Celebrating Differences and Letting Go of Parenting Insecurities in 2019

Image Courtesy Unsplash

Image Courtesy Unsplash

To start 2019 I have a confession to make: I can be “that mom.” That mom who is judgemental and critical.

Now before you judge me, please let me clarify what I mean.

First and foremost, deep down I am an advocate for everyone parenting their own way. Parenting the way that comes natural to them and that their children respond to as long as it is not abusive. I am also comfortable with the way that I choose to parent my children.

While I have this viewpoint, I once in awhile catch myself thinking, or even saying, “What were they thinking?” when I hear about a decision another parent made.

Often they are a parent who I am close with and respect, but those thoughts still creep in. And when they do, I feel so guilty about them.

It has made me ponder and reflect. Deep down, do I actually care what they do? Usually, not really. It almost always does not affect me or my children, but it still bothers me.

Why do I think this way? Why does it matter to me? Why do I care what they do with their children, especially when they are great kids who seem happy and healthy?

I have come to the conclusion that it all stems from my own insecurities as a parent. Reality is, although I’m comfortable with my parenting choices, I’m still not always confident in them.

So much of parenting is new. I deal with new situations, new stressors and new attitudes daily. Sometimes hourly. And I have never done this before. I’m on my third child and each one is so different. And each additional child adds a different dynamic to the family, and therefore my parenting changes and adapts constantly. Mostly this is a very positive thing, but it’s still a change.

I find that when another parent makes a different decision than me, I get my back up a little bit. Especially when I respect them and their parenting. Why would he/she do that so differently than me? What’s wrong with my thought process? Am I completely screwing my kids up?

Those little insecurities creep in and make me question myself as a mother, and when I have those judgemental thoughts, myself as a person. And I beat myself up about it.

The reality is, when I am being “that mom,” I’m really being the most critical and judgemental about myself.

As parents I think it’s so important to support each other, accept each other, and respect each other’s decisions.

So while at times I can be “that mom,” I’m also that mom that is constantly questioning myself, messing up, making mistakes, and hoping every day that I’m doing the right thing by my children.

We should celebrate our differences in parenting, as we should be celebrating the differences in our children’s personalities.

Because when it comes right down to it, we all want our children to thrive, to feel loved and supported, and to become the amazing human beings that will continue to make the world a better place.

And if we all did things the same way, this world would be less diverse, less innovative and less dynamic.

What a boring world that would be!

Sarah Byrne