My friend Julie is one of those cool moms who just has her shit figured out. I’m sure her kids drive her just as crazy as mine do, but she is unflappable and seems to be content to just act as a battering ram against the chaos. That kind of go-with-the-flow mentality is crucial, not just for parenting, but also for being a kick ass mom friend. Julie is someone who hears you’re on night one of letting your 10 month old cry it out, and instead of sending you a bunch of literature, will talk you off the edge and send you a glass or two of wine. Snarky, but also empathetic, this mom of four boys knows things about parenting that all us newbies can only hope to understand.
This week, she taught all of us over in the Sanctimommy group a term that just knocked our socks right off.
It all started when our friend Susie came in to complain about how elitist and judgy some mom groups are on the internet.
It can be hard to find support if you’re not a die hard proponent of one very specific and narrow parenting methodology. If you babywear, but don’t formula feed, it raises eyebrows. If you make your own laundry soap and cloth diaper, but vaccinate your kids on schedule, it arouses suspicion. There are rules to being a “crunchy” mama, but what happens when you’re too “silky” for the granola crowd, but too into natural remedies for all the Salk-ians?
It’s a conundrum. Especially for those of us who don’t really care what other people do with their kids and just want some virtual asspats after a long day in the trenches.
The cool thing about the sanctimommy group, is that we can have discussions that would implode most other parenting circles but keep it relatively clean. Maybe it’s because they know I’m screenshotting them for my blog so they have to be accountable for what they say? Or maybe it’s just because I have the best friends on the internet? Either way, we had a pretty great discussion about things we’ve compromised over the years and parenting philosophies we gave up and how we’ve grown, not just as gestators, but as women.
It seems simple enough, but when Julie brought up the idea of treating parenting like a buffet line, where you take what you like and leave what you don’t, our minds were blown. Was it really that simple?
Can we make this a thing? In a limitless array of choices we have to make every day, can we lose the lofty ideology and just take what we need? It seems simple enough, but when we give up our labels, it almost seems like we lose our identity. If I’m not “Sam’s mommy, the AP normal-duration nurser” than who am I?
Myself. I get to be myself. And, BONUS! when I’m myself that means you get to be your self, and then we don’t have to bullshit each other about how rewarding motherhood is, we can just get together and cry because our 4 year olds won’t sleep through the night and our baby just got kicked out of daycare for biting. We don’t have to make all our decisions so cerebral, we can do what we need to to get through the day.
It seems extraordinarily simple, but could we pull it off? Could we stop looking for validation and instead offer solidarity? What would Julie do?
Tell me about your parenting style in the comments, in what way do you follow a specific philosophy and where do you deviate into doing what’s best for you?