I have a bone to pick with Mommyland.
Somewhere along the line, one of us yahoos decided it was socially acceptable to push our own personal child rearing agenda onto everyone else.
I'm not talking about Great Aunt Bertha sharing her time honored wisdom, or close friends who offer tidbits from the motherhood trenches. I'm referring to individuals like your acquaintance from Kindermusic, the friend of a friend who always manages to comment on your facebook posts, or the stranger at Target who rips you a new one for feeding your kid Gluten-full goldfish crackers in the checkout line.
To those (hopefully) well meaning mothers I say, "thanks, but no thanks, for your lectures and tirades." Call me crazy, but I kind of miss the good ole' days when we would all quietly judge those who raised their children differently from us. If one felt particularly daring, he or she could even secretly gab about said parental atrocities with some friends. Sadly, those days of closeted judgment are over. Now, moms walk right up to you, with a smile plastered on their face, and an outline of the five million ways you are irrevocably screwing up your child.
Like this job isn't hard enough. Like each of us doesn't already harbor seemingly endless feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and "mommy guilt."
We are all on our own personal quest for parental perfection and maternal nirvana. But what is "perfect" for one family, might be imperfect in another. What is blissful for some, could be beastly to others. Somewhere along the line, we forgot that these differences are in fact.... entirely acceptable.
Instead of appreciating the diversity and supporting one another however we can, there are those among us who actively belittle, chastise, and disparage fellow moms.
I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have been "corrected" or "schooled" by another mom.
"That seat should still be rear-facing."
"Those shoes are terrible for his developing spine."
"He shouldn't be watching television at this age."
"You need to put him on a sleep schedule."
"Why aren't those berries organic?"
It's one thing if I beseech someone for their input, its another thing entirely when I am beaten about the face and neck with unsolicited critiques.
Fortunately, my son already has two more than capable parents, and we are not currently interviewing for a third. We might not always get everything right, but we try and make informed and educated decisions based on what is best for our family. It might be a lot different from what goes on in your home, or it could be nearly identical, but it's what works for us.
For example, in our house, I am still breastfeeding my nearly 20 month old. This is absolutely outrageous in some circles, and totally acceptable in others. Either way, you won't ever find me going door to door to try and "convert" other moms. You'd also be hard pressed to catch me cringing at the mere sight of formula or sighing dramatically when I hear that another mom had to stop breastfeeding. I don't do any of these things because, besides being ridiculous, it's not my place to. The choices another mom makes for her and her family are hers alone. Who am I to say that my way is superior? Who am I to try and make someone conform?
But clearly, not everyone values personal choice as much as I do. And to those individuals I say, "It's awesome that your motherly instincts are just overflowing like that...but maybe, just maybe, you could swallow your derogatory comments and "helpful" remarks, and utilize that parental prowess on your own kid."
(Because if you keep hating on these gluten-full goldfish I'm liable to throat chop you.)