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Friday, May 11, 2012

Wouldn't you rather be Mom AUTHENTIC?

I wrote this recently as a reflection on my journey of motherhood: Parenting is a journey filled with twists, turns, bridges to cross and roads that seem to never end and so many moments that take your breath away.

It rings true today, just as it did that morning as I sat nursing my toddler and typing away at the keyboard. There is a lot that goes on in this parenting journey. Hopes, dreams, wishes, fears, joys…

Parents don’t always agree with each other, of course not! We are all individuals and thank goodness for that! Some parents choose to follow attachment parenting, natural parenting, connection parenting, aware parenting…some parents follow an “expert” guide, some go by the seat of their pants, taking it in as they go along, some parents take classes, others ask their families for advice.

Regardless of if they breastfeed or formula feed, co-sleep or use a cot, choose positive parenting or behavior modification charts, one thing is very clear to me, the VAST majority of parents out there want to do well by their children.

Are there outliers, some that just don’t care, some that are too tired, stressed and forgotten by society to care? Sure. But the vast majority, yes, they want their children to succeed, be happy, be healthy, be contributing members of society.

Most parents are working really hard, be it from home or the office to give their children what they need and to create those breath taking moments and memories be it at soccer practice, at playgroup, in the family room, on vacation or the family bed.

The vast majority of parents also would like to feel more supported in their choices. Do standards, methods and parenting choices matter? Well, to a certain degree yes, children are people, they should be protected and entitled to a life without abuse, fear and stress.

However, much like we are individuals with different life styles and needs, it should not matter if we are ENOUGH based on some philosophy, photo or something else… 

What really matters to us as parents and to our children is if we are AUTHENTIC - being faithful to our internal needs and instincts rather than external ideas imposed by some magazine cover, baby manual or words of an expert.

Breastfeeding is normal. Breastfeeding is beautiful. Yet, if breastfeeding makes a mother resentful, tied down, miserable, if there is no milk, if there just isn't the willingness, a medical issue, then can’t we respect the mother’s choice and needs? Yes, the baby has needs too, believe me I get that, I respect that, I breathe and live that, but breastfeeding is one tough, tough job, I know because I have had that job for six years. I even shared about that journey on Jamie Lynne’s Clever Cleavage feature.

But, some moms just have a different experience, different story, a different journey. For some moms, it’s smooth roads, for others it’s just too many bumps, twists and turns…. so let’s try to respect and support one another in our own authentic journeys.

I have read some shocking, nasty remarks about the now infamous cover photo on Time... Come on! Let's not make the beautiful women that have stepped up to show the world that breastfeeding is normal be the culprit here. Let's not create more war in a world that desperately needs PEACE, a world that could use some more enlightened, peaceful and hopeful individuals and a lot less greed, shock and confrontation. So let’s not worry about being ENOUGH, let's choose to be Authentic.

Seriously ladies, if mothers are not going to support each other, the very mothers that know just how incredibly hard all this motherhood stuff is then who will?

Peace, respect and kindness are amazing traits to model for our children.  Let's celebrate our individuality.  Let’s give each other this mother’s day and every day the gift of respect for our authenticity so the world can be full of amazing individuals.

 Peace & Be Well,
Ariadne

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1 comment:

  1. "What really matters to us as parents and to our children is if we are AUTHENTIC - being faithful to our internal needs and instincts rather than external ideals imposed by a magazine cover, baby manual or words of an expert."

    I disagree. I believe we need to be advocates for babies and children. We can't tell women to do what feels right and ignore the experts. We can't assume mothers are benevolent. Just this last week it was announced in health news that 20% of white women smoke during pregnancy. We don't even keep statistics on how many children are breastfed the 2 years the World Health Organization recommends. It is the norm for mothers to think of their own wants and needs instead of their child's needs.

    It may be self actualizing for mothers to feel authentic but their behaviors have life-long health, developmental, psychological, and other consequences on the helpless human they have been entrusted with. Few women know how to care for a baby or parent and they need to learn from books, videos, classes, conferences, online, or in other ways.

    The vast majority of mothers had parents that used an authoritarian style of parenting. When their child is two they feel helpless because they know they want something different but have no idea of what to do. To be an effective parent a mother needs to develop a repertoire of skills to use in a variety of situations. It's not instinctive.

    A child should not be considered a belonging that a mother can do what she wants with. A child is a future adult that is affected by what that mother does. As people that influence mothers we should be encouraging them to do what we know is best for babies and children.

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