Friday, December 20, 2013

Purposeful Parenting: Be a Supportive Mama to all Mamas, Papas and Caregivers

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When I first knew I was pregnant, I felt, well, not joy. But after the shock of God's plan for me wore off and I began to embrace the changes I was experiencing inward, outward and any way one can experience change, I became so excited about finally becoming part of the mommy network.

You know what I'm talking about. All you women with kids - you all congregate together. You discuss all things child-related, and you, whether intentionally or not, leave out anyone who doesn't have kids.

It so made my heart hurt. Never mind the fact that I'm a debt-busting, freakily frugal, make-my-own-jam, laundry soap, hand soap, you name it, I've made it woman. Never mind the fact that I love to sew and garden and craft and love on animals and I love the Lord our God. We could have a million things in common, but I didn't have kids. That one fact separated our worlds.

So just let me tell you, I was elated when I knew I was finally part of the mommy network.

But then.

Oh, but then.

The criticism. The judgment. I assure you that if you're reading this and feeling a little defensive, it's probably you that I'm talking about. Not just you. Oh no. There were loads of you. You were all over.

"You're going natural {in child birth}? Why would you want to do that?"

"You're cloth diapering? You must have a lot of time for laundry."

"You're breast feeding? I bet your milk won't come in."

"You're home schooling? You'll change your mind."

"You're not vaccinating? Don't you know kids can die from not being vaccinated?"

"You're co-sleeping? Did you hear about that lady that rolled over and killed her kid?"

For every positive tidbit I was sharing about our plans with Bug, I heard at least one negative statement. It was painful. I started to withhold myself from sharing plans. People asked questions, and I gave short, brief answers.

Why is it that we, as mamas, judge other mamas? Mamas firsthand know what it feels like to be judged all over. Up, down, sideways, backways, frontways. All we are, at least it feels like all we are, is judged.

Mamas, I'm calling you to love one another, just as Jesus commanded us. Whether or not your fellow mama is doing anything you believe in. You may be the very opposite of her. Maybe you had a planned C-section, and she believes in natural birth the Bradley way. Maybe you breastfed, and she planned to give her baby formula from the get go and never put baby to breast. Maybe you visit your pediatrician on schedule, and she only takes her baby when medically necessary.

We are all sisters in Christ.

And I definitely found sisters who proved that mamas can be so supportive. The wonderful mamas at the church I attend were unbelievable in giving support no matter what I was deciding for my Bug and I. They were supportive so long as I was doing whatever was best for us. I may not have been part of the mommy network before having Bug, but oh my, being part of this group was totally worth the wait.

But there are still mamas out there who never came around. Who judged when I was desperate to induce naturally. Who judged when I wanted to sweat it out in labor for as long as humanly possible before coming to the conclusion that a section was right for me and my baby. Who judged when I was adamant that I would breastfeed my baby if it was the last thing on Earth I accomplished.

Mamas, we need to love and support one another. We're all so different, but at the end of the day, we're all the same. We're mamas. We're here to nurture littles: kiss boo-boos, give big hugs when coming home from work or from being separated for any length of time, seek out our littles hiding in the pantry. We're here to cook dinner, fold laundry, bathe and tuck in littles for the night. We read stories, put together snacks, and encourage and support our littles in all of their crazy ambitions.

"An astronaut rock star sounds like a great goal!"

If you can say that to your little and believe it {and I believe you do believe it, as you rightly should, when you say it}, then we can support mamas in any of their endeavors with their own littles.

The support doesn't end with mamas. We need to love on papas and all other caregivers, too. We just need to love.

At the end of the day, all anyone wants is love.

Our littles remind us of that every day. So love. Love on each other. Support one another. Be the daughter of Christ He made you to be.

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