Tuesday, January 18, 2011

on being a non-judgmental mommy

In my last post, I told you of my journey to become a stay-at-home mom and what a surprise it is to me that this is what I want to do.  I’m very aware that lots of moms out there are a bit sensitive on this topic, so I want to take a moment to address those fears, and to let you know that you have a safe place here on this blog.

I think that being a mother today is a very tough job.  I think that when our babies are born, it’s like this self-critical, self-judging chip gets planted in our brains.  We are always obsessing over whether we are doing a good enough job as a mom, and maybe even more frequently, whether other moms are judging us on our decisions.

It seems like when I would talk about my desire to keep Burrito out of daycare, other moms who were using daycare felt like they needed to justify their decision to me.  This made me sad.  I didn’t want to make them feel that way.

Decisions, decisions.  There are the choices of babyhood: cloth diapers or disposable?  Nursing or bottle-feeding?  There are the choices of child care: Nanny or daycare?  Stay home or work?  Vaccines or no?  And it’s easy to meet moms who will jump down your throat over the decisions you’ve made.

Now, it’s true that there are some awful parents out there.  But I honestly don’t think most moms are like that.  Most moms are just trying the best they can to get through the day and love their kids as well as they can and care for their kids in the best way they can.  For some families, bottle-feeding is best.  For some families, attachment parenthood is best.  For some families, Mom feels called to have a job.  For some families, Mom can’t imagine being anywhere but home.  Everybody’s situation is different.

As long as we moms aren’t putting our kids in danger, don’t we owe it to each other to support each other in the decisions we make, to be a positive, encouraging voice to each other in a world full of negativity?  To not make each other feel dumb and inadequate?  Chances are, the moms you know have thought long and hard about the decisions they are making for their children.  They want the best for their children and as far as they can tell, their choices reflect the best they have the capacity to give their kids.  Maybe we could respect that, instead of making moms feel like dirt.  Isn’t being a mom tough enough?

I don’t know how I would have gotten through those tough early days of mothering without positive women encouraging me along.  I always appreciated those women who told me what worked for them while emphasizing that I needed to find what worked for my family.  And so, sometimes I took their advice and sometimes I didn’t.  I found that with prayer and discussion with my husband, I was able to find a unique patchwork of strategies that worked for our unique family.  My Mom told me that’s what I should do, and I’m so glad she did.

So, I want each of you to know, as you read this blog, that my goal is to just share my experiences as a mother without casting judgment on yours.  I know you love your kids and want the best for them.  Please assume the best of me too.  And then maybe we can learn from each other.


  1. I hope that most people understand that you have to do what you have to do. I'd say the majority (and I may be incorrect) of women who are working full-time and have children would rather spending more time with children then work, but it isn't always an option. I'm with you though. If my husband and I could work it out I would like to cut work back to at lesat half-time. I'm sure there are some wonderful day cares out there, but when it costs more money to send your child there than what you make, hard to see the point. I think most people's major issues with full stay-at home moms is the children might not be around many children and may develop some social problems. This can easily be avoided by play groups, church events, and such.

    Enjoying this so far Rebecca. Looking forward to reading more :)

  2. Welcome back to the blog world friend. No judgments here - just support and delight that you are getting to be just what you want right now.

    As for myself- there are days I yearn to be a SAHM and days I'm so enlivened by my job and ministry that it seems impossible to give up. For better or worse, it all comes down to finances for now.

  3. You go girl! So glad you are able to choose. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. - naomi

  4. I've very much appreciated your first posts. I have started blogging again too. It was so helpful to me when I first started staying home, so now am going to get back to it.

    I appreciate your honesty in how you got got to this point and how you hope to continue. You are right. As moms we should be supporting one another.

    I have dealt with depression for several years. Because of stigma, I didn't get real help until I was an adult. Ministry, truthfully, forced me to do it. I had to care for myself in the midst of the pressure. As a mom. Ian's first 6 months or so of life are only remembered in pictures for me. I suffered with post partum depression and it is only now with Ella that I realize teh details that I missed with Ian. I was not in the emotional stable place to appreciate them or see them. All my energy was in taking care of him and not appreciating his growth and how he was changing.
    Fortunately, for some reason, I took a lot of pictures. Mostly, I think there was a subconscious part of me that knew I needed to document, because I wasn't in a place to appreciate it. I see this a gift from God. To get through, to be mentally healthy again. To be prepared and better able to cope when Ella was born. All these things.
    Blessings with your writing.

  5. I agree, Tessa, that most women would probably rather be with their kids full time. But if it isn't the best choice for their families or they just don't feel it's for them, I don't think they should be looked down on. If, for example, a Mom finds herself so depressed and unstimulated staying home, that's not going to make her a better Mom just because she's putting in the time with Junior. Some Moms function better when they are working...I guess I just haven't yet found the secret to doing it myself. Anyway, for me I'm very happy with my decision, and if any feminists get angry with me, oh well!;-) I think feminism is about being able to choose what you're going to do. And in my experience, most moms are incapable of thinking about that without taking their kids' well-being into consideration. So, that's why I'd prefer to support other mom's decisions and be an encouraging voice in an often discouraging world.

    Anyway, thanks for the encouragement!

  6. Hi Liz, You, btw, are a great example of a non-judgmental mommy...that's always been my experience with you and I hope I've been able to be that way to you too. Your love and concern for Baby Goat come through in everything you do!

  7. CindaRu, thanks for the comment (not sure if I should use your real name or not). I think the story you tell is so heart-breaking and yet so common to so many of us moms...and when you mix a leadership position with that role, things get even tougher. Remember, though, you are an overcomer! I think if motherhood teaches us anything, it teaches us that we are stronger than we thought we were.

    And I also think it is wonderful that you had that God-given mother's instinct to take those pictures. God knew that was a need and He gave you that impulse.

  8. You can totally use my real name in your responses, don't worry about it. CindaRu is a nickname from college. In sem it was shorted to Cinda. I'm not shy.
    You are doing great!
    I'm also going to use you as inspiration to keep up my own blogging.

  9. Rebecca,
    I'm so thankful that this journey you & Chris have been on has led you to a happier place! We may never meet face to face, but I feel like we could be friends. Even if I'm old enough to be Burrito's nana!
    When my boys were small, I chose to be a SAHM. I wouldn't trade those years for anything in this world. Even in the 80's, maybe especially then, other moms were judging me harshly for that. Maybe I was my own worst critic - "if I was working, we could ... afford more things ... have more money ... take nicer vacations ... etc." Don't ever do that to yourself. Your time with her is more valuable than years of income! And I agree - not all moms are called to stay at home. And that's okay too. I work with a building full of women (teachers) who have small children. They do what they are led to do. I would no more tell them they "should" stay home than I would tell the sun not to rise.
    Anyway, enough of my rambling. Congrats on your blog - I'll be stopping by occasionally to see what's going on in Montana!

  10. Thanks for the good advice, Kay...Right now, this is a rich time and even if I'm not "supposed" to like staying home so much, I kind of do.


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