Good for You, Not for Me

Being a mom is exhausting. I mean, yeah, all the duties of raising tiny humans is exhausting and it's hard and it tests our patience and we're tired because children don't sleep and we're teaching the future leaders of the world, or whatever. But that all comes with the territory. I knew all of that when I started this gig. I mean, I didn't understand the full extent of it but I did at least know that it was going to happen. Anyway. Being a parent is exhausting. And you want to know why? Other parents. 

Becoming a parent opens the door to this giant community of people who are somehow in the same boat, that at times feels like the sinking Titanic. These are people that are doing the same thing we're doing, facing the same challenges, and somehow it's an all out war. It starts with how you feed your newborn, takes a pit stop at Montessori school debates, swiftly turns at the corner of screen time and Halloween candy and apparently doesn't ever end according to the debate I overheard between two 70 year old women one-upping each other in Bed Bath and Beyond over their son's respective professions. 

I recently read Amy Poehler's bookYes PleaseBesides being HI-larious, she mentioned this mantra she keeps. 

Good for you, not for me. 

 Contrary to popular belief, there is no right way to parent. And we all feel like we're screwing it up a lot of the time. But those glimmering moments of hope, where we were actually able get the laundry put away, or our kid said please and thank you, or our kid successfully used the potty give us this momentum to keep going, even when it's hard. But then come the haters. The "can't believe you let your kid watch Frozen just so you could put your laundry away" haters. The "you shouldn't have given your child candy even if they did say please" haters. The "if you hadn't pushed them to potty train then it wouldn't have been hard" haters. The ones posting articles about their parenting philosophies to their Facebook. You know the ones. "Why I won't let my kid....blah blah blah" and it links to some sanctimommy bull crap that basically tells you that you're doing your job as a parent wrong, and here's why.

I'll say it again. Good for you. Not for me. 

Here's the thing. I don't care how you parent your child. I really don't. I'm not you, I'm not parenting that child, I don't know what I would do in your very specific circumstances. I know how I parent my kids, and I like to think I'm doing an okay job. But as long as you're not actually harming your children, you do you. And no - teaching a different lifestyle is NOT harmful. You want to wear your kid until they're 5? Good for your, not for me. You want to cut up your kid's Cheerios for them? Good for you, not for me. You want to dress your entire family up in matching outfits every day? Good for you, not for me. You want to keep the TV off at all times? Good for you, not for me. 

Say it with me now. GOOD FOR YOU. NOT FOR ME. 

For goodness sake, y'all. Other parents are just making the same kinds of choices you do every day, they're just making different ones. This crap is hard. Raising people is hard enough without fearing the wrath of other parents which hath come down on all of us at some point or another. It is easy enough for us to feel like we're failing without The Joneses down the road pointing that out, too. What we need in this community, aboard this ship, is to celebrate each other. Celebrate those parenting wins, in spite of the fact that it wasn't exactly how you would have done it. Say to them - "GOOD FOR YOU!" Then say to yourself, "not for me." Because that's okay. It's okay for you to make a different choice. But it's not okay for you to make others feel small by stepping on your soap box, and it's not okay for others to do the same to you. 

So, please. The next time you see someone parenting differently than how you do it, don't judge. Don't hate. Simply say, "Good for you, not for me." and if you can muster it, go give them a big high five for making this far, with everyone still in one piece, and for doing the best they can. That's all any of us can do.  

Meanwhile, Frozen is almost over, and I need to fold some laundry before the boys eat a non-organic snack and go down for naps.