Pride. It gets in the way of so many areas of life. But motherhood is where it really tends to rear it's ugly head. I don't mean being proud that you're a mom or proud that you have great kids. I mean pride like the kind that goes before a fall.
I have one child in particular that has humbled me greatly.
When she was born I was pretty sure I was a seasoned mom by now. After all, Jared and Lindsay had come out pretty good so far. Ha. First of all, the more kids you have the more divided you are. Not your love. That's the easy part. I love all of my kids with my whole heart. Each one is so special in so many ways. The hard part is keeping track of what all of them are doing at any given moment. Or not doing. And dealing with each child's behavior. "Fairly". Whatever that is.
That child cried. A Lot. And still does. A lot. I used to (pridefully) wonder why other people's children were not happy. Why they cried/screamed. Then, I realized (via my third child) that sometimes kids just do that. It doesn't always reflect on the parent good or bad.
If you would have told me (prior to my humbling child) that your child wouldn't go to bed, wouldn't eat, kept talking when you said not to, or various other annoying behaviors, I would've had THE answer. You know, the parent that says "Well, you need to....blah blah blah." Making you feel as if you must be the biggest dunderhead in all of parenting history. *Raises hand* Yes, that used to be me. But don't worry...if you come to me now...I will hug you or pat you on the back and say "I'm so sorry you're dealing with this." I might timidly offer a suggestion of something I have tried or heard of that worked, but I will ALWAYS add on the disclaimer "...but I know every child is so different."
Moms, in their pride, can get downright catty and even mean. There are so many different (good!) ways to raise your children. Remember that your journey is not your neighbor's. While you might have breastfed longer, you didn't see her tears as she tried and couldn't. Or her tears as she handed her baby over to a babysitter or daycare because she had to go back to work. (I feel that I am so blessed to have the option of staying home! I try to remember what a privilege that is on a daily basis.) Who cares if your baby was cloth diapered or disposable diapered (I mean, it's neat and there are some good reasons but it doesn't make one mother better than the other!?), whether your baby co-slept or slept through the night in his or her own crib from day 1?? (Well, if your baby slept through from day 1 I hate you a little bit. Only a tiny.) Whether you wore your baby or put him or her in a stroller.
As long as you love your child and discipline them (in whatever manner WORKS for your family!) and love them some more. Most of us are doing the best we can with what we have. And what I have might not look like what you have. And that's okay! As moms we need to be nice and supportive. Be a peacemaker. Not necessarily a peacekeeper. If someone is doing harm to her children (real harm), please, speak up. Speaking the truth in love is not the same as judging in a prideful manner. Be a good example of the parenting style you choose. If you want people to want what you have/do, represent it well. Now, after this sat in my drafts for 10 days waiting for me to have time to finish it...here goes! :) Feedback is great by the way. ;)