Why I’m No Longer In A Mom’s Group

In previous posts I mentioned that I had joined a mom’s group and it was good for me, with my anxiety disorder and my fear of new people and places. It was good for Peyton’s social skills and getting her out and about. I really had high hopes for this working out. I slowly began to really come to the conclusion that in the end, I’m not cut out to be “that mom”.

What do I mean by “that mom”?

The mom who judges every little parenting choice of someone else. The mom who knows exactly the right way to parent YOUR child. Somehow, the manual to your kid popped out of her vagina with her kid. Apparently, you missed the memo, you are doing it all wrong. It’s right here in Chapter Six of “Raising Punky 101”. It’s the mom who thinks that if you aren’t parenting your kid the way they do, you are wrong, your kid will be a sociopath. The mom who is so very nice to your face, despite the obvious differences in opinion, but in a public internet forum, bashes your choices in a passive-aggressive way.

I’m not good at being that mom. And, apparently, I’m even worse at dealing with that mom.

You know, it’s not even that these comments are being personally directed at me. A lot of times, it’s just a general statement about one parenting choice or another. The problem is, it’s hurtful and I want so badly to say something, but instead, I hold my tongue. I’m really not the type to bite my tongue for very long. I’m really not very good at it.

It’s not even that these comments were directly solely at me and in some cases at me at all.

When you go out with a group of moms to relax and have a good time, I notice that all the ladies have a glass or two of wine or something related (unless breastfeeding of course). When one mom thinks it’s ok to call another one a “lush”, joking or not, it hurts people’s feelings and embarrasses people. Why say things like that? Because women are the best as making a ‘joke’ out of something they truly feel to soften the blow and not make themselves look bad.

Articles about car seats really bother the shit out of me. But, I don’t really say anything anymore. Not since I was basically told I was a bad mother (in not so many words) because we followed our pediatrician’s recommendations for Punky and turned her front facing when she turned 12 months old. She’s bigger for her age and frankly, she screamed in the car the entire time we were in there while she was rear-facing. I was happy to turn her ’round.

When I explained this as my experience and my opinion (not once mentioning anything about anyone who didn’t do this) I was slapped with a comment about how I should get a different pediatrician. And another mother, an expert in car seat safety, posted a video about what will happen to my daughter in an accident. I’m sure it’s all well meaning, but at the end of the day, hurtful and just another way to make a new mother feel crappy about herself.

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Let’s not take into consideration that I have an anxiety disorder. My eagerness to turn Punky around had more to do with my anxiety than anything else. When she was rear-facing, I couldn’t see her. I’m forgetful. Seriously. I couldn’t stop imagining that I would be one of those moms who left her in the car on a hot day. Even now, front-facing, I imagine my reaction to finding her dead in the back seat because I forgot about her back there for one reason or another. It’s part of my anxiety disorder, I picture these things the entire time we are in the car with Punky in the back seat.

During posts of seemingly support seeking mothers, especially those with small children who won’t sleep, the claws came out all the time. So, a mother posts about how she’s really having a hard time with the lack of sleep and looking for suggestions. The first time I posted that we used the cry it out method and how we did it and why and how it worked for us. The response I got from the mother was this: “With all due respect, crying it out is NOT an option in our home.” Well, excuse me for giving you a suggestion.

The comments continued with things like, “It’s unnatural for a mother to feel fine allowing her child to cry and not do anything.” “I can’t imagine leaving my child in her room alone and scared.”

These comments weren’t specifically directed at me, but I felt the sting. Wow. I’m a shitty mom because I let Punky cry herself to sleep one night. Let’s not take into consideration that both K and I were exhausted and really ready to shake this baby at the time. But excuse me, ladies, you don’t get to worry about your own well-being. Again, we took recommendations from our pediatrician to put her in her own room and let her cry it out. Not only for her health and need to get more sleep, but our sanity.

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Guess what, no one thought to take into consideration that I was sitting outside her door the entire time she was crying, tears streaming down my own face. K had to practically sit on me, because we knew it was best for Punky and best for our relationship and wellbeing. It was the hardest night of my life. Yet, Punky is the best sleeper I have ever met, mothers are astonished that she goes to sleep at 8:30PM and doesn’t wake up until at least 9:30 or 10AM. I get surprised faces when I tell people that she loves taking naps and we rarely have a fight when it is time as she will clearly say “Nap” and head to her room, when she is tired and usually right around the same predictable time.

But, screw me. I shouldn’t have allowed her to cry it out for one time and apparently, I’m unnatural and not a great mother for allowing her to be independant.

Don’t get me started on vaccinations. I will be real honest here. Do I think it’s weird that there are people who don’t vaccinate their kids? Honestly. I do. But, I have never said anything to these mothers. They are making their own choices and they are doing what they feel is right for their religious beliefs or their family or whatever.

So, why is it that I hear one of my good friends was told she was uneducated and ignorant for vaccinating her kid? Seriously? Someone said that. See that’s the case of the comments not being directed at me, but I have a few choice words I could say in response to that hurtful and highly offensive comment. But, I bite my tongue, instead of defend my friend’s choice, defend my choice. Because if she’s uneducated and ignorant for vaccinating her kid, then shit, so am I. Awesome, at this point, I’m really doing a great parenting job according to these moms.

Other things I have felt while in this group:

  • If you are on the computer and not constantly talking to your kid, you are bad mother and doing your kid a disservice. (Let’s forget that my second job is online, that I am actually making money for my family, while on this computer.)

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  • If you aren’t still breastfeeding your child after a year old, you are not supermom. (Let’s not mention that Punky couldn’t latch and I hated pumping because it caused me mastitis and my breasts were constantly on fire or in pain)
  • If you let your child watch TV, you will rot their brain and toddlers just don’t benefit at all by watching anything that is currently on TV. (Never mind the fact that Punky has learned how to speak from conversations with Dora and learned to jump, clap, and wave from the GiggleBellies).2013-06-29 05.09.28
  • You don’t feed your kid organic food? Bad Mom! (Except, jesus, organic food is expensive and we are living paycheck to paycheck. But, then, you use cloth diapers so you don’t have to worry about not having diapers for your kid. Another strike against me, whoops.) Of course, I suppose I could just get on the cloth diaper bandwagon, except we live in an apartment and don’t have a washer and dryer and can’t afford to wash our clothes as often as I would like, let alone shitty diapers. But, then again, I’m sure these moms just think we shouldn’t have a kid until we are financially stable enough to do this very important things that cost more money.

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  • One meetup I proposed to take the kids to the city hall steps to play in the fountains. I posted a picture of Punky, MY DAUGHTER, playing in the fountains. One of the comments I got was “I don’t know if that’s safe for my child.” For real? So, I suggested an activity that I have done with my own child, but it’s not safe for other people’s children. Way to basically say that I’m putting my kid in a dangerous situation and how dare I put yours in the same boat.

The last straw was about the debate on stay at home moms and working moms. All the instances above, I have pretty much not gotten involved, not since the crying it out and car seat instance. Because if I get involved, I’m likely to get banned and I really did like getting to know some of these ladies and we are still friends on Facebook. So, I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say anything.

Then a post about how being a stay at home mom was so much harder than a working mother. Working mothers had it easy because they didn’t have to change diapers and they didn’t have to deal with the constant tantrums and nap fighting and the exhaustion.

Excuse me?

I know how hard it is to be a stay at home mom, I live with one. I also know how hard it is to be a working mother, I am one! Each one of us has a different kind of challenge and hard work in different areas, but the challenges weigh the same. So, while I figured this mom was just trying to get some support for her own challenges, but she took the opportunity to shoot down working mothers in the process.

It brings me to tears every freaking day when I lay her down for her afternoon nap, knowing that I won’t see her again until morning when she wakes up. It is hard to come home for lunch, because she’s awake and when I leave, she thinks she’s coming too. When I shut the door and she can’t come, I can hear her disappointment plain as day in her cry through the door.

To give K a break, she gets to sleep in and I get up early with Punky and take her places before work. Am I exhausted? You bet your ass I am. But, I am helping my partner, the stay at home mom, and I am finding the only time I can get with my kid while I put food in her belly by working and making a life for her.

Whether she did it intentionally or not, I’m not sure. I don’t think she did. However, when someone pointed it out that her comments might be hurtful to working mothers, she got defensive and basically said she didn’t know why her comments could be construed as unfair.

That’s what broke my spirit. If you say things unintentionally that hurt someone’s feelings. How about we just acknowledge that perhaps you hadn’t thought about how things would be perceived.

I promptly left the group. Simply because if I said what I wanted to say on the forum, I’d make ladies cry. So, instead I post it here.

With my anxiety disorder, I take medication damnit, to regulate my mood and my anxiety, this kind of environment doesn’t sit well with me and it makes it very hard for me to function. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m certain I suffered from a small case of postpartum after having Punky and I already felt like a shitty mom, I don’t need anyone to help me think that about myself.

None of us need to have that in our lives. We are all mothers, doing the best we can for our kids.

And frankly, children learn from their parents, mothers in particular. Children teach their friends their habits. I’m not interested in bringing Punky into that kind of learning.

So, while I think that the mom’s group was beneficial for making a few great friends, I am not cut out to hold my tongue anymore about unfeeling comments made about other people’s choices and debates and Mommy Wars. I’m just not built to withstand the drama.

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18 thoughts on “Why I’m No Longer In A Mom’s Group

  1. I think it’s good that you left the group. It sounds like some of the other mothers were just brining you down and what mom needs that?! There is something my great grandmother said once that has always stuck with me. She said that if everyone waited until they could “afford” to have children, very few people would be parents. It’s so true, because at the end of the day we’re all just getting by with what we can and what we have. Would I love to send Grace to private pre-school, absolutely. Is that financially possible or us – probably not. Do I want to enroll her in dance classes, toddler gym and learning groups? Of course I do, but affording to do all of those things is just not in the cards for us right now.

    When we decided to use cloth diapers I would love to say that we were doing it to “save the dolphins”… The truth is that is was more of an economical decision than anything else. If we didn’t have a washer/dryer in the home that would not have even been considered. So does it make me some superior mom because we’ve used them? Heck no it doesn’t.

    There are so many different ways to parent. Different beliefs, different traditions and customs and different parenting styles. This is what makes being a parent so amazing. You get to learn from other moms and dads and also share some of the things that have worked for you. Where I think we’ve lost direction here is when these same parents decided that their way was the best way and that if you haven’t read books A, B, C and do X, Y, Z – you’re an inferior parent.

    Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and promise yourself that you’ll never make another mom feel the way these moms made you feel. I’m sure there is still a SUPPORTIVE moms group out there for you and I hope you find it. 🙂

  2. See, I’m not a mom. I hope to be one some day. There are things I like to think I will do when I become a parent…..but that doesn’t mean I get to judge you for your choices. Neither do the other moms. I think the world would be a much better place if people would just do what they need to do for their families and respect the decisions other people make.

    But I’m not a mother, so what do I know? 😉

  3. Amen. In my more charitable moments, I think of moms like the ones you describe as working out their own issues, out loud, in an inappropriate forum. That their being judgmental is an indication that they are uncertain or need validation about their own choices and can’t find it in a more appropriate place. Like I said, those are my charitable moments. the rest of the time I think they are assholes. Frankly, I think that even when I AM being charitable. Sounds like it was a good decision for you and bravo for making it and cutting out the drama.

    • Thanks, Meridith! I definitely don’t want anymore drama in my life than is already there. You are likely right about their need to validate their own choices. It just sucks people have to bring each other down. Especially mothers and other women! We should all just stick together.

  4. Do you want to know a secret? I was extremely judgmental of others parenting practices before we had Jakob and Alex. And now I feel absolutely horrible that I ever passed judgment on another parent. And I swear to NEVER again pass judgement on how a particular person is raising his or her child. Never. Please never forget that you are an absolutely amazing mother! I can feel the love you have for Punky in your blog posts. One of the reasons it has become a challenge for me to find friends who also have kids is because of the judgement I feel I get from other parents. Kara and I do the best we can on a daily basis just to make certain the boys end the day in one piece. We have very minimal support. And we both have made so many sacrifices for our boys. And I know you have done the same for Punky. Do my boys watch television? You bet. We had it on last night for 60 minutes straight. And we even now have DVD players in the car that are always playing if the car is moving. Do you know what I fed the boys for dinner last night? Corn Pops. Pancakes. Fruit Snacks. And Bran Cereal. Because that is what they would eat and I have zero energy to make a gourmet meal after coming home from work and literally being handed twin boys as Kara walks out the door. And guess what? We have boys who sleep through the night (7pm – 7am) each and every night. And I believe it is because we did “cry it out”. You do not know how many times I hear, “I would never let my child cry it out.That’s so wrong.” And it is typically in response to the question, “How do I get my child to sleep through the night?” Please. I sleep at night. Do you? And my children know that I love them. So there you go. I’m glad you left the group. And I would love it if we lived close to each other because I know we would become good friends!

    • I totally agree that if we lived closer, we would totally get along. Jeebs. I really need more friends like the ones I find on the blog community that live closer! Thanks so so much for your support, Mary. Your words have really hit home and I am so very thankful to have you around! 🙂

  5. Hi Rachael, There’s a lot of pressure being a mom, and it seems like it’s gotten worse. Like you said, “None of us need to have that in our lives. We are all mothers, doing the best we can for our kids.”

    The one thing I will “judge” about what you wrote: Wow. You’re a great partner. You and K really seem to support each other. How many partners will get up early and let the other sleep in? Nice. And, from what I’ve read in other posts, she seems to be very supportive of you, too. It doesn’t get any better than that! 🙂

    • Thank you, thank you Deborah. K has a lot of special challenges that I absolutely love her for! There’s a lot of things that the two of us have weathered together and this is just another one. I would say that we make sacrifices for each other, but that’s such a negative term, but we are really give and take in this relationship. I appreciate your words, really. We both have our strengths and our weaknesses and frankly, I think we really compliment each other. SO, I’m glad others notice and I hope that we can share how to have a working relationship with others! 🙂

  6. You just do what YOU think is right for YOUR child. Leave the bitchy judgey mothers group and head to a support group. Sounds like you’re doing brilliant to me 🙂

    • Welcome, Kirrax!! I am so glad to see you dropping by. I appreciate your words for sure! 🙂 I don’t have time for bitchy mamas, so as hard as it was to move away from it, I will just have to find other ways to socialize Miss Punky!

  7. Yes, yes, yes!! You hit the nail on the head with this post, my friend. Like I said the other day, women can be the worst to each other and Moms are especially sanctimonious. Did I tell you about the facetious FB page called Sanctimommy? It’s hilarious. Anyway, you are doing a great job and I’m glad to hear that you know that truth well enough to set boundaries such as quitting that moms group.

    • I’m so glad that you agree with me. I think we have talked about that FB group before and I have been so very busy I haven’t gotten a chance to go out and check it out. I will though! Parenting is hard work, damnit, there’s too much to deal with – no need to add extra pressure to yourself or someone else! I’m definitely out of it. Thanks for your kind, kind words!

  8. I agree wholeheartedly! I have very few mom friends, because I cannot stand the judgment and the constant “Well, we do THIS.” I will offer my opinion if someone ASKS, but there is no way that I know what is best for their child. Most days, I don’t even know what is best for my own!!! I’m just trying to do the best I can, and have it fit with my kid and our family.

    I always tell my husband that if have a baby (my kiddo is adopted, so I haven’t experienced baby years yet), that I’m getting tons of onesies with “My mommy doesn’t want your opinion.” printed on them and that’s all the kid will wear into public. I cannot believe how many people will vocalize their opinions on parenting and your grocery choices randomly in public!

    • Everyone has an opinion, Barbara. It doesn’t matter, not one bit, what the age of the child is! 🙂 It is pretty darn nuts how easy it is for some people to speak up in public about your decisions.

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