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No, I Don't Really Get Why You Chose That

I respect other mothers' right to choose...but no, I don't really understand

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve shared a lot of different choices that I’ve made and the reasons why I’ve made them: why I love water birth, why I’m not circumcising this baby, why I don’t vaccinate, why I need to breastfeed, and more.

Some of the commenters on those articles said something along these lines to me: “Well, you say ‘to each his own’ but you don’t really mean it.  You clearly think your choice is the best one.”

Well, that, frankly, left me dumbfounded.  Yes, I do think my choice is best!  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have made it!  I don’t know you.  I don’t walk in your shoes.  I can’t walk in your shoes.  And although I completely do respect your right to choose what is best for you and your family…no, I don’t really get why you chose what you did.

Let’s just all be honest, here.  Many of us do — at least in theory, in the way we speak and try to react — support others’ right to make the choices that are right for them.  Because we do not and cannot understand their circumstances, and we don’t want them to judge us for the choices we’ve made under our circumstances, right?  Stands to reason that we also must afford the same non-judgmental attitude to others, too.

But really?  Who hasn’t read or heard something another has done, and their immediate reaction was, “That’s dumb!”  Doesn’t mean you say any such thing, but I’m pretty sure every single person has thought that at one time or another.  Maybe you even have to continually remind yourself, after thinking “that’s dumb” that you don’t know their circumstances, before you actually open your mouth.  Or not, as we’ve seen plenty of people who will simply ‘call it like they see it’ here.

All of us are passionate about our choices.  All of us are doing what we think is best.  So yeah, I think what I’m doing is best.  Yeah, I wonder sometimes why other people make the choices that they do, and sometimes even if maybe something else might have been better.  I typically just don’t say it, though.

I certainly don’t know how to blog without sharing my opinion.  You all do realize what a blog is, right?  A place for us bloggers to share our thoughts, feelings, opinions, choices, interesting tidbits we’ve come across.  It’s not a “professional publication.”  It’s not a magazine, where we’re assigned topics well in advance, prepare well-written and well-researched articles, get checked by editors, and then present careful and well-balanced pieces.  Umm, no, that’s not what a blog is about.  A blog is a place for bloggers to share their thoughts on any number of subjects (and no, the editors don’t approve our work before publication).

That being the point of a blog — to share my thoughts — I do so.  And no matter how much I say, “To each his own,” and intellectually really mean it — sure, it’s clearly going to come across that I prefer my own choice or opinion!  Can any of you honestly say that you prefer another’s choice to your own?  No, because if you did, you’d make a different choice, right?

Yes, there will always be parenting choices that absolutely baffle me.  Choices I could never make for myself.  Choices that, maybe, I even really dislike.  That just makes me human.  I can’t help what I think.  I can only help what I say, how I react.  And so there will be plenty of times that I simply smile and nod, because nothing I say is going to be very helpful at that moment.  That’s okay — my mother always taught me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Can you honestly say that you’ve never had a “what-was-she-thinking” moment?  Or do you sometimes honestly wonder what other moms are doing?

Top image by surlygirl

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