Please don’t put me in a mommy box.
Right now you’re thinking, “what are you even talking about?!” But you’ve totally heard of these boxes, you just don’t realise that you have… So you’re thinking of examples, don’t worry – I’ve thought of them for you:
Crunchy mommy, green mommy, working mommy, stay at home mommy, baby wearing mommy, not baby wearing mommy, breastfeeding mommy, BOTTLE FEEDING MOMMY, reusable nappy mommy, diaper mommy, baby lead weaning mommy, vaccinating mommy, non vaccinating mommy, smacking mommy, time out mommy, SHOUTING MOMMY – the list literally goes on forever. (Give some Moms 10 minutes together and they will find a million different reasons why they are totally different or exactly the same, definitely more than enough comparisons to keep you reading them all day).
We are all human and most of all we are Mothers. It is impossible to put each and every one of us into a box and assume that you then meet all the criteria of fitting into that box.
One particular story that always makes my insides tingle with irritation is the time one of my besties (that ticked all the boxed in terms of still breastfeeding, baby wearing, baby lead weaning, wheat free, dairy free etc) was asked not to join a playdate that day because her child had been vaccinated…
Come on guys. Parenting is hard enough just dealing with our little people everyday, who really needs the added stress of “fitting in” with other moms boxes. We need to be a support system to one another, giving our opinions in love and maybe not fully understanding everyone’s unique situation/belief/choice, but at least being sensitive towards it.
We are all unique, we are all different. We have vastly different lives, what works for me may not work for you.
Come to think of it, what box would I even fit into?
- I bottle fed Kyla from day 3, Riya only had breastmilk for 8 weeks before I had to give her formula and then Knox was exclusively breastfeed for 6 months. Breastfeeding box or not?
- If I have time to use the naughty chair I do, but sometimes they just need a whack on the bum for them to take me seriously. Smacking box or not?
- They sleep in their own beds (does this even qualify as sleep training?) but then wander through to our bed in the middle of the night – sometimes all 3 of them. Co-sleeping box or not?
- I work in the mornings and only get to stay at home with them in the afternoon. Working mom box or not?
- I vaccinate all my kids, except for Knox who I have just forgotten to take for his last one. Vaccinating box or not?
- We eat healthily (now) but don’t freak out when the kids happen to have Spur food every so often. Green/raw box or not?
- I let Knox feed himself while simultaneously shoving food into his mouth with a spoon. Baby lead weaning box or not?!
What we really need is a group of Mom’s who understand that being a Mom is hardwork. Mom’s that believe that no matter what way you choose to parent your children, it really doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things – they are still there to listen, laugh and possibly be a shoulder to cry on when things get rough.
When I was a new Mommy I didn’t have that support. None of my friends were in that phase yet and so I just sat at home with Kyla, not connecting with anyone else because I felt that I didn’t tick enough boxes. I was totally in the dark with this parenting thing and I didn’t want to show it.
Finally joining a Mommy group totally helped me to feel more at ease, being able to talk these difficult parts of parenting over with someone who had been there/was currently there ans hearing new opinions was such a welcome relief in my life.
So what now?
Well, I want to encourage you to lovingly connect with other Moms – being sensitive to their situation. I want to encourage you to go out and make new friendships with other Moms without the fear of judgment. Seriously – just do it.
And if nothing else, connect right here – if you need an ear to listen pop me a mail.