Monday, July 15, 2013

You're a terrible mother

I used to think if there was one thing everyone felt they were experts on, it was pregnancy. I was shocked/overwhelmed with the amount of advice I received while pregnant. It's nothing in comparison to parenting advice. 

At first, I thought when people gave me advice what they were really saying is you're a terrible mother. Your way isn't the right way, so try mine.
With time, I've been able to see that 99% of people have the best of intentions. However, 99% of the time the advice isn't helpful. My baby has had sleep problems since she was born and if I had a dollar for everytime someone told me to read Baby Wise I'd never have to work a day of my life. I appreciate that people are trying to help. I'm really not trying to sound like a brat. Promise. Let me explain.

It just doesn't make sense to me why people are so critical when it comes to parenting. 
For example, the other day when I was in the grocery store with Ainsley I gave her a plastic bag to play with because she LOVES them. It's easy for her to make lots of sounds with them and they're so intruiging to her little mind. I was watching her very closely and not taking my eyes off of her but in ten minutes I had three people tell me to take the bag away from her. When I didn't I could feel the evil death stares. You know, the you're a terrible mother stares. I think every mother has felt those, oh I don't know, once a week? 

I'm all over the place but what I'm trying to say is that mothering is hard. Typically, when people are going through something hard in their lives we tend to cut them some slack. Motherhood has got to be one of the toughest (and greatest!) things in life so why does it seem to bring out the judgemental side of people? Shouldn't it be the opposite? If cosleeping works for you, great. If you start solids at four months or choose to wait until nine months, awesome. I think we get caught up in so.many.things. that aren't important. I recieved so much judgement for giving Ainsley a few ounces of formula in the week it took for my milk to come in and you know what? I'm pretty sure it has little to no negative effect on her. She's a happy, healthy, large little girl. 

Loving your child is most important. Teaching them to live a Christ-like life. Showing them who their loving Heavenly Father is. Their spiritual development far exceeds the importance of anything physical. And that is the stuff that's a lot harder to see. There's always more going on than what we see.

I feel like it would be much more constructive to replace the judgement and advice with encouragement and praise. It's much more helpful for me to get a you're doing a great job than a how about you try this...

So basically, you're doing a great job, momma! Keep on keeping on! 


Brooke said...

Oh my heck, this has got to be the BEST picture of Ainsley. Ever. She is seriously beyond adorable, and YES! You are doing a great job!!!

Sarah at Midwest Pillowtalk said...

favorite post. love love love. im pregnant with my 1st and the comments are just unreal. i already know what motherhood is going to bring from some of my friends. those who brag about canceling cable so their kid will never see whats on tv or how one must breastfeed as long as that specific parent did. i am not looking forward to that. BLAH. wheres the love people!
ps. love your baby girls name. its my husbands #1 favorite for a girl :)

karajean said...

Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones but I definitely don't feel those "you're a terrible mother" stares once a week. I can't even remember the last time (or the first time) I got one. I'm not saying it's because I'm a perfect mom, and I just now realized I may have unintentionally slipped into the giving-advice mode you don't like, but maybe it's just because I don't really pay much attention to other what other people think about me and Owen. I agree that 99 percent of the time people just want to help!

Erin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin said...

I am nowhere close to being a mother, but I'm surrounded by them, and I say, if the kid is breathing, then you are a top notch parent.

Nikki & Drew said...

my worst criticizer ended up correcting herself months later when in fact, I did know what I was doing for my baby. makes you feel good inside. and I kind of secretly (or openly actually)love when someone is sooo full of advice, especially because they read it in a book, then in return end up having the exact same issue nly a hundreds times worse than the one they were "advising" you on.

you got this girl. gone brush your shoulders off. ;)

Katie said...

Um, yes. Yes. I feel like I spend way too much time worrying about what other people think of my mothering, and I just need to stop. I research things and I pray about them, and Heavenly Father's "okay" just needs to be enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alexis, I think you are just so stinkin awesome. Ainsley is the cutest. You have gorgeous hair you are just about the prettiest person I have ever seen in my life. I know your thinking what does anonymous know about me? But you do know me. I just don't want you to know who I am. And I think im Jest in love with you and your little family and if I could I would trade you lives in a nanosecond! And I agree people just need to worry about themselves they don't know what is happening in your life. You are the one that knowswhat is best for Ainsley. Don't let them get to you because well you are the very best mother out there!! Just know that I believe in you and that you know best for Ainsley. Thanks for all of the inspiration that you give me every time I read the words you post on your blog! The world needs more people like you! Ill always be there. When you feel like your a ”terrible mother” just look at your darling little girl. the girl that loves you more than you could ever imagine ive seen the way she loves you through my own eyes. She loves you. And if she loves you then well. Don't you think your doing it right? one say I hope to be like you. P.s I love your blog! I will always be there to read it! I love it Ruben you post! Thanks got the inspiration you give to me and many others. P.p.s you will probably get many more comments just tell Me if you want me to stop. (ill just Admire you to myself) have a great day out night or when ever you read this. Or if you ever do. Bye. ~ inspired

Jenna Foote said...

All moms are trying to do their best, it's true. Well, I guess I should say MOST because there are always exceptions. You aren't an exception, though. You're a great mom.

I used to get so offended when people would offer me advice about pregnancy and motherhood. But I get why they do it. They do it because motherhood is hard and they feel like they've blazed the trail and want to help you. Again, MOST of the time. There are always exceptions (aka meanie-heads who really do want to make you feel bad).

I feel like social media makes it even easier to casually throw advice at other people without thinking about how it might affect them. It also makes it easier for us to get offended since we can't see the person's body language or hear their tone. They really might be sincere in trying to help.

That being said, I know how hard it is not to take advice as criticism. I still struggle with it and I feel like a pretty seasoned mom with a 1st grader and a 3-year-old. It always seems to come off the wrong way.

Even if you hate the advice you're given, just store it away because you never know if you'll someday get desperate and use it.

You're doing a great job, Alexis. Keep it up.

Leah said...

Love this!! I wrote a similar blogpost, but I completely agree... we cut people slack when they are going through hard times, thus we need to be more helpful and less judgmental to mothers... Especially first-time mothers.