A year and a half ago, I was approached by Ashley and Elizabeth (the founders of this blog) to write for the New Orleans Moms Blog. At the time, the City Moms Blog Network was a burgeoning concept that would gather writers from across a metropolitan area to share their thoughts on parenting. I was intrigued, certainly. I had read their personal blogs for years and appreciated their perspectives on the world in which they lived. And I loved this idea of uniting local moms and providing us a forum to share ideas and interests.
But, did I want to join the group as a writer? I wasn’t sure. I was certainly no expert on parenting. I was just a mom trying to survive from one day to the next without causing permanent harm to my child (physically or mentally). Seriously, I think Jane’s first birthday party was as much a celebration of her life as it was our ability to keep her alive for a year. This parenting thing is hard, y’all!
I asked myself over and over again, “what do I have to say?” “What is my parenting voice?” I asked Ashley if she needed me to be “the working mom” or “the Uptown mom” or the “Pinterest mom” and she so reassuringly told me that she just needed me to be myself. And from that I could find my voice. I could share with you, our loyal readers, what was happening in my journey to raising Baby Jane.
From the outset, we determined that our founding principal was going to be that no one person parents the “right” way; we all just parent differently. We have made it our promise to you to never judge you or the choices you make in raising your beautiful children. We have always strived to bring you perspectives that cover every spectrum of parenting: bottle feeding to breast feeding, co-sleeping to crying it out. We do this because we truly believe that there is no best way. We do this because these posts we write aren’t make believe fluff; they are honest and pure and wholly representative of our lives and of the greatest joys and the sincerest struggles we face each day.
In the past few weeks, I have logged on to read the posts of my fellow writers, and I have been saddened by a few of the comments they have received. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect everyone to agree with all that we write, and I think healthy, constructive dialogue is what makes the world go round. If we didn’t all have a different perspective, this world would be a boring place. But when I saw a comment that said, “I personally don’t think [Pam] deserves multiples,” my heart stopped. And in response to Angelina’s post on Baby Wise and Happiest Baby on the Block, when one reader suggested that “she was clearly not educated on the risks associated with her choices,” I felt a knot in my stomach.
Why? Because that is my biggest blogging fear: that I will put myself out there and share with you a personal anecdote or story or experience and be subject to harsh and highly personal statements. I assure you that if you think any mother needs another critic you are incorrect. We are all critical enough of ourselves. We do not need to add to the load of judgment that we bare. As I mentioned earlier, we know that you may not always agree with something, and we encourage you to share why, but I believe that we can do so with a kind and gracious spirit.
One comment mentioned earlier wrote “you have a lot of power with this blog and new moms especially look to you for advice and ideas.” I couldn’t agree more. So with that I will leave any new moms out there or any new readers my best parenting advice…
Attention new mom :: forget everything you said you would never do when you became a parent. You will likely do them all. If you are like me, you will have a baby that is a Baby Wised, bottle fed, day care attending, peanut butter and jelly for every meal eating toddler who is the absolute love of your life and your very best accomplishment. And you will worry endlessly that any of these descriptions says something about how you parent or how much you love your child. Please know that you are alright AND you are all right. You are making choices – difficult choices – about how best to raise your baby, and you are doing a great job. So when you are being your own worst critic, please know that the women around you are your champions. They will be there to surround you with love and support and knowledge they gained from their own experiences. They will listen free from judgment and will love you unconditionally.