Parenting is the hardest thing to do but the easiest thing to criticize. For the most part, most of us do what we feel is best for our children – vaccinating/not vaccinating, private/public school, organic/not so organic food (see what I did there). Parenting is like politics, it’s not something you bring up at the dinner table. It’s a sensitive topic. I’ve been criticized for things I have done as not only as a human being but as a mom. I’ve also been critical of myself.
- In December 2015, I went on a backpacking trip through Europe and Africa. I had never taken such an exciting trip and it was something I looked forward to since high school. It was merely a dream. Naturally, as any other millennial would do, I documented my travels. I remember posting a picture of me and my friends, hours later, I had a girl comment, “#parentingabroad” on my picture. As I sat in my bed at the AirBNB, I was mind blown that someone would have the courage to write something so simple yet so hurtful. Now, I’ll fill you in on my daughter’s whereabouts. During my ten day of gallivanting, Sofia was at her fathers as part of our holiday custody agreement. Whether I stayed in the states or left the country, I wouldn’t be with Sofia. Now, do I feel as if I need to explain myself? Absolutely not. No one should ever feel the need for justification. She was mean and I was hurt. My choice to travel is not a reflection of me as a parent.
- I had an intense job. I was an Executive Assistant. It was a lot of work and a lot of hours. To top that off, I commuted from Pennsylvania to New York City. Sofia was waking up at 5:00 AM and by waking up I mean, I dressed her sleeping body and carried her to my car. I wasn’t getting home till about 9:00/10:00 PM. She would stay up and snuggle with me for the little time we had before we did it again. I felt guilty for working so much and so far away. I knew what I was doing was beneficial to me and to her. I was happy; happy I had a career ahead of me and a daughter who was happy. A year later, a move was in the works and now here we are. We always put our kids first but our happiness comes alongside it. If we’re not happy, our children pick up on it. Everything I ever wanted was in NY and now we’re in it together. No one should ever feel guilty for improving their life’s path.
Although I’ve only produced two examples, there is plenty more where those came from. Some happen to be really harsh and others from the kindness of someone’s heart. About 2 years ago, I was told to never feel guilty as a parent. There was nothing I was doing that would hinder the well being of my child so why would I lose sleep at night? Everything we do, we do for the good of our children. Let’s not beat ourselves up for being humans. I’m living my best life and I hope you are, too.
And if you’ve been the person from the first scenario, shame on you. Let’s love and support one another rather than be critical with no context.