April 5, 2012

Things Good Moms Do {My thoughts on "mommy-wars"}


Good moms vaccinate their kids.  Good moms don't vaccinate their kids.

Good moms breastfeed.  And yes, good moms formula feed.

Good moms home school their children. And good moms send their kids to public or private school.

Good moms tend to their babies every cry. And good moms wait a moment to see if baby will soothe itself instead.

Good moms co-sleep. And good moms use cribs. A lot of good moms do a bit of both.

Good moms have hospital births. Good moms have home births. And some good moms have side-of-the-highway, back-of-the-car births!
Good moms adopt too.

Good moms have natural births. Good moms have epidurals. Good moms have cesareans.

Good moms have 10 kids. Good moms have one.

Good moms use cloth diapers.  Good moms use disposable diapers. 

I think you get my drift.

There are a lot of good moms out there.  I know because I meet them nearly everywhere I go. Moms who are sacrificing themselves every day for their children.  Sacrificing themselves in tiny ways that mean nothing to the world and everything to their child. Nurturing and nourishing their families.  Making hard decisions, weighing the latest facts and traditional wisdom through their own lens of hopes and fears and experiences.

And sometimes, yes, doing things differently from you and I.

I see moms tearing each other down over these things.  I've even participated in it.  And it's wretched.  Throughout history woman have learned how to mother from other moms.  And today, instead, we seem more bent on teaching each other how not to parent.  That isn't the same thing.

Here are some things I've discovered while observing these "mommy-wars."

1. Doing things differently from you is not a comment on your parenting.  I made this mistake. I teased and discouraged a dear friend for choosing a home birth because I thought that all her reasons and evidence and facts and resources were meant as an attack on my decision for a hospital birth.  Afterwards I realized that she was sharing her reasons, not trying to influence mine. I selfishly berated a good friend when I should have been cheering her on.

 I'm sorry, friend.

2. An intelligent, loving mother can consider the same facts as you and still come to a different conclusion.   I've been on the receiving end of this one many times.  Some people assume that because I haven't made the same decision as them I must be stupid or evil.  They think they are being charitable by assuming it's the first of the two and try to change my mind by telling me facts I've already heard and read in a condescending and demeaning tone.

Let's not assume that if somebody has come to a different conclusion from us that they have not examined the facts.

3. What is best for the family is often best for the baby.  I believe that cloth diapers are best.  I think they are best for baby, best for the environment, and sometimes better on the pocket book.  Plus, they are so darn cute!  We used them with our first two children. But our community has time-of-use pricing for electricity, meaning that I only have a few waking hours each day in which I can do laundry and with 5 kids I have a lot of laundry.  So for our family it made more sense for us to use disposable diapers (even though I consider them inferior). Trust me, the time I spend sleeping instead of laundering is best for everybody in the house.  It's a give and take.  I had to choose what was best for the whole family.

Just to be clear, there are some issues where we do need to draw clear lines in the sand.  For example, abuse is always wrong.  Formula feeding isn't. 

4. These are important topics, worth discussing.   That is exactly why we need to choose our words carefully.  Moms should gather together to discuss the risks and rewards of immunizations or the best way to potty train.  But polarizing the issue and shaming the other side doesn't encourage conversation, it destroys it. Let's keep the conversation going by asking questions and sharing experiences instead of condemning and criticizing!


Motherhood is hard.  Our children require more from us that we ever knew we could give.  They rely on us for safety, turn to us for answers, long for our nurturing touch even when our bodies are exhausted and our hearts are weary.  Mother hood is really really hard...

 
...and amazing.

Let's not make it any harder for each other than it needs to be.  And if you have a friend who is a good mama, make sure you tell her that you think so.  I bet you it's exactly what she needs to hear.

Thank you for letting me share my two cents.  What are your thoughts on the "mommy wars"?  Have you been wounded by well-meaning moms with different opinions?

109 comments:

  1. All I have to say is THANK YOU! Thank you for writing something so amazing!! I'm guilty a of participating in these wars myself. Shame on me! I'm excited to share this! Again, THANK YOU! :-) I hate how mothers are constantly arguing the fact that "their way is the best way. period." NO, that is not the case. I've always fully respected what works for each family because, let's face it...it may not work for me, but I'm not going to their home and having to deal with their day to day experiences, so I have no place to judge! :-)

    I was VERY wounded by people who meant well, but didn't think about what their comments did to me. Our household has led to the more "natural" parenting style of co-sleeping, baby wearing, immediately comfort a crying child, no crying it out method, etc. Unfortunately I was constant told that it "wasn't right" by my own family members. We were CONSTANTLY ridiculed for co-sleeping. It was a awful for my husband and I to feel so alone and picked on for the choices that worked best for OUR family. That's when I needed to make sure I showed everyone else the same respect because of how much it hurt when we didn't get that respect.

    Any mother that loves their children unconditionally, provides for them and creates a safe environment (no matter how they do it) is a GREAT mom! :-)

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  2. I love this post! Do you mind if I share a link to it on my blog?
    I think we all need this reminder once in a while, to support each other instead of tearing eachother down. I've caught myself falling into the "judgemental mommy" trap, feeling superior because my way is "better" than another mom's. And, I've had my feelings hurt terribly by other mothers comments. I am going to be much more careful in the future to only uplift other mamas, both with my words and thoughts.

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  3. I <3 you. That's all I have.

    Well, not really. The affect the so-called "mommy wars" has had on me was internal. I knew all the research about breastfeeding. I knew it was the A-1 best thing I could do for my kidlets.

    I was able to do it for 3 months with my son. I stuck out through the excruciating pain, because I thought it would get better. I only stopped because I just was not producing enough milk for him. I completely dried up. I beat myself up something terrible. I was failing him. He wasn't going to be as smart or as healthy as his breastfed peers.

    Through all that I decided to breastfeed my daughter. With her I lasted 6 whole weeks. I was an absolute wreck. I was in so much pain, and again I just thought it was bad latch. She screamed constantly. I cried. I had to give up. It wasn't until I quit nursing her I discovered it wasn't a bad latch. I have incredibly painful (read: twisting knife) let-down.

    All that time I thought I was just failing my kids. I couldn't do it right and by that I was dooming them to a life of sickness and mediocrity.

    But happy mommy = happy baby = happy family. I am at peace with my choices now. (Good grief, do I go on.)

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    1. It took wasting the precious 1-3 months of my first three babies lives constantly crying (me just as much or more than said babies!) instead of enjoying them for anyone to admit that sometimes breastfeeding DOESN'T WORK. My milk never came in, despite the supply-and-demand theory everyone beat me over the head with. Finally, when #4 arrived, I chose formula from the very beginning and he and I bonded anyway! And FINALLY one nurse, bless her heart, said, "sometimes that happens". It was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me, because it meant I hadn't failed my kids, I wasn't selfishly making it up, I wasn't a bad mom!
      Thanks for sharing your experience. And thanks, Kelly, for this post. Top notch.

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    2. I had a really hard time BFing, too. Just couldn't produce enough milk. I forced myself (and my son) to keep at it for almost 2 months before I regained my sanity enough to realize we were getting nowhere. I felt like a failure for a long time after that, but four years later, my son is alive. If I had not allowed myself to "fail", he might not be here. A baby's gotta eat. Either way. What's right is what works for you, your baby and your family and it took me awhile to really get that. I'm glad there are other moms who get it and are speaking out. It's the little things that make or break someone's day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience and reminding all of us Good Moms what we sometimes forget in all the hustle and bustle.

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  4. I love this! So often I find that as a mother with friends who are also mothers we need to agree to disagree. Why should we spend our time nit picking each other and tearing each other down there are so many other things/people in this world waiting to do just that. We as mothers should be encouraging each other instead.

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  5. The best article on mothering I have read in a very long while. God bless you for writing it. I am so tired of folks judging one another. Let the love being with me. :)

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  6. ;) I hope I have never (and pray I will never) condemn any mother for her parenting practices (unless, of course, they are dangerous)

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    1. See now that's just it. If you don't vaccinate it's because you believe vaccines are dangerous, if you vaccinate it's because you think not vaccinating is dangerous. I think this is such a heated issue because no matter what you choose to do, either you're endangering your child or those other mom's are, and who could stand by let that go?

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    2. Beautiful post none the less. Made me cry. It's hard to feel like a good mom sometimes in the face of other peoples decisions.

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  7. This is wonderful. Thank you.

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  8. Beautiful reminder. Thank you!

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  9. Thank you Kelly, this is the first time i've added my two cents, but this past is so relevant to me. First, I would just like to say that I have NEVER had a person tell me that having"only one" child is best. In fact,I am repeatedly faced with something just short of horror when I inform people (who's business it really isn't in the first place) that we will not be having more children. that we are more than blessed and grateful with what God has given us.
    Second, and this relates to the first as well, before we got pregnant a LOT of people kept hounding us about when we would have children. What they didn't know is that we had been trying a long time and the drs told us we probably wouldn't be able to. So while our friends were popping out kids and teasing us about catching up they were inflicting horrible wounds on us that they had no business doing. Its one thing to ask if someone wants kids, its quite another to tease them, you may have no idea what is going on in their lives OR they may be actually really happy as they are (as we are).
    For many of the reasons you've mentioned I tend to avoid Mommy groups and I wish I didn't feel like I needed to. But I find healthy alternatives to make sure my child is well"socialized" and he is the better for it because his Mommy KNOWS she's a good Mommy and that's a shared blessing.

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    1. Thank you for posting this. My husband and I also have one child and I think we are done. It is by choice, much to the chagrin of everyone we know. People don't know how much comments hurt. I wish you the best and I'm sure you are the best mother you know how to be to your child.

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  10. Great post! I just keep wondering when the Mommy wars will end...at what age do we stop caring what other Mom's are doing. Recently I began homeschooling one child yet put the other in a charter school and took a ton of heat for both decisions and went with the double finger salute as my response to both criticisms. Good mothers do what is best for their individual child and don't worry about the rest is my motto.

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    1. Jennifer, I applaud (sp) you, YOU put your children first! As a parent myself of one daughter in third grade I can honestly say I honor what you have done. I'm with you on the double finger salute to the criticisms you received!!

      PS. LOVE THE POST

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  11. Beautiful post. What a lovely way to express your thoughts on so many of the "debates" surrounding motherhood. I completely agree with you 100%. The best piece of advice I ever got when I first became a Mom, was from my Mom, and she told me "Always remember that there is never a wrong way to be a Mom. Just love your kids the best you can, make choices with their best interests at heart, and it will always work out in the end." She was/is soooo right!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these matters. I think they way you presented your feelings on the matter is wonderful!!!

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  12. This is beautiful, I actually cried. I believe I was a judgmental person with regard to parenting before I had my son. Now I understand that sometimes what works for one family does not work for another and vice versa. I now try not to judge or make assumptions, but try to remember that I don't know all the facts/circumstances that lead other parents to make the decision they make. However, as you said some things are just plain wrong. For instance not using a car seat vs. using one with a lesser safety rating than my own. Thanks for sharing your "two cents."

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  13. Great post...I was on the receiving end of multiple comments from a friend when I had my first...down to how I should change his bum!..At that time I felt the only way to defend that I was a good mom was to go along with her and criticize others. I have since learned that that is THE worst way to go.. We are all struggling to keep our houses in order and keep our sanity intact. The last thing we need is another person telling us what we should do and how our kid is less than amazing compared to theirs. I still have a hard time responding when someone is trying to compare our kids..I find that I tend to just shut down and mentally exit the conversation. Thanks so much for writing this! It's so refreshing to hear :)
    -Heather

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  14. I really need to hear and trust your first point of "Doing things differently from you is not a comment on your parenting". I put so much strain on a certain friendship by assuming that she is judging my parenting when really she may just be making different choices from me. I will continue to pray about this issue and make sure I am not being overly sensitive. This morning my devotional took me to Proverbs 29:25 which says "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe." I need to not fear man but trust that the Lord is guiding me and my family. Thank you for your post.

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    1. I also wanted to mention that I am part of a mommies group that is UH-MAZING and while we are all a little different in our parenting, I have never felt judged or looked down on by any of the ladies in the group. I think it is because we all love Jesus and know that showing His love is FAR more important that what type of diapers we use :) So just wanted to encourage anyone out there that is IS possible to avoid mommy wars, but it helps to surround yourself with very loving women :)

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  15. Great post and God bless all mommys! Parenting can be tough, but love conquers all (most of the time)! As a mother of four grown children and grandmother of six great grandkids, I applaud each and every one of you and want you to know you are doing a good job whether you breast or bottle feed ( they're eating, right?), use cloth or disposable diapers, etc! Love is the most important aspect of motherhood or marriage, or any relationship for that matter! Love doesn't seem to be missing from any of the young mom's I have the privilege of knowing and that's what is important! Keep up the good work!

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  16. P.S. love the picture of your little darlings!

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  17. Also, good moms stay home and good moms work outside the home!

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  18. This is a great post! I just can't understand people that take it as a personal attack on their choice if someone chooses to do something a different way. I had this experience with a friend that I finally had to part ways with. She went so far as to blog about things I did or said without bringing my name up, and then when I told her I didn't mean it the way she used it she'd say it wasn't about me. It became blogging wars with her, one day I blogged about how I loved being a stay at home mom, but I hated staying at home, I wanted to be out and about with the kids, the very next day her blog post was entitled "I love staying at home!" and the first sentence was. "I just needed to say that." She had lots of kids and attacked everyone around her that didn't have more than two kids (of course I have two). She couldn't afford vacations so everyone that took vacations was a rich jerk that chose money over having children. Breast feeding until two, co sleeping, cloth diapers, organic milk, made her the better mom, and her husband was worse. They were unbearable people to be around. They just couldn't get that if someone didn't live their lifestyle, it didn't mean they automatically thought they were weirdos, but they constantly proclaimed how people thought that.
    Even though I am no longer friends with her, I have realized she was just really unhappy and it made her better to tear people down. It still didn't make being friends with her possible.

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  19. Kelly, just love your stuff. Some of your posts are just fun, fun, fun, and others, like this one, are so heartfelt. It really shows the depth of your caring and character. Nicely written and a wonderful sentiment.

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  20. I lost my oldest and dearest friend due to stuff like this. She works outside the home, her kids are in public school, and she buys lots of convenience foods due to their busy schedules. I homeschool, stay home with my kids, and we cook largely from scratch to save money.

    I went out of my way to communicate to her that I supported her in the decisions she and her husband made and did not ever compare our decisions to their decisions. We are different people on different paths. I appreciated our differences and the different perspective she gave me on life.

    She just couldn't shake the thought that I was constantly judging her decisions. Our time together was filled with comments like this from her, "Oh, I got this great deal on frozen pizzas the other day.....but of course you probably make your own so...." "Look at this neat sculpture my son made in art class last week....but I suppose you guys do stuff like this all the time...."

    I was sad to let this friendship go and I miss this friend and her family but I'd become so uncomfortable whenever we were together. It seemed that I couldn't say anything right to her without her making snarky comments. I miss her and it's weird as we live just blocks from eachother.

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  21. This is wonderful! I had to learn very soon after I became a mom that it was okay to parent a little different then friends. I feel that my long-term goals for mothering is to train my son to love God and others and the in between things are non-essentials. He won't be too effected if we use cloth diapers or disposables ones, or if he spends a morning watching t.v. while I clean compared to not watching it until the age of 2. It's hard being a mother and it takes a lot a lot! of grace. I think for me having lived motherhood this last year it's humbling and i'm not as quick to judge another mom because even though she appears strong, she had to figure out motherhood too. Again, thank you for putting this into words!

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  22. Amen!!! i thought i knew it all till i had kids :)

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  23. You shown me the light.
    thank you very much

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  24. And good mums take time out of their busy parenting schedule to write inspiring blog posts.
    And good mums read that blog and are grateful :)

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  25. Amen to that, sister! We need to support and uplift each other as mothers! So easy to forget.

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  26. I LOVE your post! I think it is so true. We should build each other up, not tear each other down. And its ok to be different :)

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  27. VERY WELL SAID!! I wish someone had shared this when I was a new mom back in the dark ages....I'm in my 60s now and still remember how wonderful a new baby felt in my arms and how terrified I was of making a mistake. Thanks for this wonderful post

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  28. Thank you for mentioning the formula thing! I believe in breast feeding. It is my preference. But, in May I had a daughter born with several severe heart defects. Even if I had been able to pump, we would have had to add formula to my BM for her to get extra calories. I could not breast feed because she would burn too many calories eating, we literally measured each and every cc, and had to fortify. Her growing was a matter of life and death as we needed her a certain size by her second surgery. I tried so hard to pump... so hard I ended up in the hospital for a week with infections in both breasts. I was getting about 4 hours of sleep a day between feeding her (which was VERY difficult), pumping and caring for my 4 year old. I was no good to either of my kids in the hospital or that run down. We had to make the decision I would stop pumping. I cried. I cried more when others made me feel bad for it. But, it was the best decision I could make for us. And you know what? She is doing awesome. Even with the "evil" formula!

    We just never know what is going on in someone else's life or all of the reasons they make the decisions they do. I just love what you had to say.

    Thanks :)

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  29. I think this might be the most wonderful post you have ever written!

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  30. I love this.

    From an adoptive, crib and co-sleeping, formula feeding, baby wearing, baby led anything, disposable diaper using, vaccinating, public school attending, organtic eating, free range parenting, and full time working mom of one.

    I got tons of flak about breast fed vs formula even with the adoption. Sometimes its just not an option.

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  31. I love this.

    From an adoptive, crib and co-sleeping, formula feeding, baby wearing, baby led anything, disposable diaper using, vaccinating, public school attending, organtic eating, free range parenting, and full time working mom of one.

    I got tons of flak about breast fed vs formula even with the adoption. Sometimes its just not an option.

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    1. This was a great post by Kelly, but your response was a close second! It just shows that you don't have to be 100% AP or anti AP. You can choose what is best for your family, and usually that is a little bit of both!

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  32. This is a wonderful and touching post! I've been guilty of certain mothering "sins", at least according to some! I formula fed, I had a hospital birth and an epidural, I use disposable diapers, and I vaccinate according to the standard schedule. It's so refreshing to read a post that doesn't condemn any of these things, nor does it condemn the opposite choices. Thank you!

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  33. Thank you! In the first couple months after having my son I struggled with comments about me formula feeding my son because I originally intended to breastfeed but it didn't work out. I now shrug them off but I hated feeling inferior or less of a good mother because of my decisions. I know that my decision was the best for us. I think it is wonderful if you can breastfeed but it wasn't for us. Thank you for reminding me that I am a good mother regardless of what others may think. :)

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  34. Now that I'm a grand-mommy, I can wholeheartedly say I agree with all your comments about "good moms". Thanks for the post!

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  35. I want to say thank you for this post! I homeschool my 4 kids, for our family it works. But the people in the community we live in can't grasp that it's ok to be different. I always say that for some families school public or private is best and for some staying at home works best. As long as kids are growing amd learning why should it matter where they learn. The kids now feel the need to explain the subjects they are in and projects they do because of the questions they get asked, I think they feel judged mostly by their friends moms.

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  36. i just passed this post on to my S-I-L who's 10 weeks along with #1, i think it's fantastic and a very comforting thing you've said right here.

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  37. Thank you so much for such an encouraging post. I've been dealing with criticism from my MIL because I don't do things the way she wants them done. It's nice to be reminded that I am a good mom even if I do things a little differently.

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  38. THANK YOU!
    You have said in this post what I have so often thought, but could never say for lack of saying it "right".

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  39. What an amazing post! So true!! My son is now 17 months old and OH how hard that first year was with all the decisions! I would add to this list: good moms babywear and good moms use strollers! :-) I'm a babywearer and involved in a local group - and at times, from the general babywearing community, there can be REAL judgement against those who use strollers... sigh... but I am not on light duty as I am 14 weeks pregnant and had bleeding at 5 weeks and several complications - one of my limitations has been not lifting my son - so we have used, *gasp*, a stroller... and I wonder about the judgement of those around me in the more natural parenting community I'm a part of... but with a toddler and the exhaustion/nausea of pregnancy, who has time to justify or explain? This post was really encouraging! As a new mother, I know there were times I judged other moms as I learned about various issues and "hot button" topics... and I regret it greatly. We DO need to help, encourage, and support one another along this journey of mothering - that IS so very hard, so very amazing, so very rewarding... thanks for this!

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    1. lol, I didn't know the stroller issue was a thing! i carried my baby around in an Ergo for a long time but I didn't really even know why, I just thought it seemed easier. then she got HEAVY and so now we have a stroller! never thought about it until I was at church and noticed, "hey, a lot of other moms still use their Moby's... am I a bad mom for using a stroller??" I am glad I didn't give it TOO much thought, maybe I am growing in my ability to not worry about what other people think! praise the Lord!

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    2. Heather - it seems as the days and months go by, the "I care what other moms are thinking" definitely lessens - praise God for that... parenting has certainly been used to break away more of my "people pleasing" tendencies!! Thanks for your reply! Hope you had a great Easter!

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  40. Wonderful. I'm a mom of 5 ages 19-6 and I've heard it all and unfortunately,particularly as a young mother, I participated occaisionally. I think it helps us feel validated in our choices. I can say as a homeschooling mother that the tearing down often doesn't stop with parenting. People can rip apart your homeschooling choices as well. "what you do you mean you don't use this math program?" Or "You're using WHAT?" or "you let your teenagers date?" Thankfully I've learned to be confident in our choices and hopefully allow others to do the same

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  41. AMEN! I love this post. I often feel belittled for my parenting choices. As one of three new mom's at my job I am the only one who formula feeds for reasons left to be unexplained here. I often feel negative vibes and comments from the other mother's who pump at work. It is their choice, I do not judge them. I was formula fed, my 2 year old was formula fed, and I think we turned out to be good humans thus far!

    To each their own! LOVE THIS POST. I will come back and read it many times to give myself a reminder it is ok!

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  42. Hi Kelly!!!
    Awesome post! It was a great read since I often feel like I am one of those moms who is constantly being judged because I am the odd one out when it comes to all my friends since I am the one who works, bottle feeds, had a hospital birth, had an epidural (with one, would of had it with the next but didn't have time! ouch!) the boys have been in a crib across the hall in their own room since they were brought home from the hospital, we use pampers! I was however formula fed, and my mom worked and she was miserable when we moved and she had to stay at home! So I feel like it was almost decided for me that I was expected to formula feed my children, put them in a crib and work! my mom always seem to make her opinions known, so I don't know if I would have breathed if my mom wasn't so insistent on formula feeding. But my husband was home with the first kid so it made sense to bottle feed! I feel like everytime we have a kid I get asked if I am done work for good now and will I stay at home with the boys. They are shocked and seem almost disgusted when I say nope I am off for 3 months or in this case a year and then I WILL, be going back to work. They always reply with oh " too bad". Which drives me nuts since I Love my job! and I find i;m a better mom and I do work, because when I come home I can't wait to hang out with them, and do fun stuff. And when I'm at home I can't wait to get out and be on my own! Since I am off for a year this time, I thought I would try it out and see if I could take it as a stay at home mom! so far I'm 6 months in and nothing has gotten done, mostly because I feel I have the mentality that I will be going back to work so whats the point. But every time I read your blog it gets me going again and I feel I should start meal planning, and getting a home binder into place! Still haven't done those things yet!!! but i do plan on it! I think all you stay at home moms are brilliant! crafty! awesome! and I wish I could be that too, but I love getting dressed up everyday, doing my hair, putting on my heels and going to work, it makes me feel beautiful and wanted and then I come home and clean! since I want it to look like I can do everything. When I'm home Im lazy, and my house is a disaster its so weird! I thought it would be different, I have 6 more months to see if I can hack it as a stay at home mom, but I'm pretty s use, it is work where I will end up, and my kids will go to daycare, which my oldest son misses actually, He misses playing with all the kids, doing all kinds of fun crafts , going on fun adventures and at home I don't seem to be able to keep up and do all those things with him daily! Well alrighty I think that was a good vent out session for me haha!!! thank you again kelly! I love your blog and I enjoy reading it! and I'll keep trying to keep house, but so far i think my husband thinks he is doing all the dishes haha! okie dokie I;m done! thank you!!!

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  43. Those Mom groups can be so awful I just avoid them altogether. I see my friends of course, but don't use any online mothering forums, and don't go to meet-ups around town. In my experience they are full of those "You're stupid" types, and there's also this weird hierarchy where moms of multiple kids look down on those of us with 1. I wish it was more ladies encouraging ladies and talking rationally about discipline, diapering, whatever. This is a really good post!

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    1. Good moms go to mommy groups and good moms dont. - chelsea

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    2. Having raised 6 kids, I can positively say I NEVER looked down on someone with 1 or 2 children. And I hope no one ever felt like I did. My experience was more like: "What? You're having ANOTHER baby? Don't you know where babies come from? Haven't you ever heard of birth control?" If they only knew! I was NOT able to use most forms of birth control, and the ones I could use were not always successful. Looking back, I don't know which of my darlings I would have done without. God blessed us with 6 boys and 1 girl [one of our boys died at 2o months]. Thank you, God for the Blessings!
      I enjoyed the post, and hope to pass it on!

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  44. yes and amen. Most importantly is that our children are loved unconditionally

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  45. Thank you! We all love our children no matter what, and that's what really matters. Great post!

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  46. Can I add: Good moms work. And good moms stay home. :)

    Very nice post, I'm glad it's spreading around Facebook. It's hard enough raising children well, we don't need to make it more difficult by being each other's enemies!

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  47. I needed this. We are traveling this summer to visit my in-laws. My SIL has very strong opinions. But reading this made me think, perhaps she is going on the defensive before there is even an offense. I hope I can be gentler with her and NOT get defensive when the not so subtle criticism is made. I am pretty sure that will happen. I need to pray that I can hold my tongue and be gracious. Thank you.

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  48. Very well said.

    When we live to set each other free, instead of binding up burdens not given by Jesus, we know what love truly means.

    Thanks for a very well thought-out post.

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  49. Preach it! I love this so much. Thank you for writing it. I'm a big believer in protecting against Mom On Mom Hate Crimes, and this just says it so well.

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  50. This is well said. I struggled a lot after the birth of my first daughter because I ended up having to have a c-section (breech baby), and struggled with breat feeding. Part of my guilt was judgement from others and part of it was self-inflicted because of my perception that others were judging me. I ended up writing a small snip-it about my coming to terms with everything (http://www.vanventures.blogspot.com/2009/06/after-having-c-section.html). Thanks for writing this - it's good for all of us Mom's to remember - both for ourselves and our choices and the other Moms we should support.

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  51. I hope you guys see this comment, I didn't see any other contact info for your site.

    I wanted to say I found your site recently, and I just got approved to adopt a 4 year old boy who will be arriving at my house by next month. He will be my and my husband's first child and we're both excited and very nervous. I've found it's a completely different experience than having a kid of our own and many of my friends can't always give me advice on what to expect. Your site has really made me relax a bit and realize that Motherhood comes naturally and if I'm just myself and try hard I'll be a good parent. So thanks for the great site!

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  52. This is a wonderful post. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. And I am so glad to see all the positive feedback you are getting from others. From one mom to another, thank you!

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  53. Thank you so much for writing this- it sooooo needed to be said!!! The only thing a mother needs to hear, at least in my case, is "you're doing a good job." LOVE THIS ARTICLE!!!

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  54. I'm not a mom, but this was a great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  55. I am not a Mum yet, but if I ever am, I will aim to keep this in mind. Nearly everyone I know has children, and I guess I will need to not feel swamped by how other people do things. It's a really encouraging post, even for people without kids. It's lovely to be made more aware of how my friends might be feeling about this stuff. Thanks.

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  56. Thank you for this post. I just came across your blog today and am so thrilled for the encouragement! As a first-time mom of a now 10-month-old, I have found myself fighting the mommy war with myself. Most recently, feeling that I wasn't a good mom because I couldn't figure out the best way to get him to sleep (cry vs. nurse vs. check on him, etc.), as if there was some magic right answer. Your post encourages me to give myself some grace as a mom. Thank you!

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  57. I love this post. I've been targeted in the past for not believing just like other moms (especially ONE crazy mama) and frankly it was sad. I am not going to say I've never said "wow, I'd never do that" or "why on earth would anyone do that?"... but ultimately I always respected everyone's right to be different and raise their children differently as who the heck am I to insist that everyone is like me. That's crazy talk.
    I had my one and only child at 40 after years of infertility. I'm unable to have more... boy could I tell ya'll some stories... the rude comments. hahaha

    Luckily I have thick skin.
    Take care and keep parenting imperfectly. I'm weird/imperfect/not "normal" and I like it that way...
    Hugs,
    Emily

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  58. thank you, thank you, thank you for putting my thoughts down for me! When I was 24 I had my first daughter, I looked 16, imagine the looks and the comments and the well meaning advice. Fast forward 12 years and I have two children back to back, now, considering I've done a great job the first time, I should know something, right? Wrong! lol Only good thing is that I know realize that they weren't looking down on my age, just that I was a mom. Seriously, I think that if you love your child/children and you show them that love....whether you bottle/breast feed, home school/public school, cloth/disposable, etc it truly doesn't matter. What matters is the love and respect that you show yourself, others and your kids. I know a few new moms, and my only advice is, "take help when it's offered and sleep when you can."

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  59. One of my favorite quotes is "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." Marjorie Pay Hinckley. Thank you for this post. It is brilliant.

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  60. Amen! I've worked outside the home, stayed at home, breast fed, formula fed, had an emergency c-section after a planned natural labor gone awry, I've got an only child who I've coddled and let cry it out. We're all trying to figure out this parenting thing, and none of us is perfect. Mothering is hard enough, we do NOT need to berate each other for every decision another makes that we think we'd do differently. We need to be supportive and encouraging, blessing each other with friendship, support, and help. Spread the love!

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  61. This is a great reminder - especially for fellow bloggers. Thank you!

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  62. Great article. I linked it to my blog because it inspires me! Thank you so much.
    I have had natural labor and csection with twins and a singleton after. I've used mainly disposable diapers though I wish I could use cloth (I have 3 in diapers right now and can't keep up with the laundry also). I have tried to breastfeed my first, he was tongue tied didn't work right even after he had it clipped. I just never produced enough. then with twins, I tried out of pure determination for 3 months. It didnt work. I had a lactation specialist tell me that I should just sit in one spot all day and just let them nurse. I realized then that it really was not a very good expectation and began to switch fully to formula for my sanity and my sleep. With my last one, I'm finally able to fully breastfeed. But, I'm thankful for the other experiences, too.

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  63. Thank you for this post. It is comforting to know that I'm not the only one who is getting judged for my choices regarding motherhood. I haven't even had my first child yet (my little boy is due at the end of May) and I have already been criticized for the decisions that I am CONSIDERING making regarding how I will care for my son. I will admit that I get quite defensive when people tell me that I really should do something a certain way instead of the way I am considering. I have gotten flack for almost every choice that I have talked about making, including delayed vaccinations, baby wearing, breastfeeding past 1 year, cloth diapers, not wanting a "bouncy" seat, wanting to delay solid foods until 1 year, trying for a natural childbirth, my son's first name, the spelling of his middle name, possibly feeding goats milk if breastfeeding doesn't work out, buying a manual breast pump instead of a double electric, etc. Really I have gotten negative responses about most of the decisions that I am considering for my son, and it really hurts. I feel like just because this is my first baby people are acting like I don't know anything about how to be a mom. My choices are based on research and personal beliefs, and I know that I haven't read every single piece of information about parenting (I don't think that's possible because there is just so much) but I have tried to read up on both sides of most of the major issues and have made decisions based on what information/opinions that I have been exposed to. I'm kind of sick of a certain woman in particular telling me that I will HAVE to do this or that, I just want to tell her "Just because that is what you HAD to do, doesn't mean that that same thing will work for me and my son." The worst thing is that a lot of the moms who are judging me are family members. I am trying to just tune out all of the negative comments though. Again, thank you for this blog post. :) Oh and I want to add that the only truly positive response that I got when I told people that I was pregnant was from a guy who goes to my church (whose wife was also pregnant at the time with their first child, they are about the same age as me), he said "That's awesome, children are such an amazing gift from God." Most of the other responses were tinged with disappointment or worry, because most people think I'm too young (I'm 22 and I've been married for over 2 years) and too poor to be having a child.

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    1. Every child is a blessing I got pregnant at 21 my husband was 19 he was making minimum wage I was a full time student. It has been 3 years and were are a wonderful family. God has blessed you for a reason and it sounds like for being 22 you are very wise. You don't sound like the kind of person who would be a flake. Stick to your guns I breastfed for 23 months I got a lot of slack for it but I would have done it for 3 years had I known my son would develop food allergies after weaning. Best of luck to you in all your journeys. God bless.

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  64. Sounds like you are on Cafemom.com... they argue over this stuff all the time. And some formula feeding moms get bashed a lot, too. Very unfortunate. Love your blog BTW; I found it about a week ago and have been looking through a lot of your posts!

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  65. While this brings a good point and I do not judge, I believe every mom does what's right for her baby, her family. I would be lying if I said I can ignore the fact that seeing a child suffer from a virus they could have been vaccinated for is sad. To have a friend hundred of thousands of dollars in debt when she could have chosen a 20$ vaccine to me is silly they have proven the claims against vaccines are false and stripped the doctors licenses who did the research. I think if your a mother of certain attributes you can be nice cordial hold your tongue but you can't lie to yourself. Your beliefs are yours. I know someone that is a fantastic mom but that doesn't change the fact that you can see certain differences in children whose parents did not make certain choices for them. I'm not saying its really bad or this child will never be as smart as this child but things thatim have been researched over and over proven to be correct. But yes there is no right or wrong way but I believe motherhood is a series of decisions that you can choose to take the selfless route or the selfish route. Doesn't make someone a bad mom just means some people were not made that way. call it as you read it but I'm just being honest. But while i believe what I believe I would never put someone down. I just get sick of the excuses. Don't make excuses, I have a dear friend that owns up to the fact she has taken a more selfish route but she doesn't make excuses. I respect every mother but I also don't lie to myself for my selfish decisions. I don't look down on someone for not breastfeeding who legitimately couldn't or said I'm not selfless enough or patient enough for it. But I just don't like the caddy let's lie about our reasoning for this. Let's all be honest, don't make excuses. I am not selfless enough to cloth diaper I know its highly beneficial in many ways but I just don't have the patience for it.

    Respect is earned not given. I don't judge but I don't tolerate dishonesty.

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  66. Thanks for this blog post! This is my first pregnancy- due in two months- and it's amazing how even people you don't know feel free to give you all kinds of advice, isn't it? But it's true that the stuff from family members or close friends is the hardest. My personal strategy is not to share too much about my plans (my husband and I decided early on that we wouldn't be sharing our son's name with anyone else until it's on the birth certificate). I don't like confrontation, so when people share their opinions or recommendations that I don't agree with, I try to give a respectful but vague response-- "Thanks for your input, I know there's a lot to consider when making a decision on that," "I can see how that would work for many families," "Yeah, I definitely need to do some more research about that." There's so many things to consider and make a decision on already, it's so true we don't need to make each other feel guilty and judged about things we're already feeling anxious about!

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  67. I'm a new reader to your blog. This was just the post I needed to read. I'm not sure I can say that I've been hurt by another mommies words, but by their indirect actions/comments. More than likely I've been the one dishes out my own bias opinions. Thank you for the reminder that we are all doing this job of mommy the best that we know how, and by what we think is best for our families. Whats right for us may not be whats best for you or another person. your comment that we need to encourage open discussion, by sharing our opinions and not forcing them really stuck with me. Thank you!

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  68. Excellent Kelly, an awesome blog : )

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  69. Kelly, I don't think I mentioned it, but when I made the joke about being "that kind of mom" this weekend, it was because I was referring to your blog...lol...but don't think i specified that.
    Anyways, my two cents...when I gave birth to my daughter, I was very scared of being a parent, and was worried I was doing everything wrong and damaging her. I formula fed even though I took a lot of flack for it, I let her cry it out, I gave her a soother, we didn't co-sleep, etc...etc...etc. I don't believe any of that damaged her....but I do know I did most things because that's what I only felt was acceptable to do. When Micah was born, many of those same techniques went out the window due to health issues. We never let him cry it out, we co-slept, etc. Still feeling like a bad parent, my heart couldn't take following other people's advice when my son was in pain and so we threw out the books and coped the best way we knew how through 6 months of chronic colic. Now that I am 3 weeks to giving birth again, I plan to breastfeed, co-sleep, baby wear, but most of all enjoy every minute. Do I think that my two very different methods of raising my children affect them deeply in the long run? Not at all, both my kids are such blessings to me...so why the change of method? Because given my personality, our family dynamics, and how I manage, this is what works best for our family and provides a more calm, peaceful, situation. It has nothing to do with what is right or wrong way of parenting, but more of what is right for MY family. And yes, finally, by child #3, I don't really care what others think of my parenting techniques.

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  70. Super post! Motherhood decisions are a combination of research and individual opinions/ beliefs. I once had an individual ask me if I knew that my 2 yr old's pre school lunch included a jar of vegetable baby food? Of course, as I had packed it....and it is very nutritionally complete and without additives. It may have seemed "wrong" to her, but I supplemented with this to ensure my child's veggie intake. "Baby Food"? "Reeeeally"? (eyebrows raised). Really. Next subject. Same person also informed me that my daugther was the oldest 2 yr old girl in the class. Yes, I knew this also to be true. Then, she said some of the younger boys were already potty trained. Yes..and my daughter would potty train when she was ready and I would know when that time came. I assured this person she would not be wearing diapers to indergarten! And my daughter was completely potty trained in 2 days at age 3 yrs/2 months....I was right; she completely "got it" when she was ready. I am so glad I had my child in my mid-forties.....not sure how I would have handled all this unsolicited advice in earlier years. However, many comments are more likely to be made in love and concern, so have to keep an open mind.

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    1. "Really. Next subject."

      hahaha!! Right?!? sometimes I want to say to people "what do you care? Does it affect you at all?" Next subject. Love it!

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  71. Beautifully written post, thank you. I'm a mother of two. Regardless, I think we (parents) are all just trying to do our best at caring for our children and helping them become the people they're meant to be. We were all raised differently. Our children will all be raised differently. And that's all ok.

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  72. Love this post. Made me a little misty eyed. We all spend so much time second guessing ourselves or harboring mommy guilt as it is, without being or feeling attacked for deciding to do things differently. We need to support each other instead!!

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  73. Love this! You said it so beautifully!!! Sharing this with all of my mommy friends, especially new mommies

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  74. Hi Kelly! I love this post! I admin on a Facebook page called "Scrunchy Mommies," and this is exactly the frame of thought we are trying to promote. Would you mind if we linked to your blog so our fans could wander over and visit you? :) Thanks, ~Lindsay~

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  75. Oh, I'm sorry, here is the link to our page so you can check it out for yourself: https://www.facebook.com/ScrunchyMommies

    :) ~Lindsay~

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  76. This is such a great reminder of truth. Mothering is hard enough without the "mommy-wars". Why do we compete in this? There really can't be any competition, each family is so different. When I had my son I was bound and deteremined to Breast feed because I felt it would be the very best, but when he was born he had a horrible infection in his lungs and I we weren't able to start nursing until he was a week old. We never were really able to catch on right, despite all my efforts. Finally I decided to just go with formula and remove that stress in my life. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. No one had actually condemned me for this, but for a long time I was condemning myself for my irrational thoughts on how I would be percieved by my peers. All that doesn't matter! A healthy, supported, and LOVED child is all that matters, no matter how we do it. I have tried to combat this at my friend's baby showers when we are asked to give some kind of advice for the new mother. I always try to say something like, "Try what you feel is best, if it doesn't work that's okay... find what does and love it!" I really appreciate this post, we need to support each other as we raise our children.

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  77. I just found your blog via "I Heart Organizing" blogspot.
    This post made me cry... and I love you for it.
    I feel beat up OFTEN by my fellow mom-friends. It's to the point where I don't hang out with gal-pals that were once my closest friends. It's sad really. I completely agree with your statements above & I'm sharing this post!
    Thank you... seriously.. thank you!
    -Gen K.

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  78. Wow. Beautifully said. Thank you for this encouragement.

    Jenifer
    jenifermetzger.org

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  79. Thank you so much! Moms need encouragement and not negativity. I am guilty of this and a vitamin of this. I think most moms are. By the way your twins are beautiful. I have 9 month old twins as well.

    Mary
    Adayinthelifeofthekuesters.blogspot.com

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  80. This was such a wonderful post that many of us moms needed to read, because it wouldn't have sunk in otherwise. I've linked it from my blog in a post about special needs kids (I have 2, one with autism and one with ADHD) and not being judgmental about other special needs parents. Thank you for making me think and inspiring a few more of us moms!

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  81. I found your blog on Pinterest. I was born loving to organize and being talented at it. I was perusing your blog tonight, looking for a feeling of "I'm a good mom." Thank you for sharing your thoughts in a heartfelt and educated way.

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  82. I LOVE the thoughts that you shared here! Thank you!

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  83. Coming from a mom whose boobs just didn't work right, and whose body just didn't go into labor naturally...thank you. It made me cry.

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  84. Thank you for saying that parenting is hard. I have this thought every now and then and feel guilty thinking that I'm doing something wrong or that I'm not cut out for this. BUT there are many amazing moments that come with being a mum. There are challenges but they are absolutely well worth it!

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  85. This was so well written and long over due to be said. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement to everyone out there. This was a subject in itself that really needed to be said. I really am so thankful someone was able to write it out in a way that really neutralized the situation. Thank you for this post!

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  86. "Good moms have 10 kids. Good moms have one." This one is my favorite. I needed to re-read this list tonight. Thank you. I have one, and feel like I'm the only one who does.

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  87. What a beautiful post! I'm passing along your blog to all my mommy friends. I never had children due to health issues, and in our 50's, my husband and I have come to peace that God's plans did not include that for us. But I am drawn to young mothers in our church, and have made myself always available to anything I can do for them. Here's what I have found they need most: they need another adult to talk to, no judgement. They need to come over for a break, while I watch the little ones. They need someone to come to their house, step over that basket of clothes, ignore that dirty counter, and tell them how amazing they are. Sometimes, they need someone to fold the clothes in the basket, clean the counter,(but only when you have built trust that your actions are not a statement of judgement). They need someone to watch the kids so they can just go out shopping, eat lunch, or be an adult for a while. But MOST of all, they need someone to constantly, lovingly, assure them that their job IS important, and as mommies, they have answered a divine calling that makes the world a better place.

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  88. Oh. MY. I'm in tears. Thank you so much for writing this post!!! I needed to hear this. I thank God for women like you that can express TRUTH. SO refreshing to read a post like this and a great reminder for me to not judge other Moms, and to not let others opinions take away my confidence as a "good Mom".

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  89. I'm in tears! Thank you for sharing this. There are A LOT of GOOD MOMs out there, and you've encouraged me that I'm a good mom, too! God bless you!

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