When it comes to motherhood, all bets are off. Any woman out there will tell you that having a baby changes everything. Motherhood is an incredibly important job AND an incredibly hard job. There is no instruction manual to follow. No step-by-step guide for guaranteed success. We all just take a deep breath and jump in.
That being said, there is an enormous amount of pressure for us to do everything the “right way” when it comes to raising a family. This pressure comes from expectations we’ve set for ourselves, as well as from outside sources such as our own moms, family members, friends and yes, even strangers. And probably the harshest critics of all: OTHER MOMS. No one tells you before you become a mom that you will soon be entering the Mommy Wars. A place where everyone has an opinion of what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing instead, and why they want to punch you in the throat.
I think one of the hottest topics when it comes to bringing up babies is breastfeeding. There seems to be this ongoing war between moms about the pressures to breastfeed, the successes and failures, how long to do it (short-term, extended), and the thought that bottle-feeding (not only formula, but breast milk as well- yikes!) somehow makes you inferior as a mother. This is all a bunch of malarkey. While everyone clearly understands that breast milk is best, there are barriers that keep 100% of all moms from breastfeeding. Some of these include milk production (or lack thereof), premature deliveries, latching problems, medications, single-parenting, working full-time, lack of support, etc., etc. Add to those the fact that breastfeeding is certainly not all sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and lemon drops all of the time.
Breastfeeding is hard work. Bleeding nipples, cracked nipples, inverted nipples, flat nipples, blah, blah, ouch. Exhaustion, confusion, infection. Cradle hold, cross-over hold, football hold. The list goes on and on. You know what else is hard work? Yep, you guessed it- everything else that goes along with having a new baby in your life.
I am a breastfeeding mom. I exclusively breastfed both of my children well past one year of age (ages two and three if truth be told). I was extremely lucky and my babies were perfect little latchers. I had a great supply (I seriously could have fed a small country) and everything just seemed to click for me. What does this mean for you? Really it should mean nothing. I am not in competition with you. I do what’s best for my kids and my family and I would expect you to do the same.
The greatest caveat to achieving and maintaining the health of my children and myself is AWARENESS. It is unacceptable for me to “just go with the flow” so to say when it comes to decisions that impact my family. It takes education, tons of reading, mucho support, and a “BIG” set of balls to stand firm in my beliefs. I take what I learn and apply it to my life as best I can. If others warrant my opinion or advice, then I give it. I’ve created this blog to help, not to divide.
The bottom line: Be confident and secure in the choices you make for your kids and there will be absolutely no room for others to knock you down. I can only hope that sometime soon we see motherhood as a journey we’re all facing together.
So ladies, whatta ya say-
Shall we hang up the gloves?
dr . lisa
Lisa, I don’t have kids (yet) but found your blog through Pinterest (my new obsession which I know you understand). I believe I even reposted an adorable photo of your son because I want his hat and mittens. But I just wanted to say that I love all of your posts and hope that when I do have kids, I can have as much wisdom and knowledge that you have (and post about). Thanks in advance for all your help.
Thank you, Nicky. That means so much to me! Ya know, I really don’t have all the answers. No one does. I’m just navigating through and trying to do what’s right and what makes the most sense. Much love! Lisa
PS. Your bathroom looks AMAZING!!!!!
THANK YOU!! It’s about time someone spoke up on this issue. WHY to moms think they have reason (or any right??) to judge other moms’ choices? It makes me sad. We should be supporting one another, banding together and lifting each other up.
Both my kids breastfed past two years. Both are healthy, outgoing, normal teen and pre-teen. My friend tried breastfeeding. It didn’t work for her. She switched to formula… and her son is a healthy, outgoing, normal young man.
Let’s save the hostility for the dads who let their 2yo run through the snow half naked and the parents who scream in their child’s faces in the supermarket. (Though even then I would argue that compassion is in order.) Parenting’s hard work. Let’s not make it harder on each other.
Rejoicing in the day,
I agree! It doesn’t need to be a battle. We are in this together! We ALL want what’s best for our kids and our families. Yet sometimes what’s best may not work out. A little understanding goes a long way. Have a great weekend, Mary!
Yes, yes yes and yes. Let’s HANG UP THE GLOVES! Why is it such a challenge?
And absolutely we need to tell moms that breastfeeding is hard work. I wish someone had told me! When I had my first and ran into issues I thought “if this is so hard, I must be doing this wrong!” Nope. Wasn’t anything I was doing or not doing. Thankfully I stuck with it. My second baby is a nursing dream and we are happily plugging along at just over a year.
Bottom line: one size does not fit all mommies!!
Right on!!!! See, I knew we were besties! ha ha!
This is great! I’m not a mom but I can still see that there are so many variables in this. There is no perfect formula, just the best that each can do with what they have. I’m sure your blog is huge encouragement to moms everywhere!
Amen Sista! You said it and I agree to it all! Do you remember the show, Married with Children? Do you remember when they would all put their hands in the huddle and say, “Whoa Bundy’s!” then shoot their arms up in the air? That is how I feel about all of us mommies!! “WHOA MOMMIES!!!” (shooting our arms into the air!)
Great, great, great post!!! I had a post similar to this a while back, http://countyroad233.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/unspoken-competition/ 🙂
Yay for hanging up the gloves! 🙂
Lisa, this is just the mommy blog I’ve been looking for! Not too preachy or judgemental like so many others out there. Just in time, too – I just found out on Thursday that I am having twins (due in September)! They’ll be joining my 12 and 15 year old boys at home, I’m sure I can use all the positive parenting support that I can get! Keep up the great work!
Congratulations!!! That is wonderful news! Twins! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog. Thanks for reading! And welcome!!! ~Lisa
I couldn’t agree more… We’re hard enough on ourselves. We certainly don’t need anyone else to be critical of our choices. While I was a nanny, I noticed that there is a lot of judgement from the moms who SAH toward the moms who go back to work after baby.
I went to get my haircut while I was maybe 7 mo pregnant and got into a discussion with my hairdresser that made me never want to go back… What was it about? My wanting to stay home with the baby (after having “raised” other people’s kids for 15 years), but needing to go back to work for the health insurance. I was really concerned about putting the baby in daycare. (I was truly mourning the fact that I wouldn’t be able to stay home with baby.) My hairdresser was practically screaming at me about how her kids turned out just fine… WOW! That was a real eye opener. Months after we started daycare, I remembered that situation and I realized that she was probably feeling like I was judging her decision to send her kids to daycare.
The motherhood journey is too challenging to face alone. It’s good to have other mothers to share what did/didn’t work for their families. My gloves are off!!
I’m so sick of the judging and the drama. I try and create an atmosphere here where everyone feels comfortable sharing their experiences and fears. We are all in this together, facing the same realities. I truly believe that as long as we educate ourselves, avoid making the same mistakes over and over again, and understand that every family is different- we can make a difference in the mommyhood club.
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i would love to say how amazing it is that you were able to breastfeed that long! for me i was only able to for 2 weeks and you know what i was ok with that for me it was as long as my son got a week of breast milk i was completely happy! with him my nipples bruised and nothing came out anymore one day it just stopped. but for other moms i am so amazed they can breastfeed long! and we all need to hang up the gloves there is no point in fighting other moms. like you said we all do the best we can with what we know and take in. and to out babies that is just enough. as long as we have love for them and show them love everything will always be ok and we(as women) need to stop being so judgmental to others since no one is perfect. “PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS” not perfection. once again i love this blog! thank you Lisa. 🙂
Thanks Samantha! ♥ Lisa