Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You Are a Good Mom

We mothers are hard on ourselves. Mothers are hard on other mothers and society in general is hard on mothers. Right now there is a lot of chatter about Adam Lanza's mother, which I won't discuss here, nor will I add any more to the discussion of that tragedy. However, it has created a lot of 'bad mom' chatter.

So I just wanted to say something positive. You're a good mom.

When my son was 2 months old, I took him to work with me (long story short: I work from home for a government agency that insisted I have a badge that I HAD to pick up right away, which meant taking my son who I was breastfeeding and snuggling all of the time with me, I had no nanny and honestly didn't want to be away from him for the 3+ hours it would take me to get my badge) and he slept the entire time I was there, disturbing no one. Nearly everyone was delighted to meet him, as they had worked with me the previous year during my pregnancy.

I work for an agency of mostly older males. As we stood in the lobby of the building preparing to leave, they oohed and aahed over his sleepy face and tiny hands. They recalled their own children and sighed wistfully about their some-day grandchildren. I received hugs and pats on the back and "he is beautiful, good job!" Then I was approached by a man I'd never met who asked me how old was my son. "2 months," I replied.

"BAD MOM! BAD MOM!" He yelled at me, at everyone around us, loudly while shaking a finger in angry gestures at me. "You should not have brought him out before 3 months. Babies have to stay in the house for 3 months. I tell all my kids, keep them babies home for 3 months. No, no. You're bad."

Two security guards stepped closer to me as I zipped the car seat cover over my son to shield him from the cold. "My son is well," I replied. It was all I could say. I pushed his stroller out quickly, waving good-bye and feeling my face flame with embarrassment. I heard the security guards arguing with the man, telling him kids were different today. It was the first time a complete stranger passed judgement on my parenting skills. It hurt and scared and saddened me.

Yet, I knew it wouldn't be the last. We are a culture full of judgement. I do it myself all of the time. We are culture of negativity as well. Moms aren't alone in this criticism or judgement, either. Dads receive a lot of negative attention and worried glances if they take their children out without a woman close by ("could he be abducting that child?!).

Parents will and should shut out most of the noise, the negativity, and the judgement, but being a parent is a tough job. We need support, we need positivity, we need society telling us "you're good". Maybe not all the time and certainly there are people who are simply bad parents (see: my own bio mom). The majority of us are good and I want to tell you that.

You're a good mom.
You hugged your child today. You listened. 
You spent some time on your own to recharge.
 You played or helped with homework or read a book to your child(ren). 
You made mistakes. You were forgiven. You forgave. 
You said, "I love you". 
You're good.