I know this mom who circumcised her son. She didn’t do any research, she didn’t know anything about the procedure; her husband was circumcised, so she just allowed the doctor to do it.
I know this mom who absolutely refused to have her newborn circumcised. She had heard so many awful things about the procedure, and knew that she didn’t want her brand-new baby to experience any pain. After many hours of research and deliberation, she and her husband decided that it wouldn’t be done to their child, ever.
I know this mom who lets her kids snack on junk-food. Treats like gummies and goldfish and other processed foods. Juice and ice-cream and cookies? Sure, why not. She doesn’t think twice about it.
I know this mom who only feeds her kids whole foods, like fruit and veggies. Her kids eat hard boiled eggs as snacks. They don’t ever get junk, and they never ask for it. They aren’t picky eaters, and she is proud of it.
I know this mom who absolutely SWEARS she will never let her babies sleep in bed with her. She believes with all her heart that kids belong in their own beds, and once you let them in bed with you, you’ll never get them out again.
I know this mom who has a family-bed. ALL of her children sleep with her and her husband every single night. They have no plans to end their sleeping arrangement any time soon.
I know this mom who says she’s only going to breastfeed until her baby is 6 months old, because that will probably be good enough. She can’t imagine breastfeeding an older baby. Definitely not a toddler.
I know this mom who is going to allow her baby to self-wean, because she doesn’t want to encourage the ending of their nursing relationship, be it 3, 4 or 5 years down the road.
I know this mom who allowed her doctor to induce her at 39 weeks pregnant with NO medical indication, because she was tired of being pregnant, and trusted her doctor to do the very best thing for her. She didn’t do any research or learn otherwise, she just decided to “go with the flow” because it sounded good.
I know this mom who birthed her child at home, in her bathroom many days past her due date, because she swears that the medical system is designed to fail moms and she didn’t want the risk of an unwanted intervention.
I know this mom who puts sunscreen on her kids every single time that they go outside, and keeps slathering it on every few hours, without thought of chemicals or parabens found in name-brand products.
I know this mom who doesn’t EVER use sunscreen on her kids. They wear hats and shirts, and limit outdoor time to mornings and evenings. She doesn’t ever seem to worry that her kids are being exposed to the sun.
I know this mom who yells at her kids ALL THE TIME. She gets irritated at the smallest things, and I swear her kids don’t even react unless she is yelling. She always seems mad.
I know this mom who spanks. When she gets frustrated, she raises her hand, and doesn’t have the self-control to stop her arm from striking. She says she feels guilty afterwards, but she continues to hit.
I know this mom who doesn’t ever hit her kids. She doesn’t even yell. She says that she whispers, and counts to ten when she’s frustrated, uses time outs, and is able to remind herself that her children aren’t trying to frustrate her. She says she surprises herself with her self-control sometimes. She seems to have endless patience.
I know this mom who vaccinates her children. On schedule. Multiple vaccines, all given at the same time. She believes they are safe and effective.
I know this mom who doesn’t vaccinate her children. At all. They haven’t had any of the recommended shots, and aren’t planning on getting any in the future.
I know this mom who listens to and does everything her pediatrician tells her. She doesn’t always agree with her doc, but she does what she’s told anyway.
I know this mom who sticks to her guns, and follows her gut. ESPECIALLY when she disagrees with something a medical professional has told her. She will get a second opinion faster than the blink of an eye, and has no problem researching all of her options before deciding what to do. Even if her pediatrician disagrees.
Ladies. Gentlemen. I know this mom.
YOU know this mom.
All of these moms are me. Each one of these moms is the mother that I was, at some point on my mothering journey. I have grown, and learned, and changed. I have done things I swore I would NEVER do, and not done things I thought were essential to parenting. I have been gently guided and lovingly instructed by trusted and cherished friends. I have seen and heard and challenged myself. So what’s the point of all this?
The point is: even if you disagree with what another mother chooses, even if you don’t support what she’s doing, even if you think she is flat out wrong… you should love and support her anyways. Gently guide where you can. Give encouragement where you see fit. Model better behavior. Because she is just at a different place in her mothering journey. Because this journey is HARD. Because we ALL need the love and support.
And there is enough love to give that we should never run out. Ever.
A version of this article was originally published on Tempest Beauty, and is republished here with permission.