I AM Supermom

I never thought that my Facebook page would become a battlefield for the Mommy Wars. Over the last two days it’s really made me question whether it’s ‘only’ Facebook or if there’s more to all of this lack of understanding and respect.

It seems to have begun when a friend and fellow mother, recently posted, on her page:

 “I can’t believe they made breastfeeding until a child is 2 a law. I breastfed both of my babies but I feel once they can walk up and feed themselves off of it is a sign it’s time to quite. Gross.”

When I read this I didn’t respond. It was on her page, I didn’t feel it was directed towards me, and further I really didn’t want to get into it. This statement reeks of intolerance and ignorance, and while it certainly is an opinion it’s also a judgement. I am well aware of the misconceptions and lack of information that many have about breastfeeding and particularly extended breastfeeding, but I wouldn’t have expected this from this parent.

A few days later, someone posted ‘8 Things NOT to Say to an Extended Breastfeeding Mom‘ in our local breastfeeding FB group, and I knew I had to share it. It answered with humor and information the hurt and frustration I felt over breastfeeding being called ‘gross’.

I knew several people, fellow La Leche League mamas, members of my tribe of like-minded friends and family, would absolutely adore it. I didn’t think people, particularly mothers who breastfed their own children, would be so utterly offended by it.

That thread on my FB timeline literally exploded with so much ridiculousness when this particular mother wanted to defend her ‘opinion’ that breastfeeding was ‘gross’. Ummmmm, huh?

She repeatedly attempted to make the point that breastfeeding being ‘gross’ is her ‘opinion’ and that she’s able to say so because of ‘freedom of speech’.

And further she went on to say, on her own page, how I (or others on my page defending me perhaps) were:

“insecure in their decisions and lashing out”

There is no insecurity in my decision. There was no lashing out. There was only an unwillingness to accept that ‘gross’ is an valid ‘opinion’. “It’s not for me” that’s an opinion. “Gross” judges my choice as being something that is by definition unpleasant or replusive. And while I welcome a conversation or debate of ideas, I do not welcome insults.

But here’s the thing. And it’s been bothering me (and many others) for some time now.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS NOT A BLANKET LICENSE TO SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE.

HONESTY DOES NOT EXCUSE RUDENESS.

OPINION IS NOT THE SAME AS JUDGEMENT.

Whew. Feels good to get that out there. Many people, particularly online, have this idea that whatever they say is shrouded in this fog of ‘Internet Honesty’. Really people? As if the text on the phone or computer screen insulates one’s words from inflicting hurt or injured feelings. Ummmmm, no. It doesn’t.

It seems every time people get upset about things written online the knee jerk reaction is “you can’t read tone online” or “it’s hard to understand intention in text”. Ummmmm, no, it’s not that hard. The context is there. While many people talk out of their necks online and don’t think before they type it doesn’t mean tone isn’t implied. I think people get caught up throwing tone because they are shrouded by their computer and feel they don’t have to be responsible for what they say. Ummmmm, nope. You’re still responsible whether you call someone a name to their face or to their online face.

Another case in point? See if you can taste the sarcasm dripping from this comment, in reference to me, in response to the same post about Extended Breastfeeding.

“Tired of hearing about your kids and your boobs, super mom. Yes, they can be too old to freaking tit feed. Done!”

Yes, that was said.  Really. Apparently being a Supermom is just a really sarcastic way of saying I’m what exactly? I’m full of myself and my awesome milk-makers? Too proud of how stunning my children are? Too sure the way I do things is the only right way?

You know at first I was super offended. I was pissed. And a further comment in that thread spoke to some sort of underlying animosity or anger towards the way I parent, or perhaps the sharing of that parenting with my people on Facebook.

“So then mothers should be waiting for their kids in the school cafeteria at lunchtime, tit ready? I’m not against breastfeeding. I did it, like a bazillion women before me I just didn’t need the world to constantly know to prove I’m a good mother.”

This hurt more than anything else. It felt like a direct hit, like somehow in posting about my life being a mother I am in search of validation for my choices. That my choice to breastfeed, was less about what’s best for my children and more about proving what good parent I am. Bitch, please.

Clearly neither of these people truly know me, nor I them, but these incidents really made me think. In fact these people did me a great service. They made me see that when it comes to how I want to conduct myself and who I want to know and be around, those that are judgmental, argumentative or hateful have no room in my world.

Let’s be honest. Ain’t nobody got time for rude people and haters.

See many of us, particularly Stay At Home Mom’s, rely on Facebook and social media, not for validation but for socialization. We look for commiseration and support. We share photos and videos with family and friends around the world. A lot of times we look for information and answers to questions, even our daily news through these social media outlets.

If that’s not how another goes about their daily life, that’s ok, that’s their life, their choice, their own relationship with the interwebs. But instead of insulting my online behavior just do everyone a favor. Unfriend me. Block me. Don’t follow my blog. Just go away.

And that’s where the Mommy Wars come back to rear it’s ugly head.

It seems that by posting pictures and anecdotes about my family and our life I irritate or offend some people (same goes for my single friends that bitch about seeing pictures of everyone’s kids…they can block me too). As if my posts reflect some unattainably high standards by which all mothers should be measured. As if because we have different ways of parenting or different ways of sharing our lives with others that one is inherently better than the other. The assumption being that one is superior for not sharing their life online. Or that I share about my parenting choices because I think they are the ‘right’ or ‘better’ choices.

HA! To know me is to know that I am an information junkie. I research the hell out of everything from TV shows to food to parenting. Yes, I think long and hard about how I parent and the choices we make for our family. In my opinion, the most important decisions I will make in my life are the choices about how I raise my children and so I do so very consciously and thoughtfully.

This doesn’t imply anything about others choices. I am friends with parents of all different kinds. Formula or breast, cry-it-out or co-sleep, strollers or woven wraps and everything in between. And you know what? I love them all. It’s not a contest. It is a journey. One that is unique to every individual family. I respect your choice because it is yours.

This doesn’t make me a saint. This doesn’t make me better. This is who I am because this is who I want my children to grow up to be. I don’t want to condemn your choices because I want my children to know that different isn’t wrong, it’s just different. I want my children to know that calling names when someone is different isn’t okay. It’s intolerance. And that being a part of this world means loving and being with those that we may not always agree with.

So while I may internally cringe if I see you putting Grape Pop inside your 3 month old’s bottle, I would never say anything to you. It’s not my place to do so. If you asked me about it, I would gladly have a conversation with you and share with you why that wouldn’t be my choice. But I will not call you gross. I will not insult you. I will save my judgment and respect you as a parent trying to do what’s best for yourself and your family.

So when I post something about breastfeeding or babywearing or gentle parenting it’s not to criticize your choices, it’s to offer information for someone else who may be struggling or looking for help. And often times it is as educational for me as it would be for anyone else.

I don’t need my choices justified. I can look at my amazing children and know that I’ve made the right choices. I share because maybe there’s an old friend from elementary school who can benefit from learning more about breastfeeding. Perhaps the wife of my husband’s friend didn’t know how many options there were in baby carriers until she saw something I posted. Maybe there’s a friend who just began staying at home with her kids and needs ideas of some activities or crafts to do with them.

From the numbers alone, those that ‘like’ my pictures, comment on my status updates and share my posts, I am doing something right. And for the countless comments and messages I’ve received from old friends, online friends, local mamas and those that live far away, thanking me for helping them through one parenting issue or another, I don’t regret a single post.

Because you know what? I AM Supermom. And you know what? So are YOU.

For doing what we do to make our families work and raise happy and healthy kids, however we choose to do that, we are ALL Supermoms.

So let’s stop passing judgment and start giving each other the compassion that we all, as mothers, deserve. We’re not on different teams. We just have different ways of playing the game. K?

Week in My Life 2013: Monday

It’s that time of year again! The time in which the lovely Melissa at Adventuroo and MomComm delivers a torturous yet rewarding weekly meme all about capturing one week in my family’s life.

It’s intimidating and exhausting but looking back each year at how our family worked at that moment. At the things we did, the places we went, the things we ate, what we said, what we looked like. It’s priceless.

So without further ado (and already late at that) here’s Monday…

Adventuroo WIML mon 13

 

Over the weekend we drove to Canada for our cousin Kifah’s wedding (more on that and tons of pictures next week), so we arrived home at around 10pm on Sunday night. Since they had been in the car for about six hours and took late naps, we battled the kids to get them to bed. Izzie finally passed out around 11:30 and Cedella around midnight.

Needless to say we were all exhausted on Monday morning and had done no prep for the next morning. And being a Monday morning it was a school morning. ::forehead slap::

So when I rumbled awake at 8:15 I was in a panic. No one else was awake. And there was only 45 minutes until school started. NOT a great start to the day.

I jostled Cedella out of bed and she picked out some clothes, surprisingly without much issue.

But by the time it came to brushing hair and teeth and washing her hands…melt. down.

In the midst of fighting with her to wash her hands she woke up Izzie who was hysterical with her need for Mama Milk.

No time for that I put Iz in bed with Michael and rushed Ella downstairs to have breakfast. And it was already 8:45.

Yea. That’s not enough time for a picky, distracted eater to eat.

Suddenly I felt a million times sorry to my own mom for all the times she dealt with me being up late on school mornings. And for not being prepared. And for fighting with her about what to wear. And for never eating breakfast.

I made a cup of coffee for the road. Poured a glass of juice in a sippy and a bag of cheerios for Ella. Threw some semi-healthy food into her lunch box and attempted to get out of the house.

Only it was pouring rain.

And someone wouldn’t put on her rain boots.

Cause why on earth wear rain boots when it’s raining?

So pink ballet flats were agreed upon. In which she promptly fell down and got her leggings and socks all wet.

We quickly changed her pants and I picked her up and swept her into the car.

It was 9:01. It takes 15 minutes to get there on a good day. Sigh. We were late. But Ella was happy to be back at school.

After such a crazy morning it was time for a little yummy breakfast. So I grabbed Dunkin Donuts and headed home. We ate sammys and donuts and drank copious amounts of coffee. Well, I drank coffee. Izzie slammed a donut then had some Mama Milk and all was right in the world.

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Izzie got a chance to watch some Sesame Street while I checked emails, Facebook and edited some photos from the weekend. As usual, Kira is never far away from a child that may be eating. She’s the best vacuum dog ever.

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After Sesame Street we got in the car to go pick up this little beauty from my friend Meghan who was kind enough to order for me. I’ve been stalking Scottish-made Oscha wraps for a while. And now it is mine!! ::maniacal laugh::

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And then we headed to the complete opposite side of town to pick up Cedella from school. I tried in vain to keep Isora awake so she could actually play at Play for a change. But of course, even screaming ‘Signing Time’ songs at the top of my lungs, was not enough to keep my over exhausted kid awake. So I put her in the mei tai and headed in to grab Cedella. Could her little sleepy face be any cuter?

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I was pleasantly surprised to see my girls Cindy and Laura and their little ones there playing. And Cindy was kind enough to let me hold her sweet baby boy Atlee for a while. He made my ovaries a bit achey, not gonna lie, I need a baby boy in my home.

While I chatted with the ladies, Izzie woke up and played a bit. It was getting close to 1 and I finally got both girls to the lobby and eventually got both of their shoes on and finally got them both out to the car. And as we drove into downtown East Lansing Ella insisted on going to visit her Daddy at work. So we stopped in for lunch.

Yep. A picnic in a liquor store. Nothing like it!

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Don’t you wish you had beer cases for climbing blocks?

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Once we wrangled them into the car Cedella fell asleep on the ride home. So I popped her into her bed. Izzie was wide awake. So I popped her in my Romeo. Yea, that’s the name of this wrap. Romeo. Isn’t he dreamy?

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Even got some kisses from my little lady before she finally fell asleep.

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Nearly three hours later (I know! Three hour nap?! Oh shit.) Cedella woke up and she was surly. Izzie woke up as soon as she heard her sister whining.

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While the girls played and watched some ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ I cleaned up this mess from unpacking the car the night before…

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On the menu? Butternut squash soup and smoked sausage. Can you say fall is here?

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World’s Cutest Kitchen Helpers…

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Izzie even snagged Daddy into her favorite past time. Checking out all the pictures on the fridge. She loves seeing all the faces and saying everyone’s names. It makes Michael nuts, but he does it every time, cause he knows she loves it so.

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Since it had been a long and kind of stressful day we decided a cocktail was in order…Caramel Apple Cider. Ummmm. Yum.

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Finally, and a little late to accommodate for late naps, it was bedtime. We got the girls in jammies, got clothes ready for tomorrow morning, picked out and read four books (one for each year of their ages).

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And that’s when the proverbial wheels came off the train. Cedella was simply not tired. And in my exhaustion I didn’t even remember to get out the melatonin pills. There was a lot of shouting and arguing and punishment and overall it was just a disaster. Everytime I nearly got Isora to sleep Cedella would shout and wake her up.

She actually ended up telling Michael to “go away, I don’t want you in my room” and “I don’t like you Daddy” and “leave me alone”. It was awful. Poor Michael. He was just trying in vain to keep her in her bed and trying to be calm and maintain some order. My heart broke for him hearing those things coming out of her mouth.

After explaining to her that she hurt her Dad’s feelings and that I couldn’t stay awake any more I left her in her room and went to bed. It was 11:30. And guess who squeezed her way onto my bed about five mintues later? Um, yea. No real rest for the weary, right?

Be sure to keep a look out every day this week for more Week in My Life fun!! And check out Adventuroo’s link-up for more WIML goodness.

Wordful Wednesday: The Cottage is the Thing Pt. 2

We had such a fun time up north in Oscoda with my family and Michael’s family this summer. You can read and check out all the sights in this POST.

Late in the afternoon on Father’s Day Michael and his family drove back home (cause they all had to work). So it was just my mom, my two sisters, my two daughters and me.

We had 7 incredible days of just the ladies. It was heavenly. Nothing like living with all your female relations to remind you that this is why people stayed close to home and lived in the same villages if not homes as the rest of their family. It DOES take a damn village to raise your babies and if that village is populated with people you love and trust…well…then Mommy gets to drink a lot more Lime-a-Rita’s and whiskey on her vacay.

Seeing my daughters interact with my sisters is just incredible. And I’m reminded of how lucky I am not only to have sisters, but to have MY sisters. Tracey and Kylara are like my twins and yet totally different from me. Tracey knows me better than I know myself. And to see them with Ella & Izzie…how much they teach them, how much the girls love and cherish each moment with their Aunties.

I mean Kylara just LOVES these kids. And she helped me out so tremendously. I’m so proud of the responsible and caring 17 woman she’s become. She is just the sweetest and most loving Auntie ever. Oh yea, and they call her Ky-la-la.

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And then there’s this…Grandma and Iz. They are so funny together. This makes my heart swell. I love them so.

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Every time we go to Oscoda we go to Dinosaur Gardens. If you’ve been there once you understand. There’s something so off and yet so fun about it. Sure there’s a random statue of Jesus in the ‘heart’ of the Brontosaurus and sinners in it’s tail (I know…that’s not even a real dinosaur which makes it even better). But it’s kitchsy road-side-attraction at it’s finest. If Neil Gaiman had visited here it would have been a setting in American Gods.

Turns out the good folks over at Connie’s Cafe have bought Dinosaur Gardens and are revamping the place while still keeping it’s original campy charm. Which means the place was sprayed for mosquitoes…

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But there’s still these awesome nude-butt cave men. Win. Win. And yes…I touched the butt.

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How cute are me and Ella with our babies in their carriers? It was really cute. Until she didn’t want to carry her baby anymore and had a meltdown and threw Mia and the carrier and I threatened to throw them in the garbage. Ugh. That sucked. Someone really needs to teach this kid that you can’t just put your baby down when you’re tired of her. Sheesh.

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I’m telling you…special bond between these two. And they walk at exactly the same pace. SLOWEST.

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That’s a T Rex y’all. Look out!!

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After Dinosaur Gardens we headed for lunch at Connie’s Cafe. Home of the GIANT cinnamon rolls. Also home of the Best Pot Roast Ever (according to pot roast lover Grandma). It was so so yummy. Glad to have finally had a meal there and enjoyed meeting Connie and her husband.

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We took another day trip to Ocqueoc Falls, the ‘largest’ falls in the lower peninsula. Yea…it wasn’t really what we had pictured.

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But we enjoyed the scenery for a while.

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And even took a mini-hike through the woods. In our Converse. Yea…we really weren’t planning ahead for this day.

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And of course no family of proper Librarians could miss a trip to the local library on their trip.

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Nothing like chillin out and reading books on the beach…

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Izzie grew into her Pisces soul on this trip. She IS a water baby, just like her sister. Freezing or not they loved it.

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Playing in the perfect sand. She could dig all. Day. Long.

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Don’t mind the ‘Assests’ folks. This swimsuit top was perhaps a bit obscene for a family day at the beach, no?

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I love her. I really do. Except there are times I want to choke her out. Kidding… Sort of.

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But what we did a whole lot of is what we do best as a family. Eating and shopping. Seriously I think our entire days revolved around what we were going to eat. It was awesome. Also, I think I went to the local Goodwill 3 times in 7 days. I will forever call it ‘Best Goodwill Ever’. I found Hanna Andersson and Tea Collection dresses for $1 and a brand new Target purse for $12. SCORE!

Spaghetti dinner was a big success. Even Cedella ate her pasta with gusto.

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And played little mommy helping clean up her sister’s face.

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The most special part of the day though is the camp fire. My Mom lives for the camp fire. She’d have a camp fire every single day of her life if she could.

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Most nights we went down to the fire pit after the girls went to bed. We had some proper mother/daughter/sister bonding time. It was really nice. You just sit, enjoy the trance of the fire and tell stories and eat marshmallows. Love these ladies!!  IMG_2781

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But I really wanted my girls to experience the fire, learn some safety and dig on some S’mores. And then Cedella had her first squishy fire-melted marshmallow. And this happened…

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Total freak out. It was hot and melty and sticky and she was thoroughly grossed out and upset about it. What little kid doesn’t like S’mores? My kid. Weirdo.

But she rallied and really enjoyed the Hobo Pies and other fire roasted yummies.

How awesome to be able to have this uninterrupted time with my girls and my siblings and my Mom. I am one lucky mama.

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Hope you had fun going on our Up North adventure with us. If you’re looking for a really lovely place to stay on Lake Huron please considering renting a place from Perfect Landing. Their units are all clean and up to date and their beaches are pristine.

I mean just look at this place…Our little slice of Pure Michigan heaven.

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I already can’t wait for next year!! What is your summer family tradition? Do you have a place or cottage you go to every year?

More summer travels to come next week for Wordful Wednesday as I recap our family trip to Chicago!! Happy Wednesday folks!!