Something’s bothering the mother in me. I’m a little concerned about my fellow mommies. In my Pinterest browsing earlier today, I ran across a few blog titles that did not sit well with me. A few examples:
5 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids
10 Ways to Be a Better Mom Every Day
Most Common Mom Mistakes
Most Common Mom Mistakes
99 Reasons You Suck as a Parent
I may have made that last one up for the purpose of exaggerating my point.
The questions that pop into my brain as I see more and more of these types of “informative” and “helpful” articles are, “Who ARE these people?” and “Why do we so willingly believe that they know more than we do about the best way to raise our own children?” I find many of these parenting advice posts to be condescending to me as a mother and insulting to me as a semi-intelligent human.
Bad parenting? Not for me to say.
We all have our own ideas about how children should be raised. I certainly don't fault anyone for putting those ideas in writing and sharing them with others, especially since that's pretty much what I'm doing by writing this post. My bigger concern is that we seem to be almost desperately seeking out these types of posts and … gasp … pinning them. Sharing them. Relying on them. Allowing them to feed on our psyches like little joy-sucking leaches. It's as if we're losing all faith in our own abilities to love and nurture our children.
I want moms to stop doubting themselves. I want them to trust that inner voice – the one that only we moms hear - that speaks to them from moment to moment, from morning ‘til night, day in and day out. I want them to believe that the immense love they feel for their children will guide them in the decisions that really matter, because nobody on this Earth knows the hearts and minds of their little ones the way they do. I want them to quit stressing over saying the wrong things and just be grateful that their voices, even when they say the wrong things (and they will sometimes) are the ones their children want to hear first thing every morning and last thing at night. I want them to stop focusing on the ways they fall short as mothers (and they will sometimes) and start focusing on the small joys they bring to their childrens’ lives each day just by clocking in.
Want to know how to be a better mom? Get on your knees and ask the Lord. Follow His example. Listen to His promptings. Then ask your KIDS what they need from you. That blogger chick who lives four states away, who has never met you or your children, doesn’t know the first thing about what YOU can do to be a better mom to them. Their little souls were entrusted to YOU for a reason. They are yours to know and to love and to cherish and yes, even to screw up a little. I guarantee you that if you say one of those dreaded “5 things” from that list up there, your kids will be OK. They’ll recover. They’ll still love you. They won’t grow up to be ax murderers or guests on Jerry Springer.
I personally didn’t bother to click on that silly pin and follow the link. Why? What good will it do? Will I most likely end up letting one of those five things slip at some point, even if I DO read the article and become more enlightened? Yep. And then what? With my newly-acquired enlightenment about what I'm doing wrong, I’ll feel guilty about it until I’m losing sleep and signing us all up for therapy to undo the damage I’ve done to my poor little future felons. I don’t need that extra guilt-induced stress in my life. I generate enough of that on my own without any help from complete strangers, thankyouverymuch.
Each of us has all the tools we need to be “better” moms every day. No blog post or list is going to make our kids feel more loved or needed or special than we already know how to do on our own. A mother's love for her children transcends every book, every magazine article, every how-to tutorial she can ever read during her career as a parent.
There’s a little voice that is lovingly whispering to you that your children are blessed to have you, but it’s being drowned out by a know-it-all world that screams at you from all sides: “Your best is not enough. You can be doing more. You are going to ruin your kids.” But, as the saying goes, your children don’t need you to be perfect. They just need YOU. Gloriously, marvelously, laughably imperfect YOU.
You’re the only mom they’ve got. And yes, that’s a good thing, despite what Suzy the Expert Mom Blogger from Des Moines says to the contrary.