It Takes All Kinds

April 24, 2008

I had a friend once… she moved far away and I’m still sad about it. I miss her. The thing is, we were opposite in every way. Physically - she was blonde with long, stick straight hair that shined in the sun (think Gwyneth Paltrow) and shockingly beautiful blue eyes. Petite, she looked good in anything that came off the rack. She sported a year round tan and had legs that went up to her ears (and the 3 inch heels helped). Me - I have coarse, curly almost black hair. I’m pale, browneyed and curvy - my legs would win no "up to there" contest. She was outspoken (that comes from being a New York native) and confident, me - shy and afraid to say too much.

We were also very different in our ideas about mothering.

She "hated" breastfeeding and would do it only for 3 months (and that was a big sacrifice for her), she worked outside the home part time, declaring that if she stayed home she would "go crazy". She was an authoritarian disciplinarian. Her kids loved TV (it was background noise all the time) and video games - I was video game and TV free.

But despite our differences, we got along great and our kids hit it off too. In fact, I think I learned a lot by being around her. Her kids were confident and intelligent - just like her. They were healthy and fun to be around. They shared (most of the time) and obeyed (most of the time) just like mine. I admired her because she was so good at using humor to discipline her kids. Even though she was more authoritarian than I wish to be, I found myself trying to copy some of the things she did to diffuse situations with her spirited oldest child. She meant business - but she had a lot of fun too, and her kids loved it.

And, I think my friend learned a little bit from me too, without my even trying. Before she moved away, she opened up to me about her disappointment with her birth experiences - she felt like all the power had been taken away from her, and she had regrets about the way things worked out. Both her babies had been delivered via C-section and she didn’t want to face it again.

My point here? It takes all kinds of moms to make a world. And we can learn a lot from each other.

Alice sent me this article and when I read it, I thought about my friend. I hope you enjoy reading it too. :)

The Unnatural Mom Exposed

I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of the Natural Mom. Even the words “Natural Mom” sound so ethereal that anyone achieving that status brings to mind an image of an angelic creature looking down over all of us.

But these women are very real.

They do their homework and make smart decisions for their family that not only focus on their family’s well-being and health, but care for this precious planet at the same time. Being a Natural Mom is as practical as practical can be.

And despite the fact that I admire the Natural Mom, it’s not something I’ve been able to achieve in my life. I try at some things. I fail at some. I’m just too darned stubborn to try the others.

The Anatomy of One Unnatural Mom:

o I’m a breastfeeding mom, but with my first child grew so frustrated that I ended up just pumping my milk for as long as I could and bottle-feeding breast milk. I was much better equipped to handle it for REAL the next time and the 2nd baby never had a baby bottle…ever. Baby #3 is on the way and will be breastfed.

o My kids were born in a hospital and both by c-section. I attempted a vaginal birth the first time, but after 40 hours of labor and a low heart rate scare, the doctors said it was time to come out with it. I’ve been terrified of labor since.

o I love to wear my baby, but only when my husband is available to help me figure out the darned Mayan Baby Wrap. I can’t seem to make the darned thing to work properly on my own.

o Babies are allowed to sleep in our bed until I can no longer stand all the legs and feet (baby and grown up) poking me all night.

o I’m not 100% sure that I’ve ever even seen a cloth diaper.

o I’m militant about buying whole-wheat products in the grocery store, but we take our fair share of trips through the drive through for some white flour and animal fat delights.

o I bought two t-shirts from thelactivist.com, but they are so racy, we might only wear them inside the house.

o Although I thoroughly enjoy learning opportunities with my kids, home and school are two words that don’t go together around here. Well, unless I’m saying, “I’m at home and about to take the kids to school,” or the “Kids are on the way home from school.”

o I go through phases with organic foods and sometimes convince myself that all the foods labeled organic aren’t really what they say they are. Then I just buy the regular stuff to save money.

The Anatomy of One Unnatural Mom’s Kids:

o My kids are healthy, have never had any serious medical problems and rarely have colds.

o My kids are intelligent with vocabularies that would knock your socks (organic cotton, of course) off.

o My kids love interacting with other people, making friends and interactive play.

…and I could go on and on, but nobody wants to hear a mom brag about her kids endlessly. Let’s just say they’re doing pretty darned great. :-)

You see, I am who I am. I may be a little unnatural, but to my kids I am the world. I make my choices based on what I feel is best for my family and children.

I hope that you will forgive this Unnatural Mom and appreciate the efforts she has made because after all, nobody…not any mom…is truly perfect, except in the eyes of our own families. And that is what truly matters. Natural, unnatural or somewhere in between, all moms are amazing.

About the Author: Alice Seba is the Schmoozer in Chief at Schmoozins , the online magazine that gives all women a voice. Come on over and schmooze a bit or just hang out a while.

Alice I couldn’t agree with you more :)

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Comments

6 Responses to “It Takes All Kinds”

  1. Lynette on April 24th, 2008 9:40 am

    Oh I so truly need to hear this now. Just when I was doubting myself last night. Carrie, I am a lot more like the friend you talked about. I have that ‘background noise’ in our house pretty much all the time but I have been somewhat afraid to admit it for fear of being ‘crucified’. Sometimes the background noise is tuned into the music channel though.

    I am quite authoritarian and have lots of the typical Asian mentality on a number of things especially discipline. Although I try to drop the stuff that I hated as a kid.

    I only breast fed 3 months maximum too. Did a little better on the first one but by the time the 3rd came around I was so done. At that time, I almost died of guilt for not sticking to it and would spend some days shedding tears (bucket loads of them) over it.

    Yes they are in public school but we have a fantastic one that’s our neighbor. Praise God! I am lucky. I love my kids dearly but I think they would rather have a sane, happy mom than one who would be constantly unhappy and angry - because that’s what I would be if I ever home schooled.

    I don’t want to brag about my little ones but they are growing up nicely into smart, beautiful, well adjusted and healthy little women.

  2. Christina on April 24th, 2008 11:23 am

    What a great post, Carrie, and I enjoyed Alice’s article, too. It’s wonderful to have certain beliefs and practices but the respect for each other should not ever be lost. We’re all in this motherhood game together, despite the rules of our home or how our kids receive their education.

  3. Are You a Natural or Un-natural Mom? It Doesn’t Matter! | Surviving At Home on April 24th, 2008 11:38 am

    [...] discovered this blog post at Natural Moms Talk Radio when someone twitted about it and I’m SO glad I clicked on the link, even though I am very [...]

  4. Alice on April 24th, 2008 12:36 pm

    You “once” had a friend, Carrie? Come on, you’ve got lots of friends. :-)

    Thanks for sharing your story of your friend…I’m somewhere in between the two of you. Isn’t it grand to be an individual?

  5. Jen @ One Moms World on April 26th, 2008 11:02 am

    That’s what I love about you Carrie. You can see the good in everybody. There are no two moms alike and this post sums it up well!

  6. Nell@CasualFridayEveryday.com on April 27th, 2008 11:11 am

    It does take all kinds. I’m somewhere in the middle. I can tell you that the more I’ve learned about certain traits of a natural Mom the better a Mother I’ve become to my children in the choices I make. Great blog post Carrie…and article, Alice.

    ps
    I’ve never been a stellar breastfeeder, but this baby I’m going to take my happy little butt (and baby) into a lac. consult. after he/she is born so they can give me the hands on help I’ll need to make it work better this time around.

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