For Mother's: More Of What We Do Need
The way an idea is held in the mind is just as important as the idea itself. Let's look at another facet of this concept, instead of stating or focusing on what should not be done, let's all instead focus on what is needed. By reducing something to it's most fundamental parts the more likely it will be retained. The truth resonates when heard, so lets give this a shot.
I read a wonderful blog post yesterday from herscoop.com titled Stop The Mommy Wars: Empowering Photo Series a group called Connecticut Working Moms posted the series. I love the intention, I know something needs to be done. I've been pondering for literal decades on the best way to unite and empower mother's as a whole.
The post does an excellent job of demonstrating the wide variety of parenting/mothering preferences. I love the way they have mothers sit happily next to mothers that could be considered to have opposing preferences. This is important and effective.
I'm taking the time to write this today to add another facet to this wonderful campaign. It is not enough to stop the mommy wars, in fact we shouldn't even call it that. We should call it what it is and what it is is a missed opportunity to support and relate.
The more I've thought about this issue the more I believe that what is missing is more support. I'm not talking financial support either, although I'm sure we could all use more of that. I'm referring to emotional, mental and community support. Being able to relate or having someone to relate too can make all the difference in a mother's life. It's all too easy to feel all alone in the mommy boat. All maternal energy is funneled into our young, leaving new and experienced mother's feeling drained and depleted.
Support - knowing they don't have to do it alone, acceptance - it's cool however you do it, unity- we all stand together in this crazy race, comfort - I know how you feel and I'm gonna hold your baby while you feel it, and empowerment - you go on girl do your thing, you do it your way and I'll do it mine, it's cool, are what's needed in the mothering community. We need to reestablish what it means to relate. Generally, people believe that in order to relate there must be common or shared beliefs. But what if instead we changed our attitude about relating in general? Relating doesn't need to be about exact sameness, it can be about acceptance and commonality.
I am a mother, if someone is the primary caregiver I'm likely to consider them a mother as well. I'd share how I go about my days, where I like to shop for the best deals, which instructors I trust and why. It doesn't matter that I loved breastfeeding and someone else's preference was to bottle feed, I'm actually curious as to their reasons why the hod their preference.
Their reasons why are just as important as the what from where I stand. An individual lives their entire life going through who know's what, in order to come to their individual conclusions. Who am I to challenge them with what I have determined from my own life experiences to be the correct course of action for me? I'll share if someone wants to know, I'll even share in the hopes that I can shed light on something I sincerely hope is beneficial. I don't want to stamp out anyone's parenting choices, preferences, or plans. I'd like to honor them, hear them, and encourage how they made those choices, because choices are hard, decisions are hard. Now add the fact that these choices are being made for the vulnerable human beings that are entrusted in their care and can sometimes carry the bounty of their genetic code. Uh yeah, no pressure. Oh but wait, no it's terrifying and don't get me started on maternal guilt.
I place my ability to relate in our common or shared experiences. For example, I attended a Department Of Defense school growing up, my father was enlisted in the US Air Force and we moved every 3-4 years. This gives me an entire subset of American culture to relate too but what I really do is just relate to anyone who went to school or whoever has parents. I love hearing how their experiences are different than mine, it's just plain fascinating.
What I'm really trying to state here is the change needs to be in how we choose to relate. The change shouldn't be on something negative, Mother Teresa said it best:
By changing our attitude toward differing beliefs we open the door to relating in a more peaceful way. It's time we as mother's, as primary caregivers focus on our common goal and that goal, I hope, is to raise incredible people that will one day become positively contributing members of society.