Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Letter of Apology to All Moms Everywhere

James 5:16-18The Message (MSG)Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

Once upon a time, I was a smart, educated, well-dressed, funny person. My husband and I went to weird restaurants, had a super clean home, and went hiking on the weekends. We wanted children, and tried for about two years. It was a frustrating time; we poured over parenting books, observed others wherever we went on their parenting styles, and at the end of it, we were sure of exactly the type of parents we were going to be.

Then we had kids.

Now, I'm proud to say that our philosophy and commitment to how we parent really has stayed mostly the same. Mostly. The rest is completely different. I mean, totally different than what I thought it'd be.

And I'm still learning. Every day.

But I feel the need to wipe the proverbial slate clean and be brutally honest with myself. I have been the person that I've hated more than I care to admit. The parent I wanted to be, the ideals that I created for myself, the ideals I had about children are nothing like every blog post, article, or book I've ever written, save the Bible. Funny how the Bible has been right all along :)

A thousand times I'd pass the lady with screaming children in the store and thought, "My kids will never do that." Until I had children and realized that they will ALL scream in a store at some point, and that it doesn't make you a bad parent. It just means you have kids.

A thousand times I would see someone feed their toddler a chicken nugget and think, "My kids will never eat like that." Little did I realize that frozen chicken nuggets are like manna from heaven and some days I'm just happy my toddler will eat ANYTHING.

A thousand times I would see parents giving their baby formula, and I thought, "I will only breastfeed. There is no other option." Then I was working 60 hours a week, and couldn't keep up with pumping. The stress and fatigue alone was killing my supply, and I supplemented. Then I just did formula. And it worked well, except for it being so damn expensive.

A thousand times I would see parents talk about their labor experience and I thought, "My labor and delivery will be easy and different." And my first was so hard, I cried for 8 months. While my second was harder than I thought it would be in a totally different way.

A thousand times, I've seen moms yell at their kids, and do things that I thought I could never do. Then I was awake for almost 2 days straight, alone, broke, and desperate. I then understood how people can shake their children. While I can say that I did put the baby in his crib and go outside, I will admit to hyperventilating for 10 minutes. It's a miracle that either of us survived.

A thousand times, I would see a mom's cart full of what I thought was junk, then I realized that that "junk" was less expensive and easier to make than what I had the privilege of buying. Also, again, it was food her children were actually eating.

I am so sorry.

To anyone I've ever personally judged. To anyone that I've never met but privately judged. To all moms everywhere, please accept this apology. I was young; I was stupid, and I was a great parent in my own mind. Until, of course, those decisions were up to me to make.

I can't be the only one. I can't be the only one who judged someone before they really knew the full story. I can't be the only one who made assumptions without any type of clarification or reality check. I can't be the one who said, "I'll never" and then did exactly what they never thought they'd do.

There are many of us. Please, forgive us all.

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