This really wasn’t a post I’d intended to write, but, here we are.
Earlier this week, I shared a post about how we’re helping my daughter recover. If you’re dealing with any kind of complex or challenging child, I highly recommend reading it. It’s just our story and doesn’t go particularly deep into exactly what we’re doing, or the science behind it all, but it explains where we were, and where we are now. It gives hope — or so many mamas said.
A small number of people didn’t like the post. Some were nasty about it. I know those people are just internet trolls, so I won’t bother naming names or even repeating what they said. (I wasn’t especially nice to them, though. Come after my children and you will hear it from me. I can pretty well handle personal attacks on myself and my research all day long — whatever. I’m used to it. But no, I won’t deal with my children being insulted.)
But it got me thinking.
In a world as backward as this one, sometimes we have to be warriors, for our children. We have to be willing to stand up and draw firm lines for their health and safety. We have to ignore a world that judges and insists on misunderstanding us. Ultimately, we have to be strong.
Being Mommy Warrior
Believe it or not, what we feed our children (and I use ‘we’ to mean, real food moms everywhere) matters a lot to everyone else.
Stating “My child traded me a dye-filled lollipop for a natural fruit strip!” once started one of the biggest fights ever on my Facebook page. (Seriously. I was accused of taking candy from a baby, setting him up for an eating disorder, and much more.)
That’s just craziness.
But the truth is, just by virtue of choosing to parent in an alternative manner, you will be subject to all kinds of wild judgment. A judgment that deliberately misunderstands what you believe, what you stand for, and what you are trying to do for your children in the fiercest love there is.
When you choose to avoid processed foods, you’re being a control freak. You’re refusing to let your kids be kids (because Froot Loops are an essential part of childhood and you’ll be emotionally scarred without them, clearly). You’re making them into someone the other kids and parents just stare at, and you are definitely going to watch them go completely crazy and eat only junk food as adults, in retaliation for your unnecessary food rules.
That’s what some people really think.
There’s no understanding that you’re teaching them about why you eat the way you do, not just insisting they can’t have stuff their friends do. That sometimes you give in and just have the treat you want. That you, as an adult, hide the junk food and have it especially after a bad day when you just don’t care — and that you fully expect your kids to do that when they’re older, too. Nobody’s perfect. But, it still matters that you eat well, most of the time, and teach them to do the same. It’s the healthiest way you know, and no, it won’t set your kids up for an eating disorder.
But it’s just the way it is. When you do something that isn’t like others, people are not going to understand. They are going to, at a minimum, presume that you must love your children but that maybe you’re going a little overboard or doing something unnecessary. At the worst, they might even call it abuse.
(Which, by the way, is something we should stop saying. “A choice I wouldn’t make” is not child abuse. I have heard people call natural remedies child abuse. Heard them call facing your baby out in a carrier child abuse. Heard them call letting your child believe in Santa child abuse. Seriously, there is real child abuse out there. These things are not it!)
That’s why we’re Mommy Warriors.
Why We Need to Be Advocates
Our children deserve better.
I want the best for my children. I want them to be the best versions of themselves. My goal is for them to be smart, and strong, and healthy, and happy. I know every other mother wants the same for her children.
The method by which we get to that is going to be different. We aren’t all the same. All of us have different needs, and so do our kids. We are in the best position to know what our own families need. Nobody else gets that. Nobody else could raise our children the way that we can. That’s why we need to be their advocates. Their warriors.
We are warriors.
That’s why when people give us the side-eye, we wonder what they’re really thinking. It’s why when they cheerfully announce, “No processed food for you!” we can’t help wondering if they’re thinking more that they’re not saying. And when someone comes out and says that we’re doing it wrong, that we’re hurting our children, the claws come out.
They don’t know what we go through, especially with complex children. They have no idea.
And it’s okay. Really, it is okay. We don’t expect others to understand. There are plenty of people who have more complex children than I do, and I know I don’t understand their daily reality. The difference is, I don’t pretend to. I don’t judge how they handle their children. I don’t tell them they’re wrong. Also, I don’t tell them I know better when I don’t.
That’s it. We need to be mommy warriors. We need to fight for our children. And we need to share information gently and respectfully and support other mothers. Not judge them, and secretly wonder if maybe they’re just paranoid and their kid is really fine, or if they’re ignoring needs their kid has, or whatever else we have all thought once or twice.
That’s why I’m here. I’ll be by your side as you fight your battle to raise the best children you can. I’m right there in the trenches with you. I’m on your side. I’ll help you advocate for yourself, and help you get the information you need even when no one wants to answer your tough questions. (At least as much as I can.)
Stick with us…we have big things coming in 2016. New and better ways to be the best, healthiest mamas we can be.
Are you a mommy warrior?
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