Friday, August 19, 2011

The Mom Pledge

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Remember how I'd said boundaries are a good thing? How "good fences make good neighbors" and how it's important for us to respect other people's space as their own? How we never know someone else's whole story?

Yeah well... recently, someone came in my yard and stomped all over my flowers.

I'm not usually the target of weird Judgey McJudgersons. Not to my knowledge anyway. It may be that I'm just oblivious to it. If that's the case, well I thank God for that!

At any rate, it bugs the dickens out of me when people act like there's only ONE "right way" to raise kids. Whether it has to do with their bedtime or what you feed them or where they go to school or how they're dressed or what they do for recreation... it's ridiculous to act like one set of rules is the only "right way" to parent.

Kids are all different. Heck, I only have FOUR and they're all SO different that sometimes, it's a real challenge to remember that what works for one of them, does not work for the other three! So, I think it's more than disrespectful to say that because I make certain choices, that are different than what you'd choose, I must be a crappy Mom.

I am far from perfect. I don't pretend to have all the answers. I make parenting mistakes just like anybody else. I've even written about some rough days and having to correct poor choices on my part here! I talk about that stuff NOT because I've got it all figured out but, because I DON'T have all the answers and I figure that maybe someone else could learn from my mistakes and avoid the consequences that I've had to battle. I know that I really like reading stories from other Moms about how they did things and what worked and what didn't. We learn from each other.

Some of the choices that Dave and I make, as parents, have to do with certain needs each of our children has. Some of the choices have to do with what resources we have both financially and physically (in the part of the country that we live.) Some of the choices are personal preferences or things that we choose to value because of our faith. Some of the choices we make are made due to the knowledge and education we've received, not just in a school setting but, in life as well.

I'd be willing to bet that you make the choices you make for many of the same reasons. I'd be willing to bet that everything that works for our family... our set of 6 people and 6 personalities and all the variables that come with varying combinations of emotions... won't work for your house. My house is not a cookie cutter model for everyone else to follow. You aren't wrong for choosing to do things differently than I do them.

In turn, I'm not wrong for choosing to do things differently than you do or have done.

I believe that we, as Moms, each want the BEST for our kids. I believe that we LOVE our kids. I believe that we ought to support each other because the task of raising kids and caring for our families (however we do that... and whatever combination of people makes up our family) is a tough job and we could all use encouragement rather than judgment.

Casting judgment of other people is wrong. That doesn't mean that we have to agree with all people. Talking ugly about other people (slander) is wrong. We'll be held accountable for our own choices and so, those are the ones we should be focusing on. We're in no position to judge others because we don't know all the reasons behind why they choose the things they do. We can't see what is inside people's hearts.

"Brothers and sisters, do not tell evil lies about each other. If you speak against your fellow believers or judge them, you are judging and speaking against the law they follow. And when you are judging the law, you are no longer a follower of the law. You have become a judge. God is the only Lawmaker and Judge. He is the only One who can save and destroy. So it is not right for you to judge your neighbor."  James 4:11-12 NCV


"God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the LORD looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7 NCV

I'm taking The Mom Pledge because I think it's important to respect the job that we're doing. It's more important to build a community of Moms who support each other and can share opinions with respect for each other and not crass judgment. We're all different and can learn from those differences. We're all loving our kids and caring for them with what's best for our families in mind.

God is too creative to make just ONE "right way" to raise a family. And we're in no place to cast judgment on each other.

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18 comments:

  1. Yes!! I agree. People should just keep their rude, judgy remarks to themselves! So sorry you got those kind of comments.

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  2. Hear, hear! What a great post! I love it! So glad to have you join our community! And I really like your blog design. :)

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  3. Very well said, Sarah! Everyone is so different, coming from different backgrounds, living different lives, going and growing in different directions. And you're right, parenting methods can (and do!) vary even between kidlets in the same house! You are one of the kindest people I've 'met' in the blogosphere & twitterverse and I'm sorry that someone came in and got all destructive in your life's garden! Your flowers deserve better. :>

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  4. Hey, Sarah! I love this post. It's wonderful and true. I've learned a lot from other parenting styles. In fact, many of the parenting decisions Chris & I have made were ones we used to make fun of!!! Boy, how times have changed.

    There are definitely things I feel very strongly about when it comes to parenting, but berating someone because they are doing it differently isn't going to help. Being an example and having a open heart if/when parenting topics are being discussed will do far more to share parenting ideas & ideals.

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  5. What a great post, I completely agree with you. I try not to judge people for that fact of not knowing their story and who am I to do so.

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  6. Sarah! This is exactly right in every way. Good for you for standing up for your decisions and your family.
    Moms need to support and encourage on another, not tear each other apart!!

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  7. Well said! We don't have to agree but we do need to be respectful. Each of us is an individual. There are thousands of moms out there writing each day. We have the ability to read what we want, learn from who we want and walk away if we don't agree. Great post!!!

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  8. I couldn't agree more! Not only should other mothers mind their own business, but everyone else should, too! That means YOU, grandparents!!! You're a great mom! xo

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  9. Amen and thank you for being on more witness to the reality that is motherhood. Love that you are who you are...real, tranparent, and genuine!!!

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  10. Oh, wow! I actually was trying really hard to fit a sentiment like this into the entry I wrote Wednesday (about a child beaten to death by his mom's boyfriend, and the what-can-we-dos I took from that). I eventually realized the two weren't going to fit together in the post that had taken shape, but I just keep on seeing example of judgment being a destructive force while not actually helping anyone come closer to accomplishing anything.

    Like you, I believe there are a million different ways to raise a child to be a kind human being. If someone's raising their child with love, and keeping them safe, the rest falls to a matter of preference--and who am I, with my own quirks and oddities, to tell someone I'm better equipped than they are to address the circumstances of their own lives, about which I know comparatively little? No. Nooo way. There's too little time and already enough we have to struggle with. Why not be a voice of kindness, and help someone who's struggling feel comfortable reaching out and having discussions?

    I love the idea of this pledge. I'm following the link just as soon as I post this comment.

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  11. I love this post! I don't understand why some people feel the need to be mean and rude rather than supportive and encouraging. We are all different and that is what makes us all unique.

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  12. Good for you! I don't understand that either. Since becoming a mom I am extra aware of how ridiculous it is to judge other people, because we just can't know what's going on.

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  13. Toni (MamaLikeMyMama)August 20, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    Well written mama. And you're right. I think we all try to do our best, for our kids and ourselves. I've always had that attitude as a child of my parents. Yeah they made
    mistakes but I hold nothing against them because I know they love me and that at the time they always did what they thought was best. If they did it over they might do it different because they know better now. I don't judge my parents and I don't judge other parents. Now only if I could stop judging my own parenting skills...

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  14. Who was mean to you? I will stab them in the thigh with my fork right now. I agree with all of this, but I also have to say that we are human, we are sinners, and we do tend to let our mouths run away without our brains attached to them.

    I know I've said hurtful things before, and the best I can do is apologize and move on, and try to reign myself in before I go bumping my gums without a mental filter again.

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  15. You tell 'em Sarah! People need to keep their judging to themselves.

    People who try to bring others down with their hurtful comments are just miserable themselves. That's what I think.

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  16. You are so right! Thank goodness we are all unique and special. Each family is different.

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  17. Great post! I think I forgot I need to write a post like this. Oops.

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  18. Amen! If everyone raised their kids one way, we'd all turn out the same way, and that would be boring. I feel like no matter what I do, someone is telling me I'm doing it wrong. Thanks for the reminder that I'm not wrong, just making a different choice. Love your blog!

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Talk to me neighbor... whatcha think?