I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Sure it’s a good way to stay in touch with family and friends. Lord (and my FB friends) knows I love to share pictures of Milo. And it can be resourceful too; I’m part of a couple different mommy groups which makes it helpful to get advice from other experienced Momma’s. But I find that Facebook often brings out the worst in people and the ones that make the most sad are the very ones I often turn to for help, the Mommas.
I was a part of a particular breastfeeding group that I recently had to make the decision to leave. Don’t get me wrong, breastfeeding is tough and it’s good have such groups. And I’m sure that most of these women are actually quite nice. But heaven forbid you ever utter the “F” word: formula. This sect of moms seem to believe that formula is poison and any mom willing to give their child it should have their kids taken from them. It wasn’t just that they had made the choice to breastfeed; it was that any mom who didn’t make the same choice was a lesser mom. I found their criticism to be so harsh that I left the group. As much as I wanted the resource, I couldn’t take the judgment posts blowing up my newsfeed.
And it’s not just about breastfeeding. I have friends, whom I love dearly, that post very argumentative articles for and against vaccinations. Now I’m all for research and educational articles, but again I’m not sure why we have to attack other moms who haven’t made the same decision as you.
It’s how or if we sleep train our children. Do you feed your child baby food or follow baby led weaning? If you use baby food, is it organic or did you make it? Are you a stay-at-home-mom or do you work outside the home? Are you a helicopter parent? Do you give your children too much independence? The list goes on and on.
Judging my what I see on Facebook and the conversations happening around parenting, there is a Good Mom and there is a Bad Mom. There is no Ok Mom, it’s only either good or bad. But the difference is in the eye of the beholder.
Can I offer what I consider to be the reasonable definition of a good mom and bad mom?
A good mom feeds her child. Period. If that baby is eating and growing, momma is a good mom.
Good moms help their child get sleep. Does it take extra cuddles? Fine. Is it nursing that helps your baby sleep? Great. Good moms know their child needs sleep and helps them achieve it in whatever way necessary.
Good moms make sure their family is being provided for. Does a good mom need to work to provide extra income? Sometimes. Does a good mom know when she’s a better mom by having a job outside the home? Yes. Does a good mom decide her most fulfilling job is the home? If that’s true for her, yes.
Good moms make sure their child is clothed, wards off sickness, seeks treatment when illness doe occur, love their child unconditionally, and always has the child’s best interest at heart.
Bad moms neglect their child. They routinely skip meals. They offer no comfort. They are self-centered. Bad moms do exist, but I don’t think they’re as common as Facebook seems to assert.
Motherhood is tough. Children are never easy and we’ll never fully understand them. But could we make the battle a little bit easier by not battling against each other? Could we recognize the differences in parenting styles as just that, differences? I’m not a better mom because I breastfeed and stay-at-home just like you are not a better mom for having a natural birth and not vaccinating your child. We’re both great moms because at the end of the day we love our kiddos and would do anything for them.