Sunday, January 2, 2011

Judgement and Criticism Free Zone

I don't know why but parenting seems to be riddled with judgement and criticism.  From the heated breast vs. bottle debate to co-sleeping vs. crying it out, everyone has an opinion.  And their opinion is usually the (only) right one.  It gets old.  I have low self esteem issues anyway so having to battle this constant critique from friends, family, and strangers alike is exhausting.  Don't get me wrong, I have amazing friends who support me no matter what and are often chosen and kept as my friends because they are honest and accept me for who I am - so they are not the ones I am referring to.  My family is generally supportive of me no matter what, too, but there are always those random comments (whether natural or contrived) that catch me off guard and make me wonder if I'm doing it all wrong.

Today, for me, was an epic sort of Mom-fail day.  (Which if you read this article, you'd know how unhip and overused those words are in 2011).  From the very start I was challenged by seemingly normal activities and stressed by the chaos, mess, and noise bouncing off the walls of our house.  I yelled more than I (or, anyone) would want to, lost my temper, even threw out my back picking up my 45 lb. 4-year-old who was resisting arrest time out.  I just didn't have my wits about me and seemed to fail at every turn.  What turned my day around was the love and support from my 4-year-old and an omniscient g-chat with an angel.  At one point in the day, with tears streaming down my face from the reality of my pathetic parenting, Nathaniel came up to me and gave me a hug.  "I love you, Mom", he said and then turned a sweet, tender moment, into a fun game with an exaggerated voice saying "Bear HUGS?!" and then diving in for a bear hug of colossal proportions.  I hate failing my boys but at times like this I am comforted knowing somehow, at least, they're pretty good kids.

Later that night, while sitting at dinner with Nate and Alex, Nate put his fork down, clasped his hands and said rather authoritatively, "Everyone!  I think we need to talk, shall we?"  I was struck with his proclamation so I asked him what he wanted to talk about and he turned it back to me...So I suggested we do a round of "what was your favorite part of the day".  Mine, of course, was our fun game of "Bear HUGS?!"  :)

Out of nowhere, I got a message from Heidi on g-chat.  I had sent her an email earlier but in one short sentence she was able to surmise that I was having a rough day (still can't quite figure that out).  She let me vent and bemoan my failings and had brilliant words of wisdom to share in return.  Seriously, her being there at that moment to say the perfect things she said was a gift from up above.  Talk about perfect timing!

The reason I had emailed Heidi in the first place was because I had stumbled upon a blog that spoke directly to my soul today.  Over at Making the Moments Count, she writes about parenting, depression, life, and even blogs weekly with a theme of support amongst parents for our differences in parenting.  I'm not saying my epic fail today should be considered "right for us" by any means, it still sucked as far as parenting goes, but I hereby declare this space a non-judgement zone. If ever I don't hold to that, I ask you to call me out on it.  This world needs a little more acceptance and no matter who you are, where you've been, what you've done, what you believe, or how you parent, I think you're awesome and I relish the opportunity to learn from you!  So, expect me to take part in MtMC's weekly meme (did I mention that I hate that word?!?) and feel free to share your own stories of how you do this!  Parenting is an extremely hard job and last I checked there still was no instruction manual available so if it weren't for you, my fellow parents, friends, and family, I'd never make it through my day to day challenges!  I'm blessed and honored to be amongst some fine company!  Thank you!

Now, I'm off to take Heidi's fantastic advice and in her words,  I will "Now turn EVERYONE, even hubby and me, and whoever else OFF, and try to get centered as you have a long To Do list that you would like to tackle this year and you need to get off on the right foot.  One day at a time."

Indeed, one day at a time - and I am anxious to get this one over and start fresh again tomorrow!   


Heidi said...

I am with you 100%, no judgments, just helpful (well hopefully helpful) suggestions when you are stuck in a rut!

Amber said...

I hope you don't mind me randomly commenting, but I must say reading this post is exactly why I started the meme (a word I hate as well). A community of parents supporting parents seems even closer than ever before!! I look forward to reading these (and all your other) posts!