January 31, 2007

There are times when this mothering stuff feels so twisted. Today I caught myself staring at a two year old gobbling skittles while shopping with her mother in Walmart. And sadly it made me feel better about myself as I thought "my kids have never eaten skittles before....what kind of mother would give her toddler skittles?" But then I quickly remembered how I felt last week when I was confronted by a mom about my decision to give my children milk and dairy products. The conversation started as most child centered conversations seem to start by comparing our children...their weight, their sleep habits, their speech, and other developmental milestones...I hate these conversations. When I happened to mention Camille's history of ear infections, I opened the floodgates for her lecture on the dangers of milk and the link to ear infections. At first I felt stunned..did something drastically change in child-rearing philosophies while I was living overseas? Then I felt bad that I had somehow been creating Camille's ear infections by giving her milk (although she has never shown any signs of an allergy to milk). And as I was driving home I started to become defensive and angry. These feelings built as this woman proceeded to send me daily e-mails with links to sites like . I never thought I would encounter a vegan with such a mission and I never thought milk would be such a controversial topic! And it brings me back to my skittle experience in Walmart. I wish we could all be less judgemental and insecure. I wish there were other ways to get feedback on our job performance as mothers beyond the growth charts, milestones, and on-going comparative discussions with other moms. I guess the true performance evaluations come after your children are grown and hopefully successful, kind, and caring adults. I wasn't really prepared for this aspect of parenting. The parenting books don't talk about how to deal with your feelings of inadequacy, judgement, and competition with other parents. Everyone is always happy to share their advice and their experiences but few are willing to share their low moments or their fears or their insecurities. That's the twisted and at times the lonely aspect of motherhood (at least for me). Thank God for the mama friends in my life who have been there for me at the low moments and allowed me to be there for their low moments.

And as a side note...Adam has joked in the past about this whole idea of drinking cow's milk. Who was the first one to try nursing on a cow? It is kind of weird isn't it? Despite that we will continue to be a milk drinking family. And if you want to feed your kids skittles that's ok (I admit to breaking down and occasionally giving ours M&Ms)
Allen & Angela said...

I often find myself being insecure about my parenting skills. Is it bad that I enjoy working outside the home instead of being a stay-at-home mom? Am I wrong to be so laid back about some things and less so about others? I found myself comparing my parenting style to others' and wondering if mine was "right"? Then I read "Mother Styles: Using Your Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths." I realized that everyone has a different parenting style and what's "right" for one person is not necessarily "right" for another. I try to remember this when I start to judge someone else as a parent or when I question my own abilities. It sometimes helps to put things into perspective.


savymanda said...

I sooo rarely comment out in blogland... and you almost had me last week with the 'rude questions and adoption' post (excellent post by the way). But, this one I had to chime in on! It is so true. You have expressed what so many of us parents feel so often. It is such a tough space to be in...we have to be relatively convicted about our parenting choices in order to stick to them... and then when challenged feel the need to defend. I catch myself all the time feeling inadequate, or assuming someone else is based on too little information. It is so difficult to be secure enough in our roles to be able to see something which is completely opposite to our beleifs and not make a judgement. It is a lofty goal to move past this place of simple judgements to a place where we know that it nobody is parenting perfectly, including ourselves. Thanks for presenting this so openly.
(and for the wonderful comments the other day)

The Solley Five said...

um..hel-lo...skittles are like,, that's way more healthy than a chocolate based non-food! it's like...a rainbow of flavors man! how else do you get the essential amount of lime into your kid's diet? because Billie likes her lime better in iridescent green pill form! i can't BELIEVE you give your kids m&ms!!! ha

Jessica said...

Lucia, GREAT post! You did an amazing job writing about a difficult subject and summed it up wonderfully. Any time you need to hear some "Low parenting moments", give me a call! ;)

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