Over the weekend I went to a baby shower for my friend, Brittany. The guest list included several of her co-workers, a couple girls from church and me. It was interesting to realize that most of the moms at the shower had more than the guest of honor in common. They were all the natural, earthy, granola type.
Except me. You’ve met me, right? I’m not so much natural.
This didn’t bother me at all, although I didn’t offer up my opinions on epidurals, vaccinations or microwavable dinners. But even though Brittany said her favorite part of every birthing-related conversation was the look on my face [Let me put it this way: Because she and her friends work in a pregnancy center, they are very comfortable with discussing all aspects of the reproductive system. In detail.], I really did have a fun time meeting and talking with women who are very different mothers than me.
Because I’m open-minded and awesome like that. Right.
Well, I try to be. But sometimes it’s hard to remember that what works for one family may not work for another. And, really, most moms are just doing the best they can. Not to mention, I’m not exactly Mom of the Year myself! So I should really just keep my
judgy-judgy attitude under wraps.
That’s easier said than done, of course. As you may recall, I struggled with this at Annalyn’s first preschool party in the fall. I took apple cider for the kids to drink, and another mom mocked my unhealthy choice of beverage. Looking back, I was irritated at her attitude, but I was also embarrassed and frustrated. I really do make a serious effort to feed Annalyn healthy foods and to teach her to make those choices for herself. But for a party – a special treat – I still think juice (even cider) is okay.
HOWEVER. (Yes, here’s the part where I become THAT mom . . .) After Christmas, I started realizing that processed, sugary snacks were nearly an everyday choice at the preschool, and special days where they allowed extra-sugary snacks were becoming more and more common. The situation was starting to stress me out – including the fact that I was just as guilty as any other parent of sending less than healthy snacks – and then Annalyn came home and told me that she’d had POP to drink during snack.
She has never had pop in her life! And her teachers served it for snack time?!?
Sometimes Annalyn is not the most credible of reporters, so I asked her to tell me more. She told me that her drink had bubbles (so, obviously it was pop) and that she didn’t like it. I decided to roll with the fact that she didn’t like it, and I told her that she shouldn’t drink pop anymore. I told her that pop isn’t good for kids. Then I told her that if someone offered her pop again, she should just say, “No, thank you. May I please have water instead?” Then we did a little role play practice to make sure she could say all that.
I felt like I was in an after-school special. And then I realized: I had become THAT mom.
My piece of [sugary] humble pie was complete later that week at the class Valentine’s party. I had told one of her teachers that I’d prefer that Annalyn didn’t drink pop for snack even on special days. So that morning as the kids were being served their party snacks, the other teacher pulled me aside and informed me that the mom in charge of drinks had brought punch. With Sprite.
She told me that they had juice boxes and asked if I wanted Annalyn to have one of those instead. I was so embarrassed and tried to shrug it off. But she said it was really not a problem. So I said that would be great and thanked her.
Then she pulled out a Capri Sun pouch (which, in my opinion, is NOT the same as juice) and squirted it into a cup for Annalyn.
As I stood there with about a dozen conflicting feelings, there was no doubt that I was THAT mom. Though I’m not sending organic cheddar bunnies to school with Annalyn for her own snack every day – and I still don’t think I’d ever mock another mom’s choice within her earshot – I’m really no different than the mom that irritated me so much last fall.
When it comes down to it, I realized that most of us are THAT mom (or THAT wife or THAT friend or THAT daughter) about something. I think the trick is realizing when our “thing” might make us THAT person and making sure we’re not disapproving of or judging others who don’t agree with our choices. I don’t mean that we should hide or bend on our most important beliefs, but it’s certainly possible to handle most situations with grace and understanding that not all parents (or preschool teachers) will feel the same way we do.
Have you ever been THAT mom (or wife or friend or whatever)? How do you handle being different gracefully and without judgment?
THANK YOU!!!! I think we all are that mom or that wife or that friend once in a while. I wish we weren’t. I wish we could accept each other, but we judge. And we are judged. And sometimes, especially in moments of our own insecurity, that judging hurts.
Good reminder to us all to speak less and love more! And… not to sweat the small stuff. Or the big stuff.
BTW, I’m a brand new follower from BlogFrog. So glad I found your blog. Love it!
Karen, thank you for coming over from BlogFrog! And you’re right – speaking less and loving more is great advice.
Hi there! I really like your post and your insight on how each of us is THAT person at one time or another in life. So true. I guess my take is that you need to honor yourself by being YOU. YOU with manners, of course, as you obviously are. I feel like a combination of being strong in yourself/values and being open-minded to what you can learn from others is a balanced approach to life and its situations. They may not be respectful of you, but you can still be respectful of them and then go on with no regrets. The fact that you even have these thoughts and concerns shows you are a thoughtul, sincere person. And your litle girl is blessed to have you as a mommy! God bless and thanks for sharing!
Be yourself with manners is GREAT advice. Love that!
Great post! We’re all THAT Mom sometimes, aren’t we? I’m pretty easy going too, but I’ve found myself in that same kind of situation too.
First, there’s a BIG difference between 100% juice/cider and high-fructose-laden coke/juice. Ick. (And yet … I indulge more than I should. But of course I don’t want Libbie to!)
We all have our things. I buy organic meats and veggies and then go to Wal-Mart and get Spaghetti-Os. Huh? Convictions waver with the moment.
I am completely nonsensical. Thanks for the post, though. Good stuff.
Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I will say that the cider I brought to the party was NOT healthy. But honestly? No worse than a Capri Sun!!
My sister-in-law and I have very different ideas about raising our kids. I’ve never really said anything to it about her, and she’s only offered me advice a couple of times (her kids are a few years older than mine). I think we both recognize that our personalities are different and we are both trying to do the best we can. Last week they were in town visiting and we went to Disneyland. Looking at a picture of our kids all together, you cannot tell which ones were raised with the “Babywise” method, which were formula fed or breast fed exclusively, which can watch Disney shows and which cannot…they all looked like happy healthy kids who got along very well together. Yes, there are some choices that impact our kids long term and need to be enforced, but for the most part it’s all personal opinion. I would like to think I’m open minded about others parenting styles, but I know inside that I can be pretty judgmental.
I love that imagery, Melissa. What a great reminder that in the end, we all try to do what’s best for our own families, and that’s what’s important!
I am SO THAT MOM with somethings…even within my family! My parents and sister always look at me with eyes raised before they share something with my 2.5 year old..or even discuss it in her presence since she has super sonic hearing that zones in on things that pertain to her (especially since she’s learned the word restaurant!) haha!
Isn’t it so true that regardless of what our parenting convictions are there are always some things that we go with and some things that are hot-button for us?! Mommyhood is nothing but lesson after lesson for mommy!
Exactly. For every one thing I teach my daughter, God is teaching me a dozen more!
LOVE this post! I consider myself pretty easy going… but I have my quirks too… I find myself saying all the time “as easy going as I am.. surely if I dont agree with this then they shouldn’t either”.. and that’s just not true. What I consider “easy going” might not be “easy going” to someone else. Then I’ll gripe and complain when I feel like someone is “judging” me, then I turn around and do it others. I did a Beth Moore bible study on Ester last fall. The theme was “It’s tough being a women….” and every week the ending changed. One week it was “it’s tough being a women in another women’s shadow”.. She meant that we as women should be sticking together and encouraging each other in this tough, tough world.. But, instead we judge and criticize. It’s so true.. Like many have said above, most mothers really are just trying to do their best and raise their children to be the best they can be, without stealing all their fun.. LOL I’m making an effort to not be so judgemental and just be happy to share in loving our children with other mom’s…. even tho we all parent differently!!!
Oh, I have wanted to do that Beth Moore study. Sounds like it is – as usual – full of wisdom!
We are definitely THOSE parents, from not letting Cool Baby eat sweets to keeping him off the TV. They’re our values, but they can be a source of tension with others, and even between each other. Thanks for getting us to think about it — something that we should always remember throughout this adventure of parenting!
I’m finding that it’s so easy to stick to my guns about our values and choices – until we step outside our door. You know what I mean? It’s one thing to say, “This is what we’re doing, and that’s that.” But to say it in front of or to a friend or family member or even a nosy stranger? Not quite as simple…
I hear ya. I am the granola type in a lot of ways, and I always worry that my opinions are going to make someone else feel bad. I am constantly giving disclaimers like “I know natural birth isn’t for everyone…” On the other hand I would probably give some natural parents a heart attack with some of the things I do, i.e. the birthday party I just threw for my one year old which included 70 cupcakes + candy. Great post and cute pic. I can’t believe how big Annalyn has gotten!
It sounds like you’re sensitive to other people’s choices, and I think that’s the best we can do. No two moms will make all the same decisions, so we just have to be aware of that and move on!
Oh, I am so guilty of being THAT mom! Not the all natural one, but the laid back/whatever one. My usual tactic is to assume that all of THOSE OTHER moms are judging me for my choices, and then to find something to judge them right back for. For me, the struggle is not making parenting my idol – not to think that I am so amazingly good at it that it is actually making me a better Christian. Fortunately, my kids are very willing to knock me off of that horse daily! :)
Amy, great point about not making parenting our idol – especially making MY OWN parenting bigger (in my heart) than our Heavenly Parent.
I can totally be THAT mom, especially when it comes to what my kids watch on tv. Bug’s Life? Hmmm…. Maybe not. Do you have Word World instead? Oh, you think all the kids would like to watch [insert latest Disney movie]? Yeah, not with my girls.
I’m learning to make exceptions, but only on rare occasions. And usually only with family. But, I try not to judge when people broach the movie topic.
Oooh, that’s a hard one. I’m pretty picky about what A watches – but because she’s just 3 I don’t have to deal with other people’s choices. It’s hard to know when to stand firm and when to make exceptions…one of the MANY struggles of being a parent!
Love this post! It is crazy how a “little” thing, all of a sudden turns into a “huge” thing : )
It is – and then ironic how those little-now-huge things tend to slap me in the face! :)
So true. With 8 children people love judging how many kids I should have. It might not be right for one parent but it sure is right for me. It really puts things in perspective how I look at choices other parents make. We should not compare ourselves or judge others.
Love this post!!!! I am THAT mom, THAT wife, THAT daughter, THAT daughter-in-law… you get my point. It always seems valid when we are making the point, but it doesn’t always make sense when we witness others doing something similar.
SUCH a good reminder! We’re all neurotic in our own, special way, aren’t we?