Being a mom is one of the best – and hardest jobs in the world. It helps no one when we pass criticize and become a judgy mom. Here’s my response to one such mom.
I’m not sure why this rubbed me the wrong way. Usually, I have a pretty good understanding that people have their own opinions and will sound off. Usually, I can blow it off and scroll on by. Usually, I don’t take it personally. But for some reason, I took this personally.
This one got its claws in me and gave a good twist. What, you ask?
This.Maybe it was the tone. Maybe it was the assumptions being made. Maybe that it was just wrong. Maybe it was that smug drawing. I don’t know. But it got me feeling like I somehow needed to explain myself, and that alone made me mad.
Even though I don’t need to, I will. I will respond to this mom who put this drawing out there, calling out the rest of us. Here’s what I’d say:
So, to the Judgy mom who called out the rest of us:
On behalf of all the moms out there who are ‘detachment’ moms, I feel that I must address your cartoon and let you know how wrong you have this.
Let me speak for myself first.
First, I have twins. I have always used a stroller and rarely carried. I never felt that I was a detached parent. I never felt that my boys were lazy. I never felt that my sons were ‘cast off’ because they were in the stroller. I took advantage of every opportunity to hold my baby boys close as much as I could. Doing that with two of them and one of me was challenging. I just couldn’t (logistically – I couldn’t) carry while we were out.
To be honest, not being able to carry my babies as much as I wanted to was a downside to having twins. I felt like I missed out in that area – and so did my boys. I carried when I had another person with me. I even tried the front/back carriers, but neither of them loved being on the back. Carriers didn’t work for us. Was I a detached mom because we used a stroller instead? That thought never, ever entered my mind. It was just practical. And the boys, by the way, loved it. They loved being pushed, and they loved being able to look in every direction to see the world around them.
And I’d even guess that some attachment moms actually own strollers, too. Imagine.
Second, can’t a baby being carried be just as lazy as baby in a stroller? But I can’t even spend more than a sentence or two addressing this absurd statement. Neither baby is lazy – they are babies!!! And if they were lazy, wouldn’t being carried make him just as lazy as a baby being pushed?
Attachment Mama, it bothered me that there was a mom out there who felt like it was OK to judge every mom who does things differently. Do you want to carry your baby? Fine. Do you want to follow the principles of attachment parenting? Great! If that works for you and your baby, have at it!
Are these other babies cared for? Safe? Happy? Is what they are doing working for both mom and baby? Then let them be.
Since becoming a mom, I have realized this same truth over and over and over again:
We are all doing the best that we can.
Enough with the labels. Enough with the criticism. Enough with the sanctimonious eye rolls and whispers behind the hand. Enough with the judgy Facebook posts and memes! It’s not helping. Anyone.
Is there a mom at the park with her baby in the stroller? Maybe you have no idea what it took for her to get herself and her baby out of the house that morning. You have no idea what might be awaiting her when she gets home: financial trouble, health issues, a bad marriage. Maybe she questions herself as a mom enough already. Maybe, on most days, she already feels like she is failing at this. Maybe she would rather plop her baby in front of the TV and sneak in the kitchen to binge on potato chips because she is so stressed out. Or depressed. Or overwhelmed.
But she is out with her baby. Is your judgment of her and calling her a ‘detached parent’ really helping her?
You have no idea why she is using a stroller instead of carrying. Maybe the baby has hip dysplasia. Maybe she has back issues. Maybe she doesn’t want to. But who even cares why?!? She’s not a bad mom because she uses a stroller! Carrying wouldn’t make her a better mom! And she doesn’t have to defend her parenting to you or anyone else. If it works for her and her baby, it is right!
Attachment Mama – no more labels. They don’t help anyone. It causes annoyance at best and self-doubt at worst. No mom needs that. I get it that maybe you want to label yourself to identify your parenting style: attachment mom, crunchy mom, natural mom – whatever. But please – don’t put your labels on others. Not all moms want to be labeled. Most of us are just moms who love our kids with all our hearts and are doing the best we can.
When we judge others, we usually have the log in our own eyes while looking at the speck of dust in someone else’s. Attachment Mama – are you perfect? Do you ever mess up? Have all your parenting techniques produced perfect children? You are only seeing a fraction of this mom’s life. And carrying your baby is only a fraction of yours. Unless that child is being abused, beaten or neglected, that mom is doing a great job!
One mom should never see looks of judgment, criticism or condemnation from another mom. Ever. All she should see in another mom’s eyes is empathy, understanding, compassion and solidarity.
Attachment Mama, we are in this together. All of us. We have the same goals: we want to raise our kids with love, security, and character. Your methods might work for you, but they might not work for everyone. Attachment parenting might be great for you and your kids, but another parenting style might produce equally amazing little human beings. Every mom is not like you, and every child is not like your child.
So, please, Attachment Mama – give the rest of us a break. What would really help is your support and encouragement. When you see a mom with her baby in a stroller while you are carrying your baby, don’t scowl in judgment. Give her a smile. Give her a nod. For the love of God, high-five her! She is out with her baby. Her baby is safe. Her baby is cared for. I’d assume her baby is dearly loved. She is doing a great job.
The same goes for all the other moms out there – the mom whose toddler is throwing an off-the-charts tantrum in the middle of Target. The mom who looks like a hot mess at the bus stop – and maybe her kids do, too. The mom who already feels like she just can’t get her stuff together.
These We moms need your support, not your judgment.
Attachment Mama – you probably are smart and have a lot of insight and information to offer other moms. That’s great – offer that – but do it with compassion, open-mindedness, and humility. But my guess is that what the other moms in your circles really need is a sister, a friend, a kindred spirit – someone who will be a shoulder to lean on, someone who will tell them they are doing a great job, someone who will let them know they aren’t in this alone in trying to succeed at this best and hardest role in the world.
If you want to really helpful, Attachment Mama, offer other moms that.
We really are all in this together.
Love, Me and other “Detached Moms” who are doing an amazing job raising their kids