Author Lisa Zamosky has written and posted a related article on WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/being-good-mom#1) titled, “Relax, You’re Being a Good Mom.” There are a few key points worth highlighting for consideration- not just for Mother’s Day but throughout the year. The following points are adapted from her article.
Screen the parenting spectator comments. As in most sports events, when it comes to the parenting game there are cheerleaders and there are hecklers more than happy to share their thoughts and insights about your skills. Whether it is an intentional direct comment, something posted on Facebook® or an off-hand comment made by a thoughtless person, some feel free- even obligated- to chastise others. It is best to keep in mind that parenting is not a competition and we should avoid taking ourselves and others a bit too seriously.
Not even so-called parenting “experts” know everything. There is a plethora of sociologists, psychologists, teachers and pediatricians that we look to for advice and counsel about parenting. So what if instead of serving whole grain and natural foods, you actually feed your children macaroni and cheese? What if you actually raise your voice to your children or, heaven forbid, spank your child?
Sometimes, being “armed” with too much expert information can “lead you into the trap of believing that there is one right way to do things and that if you’re not doing it that one way your kids will suffer- [this is] a perfect recipe for mother’s guilt.” In real life, stress and frustration happen. Thank goodness children are resilient and when they are confident in your love for them, they can bounce back from those less than stellar parenting moments.
Going with your gut, intuition, or inspiration. According to the WebMD article, once you’ve talked to your physician, read a few books and studied some other reliable sources of parenting information, it’s time to step away from the schooling and start trusting your internal mothering guide. “We joke that kids don’t come with directions, but they do in a sense. The directions are your values, and they are the basis on which all of your decisions are made.”
Silencing the critic. It’s still difficult not to compare your mothering techniques against those of another. Comments made can get under your skin and be difficult to simply ignore. So, if you feel strongly enough to return a comment made to you about your parenting style, a standard response is “Thanks for the input!” This is a polite response that avoids further discussion with so-called “know-it-alls”.
Remember parenting basics. Applying your family’s values and beliefs to your parenting style is good parenting. Negative self-talk can be damaging to both you and your children. If your children are happy, able to talk openly with you, share loving words and actions with you, consider yourself successful no matter what others may say.
Zamosky uses her own experiences as well as quotes shared by other mothers and authors to further illustrate and drive home her main points. Don’t let the opinions of others tarnish the accolades mothers and women, in general, deserve.
Kathleen Riggs is the Utah State University Extension Professor for Iron County. Questions or comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 435-586-8132.