I receive weekly emails from babycenter.com that include information about my twin toddlers’ stage of development, as well as parenting news and advice. One of the recent emails included a link to a poll entitled, “How would you rate your friends as moms?”
The title alone of this poll horrified me. I’ve got a lot of mom friends with all different parenting techniques and philosophies, and the thought of “rating” them has never even crossed my mind. The idea of them rating me as a mom is even more disturbing. What puts any of us in the position to judge each other’s parenting skills? What makes any of us the expert on parenting? Like all moms, we are all learning as we go and just trying to be the best parents we can be. In my mind, that makes all of us pretty great moms.
Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to view the poll results—and I was even more disturbed by the responses. Less than half of the respondents—47 percent—said their friends are “great moms.” Thirty-two percent said their friends are “okay moms,” 14 percent said their pals are “not quite up to” their standards, and 7 percent said their friends are not as good parents as them.
Now, I know there are definitely some unfit parents out there—ones who abuse or neglect their children. And if I knew of a mom who did those things, then I admittedly would judge her. But, come on—the majority of us are simply doing the best we can! Can’t we all support each other and learn from each other, rather than judge each other?
I’ve got mom friends whose parenting styles span all ends of the spectrum. I’ve got friends who breastfeed and others who feed their babies formula. I’ve got friends who let their kids watch TV, and those who wouldn’t even turn the TV on until their children turned two. I know moms who only feed their kids organic food, and others for whom boxed macaroni and cheese is a staple. I know moms who work full-time, moms who stay at home full-time, and moms who work part-time or work from home. I’ve got friends whose babies sleep with them, and others who let their babies cry it out. I’ve got friends who cloth-diaper their little ones, and others who could keep Pampers and Huggies in business.
My point is, all of my mom friends are different. And of course, we don’t agree with each other about everything. But what we all have in common is our love for our children, and our desire to be the best mothers we can be. And just because a mom may do things differently than I do, it doesn’t make her a bad mother, or me a better mother.
Honestly, I truly appreciate that my mom friends and I are all different. If we all parented our children in exactly the same way, then how would we learn from each other? I’ve got a core group of mom friends I met at Gymboree. We are all first-time parents whose boys were born within six weeks of each other. We get together for weekly playgroups, and we also send each other group texts in which we ask each other’s opinions on topics related to our kids. We give each other advice on everything from discipline to illnesses to how to transition our kids to toddler beds. We also share toddler-friendly recipes and tips about products to try and places to go.
Sometimes, my friends’ advice has inspired me to do something differently when it comes to parenting my kids. Other times, I prefer my way of doing it. But no matter what, I am always learning from these ladies. I truly feel that opening myself up to ideas and parenting philosophies that are different from mine has made me a more well-rounded mother. I only hope my mom friends have learned as much from me as I have learned from them.
So, moms—let’s all try to open our minds and support each other rather than judge each other. We are all doing our best, and we all have a lot to learn from each other!