I guess there have always been mommy wars. Stay at home vs. working. Breast feeding vs. Bottle. Parents who let their kids wear sweats with words on the butt vs. those who don’t. Today I was reminded yet again of the disservice we do to other moms when we criticize and divide instead of build each other up and support.
Several years ago we had to make a decision on whether or not to send our oldest to Kindergarten or whether to wait a year. She is a late September birthday and although the trend is definitely to hold back, we really felt she was ready. We sought input from her preschool teachers. We did Kindergarten testing at her school and weighed what those teachers said. We talked to parents we respected. Most importantly, we prayed over what we should do.
Honestly it was an incredibly difficult decision. Although all her teacher evaluations assured us she was ready and capable, we worried if we were making the right decision. Actually we still worry from time to time. But she was so very ready and so we pulled the trigger.
The thing was no one else I knew outside of one other mom was sending their same aged kid through. While this didn’t affect my decision in the least, apparently everyone had some thoughts on the matter. I made it clear over and over that this decision was about MY kid and OUR situation. But many made it clear that it was a bad decision and not one that they would do for their child. The messages were sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle. But the message was clear.
I got really tired of defending myself and my daughter. I felt completely at peace but people still felt the need to criticize my parenting choice. Because of it still to this day when people at her school comment on how tiny Lily is (not in a mean way, more in a “oh my goodness she is so cute and tiny” way) I feel the need to quickly defend why we sent her to school so young.
So today I came across this article in the NY Times about the benefits of sending your kids to school when they are young and I felt slightly vindicated. So I linked to it on my personal Facebook page saying so. I also made sure to point out that I wasn’t judging anyone who made the opposite choice but simply feeling like I had endured a lot of crap about my decision.
The response was so interesting. Twenty one comments from other moms who had made the same choice as me but felt like they had been questioned. They too struggled with doubts but felt led to make the same choice. It was like therapy on my Facebook wall.
But in all that therapy my friend Melissa summed it up the best.
I hope there will come a day when we don’t feel like we need to defend every decision we make as parents. Everyone is so quick to tell us when we’re messing up or making the wrong decision. How often does someone just tell us we’re a good mom? PS……I think you’re doing an awesome job and are a pretty super mom. :)
*Disclaimer: I did not add that last part in. She really thinks that.
Can we just agree to speak up when people are doing clearly stupid things like give their underage kids alcohol, but keep our mouths shut about most of the other stuff. Can we just support each other’s decisions and remember how freaking hard this job of parenting is?
What do you think? Can we call a truce?