A mom of twins suggests that parenting doesn't have to be so hard if we can just support each other and learn to let go a little.
Kids are the literal best: The way they see the world, their sweet smiles when you surprise them, and when they spontaneously say, “I love you, mommy!” It will melt your heart.
On the other hand, parenting is incredibly difficult. You’re supposed to feed them organic foods while somehow avoiding cake at a birthday party. Then another blog tells you not to deprive your children of sugar and chicken nuggets or they’ll grow up resenting you. But wait, let’s not forget the debate of sleep training versus natural sleep methods.
Can we all just agree that parenting is hard no matter what route you chose to go? And oh, by the way, can we all just support one another?
Community is better
Raising kids is arguably the most important thing we will do in our entire lives. So why would we isolate ourselves and pretend that our way is the only way to parent? We need each other.
We also need to stop offering free advice to a mom who is just doing their best. Let’s show up for one another and stop mom-shaming through shaded comments and advice that wasn’t welcomed. If you see a mom having a hard day, give her a compliment or offer to babysit. That’s the best way to build community and offset the difficulties of parenting.
The internet will tell you what you want to hear
Can we all agree that Google isn’t the gospel? If you want to find an internet article to support your point of view, it’s easy. So, please, stop posting on your friend’s timeline that oat milk will cure the common cold. She is just venting because dealing with kid sickness is HARD and she doesn’t need a computer virus from the fake news article you just posted.
And ask any pediatrician about WedMD and you will be met with a strong side-eye. The internet is full of diverse opinions and we should filter that information as such.
Social media isn’t real
And before you start getting down on yourself, remember – social media is just the highlight reel. That mom who posted her kid smiling in an all-white outfit while baking cupcakes? She probably pulled her hair out trying to get that shot.
And let’s be honest. When is the last time you posted your kid coloring on the walls or throwing a tantrum at the grocery store? We don’t. Mainly because you’re too busy parenting at that moment to document it.
So keep posting the sweet memories, but don’t compare your life to someone else’s because it’s a snapshot, not the whole story.
Commonality: We all are doing our best
I have friends who felt bad that I had a C-section and other friends who brought me champagne to celebrate. We all have different expectations and views of how parenting will turn out for us. But despite the differences, we are all in this together and we’re doing our best.
I may never be a vegan (mainly because chicken nuggets are the top food group in our house) but rest assured I will never tell a mom to feed her kid meat if she doesn’t want to.
Let’s cheer each other on and stay focused on being there for one another.
We turned out okay
And, frankly, most of us turned out okay before all the parenting books and classes and blogs. I ate TV dinners and watched Saturday morning cartoons and roamed the neighborhood streets and I’m still here.
Perspective is everything and it’s easy to feel less than adequate when you compare your parenting to someone else’s. But take this as your daily pep talk: You, my friend, are amazing. You created multiple tiny humans, all at once, and are doing your very best.
The one thing all kids need? LOVE. Just love your kids, take a deep breath, and don’t worry how much Paw Patrol is too much Paw Patrol. Now go high-five the next mom you see.
Stefani Zimmerman Drake is a twin mom and lover of rescue dogs. As a nonprofit strategist who works in Charleston, South Carolina, Stefani spends her time capturing all the sweet moments of her girls, while dreaming about her next big adventure. You can follow the #babydrakes adventures via Instagram stories.