Friday, January 26, 2007

Parenting is not for the judgmental

I was taking a break tonight from ... well from a mish mosh of writing and trying to rock the Incredible Farting Baby... and I perused all the blogs I've been missing.

The Marvelous Mir had a great post up today:

There’s little I dislike more than a parent—particularly a mother—who judges her worth based upon her children’s conduct. I never want to be one of those people. It’s too big of a burden for the kids, and it's pitiful besides.

How true. I was reading other blogs and it occured to me that there are people out there that have a self esteem so low that they must build it up in damaging ways. Like comparing their child to all other children, or making fun of other mothers who just aren't as smart as they feel they are. And in the end, their children will pay the price. They will feel that their own mother's love is tied up in what they do, not who they are.

I am not a perfect mother. I constantly forget to take enough pictures of them. I'm a writer and I can hardly ever remember to write down their special moments. My children are not likely perfect children... but much like moms like Mir, we only expect them to do their best. Not the best that other kids can do, not the fastest on the team or the best at drinking out of a sippy cup.

One of the things being a mom (for, holy cow, six years) has taught me is compassion. It can be very easy once you are past a certain stage in your child's life, to assume you know all about the that time period. All the answers about feeding your child, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, choosing babysitters... they all seem so obvious now that we're past them.

I've learned that I do not have all the answers. More importantly, I've learned that I'm not a better mother because I have more answers than someone else. I've learned that compassion is the single best attribute that a mother can have. Not just compassion for their own children, but for other mothers, for the children of other mothers.

If we do not model compassion for our children, they will not learn it. Compassion is not a skill they can learn because they are just so goshdarn smart. They can't learn it like their ABCs. It must be modeled for them.

When you hear a mother cutting another mother down, when you hear her building herself up by tearing others down... compassion is the only option. It's hard. But parenting is not for wimps. And it is always harder to be the bigger person.

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