More Compassion for Other Moms

Parenting is one of those topics that we all feel very strongly about. I mean, our kids and their well-being is at stake, right? So, of course we’re going to be opinionated about what’s OK and what’s not OK. The problem with this is that it alienates other moms who, after all, are just like us, trying to do their best to care for and support their kids.

I think we can connect with other moms and dads and support them even if their parenting style is different from ours. Well, maybe not if it’s TOO different 🙂 but you know what I mean. I am an attachment parenting, cloth diapering, elimination communication, extended breastfeeding, Montessori at home, work from home mom who uses positive redirection and gentle discipline rather than punitive discipline. But does that mean I can only be friends with parents who are exactly the same as me? No way!

I have plenty of friends who breastfed a little or not at all (for various reasons), or who use disposables or who give their kids a time-out once in a while. And, although they might not talk about it much, I’m sure I have friends who yell at their kids. In fact, *gasp* I get frustrated and yell sometimes too! And I think that’s really the key to having compassion for other moms.

Being able to put myself in another person’s shoes, allows me to understand why they might choose to do things differently. I wish more moms would practice compassion with each other. Because, really, we’re all doing the best we can from where we’re at in every moment. We are all using whatever parenting tools we have access to. We have different schedules, different resources, and sometimes even different cultural beliefs.

The truth is, we actually have no idea how sleep deprived or hungry or stressed out that mom at the grocery store is when she stuffs a candy bar in her child’s face just to shut him up. And we don’t know what happened BEFORE the huge tantrum the little girl in the next aisle is having. I guess I just wish we could all take a breath and remember that no matter what’s happening, we’re all doing our best.

Because criticizing, judging, and shaming other moms is NOT helping. Do we really think that a mom is going to stop spanking her kids because we shame her for it? I don’t. I think that a lot of moms who spank are simply out of other ideas and resources in that moment. Many of them would LOVE to figure out a better way to help their child, but they aren’t able to think. Instead, they just need the behavior or the screaming or the hitting to STOP, so they do what their parents did to them. They spank. I can understand the impulse, even if I will never engage in the same behavior.

So, if you have a friend or family member who is a little bit different from you or who treats her child in a way you don’t like, try CONNECTING with her instead of judging her. Get CURIOUS about what’s happening for her and try to understand where she’s coming from. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg is an excellent resource for developing compassion and understanding. Go to http://www.cnvc.org to find out more about NVC.

And for now, just take a moment to try to understand someone you’ve been judging. Consider the possibility that they really are doing their best. And remember that none of us is perfect; we’re all just doing what we need to do to move from this moment into the next. Let’s choose to help and support each other to continue to learn and grow, rather than shaming each other for making a different choice. Let’s make a pact to have MORE COMPASSION FOR OTHER MOMS! Because when we can show compassion and understanding to people who are different from us, then we are REALLY modeling love and peace for our children.

Oh, and one more thing. When our children see us accepting others who are different from us, they also learn that it’s OK to BE different. Children will feel much more secure in our love for them when they see that we are able to be kind and caring to those with whom we disagree.

What do you think about this? Please leave a comment below and let’s talk more about this hot topic! Warmly, Shelly

4 comments
Christee
Christee

LOVE this post and am grateful to the link for non-violent communication. Thanks for continuing to teach your daughter, and your MOM, how to be more accepting of others!

julievalie
julievalie

You are absolutly right. It's difficult sometimes not to judge (even in our head, silently we shouldn't judge). We have to be open-minded so that other people be open-minded too toward attachment parenting. It's difficult for everybody not to judge. I think attached parents are more judged by everybody, because they are more of a minority and live outside the norm. But still it's not an excuse to judge or criticize in return.

AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

Hey @julievalie  Thanks for bringing this up. I think I sometimes forget that we are a minority because so many of the people I'm in contact with are parenting in this way. But you're right, we are not the 'norm,' at least not yet! I guess I'm just hoping that we can lead by example and invite the rest of the country (and world) into a way of parenting that honors both parent and child and values the connection between the two above all. Thanks for being a part of my tribe and for commenting here. I appreciate you! Hugs.