Dearest readers of One Mother to Another,
So often these days when I fire up Facebook, I’m bombarded by the labels and designations that we mothers use to categorize each other. Helicopter mom, free-range parent, breastfeeder, formula feeder, working mom, stay at home mom…the list goes on. I see judgments on everything from the types of foods we give our children to how far we choose to let them roam on their bikes alone; from the way we opt to bring our babies into this world to the medications we put into their bodies.
The mom police, it would seem, are lurking around every corner, just waiting for us to slip up, to have an off day, to crack under the pressure of the toughest job on the planet. It’s exhausting to be so vigilant, to feel like we can never let our guard down for fear of being deemed a lesser mother, to live with one finger constantly in the dam, holding back the flood of criticism that is sure to come if we give just a little.
As most of you know, I try very hard to be as transparent and candid as possible about my life as a mother. You’ve seen the inside of my bare fridge on grocery day, the state of my playroom after it’s been torn apart by my toddler, the tantrum that developed after I denied my son the apple core he found under the radiator. I genuinely enjoy sharing these moments with you because, in turn, you’ve rewarded me with your own honesty and candidness and allowed me to peek into your not-so-perfect lives as well. We keep it real around here and, because of that, we’ve built a community of moms who aren’t afraid to tell it like it really is, even on the worst of days.
And I’m so damn proud of that. It gives me immeasurable pleasure to come to this little corner of the Internet and feel like we’re all truly on the same page. There’s no name-calling, no belittling, no competition, no labeling. It’s inspiring. It’s awesome. It means something.
But I want to take it a step further. I want to make a pledge to you, my fellow mothers, because it’s so important to me that this beautiful thing we have going stays pure and untainted, that no matter how many more wonderful mothers join us in this community, our core beliefs stay intact.
So here is my solemn pledge to you:
I promise to take you as you are, no matter how or when you became a mother, whether you’re exactly like me or we share nothing in common besides the binding tie of motherhood. All I ask is that you afford me the same courtesy.
I swear that I will not judge your unwashed hair and sweatpant-clad legs or pass judgment on the extra baby weight that clings to your hips six months postpartum because your physical appearance is not fodder for discussion or speculation. And, in turn, I ask that you extend me the same grace and amnesty, as a fellow woman who struggles with her appearance, too.
I vow to listen to and respect your differing opinion, even if we are on polar opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to a certain belief, as long as you grant me the same respect and afford me the right to speak my mind plainly.
I promise to avoid the labels, the categorizations, the blanket statements that box you into one style of parenting and, instead, celebrate your unique and dynamic take on motherhood, as long as you allow me the same space to breathe.
I vow to not condemn you or belittle you if your parenting choices differ from mine; I will not start a war over the supposed correct way to strap your own child into his or her carseat when you post a picture on Facebook or cast stones over the way in which you choose to supply nutrients to the child you birthed without any of my help. All I ask is that you abide my choices, even if they’re not the same ones you’d make for your children.
I pledge to give you the benefit of the doubt when you’re having a rough day, when I see you in Target with a screaming toddler and patience worn thin because I’ll know that, when it was me in the same position, you offered a simple smile and a nod that said you understood.
I promise to defend you, to have your back, to be on your side and in your corner because I know you will do the same for me if push comes to shove.
This is my #mommitment to you, my fellow mother, because you matter to me and I couldn’t do this motherhood thing without you.
If you’re interested in signing the #mommitment started by the brilliant Julie Maida of Next Life, NO Kids, please visit her site or click the picture below. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
To read more essays about what #mommitment means to other moms, please check out the Pinterest board where you can find many more voices speaking out about this movement.