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Why Are You Here?

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Why are you here? Why do you read Mamapedia? Why do you read mommy blogs? Are you here to find a community of other mothers who know what you’re going through? Are you here to find friends and support? Why do you read the content posted here? What makes you want to comment? Are you here to read interesting stories that show all sides of motherhood? Are you here to learn through the wisdom of mothers ways to be a better mom yourself?

Or do you know it all already?

Do you already fashion yourself to be the perfect mom and are here to share your wisdom and knowledge with others? Do you skim through the content of articles, looking for a reason to be offended or to find a reason to show just how much better a mom you are? Do you get a little giddy when you find someone who has made mistakes? Do you feel a wash of motherhood-sanctimony rush over you as you hurriedly make your way to the place where YOU get to comment? Do you get excited to share just how great a mother you are, even if it’s at the expense of another mother’s feelings? Do you want everyone to know how you figured this whole mom thing out the minute the umbilical cord was cut and have never, ever been so human as to make a single mistake?

If that’s you at all, get ready. I have some stuff to tell you.

I hated being pregnant and I love my epidurals during delivery. I didn’t breastfeed. My first two were premature and couldn’t do it. And I was THRILLED to bottle feed. All three of my boys are circumcised. I used cloth diapers ONCE and hated them. We skipped baby food with my third son and went straight to sandwiches and French fries. I hate playing with toddlers. This morning I let my daughter watch an entire episode of Family Guy that she had brought up on the iPad. She’s two. When my oldest son was six, he broke his arm on the trampoline. We didn’t know this, but instead of taking him to the ER, we sent him to a birthday party, complete with bouncy house. As I write this, my youngest son is poking his older brother with the end of a broom, and I haven’t stopped him because it’s pretty hilarious. We eat at McDonalds. We drink soda. I even let my kids play outside without my supervision.

I am, without a doubt, screwing up my kids. And guess what, giddy mommy who can’t wait to tell me how terrible I am, you are screwing your kids up, too!

If there were one right formula to raising kids, we would all know it and it would work perfectly for everyone. But there isn’t. You don’t have it, as much as you would like to think you do. What works for you, might not work for my family. And until you’ve lived my life, you have no place to tell me that I’m a terrible mother because I’m honest about the ups and downs of motherhood.

We are our own worst critics. I will beat myself up more over the parenting choices I have made than you will ever have time for. But here’s the problem: other mothers come in a close second in handing us criticism awards. These are the mothers who feel it necessary to belittle others to make themselves feel better. Mothers who know damn well how hard motherhood is, but for some reason feel threatened when another mother is honest about it. Why is that? What’s wrong with saying that we make mistakes? What’s wrong with believing that there is no one true path to good parenting?

I asked my mommy friends on Facebook to share stories of things they’ve done, or even are currently doing, that would make other moms judge them. At this point, that thread is almost 150 comments long. And you know what hasn’t happened once? Not one single mother has criticized or belittled another mother on the thread. Which makes me wonder how a story like Thursday’s “ ‘The Big Bang’ Blew Up on Me” blog on Mamapedia could go so wrong.

I personally know the author of that post. She is a remarkable woman who I am extremely fortunate to have as a friend. She is an amazing mother who works tirelessly through her blog, her Facebook page and in her own community to help people with autism, along with parents of autistic children. In the post she clearly states that she knew what happened was wrong, yet in the comments, people go after her like she had said she was slowly poisoning their dogs. Did the commenters not read the entire post? Did they not understand that it was supposed to be a humorous post about a mistake made and lesson learned?? Or did they come to Mamapedia not to learn and be a source of support and encouragement, but rather to show you how great they are by pointing out the faults of others?

Being a mom is hard. Writing honestly about motherhood is tough, but necessary. Moms need to know that the judgmental perfect moms are the minority. That most moms, as proven by the thread on my Facebook wall, are just trying to make it through the best they know how. We need each other. We need safe places where we can be honest about all sides of motherhood. We need to be able to share our mistakes, our heartache, and our pain and have other mothers simply say, “I understand. You’re not alone. I’m here for you.” And really, we need to laugh. Because motherhood, and all of the things we accidentally do to screw up our children, is very, very funny.

So, maybe we can all put our judgment aside and instead, share honest stories about mistakes we’ve made as mothers. I want to hear your funny, sad and terrible. I want to hear YOUR truth. Let’s support motherhood and all that comes with it.

Lexi is a writer and stay at home mother to four children. She has three boys who were born in less than 3 years, and one daughter. Her middle son has autism, her daughter has Down syndrome. Please visit her amazing blog, Mostly True Stuff.

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