Monday, March 07, 2005

Drive-by mothers

So there is a blog with a post---two posts, really---about "drive-by mothers" or mothers who criticize other mothers. The author (who I believe is childless, and, I have to say, has her own very funny, very engaging way of being critical) wonders why mothers are so harsh to each other and so critical of different choices---whether to breast- or bottle-feed, whether to co-sleep, whether to baby-proof, whether to work. All mothers are doing such a difficult job, shouldn't they bond together? It seems in our reflective, educated age, mothers are so harsh to each other and to themselves. Guilt, guilt, guilt.

One respondent said that she felt sorry for those mothers who criticize others because she felt it indicated that they had a problem. Well, I guess I have always been even a little more charitable than that. (And luckily too, as I am pretty good at judging others and myself. "I am my own worst drive-by mother," said one, and I agree with that!) When I hear someone being critical, I remember the wise words of a friend who said, "When we see others who are doing things differently and we feel critical of them, it really just means that we love our children. We all want to believe that what we are doing is best for them. It is healthy for us to think that we are doing everything right." So when we feel critical or feel criticized we can just know that the other person is doing their best and feels they are doing everything right, and this feeling is HEALTHY. The next step is cultivating the inner strength that allows us to just accept that what is good for one is not necessarily good for another….

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