By Rachel Bowers of Full Motherhood
Are you AP? RIE? Positive Parent? Tiger mom? Elephant mom? I am so tired of us moms boiling down motherhood to one parenting approach.
Is there a sloth mom? I would love to know because I am definitely the sloth mom some days.
Well, if you’re asking me, I’m M-O-M. That’s the parenting philosophy I follow. And what does this philosophy subscribe to, you may ask? It basically focuses on three main tenets:
- What works for my child
- What works for me
- Based on the particular situation
I know, super complicated. Don’t worry, you can purchase my book for $18.95 and join my Facebook group where we post about all of the mom friends we have who don’t subscribe to our philosophy and how sad that is for them and their children. But we don’t dare say anything to their faces because that would be judgmental.
I belong to some of those groups I’m referring to where moms like to safely huddle in their parenting philosophy box, and to a certain extent, I get it. You want to ask questions and get support from like-minded moms without judgement, right? Cool. But here’s the thing we should all remember. Just because a friend doesn’t know about your approach or doesn’t practice it doesn’t mean she won’t be supportive and doesn’t mean she won’t have good advice to offer. There are lessons to be learned outside of your chosen philosophy.
Don’t get me wrong, parenting philosophies are valid and have a place. I am embarrassed to admit how much time I actually spend learning them because that isn’t apparent in my own parenting practices some days. And I have a background in part of this as a social worker. But if I can tell you anything from my own experience working with children for almost a decade it’s this: there is not one approach in this world that works for every child all the time. Kids just aren’t that easy. They’re actually super complicated. You know, because they are human beings like us with brains, and feelings, and personalities.
When my son has a tantrum at home, I let his feelings be because I can tolerate his screams and cries in the comfort of our own space. I comfort him and let him sort it out. But when that tantrum occurs in the middle of the grocery store? You can hear me ripping open a bag of pretzels from four aisles over and trying anything I can to make him stop.
So I pick and choose things I like about different philosophies and leave the things I don’t think will work well for me or my son. Call me the eclectic mom or the cafeteria parent or whatever you choose, but I like to believe that all of these parenting philosophies have at least something to offer to people and that choosing and sticking with just one will not only may make you closed minded to other options, but it also can put a TON of pressure on you to make sure you’re following all the rules. Parenting in and of itself is such as complex journey. Add to that the unique personalities of yourself, your partner, and your child, and boxing yourself in to one approach may make everyone frustrated.
So I have my basic guidelines in terms of parenting that I follow, like don’t hit your children, don’t verbally abuse them, don’t shame them or humiliate them. Show them love and respect.
Outside of that I’m pretty open to suggestions because that’s part of the M-O-M philosophy.
Because nobody puts this mama in a box.
P.S. I was lying about the book but you can send me $18.95 anyway.
About the Author
Rachel is a mom, therapist, and maternal mental health advocate. She is also the co-founder of Mentoring 4 Moms. She blogs about emotional wellness for moms at Full Motherhood. Follow Rachel on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.