By writing this, I must admit to being a tad bit hypocritical, but in the tradition of the overly-opinionated parenting articles we see all scattered about on the interweb, admitting hypocrisy is one of the twists we’ve come to expect.
It’s all about validation, after all.
I speak only for myself here, but I’m kind of over the whole “seeking other parents who will validate me” thing.
Ah, parenting blogs. It seems as though every Mommy and Daddy has something to talk about. They host gentle Scripture-quoting blogs, edgy and proactive-type blogs, witty “I’m a mess of a parent and I drink a lot of wine, but aren’t we all messes anyway?” blogs and some even host blogs about other blogs.
Some skip the whole blog thing and just do freelance articles here and there. Regardless of the source, these write-ups spread like wildfire, filling up my Facebook newsfeed while my friends emit a tear or shake a fist and share with a single word: “This.”
Oh, I’ve done it, too! Of course I have.
Last year, I even started my own blog regarding the ups and downs of raising emotionally healthy children in a dysfunctional world. However, I made it private when I realized that, although the struggle in general is ours, my struggle, in particular, is my own. I actively try to help others, as well as myself, but to share my challenges with an audience…well, maybe it wasn’t my time, eh?
Anyway. My story aside, these blogs I speak of, these write-ups, they are about one thing:
Regarding validation, the healthiest thing we can do is learn how to validate our own respective selves. This is a fact, but nobody ever said it would be easy to actually pull off, now, did they?
It’s nice to see you aren’t alone. Parenthood introduces us to an entire spectrum of feelings we didn’t know we could experience, much less process. Expressing these feelings, well, that’s even harder. I’ve heard of the joy of being a mother, the fear, the frustration. Nobody told me about this constant bitter-sweetness I battle. It turns out, as far as feelings go, that is what parenthood really seems to be about: managing the bittersweet. No kidding, it’s hard.
What do they say? The days are long, but the years are short? I’m rocking my baby ’cause babies don’t keep? Yes, I know the actual quotes…I’m just making a point. As far as the subject of parenthood is concerned, there are so many words to rip at our collective heart strings and they are all true. We all feel it, don’t we?
Because of these feelings, I, like most of you, often find myself all in knots when it comes to whether or not I’m doing “it” right. Meaning, the Mommy thing. Making the best use of our time, choosing the best choices, shame-shaming the things which, I believe, shouldn’t be sorted into the “good parenting” box.
Sometimes I even want to hear other Moms and Dads agree with me, just so I know I’m on the right track. I’m only human and honestly, I want to be right. About everything. All the time. Yeah, yeah, I know—not gonna happen.
Even though I can’t always get what I want, I can still try.
So, at this moment, I want the world to know we don’t need to validate one another.
We don’t need to banish playdates or point fingers at the moms on their smartphones or look down our noses because we see someone giving their child a Happy Meal. We don’t even need to back off the Mommy-blogging. There’s no point to wagging our fingers at what other parents are doing when we don’t agree, nor do we need to nod in a relieved sort-of frenzy when we read about other parents who seem an awful lot like us. We truly do not. The fact is, most of us, the majority of us, are doing the best we can do at this time. That’s pretty incredible!
No, things aren’t like they were when we were kids, or when our parents were kids. Things aren’t like they’ll be when our kids have kids. We can’t go back, and we can’t know what the future holds. The only thing we can do is make our now better than our ever has been. And frankly, it doesn’t matter whether we choose to accomplish such a task together or apart, in agreement or in defiance.
All that matters is that we do it, as we do everything, to the best of our abilities. Most importantly of all: we do everything with our beautiful children in mind.
Author: Angela Timberlake
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: elephant journal Instagram