I wrote about the first prompt, Integrity, at the end of March. This one is about allowing others to follow their own paths. the prompt is this:
"There is no one, "right" way to be a good Mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family." Is this difficult or easy for you to accept? Why? Has taking The Mom Pledge changed how you view the choices of other moms?Allowing others to follow their own path has always been easy for me to accept. It's my general outlook on life, so bringing it into Mommyhood was natural. I know that some of my choices may not be the ones that others would have chosen for themselves - things like my decision to allow my kids to watch TV, be on the computer and play video games from a young age. (They've all been learning tools for my kids. They've also helped spark their imagination - which can be viewed by anyone watching Teddy and Peter have a Pokemon battle.) Just as there are others who have made choices that I wouldn't adopt for my own family. (An example, co-sleeping. I prefer to give my husband and I privacy in our bed and my boys a space of their own in their bedroom.) So this is a mantra that I've been living for longer than I've been a mom.
What the Mom Pledge has done for me isn't changing how I view the choices of other moms, but expanding my view of the roads that other moms have taken. Before I got into the Mommy-Blogging community, I knew about some of the hot-button issues - breast vs formula, TV vs no TV, co-sleeping vs independent sleeping. But I've been introduced to a world where ALL choices made for kids are unique. A friend I was talking to told me about a mom that she knew that allowed her kids to color all over their walls. They felt it was a way to express their creativity and the mom didn't want to stifle that creativity. It's not a choice that I'd make (I'm in an apartment, so it's not a good idea anyway) but I applaud the mom for doing so.
Seeing this wider world through the eyes of the other moms has also given me ideas of how to deal with my own kids, how to help my own family be the best that they can be. In seeing choices that I'd never considered, I'm finding ways to adapt my own parenting, trying to find something that works. Because even something that I think works fine can always be open for improvement.
For the moms out there that have been bullied by others, remember this: YOU are the one that has to walk along your path. YOU are the one that needs to deal with your own families idiosyncrasies and find the best way to do that. And until someone is in exactly the same situation that you are, with exactly your kids and your husband (or doing it on their own) and family and friends and lifestyle and... you get the picture. Until someone is standing in your shoes, they have no say in how you choose to be a family. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.