Something occurred to me the other day, as the cloud of negativity that had been following me essentially dissolved when I exited stage right from many mom groups. Instead of only seeing the ridiculousness that comes with the parenting community, in real life (yes -- fresh air, the whole shibang), I was able to see with clarity how many people are actually awesome and supportive to moms.
You see, in mom groups, we do a lot of complaining and venting because for many, it's "our" only outlet. What this ends up breeding is a constant stream of "people are attacking moms!" posts. Together, we focus on the negative, the bad, the mean, and the judgmental instead of taking time to find the balance and remember the good. We are always victims in mom groups.
If there's one thing I've learned, it's that people will always find something to criticize you about. This was true before parenting. Of course, with parenting, comes its own set of choices that will forever categorize you as a "crunchy mom," a "bad mom," a "hippie mom," a "helicopter mom," etc, etc. Regardless of what label someone assigns to your parenting style, it doesn't define you. Just as many of the judgmental comments or looks before you were a parent, and from here on out never will. Why do we let strangers' comments get to us, when we know that our choice was right for our family? It's simple. Every mom's fear is to hear that they're a bad mom. The truth of it is, none of us really know what we're doing. We're pretty much all winging it. So, when I decided to stop giving power to irrelevant people regarding my parenting choices, I was able to focus on all of the people we never talk about. The people that are part of "the village," that's so often mentioned.
We don't talk about you as much as we should.
You're the person who offered to take my grocery shopping cart back to the cart return because you saw my hands were full with a fidgety toddler.
You're the person who let me go in front of you in line at the store because you saw an epic meltdown happening and you knew that time was of the essence.
You're the person who donated countless clothing and toy items to AB, because you're a friend, and you wanted to be nice.
You're the person who brought over dinner while I was recovering from my c-section.
You're the person who texts me and doesn't get upset when I don't respond right away. You just want me to know that you're around.
You're the person who looked up resources for me when I was ready to throw in the towel regarding breast feeding.
You're the person who didn't make me feel bad about *only* breastfeeding for six months.
You're the person who made me feel awesome for breastfeeding for one day!
You're the person who said, "Formula won't kill your child."
You're the person who said, it's ok if you don't want to use the "CIO" method. And you're also the person who said, it's OK to see if it's right for you.
You're the person who sent me a yoga ball and miracle blanket in the mail, because you knew it would be a life-saver.
You're the person who chatted with me on Facebook in the middle of the night when I was up with the baby at 2 AM.
You're the person who doesn't glare angrily at parents with small, crying babies on flights.
You're the person who said, "It's ok. It happens to all of us," when store meltdown occurred.
You're the person who saw me struggling and said, "Here, try this," or, "What can I do to help?"
You're the person who just smiled.
You're the person who said, "You're not alone."
You're the person who said, "You're doing a great job."
You're my friend. My mom. My dad. My sister. My brothers. My husband. My in-laws. My family. An acquaintance. A stranger. A new friend. A new mom. A seasoned mom. Someone who doesn't have kids. You are the people who I will continue to add to my "village."
Instead of focusing on people who don't deserve my attention, I'm going to focus on you today. I'm going to say thank you to you.