Dear Mama Lathering Her Kids in Toxic Death Cream,
I just had to say that. I know that you are a good mama, who is doing her best, and who is truly tired of all the screaming headlines and people telling her that she is killing her children with this or that. I know that is wearying. And I know that it makes you just want to give up on sorting out all of the information out there and just do what you know.
I don’t know you, personally. I do have friends like you. Friends who shared your post. Friends who have privately confessed to me before how weary they are of all the shouted information and guilt that are heaped upon them.
And, you know, I agree with you.
There are too many “rules” out there. Rules about things that truly don’t even matter. Who cares what play time looks like in your home (or mine), when your kids go to bed, or what clothes they wear? Some people waste their time trying to judge this stuff, and I say, why? It’s such a waste of time to tell someone they aren’t a perfect parent if they don’t raise their kids exactly this way.
I also get how you feel — sometimes, I’m tired, too. I have five kids and they keep me busy. I’m not as tired as I was when I only had littles (please, no, never again with the *only* littles thing…that was so hard) because I can legit say, “Go make lunch” to my 8-year-old and “Play with the baby” to my almost 7-year-old while I take 5 blessed minutes to myself, and I know the house won’t burn down. Mama, those days are coming.
Plus, I’ve dealt with anxiety for the past several years, and while it’s under control, somewhat — there are still days I struggle. So I feel you, I really do.
But, I need to ask you something.
Please don’t give up on looking at all the information that is out there. Please don’t write it off and say “We’re all going to die and everything is killing us, so why bother?” I totally understand where that is coming from — it’s frustration. When everyone is exaggerating everything and telling you that this or that is going to kill or ruin your child, it’s easier to just turn it all off and walk away.
But please don’t. Some of that stuff truly doesn’t matter at all, and you can totally forget it. (Like I said, it’s not for me to judge what time you put your kids to bed or where they sleep!) But some stuff really does matter.
Stuff like car seat safety. Or medicine. Or a (mostly) healthy diet.
The health and safety stuff — it really does matter. I know there’s a lot of conflicting info out there sometimes, and it can feel like people are judging you because you didn’t know. Brush those people off (we all didn’t know at one point!) and sort it out and do the best you can.
I promise that I don’t care what clothes your child wears, if they watch TV (or what they watch), how they play, etc. Really, I don’t. I have my ways, and yours might be different, and that’s fine.
On the other hand I care a little about education and such, because, you know, it has such a long-term effect, but I recognize that there are different methods that work for different families, and whatever you consciously choose for your kids is fine.
It’s really just the health and safety stuff that truly matters. We can toss all the rest aside, but not this.
I do promise, though, not to yell at you, or tell you you’re killing your kids, or mock you for not knowing. I just want to help. I’m here if you have questions. I’m here if you want to vent about the poor way that others have tried to share information with you. If I knew you, I’d invite you over so our kids could play and show you the stuff I make and why I make it. I might even send you home with some of it. I really just want to help — not judge.
So can we agree? There are plenty of parenting issues that really are just personal decisions, and we should all stop caring what others think. Then there are some parenting issues that really matter, and we’ll keep sharing information on those. But, without being harsh or judgmental. We’ll learn and grow together.
It’s a hard world out there, mama. I feel you on that. But that’s no reason to just give up. We’re in this together. We’ll raise awesome little people, doing better as we know better. (And have plenty of grace for mistakes and the less-than-perfect decisions we all make sometimes. You’re not alone.)