So, I was thinking the other day about taboo things amongst mommies–at least in the circles I’ve been in. I’ve been fortunate to make friends and aquaintances in several different venues…church Bible study, family, college friends, friends we’ve at the parks (indoor and outdoor), etc. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with another mom of young kids. Seriously, just talking about pregnancy, labor & delivery, the trials of newborns and potty-training can provide weeks of conversation fodder with a new friend. But eventually, certain topics come up, and I find myself treading very carefully.
You see, as progressive and open-minded as we modern moms like to think we are, we have all made our own decisions about parenting, and it’s easy to think that whatever we did is “right.” It’s hard not to judge when another family/parent chooses another path.
There are some topics that, thankfully, I’ve noticed a lot of grace given. Two very hot topics are breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding and working mom vs. staying-at-home mom. For myself, personally, experience has torn down my walls of judgement on these 2 issues. I know from firsthand experience that these decisions are elaborately complex. I will spare you the details, because I know that some of my readers are not interested in those details, but for me, nursing (both times) was outrageously difficult at the beginning. I managed to stick with it, but I will never judge a mom again for choosing not to continue. Don’t even get me started on the working mom vs. stay-at-home thing. This choice is so multi-layered and conditional on every family, every job, every woman, every husband, every child…I just feel blessed to have a situation that works pretty well for us and I hope for other moms that they can find the right fit for them as well.
BUT wait! There’s more! How’s your baby sleeping? Do you let her cry it out? Is she sleeping through the night? Do you wait in your toddler’s room until he’s asleep? Do you let a newborn sleep in your bed? Condescending eyes peep out at you all over this one–and from opposite sides! Co-sleepers think that “cry it out” parents are harsh and heartless. “Cry it out” parents think that co-sleepers are lazy and dangerous. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
Oh! I hadn’t even thought about spanking! This one is a lightning rod for passionate debate. Then there’s the kinds of food you let your child eat. Fruit snacks? Chips? French fries? Organic, whole-wheat, farm fresh, cage free, hormone-free, gluten-free? And have you ever met this mother: “Oh, Jimmy hasn’t seen that show. We don’t allow our kids to watch television in accordance with the AMA’s recent finding that TV rots their brains,”? I have. It wasn’t pretty. But neither was the scene when we saw parents bringing a 3 year old to the Bourne Ultimatum. See? I do it too. Judge, judge, judge. Call me Judy.
Normally, I just avoid all these topics (as well as politics, as you may have noticed) at all costs. I usually want to be Switzerland. (nuetral)
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about a seasonal taboo: Santa Claus. Especially in Christian circles, which I run in a lot, there’s multiple levels of affection or loathing for the Santa tradition. We now have a kiddo who is soaking up everything he hears and sees, paying close attention to what is important to us. SO, we think it’s time to figure out how we present the Christmas season. Which, by the way, my husband LOVES. He frequently says in JUNE..”I can’t WAIT for Christmas!” We want it to be fun and exciting and thrilling…and meaningful.
For us, the bottom line is that Christmas is about Christ. First and foremost, we are celebrating Christ and his birth. We’ve already established that part of our tradition will now be to have a birthday cake for Jesus. Carson was sold on that idea very quickly. We have been talking as a couple and with our extended family about how to make sure this remains our focus. So, for the sake of argument, let’s assume we are able to achieve that.
However, I do believe there is room for fun, trivial side of Christmas–including Santa! I’m curious to hear from others about Christmas traditions in your family. Are you die-hards, telling the kids in July that they’d better be good? Is he an afterthought? Do the kids get presents from you AND from him? Stockings? Are you worried they’ll be crushed when they find discover the truth? Do also share how you strike a balance, but please spare me the lecture me that Santa can also be spelled Satan. Save it for your own blog. I want to hear some fun traditions from your family–either when you were growing up or things you do now with young kids. Let’s share stories and HOLD OFF on the judgement for a while. 🙂