Stop the mommy wars and let’s build a village of those striving for improvement!
We have all heard the term “Mommy Wars”. And likely have felt attacked by something a person has said or wrote on a Facebook post. Today, I want to touch in with this idea that one way of seeing the world is better than another, and one person is doing a better job. While the truth is we are all seconds away from losing rational thought at any given moment of a day. We never know what is happening in another person’s life. What if, just what if, we take the ideas, advice and use what works for us and leave the rest without feeling judged, without feeling that someone else knows better, without judging back.
The truth is that we are not perfect. There is no perfect parents. Yet, there are these parents and I will call them out, there are these parents who are working on improvement! And how amazing is that?
I am wondering if parenting has become increasingly more difficult to navigate the decades continue. I do find myself questioning if this generation of parents are experiencing struggles that are completely unique. And no, I am not talking about the fact that “this generation is entitled”. What I am talking about is that this is the first generation of parents who have had to navigate globalization in a completely new way. Information is at our finger tips. We can find studies that support our way of thinking and then other studies that challenge our thoughts in the same Google search page. We are finding ourselves increasingly connected to a piece of technology that fits into our hand and at the same time realize that we are longing for human interaction. We are raising children who know what a tablet is long before their second birthday, and that struggle to play outside or engage in independent play. Gone, perhaps, are the days of the practicing concept of “It Takes a Village”.
When we are parenting in a public space, such as a mall, this will be the exact moment our children decide to misbehave. This is when the wet noodle is perfected and us as parents are standing there with a wave of emotions. AND how much do we feel judged? How embarrassed do we feel? How much do we feel like the worst parent on the planet and how dare the child do this to us in front of all these people?
The truth is that our children do not have the same priorities as us. We may have wanted or needed to push that snack time or nap time by only 10 minutes to quickly make one last errand. We may have really needed another avocado for our guacamole. We just needed them to hang on for a whole 10 minutes longer. Our children do not understand the rational that the mall is right here instead of the 20 minute drive across Saskatoon. In this process, please keep in mind that our children need to be set up for success! Do I really need that avocado? YES!!! I need it. Okay, great. Do I have a snack for my child to help regulate their blood sugar levels? Is there a choice that we can make such as do you want to be carried or walk beside me while we sing in the store? Perhaps, my child will be content carrying the avocado back to the car and feel as sense of contribution to the family.
Or maybe just maybe we are aligning up for an epic melt-down. So here, I am. My toddler is on the floor in a puddle of a wet noodle while screaming like a banshee. I am feeling embarrassed, enraged, and a note of disappointment. I quickly look around and see all the other shoppers are watching me, with hints of frowns on their faces. I can feel their judgement on me. OR just maybe, just maybe that village is not dead! Perhaps, this is my village cheering me on. These people are quietly and from the side line cheering me on, watching to see if I need a hand up. Because, let’s be honest. If one of them was to approach myself or my child in this emotionally charged moment, I may tell them where to go with explicit directions. Silently, cheering me on is likely the best place for them.
What if we shift our perceptions of what is happening in the moment to a more positive note? We use our tools (that we previously have acquired or are practicing under positive discipline parenting). We take a moment to ensure we do not flip our own lid, we have regulated our emotions the best we can. We are using the positive support of our village and will address the need of our child. We cannot change a child who has their lid flipped and is experiencing intense emotions until they regulate and start functioning from the rational side of their brain. We can, however, support our child in their experience, and then we walk outside together; connected. Then work to correct the situation when we are not having intense and embarrassing emotions.
With this, I want to leave today’s blog post with the thought of stopping judging other parents. We are navigating life the best we can. We all can learn new and more practical tools to help us in our parenting journey. Not every child is the same, not every family is the same, not every tool that one has will work or continue to work. This is okay! Life is about continuous learning, practicing, experiencing disappointment and working on improvement!
This week, I am challenging all parents to become mindful of our own perceptions of parenting, our children and world. Then see how we can work together to create this village of support.
Because our village is not gone. It is here waiting. Waiting for us. Find your village. Find your connection with Little Hands & Me Parenting Network!
With you in your parenting journey,