I Am Not a Better Mother Than You.

I am not aย  better mother than you. I am not a worse mother than you. I am a different mother than you in some ways, and the same mother as you in others.

We are different. We make different choices based on our lives, our needs, the needs of our child, our support systems, the number of children that we have, and the needs of our hearts.

I do not love your baby as much as you do, and you do not love mine as much as I do. It is impossible, because we are bonded to our children through having carried them, birthed them, sought them out to adopt them, held them near as soon as were able.

We can speak of our experiences, our wishes, our feelings, our dreams, our reasons. We can speak in happiness, in misery, of the things that we are confident in, and the things that we question.

My words on nurshable are meant to offer encouragement to those whose hearts are similar, not to critique those whose hearts are different or wound those whose lives make them make difficult decisions that I do not envy (but that I do respect).

You are the only one inside your head. You are the only one that knows your reasons for doing things. You are the one that knows the pain and responsibility of difficult choices.

An informed choice made out of love is never a bad choice. Do not take the guilt that others offer you. Do not find guilt in another’s joy. Quiet the voices of others, look at your life with honesty, see your circumstances clearly, understand what can and cannot be changed. Understand YOUR life the way no one else can. And make your choices with love.

The letters that I write on Nurshable are not meant to cause you pain. They may speak of things that are not attainable. I am sorry. I mourn many difficult choices that I was forced to make against my heart, even as I understand that they were necessary. I understand. Those choices do not make you a “bad mother”. They make you a wise woman who loved her baby SO much that understood that certain wishes of hers were things that needed to be let go.

I’m not a better mother than you. No one is a “better” mother than you. You are the parent that your child loves. You are the parent that your child needs. Make your choices with love. Find the beauty in them. Seek out the happiness, and feel it deeply. Do not focus on the things that you wish that you could do differently unless change is realistic and attainable without sacrificing something else that is more important.

Life is a juggling act for most. If we allow others to look over our shoulder and dictate how we juggle the balls, we will drop most of them. Listen to your heart, look at your life honestly, look at your child. Parent with love. You answer only to yourself, your partner, and your children.

Take your joy and your peace without robbing mine.

No informed decision made out of love is ever the wrong one.

  19 comments for “I Am Not a Better Mother Than You.

  1. Diana Cote
    July 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I love it! :)

  2. Lynn Powell
    July 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    very nicely said…..i LOVE it!

  3. July 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Hey! Hi! No joy robbing intended. Interestingly, my friend who originally posted your article said the same thing to me… that I needed to consider your audience (“written to those whose hearts are similar”). She is my very best friend in the world and we couldn’t be MORE different in our parenting! (trust me, she wouldn’t back down a second when I told her I found your article condescending! She LOVED it.) I guess things get complicated when the audience can so easily expand. Certainly not your fault and I don’t think that you should change for a second who you are or how you write (by the way, you are a beautiful writer). But it’s worth being aware that as your audience expands, you might “inspire” others with different hearts to put their thoughts out there too. It’s all good, we can certainly agree to disagree after all.

    http://threegeminisandasagittarius.blogspot.com/2012/07/random-thoughts-vol-2.html

    • sarah
      July 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      You’re not the robber of joy. A friend of mine is. You’re another opinion that I.. I can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ reading..Hmm.. Appreciated reading. People who think differently than you do give perspective.

      I don’t know that the people responding on my blog were readers of yours, the post has also made its rounds on some sleep training boards where people are pretty much ready to burn me at the stake. I’ve also been called out on making moms with Postpartum psychosis feel bad.

      I guess I don’t quite understand the perspective of “Your happiness makes me miserable”. I’m deaf and I love to hear (see? read? lipread? :p) a person’s enthusiasm for music that I can only hear the ghost of. Reading things that I wish for but cannot have makes me wistful, not hurt. When I read about people that are able to feed their kids off of all organic food raised and grown in their backyard and their reasons why they do it.. I wish I was able to do that. Maybe certain things hurt more deeply.

      It’s a good wake-up call that there is a lot of unhealed pain out there. That’s a lesson that I appreciate learning although I wish I had been able to learn it without causing others any ouchiness.

      Love your random thoughts post btw. I have never managed to eat diaper cream, but I have walked around with poop on my face. I think I would have preferred to have eaten diaper cream. :)

      • July 26, 2012 at 11:20 pm

        Oh good! a) that I’m not the joy robber and b) that the harsher comments were likely not from my readers… I have a small (but awesome) following and while I think they knew where I was coming from, they don’t strike me as “come pick a fight” people.
        It IS good to have people with different perspectives in our lives (that’s why my best friend and I are, well… best friends, in spite of it all). I’ll probably even start following your blog now (even if it does make me go “oh barf!” every now and then). ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • sarah
          July 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

          You’ve gained a follower in me as well, even though I’ll probably raise an eyebrow at a few things here and there and may occasionally be tempted to be like “BUT.. BUT.. THAT CAN BE FIXED WITH RAINBOWS! AND.. LIKE.. DAISIES AND SUNSHINE!” ๐Ÿ˜‰ Kidding. My kids are the only thing I can manage the mushiness over. Outside of them I’m the sort that raises an eyebrow if I’m gifted flowers, and that needs to be reminded by my partner when we have an anniversary coming up. :) My kids make a sap of me.

          I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to join hands and sing Kumbaya now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • July 27, 2012 at 2:40 am

            Bahaha! Yes, you tell me about rainbows and daisies and I’ll tell you about realities (especially the realities of twins!)… like eating diaper cream (and having poop on your face – wait, what?!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Kumbaya it is. And nice to “meet” you… :)

  4. July 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    And by the way, I removed the link on my post to yours… I wanted people to have the context for where I was coming from, but I intended for them to comment on MY post, not come over here and give you a hard time! I do understand their feelings, but I’m not into giving blog authors a hard time about their stuff.

    • sarah
      July 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Let me know if you want me to keep your link or not. I removed the link to your site as well. I had initially put it in as a reminder to myself to try to figure out if I could ping-back to you somehow, and then forgot to remove it. I hope no one has given you a hard time.

      • July 26, 2012 at 11:24 pm

        Nope, no negative comments. I don’t see you baby-wearing, exclusively breast-feeding, never-let-your-baby-cry people as particularly aggressive though (except for when it comes to your kids, ahem). ๐Ÿ˜‰ Probably best to keep the link removed though, thanks!

        • July 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm

          I have mad respect for both of you – different philosophies yet totally getting along and respecting one another.

          • Jessica
            December 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm

            me too.

          • Dancing mama
            May 17, 2014 at 5:27 am

            I just read these comments to each other and thought… Wow! So respectful.
            I tend to be the sunshine, lollipops and rainbows girl in life in general, but battle inner voices and family voices who very much disagree. It constantly tears at me and has taken me seven years to realize… My kids aren’t theirs! They are not better parents than I am. I just parent differently… And when I accepted that, I was suddenly able to parent consistently; which was the best thing that ever happened to my children.

  5. Tina
    July 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Love this, Sarah! Beautifully written. It’s sad that some people feel the need to rip others apart for their informed, researched, heart-felt decisions.

  6. Sarah
    July 29, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Sarah, I am the mother of a special needs 9 year old boy and now an 8 month old boy. My oldest is a constant challenge to me as a mom and I am constantly searching for help in mothering him. I have recently found your blog and while I appreciate what you have to say in regards to our babies, I am more impacted by your writings as it relates to my relationship with my older son. Your overall attitude strikes me as one of acceptance and appreciation of your children as people, respecting their individuality however it manifests itself. I struggle to be able to do this for my son. I struggle with his disabilities and regret their reality in his life and how they hold him back. And so I wanted to let you know that your writings are helping me to change my attitude toward my son, accept him for who he is, respect his needs and repair our relationship from the ways I have destroyed it. Please keep writing and sharing your stories. Thank you for your honesty and heart for our babies. Thank you for helping me be a better mom.

  7. August 11, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I think every mama should read this post :)

  8. Beth
    August 20, 2012 at 12:19 am

    LOVE THIS. And the comments on it, too. I am soooooo tired of the Mommy Wars, so it’s nice to see some actual conversation going on, instead of just judgmental BS.

  9. September 4, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    This is true people parent differently depending on their situation, the personality and needs of their children, and what their own personal belief system is – I feel sad at how quick we are as women to judge each others parenting when what we really should be doing is being honest and supporting each other. Parenting is the hardest job you will ever do and I applaud the mums who can stand up and say I get it wrong sometimes as we all do! :) xxx

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