Mom vs Mom

Why as mothers, do we do this to ourselves?  The mom vs mom thing gets so old.  In the past 6 years I’ve had the priviledge of joining and interacting with lots of online mom groups (and of course those IRL) and I have seen first hand how judgmental we are with one another.  I won’t say I haven’t done the judging myself!  The difference between the moms I interact with in the real world and online seems to be that when you are conversing in person, there seems to be a comradre and even if we don’t agree, very seldom does it turn into bashing or full on war! 

Do we really think that we are going to change another mother’s mind about breastfeeding, diapers, co-sleeping or not, crying it out, babywearing, allergies, or any other touchy subject by ripping the mom a new one?  I know it doesn’t work for me, it makes me more stubborn in how I feel. 

Don’t we all base our childrearing on OUR personal experiences?  What works for my family and kids, may  not work for someone else.  It’s hard to take off the boxing gloves online, you can hide behind your computer and never have to see the other person’s face nor will you know if you hurt their feelings.  Oh and I’m totally guilty too, I’ve done it! 

As my kids get older and I have more experience under my belt as a mom, I realize that none of that stuff even matters!  If there is child abuse going on, that’s a totally different thing but as long as parents are loving their kids and providing for their needs, we need to step back and let them do what works best for them, even if we don’t agree with it.

 Let’s start with breast vs bottle.  This is where the heavy duty gloves get put on and you better have a mouth guard in if you plan on participating in this “discussion”.   I bf all four of my kids.  My experience says it is what worked best for our family.  Do you want to know one of the top reasons for me?  MONEY!  Yep, it’s free, so that’s of course the route I took as a bargain hunting mom. 

Chad is my only one who had formula through out his first year because I worked part time and it was just simpler.  He was also my sickest kid.  He always had an ear infection and this went on until he was 4 years old!  Do I think the formula played a part in that?  I don’t really know.  I do think genetics had some play in it but I won’t blame it all on formula.  I’ve known far too many bfing moms who’ve had sick kids and vice versa.  Did I love the bond I got with my kids, you bet?  Do I think I could have had such a bond bottle feeding, yeah I honestly do.  Would it have been nice to give them a bottle once in a while to get a break, um yeah!  I don’t regret my decision but I also don’t think that my way is the only way. 

Does it matter now that we’re out of that stage of life?  Nope!  Do my kids care that I bf vs bottle?  Nope.  I don’t think they are more or less likely to grow up criminal master minds either.  Will they be smarter?  Well, only if I provide them with the educational tools they need to become intelligent, otherwise, no I don’t believe they will be smarter by osmosis or because I bf.  So as long as a baby is being fed and is growing, butt out.  If a mom asks a question, handle her like you would if you were face to face with her, kindly and with some compassion and thought. 

I know I am an oddball when it comes to co-sleeping and cry it out.  I do both.  My babies sleep with me until they are 9-12 mos old.  It’s how I get enough sleep to function, w/o hurting myself or someone else.  I know enough about myself to know that I HAVE to sleep or bad things could happen.  They sleep in their cribs at nap time but with us at night.  Then they graduate to the crib at night. 

That’s when CIO comes into play.  Does it suck?  Yes, I hate listening to my baby cry as much as the next guy, however I know they need to learn to put themselves to sleep.  I’m not cruel about it, we don’t let them scream for hours and hours.  We go in and comfort (w/o picking them up) and lay them back down, over and over.  No matter how long it takes.  W/i a few days, they have it down and go right to sleep.  I know it works, I’ve done it 4 times now.  If someone else wants to get their kids to sleep in another fashion, have at it!  What ever works for you is great!  I don’t have the patience or the ability to go with a huge lack of sleep, so this is how things work best for us.  I now have 4 kids who all sleep through the night and go to bed when we lay them down and turn the light off.  Even today, if Emma is sick and wakes in the middle of the night, depending on how tired I am, I will lay her back down or sometimes I just bring her to bed with me.  My kids aren’t scarred for life from CIO. 

Those are just two of the areas I see get duked out online, over and over again.  IRL my friends and I share what worked for us but we never lecture or get upset with someone because they chose not to bf or what ever.  Sometimes there’s a frustration with the lack of discipline with some of our friend’s kids but again, you can’t really say anything w/o messing up that relationship. 

Maybe someday the cops will be asking if inmates were breasfed or not.  Would be an interesting poll 🙂 LOL  Of course, how accurate it would be from dishonest cellmates is another story. 

Chill out, let moms be moms.  If it’s not affecting your kids or harming anyone, who cares!  Let it go.  If a child’s being harmed, then I say that is worthy of war!  Realize that someday, we’ll all have grown children and they are going to have issues with how we raised them.  They’ll be more concerned with whether their basic needs were met and that you loved them, than with such trivial things as what you did during babyhood.  It all comes down to the relationship and if you don’t have that, you’ll never be able to force it.  I can just see a few moms saying, “I bf you!  You OWE me!”  LOL 🙂