Friday, August 30, 2013

To My Mama Friends

I have some great mama friends!  I know that everybody thinks that their friends are the best, and they probably are the best for you, but I want you to know that I've found my tribe.  The only problem with my tribe?  We all live so far away from each other.  My tribe is located in Cleveland, Berlin, Indiana, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Minnesota, Florida, California, Washington D.C. area, and several other places that I'm sure I'm forgetting.  With all of us being so spread out, I sometimes get these awesome-sauce e-mails from my friends about the other mothers in their chosen area.  Yesterday I got the one below from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous.  The contents of this essay are the reason that we can be friends.  Enjoy! 
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To my Mama friends:
There is a growing trend among my playground group that has me worried.   Mothers I know are increasingly more reliant on the internet to make any decision regarding their children.  They simply have no confidence in their decisions without an 'expert' telling them they are correct.
Whether it concerns the best activities for a six month old's fine motor skill development, the impact on using the perfect verbiage to build self esteem, or the ideal age for team sport participation, the moms I know are using the internet as a constant crutch for their parenting choices.  Constant.
And I get it.  I do.  No one wants to be the subject of some scary tell-all book/movie à la Mommy Dearest, right?  We want the best for our kids.  So, the best they will get.
But is that truly best for them?  I hate to question such a sincere dedication to one's offspring, but let's be honest-  Is the internet reallythat helpful in being the best parent we can be?
I can't lie.  I'm the first to hop on WebMD when my kiddos aren't feeling well and I've yet to be connected with their pediatrician.  I read mom blogs.  I even used to subscribe to the mom websites that seem to proudly tout their one-stop shop for all things baby. 
I'm finally realizing that I can't keep up.  There will always be a new study.  There will always be new methods.  All this constant Googling does is lead me- and I suspect others, too- into being a neurotic control freak of a mother.  This is a race I simply can't win.  True to my stubborn nature, though, rather than lose it entirely, I am dropping out.  I'm reclaiming my confidence in parenting. 
My children's birth certificates do not list BabyCenter, Mothering, TheBump, even the almighty Google.  But they sure as heck have myname on them.
Because here's the thing- there are two things that I can tell my children.  I can tell them:
You are breakable.  You are flimsy.  The slightest mistake on my part will cause this whole façade to crumble away and you'll be left with irreparable damage.
OR  I can tell them:
You are strong.  You are resilient.  Yeah, I'm going to screw up, but you're tough and you can handle it.  You'll get through my mishaps just like I got through my mom's mishaps and she got through her mother's.  That's the way of life.  It's not perfect.  But it's worth it.
No, I don't hold a doctorate in child psychology.  I didn't just finish my latest research on the effects of internet usage among mothers with toddlers.  I'm just another mom.  No credentials.  No accolades.
And frankly, I'm okay with that.

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