Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mama Says

On Sunday afternoons, with my husband in a football induced haze and the girls tucked
away for their afternoon naps, my mama and I meet up for a quick chat and cup of tea for
me, coffee for her.  We catch up on all the most recent family news, make plans for
upcoming events, and talk about matters most close to our hearts.  We often talk
about motherhood, a role we now share, a bond that has brought us even closer together.
She tells me stories of her experiences as a mother, the joys she felt and the
hardships learned.  And I listen intently, for there is so much to be learned from this
woman.  I am able to reflect on my own journey by better understanding the path
my mother chose.
My mother gave birth to her two children with no pain medication involved.  She used
cloth diapers and held us at every waking minute.  When I ask her about her
parenting "philosophy", she smiles and tells me "common sense".  She never read any
books, didn't attend classes or seminars.  My mother didn't worry about whether or not
she was "engaging" her children enough, she didn't obsess over organic onesies,
vaccination schedules, or having the most aerodynamic stroller.  She just loved
us, unconditionally, and always put our needs above her own.  She didn't fill our schedules
up with mommy and me classes, we had our own mommy and me time in the living
room every night after supper.  There was no internet to fill her head with doom and
gloom every time someone found a new food that could cause us harm or a new trend
she should be following.  She simply followed the advice of her own mother, her sisters,
her friends.  They supported one another and mothered together.
When I tell my mama about the "mommy wars" that take place all over the internet,
the constant I'm right and you're wrong: cloth vs. disposable, formula vs. breast, epidural
vs. natural, SAHM vs. working, attachment vs. independent, to vaccinate or not, she 
doesn't really get it.  "Why would a bunch of women who don't even know each other
or understand each other's circumstances try to judge one another about their
parenting decisions?".  I have been wondering about that quite a bit myself.
 Because, truthfully, we're all trying to achieve the same goal: to raise healthy,
happy children.  We all go about things differently, we all have our own personal reasons
for why we choose to do things a certain way, but there is no right or wrong.  As mothers,
we should believe in ourselves and our methods for raising up our babies, we should strive
to be everything we have in mind for what's right.  But, in today's society, is it possible
that we have become overachievers?  Are we setting the bar at an impossibly high
standard, making it so that no matter what decision a woman makes, there's always
another mother waiting to leave her a negative comment about how wrong she is?
The best advice my mama ever gave me was to enjoy my kids, have fun with them and
see the beauty in the simple, everyday moments.  They will only be little for such a
short amount of time, don't waste those precious moments trying to achieve some
impossible sort of perfect.  And she's right, all my girls want is ME.  They don't care
about whether or not their toys are made from hand crafted sustainable wood, they have
no idea whether or not the wall hangings in their rooms are vintage or what the thread
count is for their crib bedding.  What they do know is that their mama tries really, really
hard to love them, give them positive support and encouragement, and show them the
simple joys in life.  Their mama strives to surround herself with women who offer
their support and encouragement,  no matter the differences in their parenting styles.
And one day, hopefully, they will do the same thing with their babies.
So, here's to all the mamas out there, no matter what you believe or practice.  Today I say
to you: Job well done!  God gave you your babies, YOU specifically, because He knew that
you were the best person for the job.  That is the most amazing and comforting
thought I could ever imagine.

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Anonymous said...

A wise mum you have Olivia. Loving our children and enjoying each moment with them. Life is way too short worrying about things that don't make any sense to our little ones at the end of the day.

Good advice to remember. Perfection is not the goal, Love is.

Have a great day! Love your photos! xo

Randalin. said...

What a lovely, lovely post! I often think it would be refreshing to raise children before the internet. No judgement from strangers hiding behind a computer, no need to question your choices when you're the only one on the message board that didn't use CIO, etc. At the same time, I'm not sure I would have been opened up to some of the parenting philosophies and choices that I've adopted without the internet. My mother parented me very different than the way I parent my son and so the incredible advice you received from your mother would be very different than the advice my mother would hand down. Also, I've found incredible mama's through blogging (including you!) and many of those mama's have become my support network, my "village."

Again, lovely post.

LaDell said...

Beautifully said Liv!

Melissa said...

This is such a great post :)

Kara said...

Amen Liv!!! I love this post and think that your point - we are all trying to raise happy and healthy children - needs to remain the focus. :)

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

i don't understand the 'mommy wars' either. why would we judge someone based on how they raise their child? i assume that everyone is doing what they think is best for their child. and isn't that the exact same thing i'm trying to do?

Little Gray Pixel said...

Well said, my friend.

Wendy said...

I needed to read this today. I've felt so overwhelmed with Christmas and making sure that Hannah has the best that I can give her. But really, all those presents really don't mean that much in the end. I think we all mean well, and we take our jobs as mothers so incredibly seriously, which is a good thing. But we tend to go overboard and it's nice to remember to step back and focus on what really matters.

Thanks for the reminder! :)

Nichole said...

Yep, common sense...That was my mama's school of thought too...right down the road from you was another family with a mama birthin' babies au natural and letting your little ones run around in diaper shirts and cloth diapers.

She read no books. She stressed not! She just loved us and enjoyed having us. That's it, pretty much.

Loved this post Olivia. Merry Christmas to you and your family!!