Once upon a time, back when I “only” had two young children, Facebook was not invented, and most people were still on the internet, I was a member of a very busy, very popular, natural mama message board.
Unlike on Facebook, where we mostly go by our given and married names and have a large cover photo and about section; on this board, we all went by screen names, and our about section was our signature line.
|How to Prepare for a Natural Birth|
|Natural Childbirth: You Can Do It!|
|Serenity & Control in an Unassisted Birth|
|How to Write a Birth Plan|
|How to Calculate Due Dates|
|Why Choose Unassisted Birth|
|Having a Doula for Natural Birth|
In this signature line, there was usually a lovely professional photo of perfectly clean, well-dressed children (and rarely a photo including the mom) and then a list.
The list went something like this:
Supermama, bf, cd, co-sleeping, no plastic using, slinging, no epidural, no CIO, organic raw milk drinking, no spanking, no vaxing, intactivist, mom of three perfect little girls.
Some of the lists got insanely long. Some of the lists got apologetic:
OKMama, couldn’t bf because there was no milk, Pampers using because I’m a single mom and my kids have to go to daycare, fast food eating, emergency c-section receiving mom of two pretty decent little boys.
And, as you can imagine, with each flame war that occurred on the message board, the lists got longer. The competition was fierce.
Who could breastfeed the longest, who had the largest and most expensive diaper stash, who had done the best job of purging plastics from their home, who had the longest pregnancy (42 weeks may not be long enough)?
Some days it seemed like being a mom was more about competition than really supporting each other. And when the fighting got fierce, the words to end an argument were always “go play with your kids”.
We often scoffed at that comment. Obviously, we all wanted to spend time with our kids . . . we were natural mamas who were practically living off of the grid if we could (as long as we still had internet access).
But really, spending time with our kids was the one thing that really did matter. Those two little boys in matching polos in my signature line that I had there?
They are 16 and 13 now. Both of them were out of diapers and the sling, long past breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and past much of my control over what they eat.
If I were to line them up with all of their peers, I could not tell you which one of those kids was a preemie, who was breastfed, who was worn in a sling, or who wore cloth diapers.
I can also guarantee you that if any of those kids even know those stats, they certainly are not sharing.
No teen is going to admit to his friends that he breastfed to age five (for the record, mine was not).
Does that mean that none of these things matter? Of course not! We all agree that breastfeeding is beneficial to mom and baby.
I can attest to cloth diapers saving me thousands of dollars over the past 16 years. (I also feel a little better about my environmental footprint).
I love to cook and I’m fairly obsessed with nutrition, so I made most of our baby food until I learned about baby-led weaning and then I let it all go.
Am a I better mom than you because I have more children, used more cloth diapers, and breastfed longer?
By no means!
Moms, let’s stop letting that attachment parenting list define us! Let’s do what we think is best for our family at the point of time we are in.
Ideally, all moms would breastfeed. Ideally, we would all labor naturally and give birth when both mom and baby are ready. Ideally, our children never have to “cry it out”.
However, we live in a fallen world, and not everything works according to the ideal. We do the best with what we are given.
Let’s let our signature lines look more like this:
Regularmama: Loving mother to the best kids any mom could ask for, meeting their needs, as well as I, can, and cherishing all of the moments along the way.