothing againt being green, I am even trying cloth diapers to see if I can handle it. I know It'll get better, but boy it is hard!
    All I know is my baby is the MOST precious gift in the world to me!
    Love,
    Sandy

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  41. Preach it Sista!

    Sincerely,

    A Crappy* Mom

    *Disclaimer: I am currently researching cloth diapers and considering making the switch. Just not sure how I'm going to handle another chore into my day!

    Moms let's learn from and support one another, not judge.

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  42. Greatest post ever, Whitney. Love it! Couldn't agree more. I really think you have a machine that can read my mind...so, basically, you wrote exactly what I've thought all along...I'm gonna take credit for your post. ;) I applaud you for speaking your beliefs and not backing down. That's awesome. You're a great mom and Levi is going to be one fabulous little man because of you guys. Well done, friend. Keep it up!

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  43. Who has the time to use & clean cloth diapers, breastfeed, make just about every meal from scratch, spend time playing with her baby and husband and attend church?

    Why, that sounds like my wife. It's all about priorities. Sometimes you have to work a little harder to do the right thing for your child, planet and community. Breastfeeding is healthier--a scientific fact, as well as a God-given gift. Cloth diapers waste less material (or practice better stewardship of Creation). Purchasing healthy local, poison-free food instead of boxes, cans and frozen packages is better for the health of the child, the adult and the farmer and goes back to that stewardship thing.

    God has given us such a gift, and there are better ways of using and preserving them than others. I would suggest re-examining your statements theologically and ask "what would Jesus buy?", "how would Jesus prepare this", and of course, "what would Jesus do?"

    Pax.

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May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today! Thanks for the comment, friends! :)

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