So today I had a weird experience. I logged onto Facebook, one of my favorite things, and I was slapped in the face by a moron. Not literally, or that would be a super cool app, but by the private message that I received from a person I don't even know. She is a friend of a friend at best, and in truth, an acquaintance that I probably wouldn't be able to pick out of a crowd. However, my new bestie decided to take it upon herself to send me a message in response to my recent posts about Will's coughing/seasonal asthma. I deleted the post already, but the gist was:
Its your fault Will's so crippled and sickly. If you breastfed like a real mom, maybe you'd have a healthy kid.
Love, Almost Complete Stranger
In an unexpected bout of maturity, I chose not to respond. I tried a couple of shots at it, but each time I felt like I was justifying my parenting decisions... and I owe this person no justifications. She doesn't know if I did, when I did, how long I did, or if I still do. So, I decided not to gratify her intrusion into my life with a response. It wasn't worth my time. However, in typical Lynn fashion, the maturity wore off and my response will be as follows:
Dear Almost Complete Stranger,
Thanks so much for your concern over a decision that I made almost 6 years ago. In fact, you've so opened my eyes that I may start breastfeeding him again when he gets home from school. Oh wait... that isn't possible... and you know what? Breastfeeding wasn't possible when he was born either. Welcome to the world of TMI, but I have what I lovingly call "deforma-nipples" and while I tried to breastfeed, neither of my boys were able to latch on. The Breastapo, as I call the lactation consultants in the hospital, did all they could do (and even added a little extra guilt on the side), but it didn't work. So, I threw in the towel and fed Will beer instead.
Oh wait, no I didn't. I pumped. I pumped and I pumped and I pumped and I pumped and I pumped for 5 whole months. Do you know what that's like? You feed your little angel at 2:00 in the morning, then at 2:30 he falls asleep and you hook yourself up to a milking machine for 45 minutes, and then at 3:15ish you unhook, wash it and go to sleep sometime around 3:30 and you're up again at 4:00a for his next feeding. That's what I did. FOR 5 MONTHS!!! I carted my pump around everywhere I went. And, just so you know how super easy it was, Will had colic. If you don't know colic, you are a lucky woman, but if you do.... it will make you shudder. At almost 6 years later it still makes me shudder. The pediatrician thought that Will's colic could be related to a dairy intolerance, and the only dairy he got was from me. So do you know what I did in my crappy, bad mommy ways? I cut all dairy from my diet. It goes without saying I already had no caffeine, no booze, but now my cheeseburgers were sans cheese. My ice cream was freaking sorbet. Soy milk was in my cereal. I was a dairy-less dairy cow for a long time, and I don't regret a minute of it. However, when a piece of the pump broke at 5 months, I did not for one second think I was less of a mother because I switched him over to formula.
And for the record... let's talk about my sickly child. Would that be the one who is the size of an 8 year old? The tall, big, strong, active sickly child who runs outside immediately after school to run, jump, play, swing, swim, and move until I force him in for dinner? The kid that runs back out after dinner to scooter, bike or play ball? Cuz, I don't know your kids other than photos, but I gotta tell you...my sickly kid could take on your "healthy" one any day.
The thing is... I don't know how you raise your kids. I assume you breastfeed (that or you're hypocrisy is as big as your gall), but other than that... I don't know. I know you work, and I don't. I don't however send you a message saying I think you are a worse mom because of it. I think working mothers can be wonderful moms. I think stay home moms can be wonderful moms. I think both kinds can suck pretty bad, too. Breastfeeding moms can be equally as awesome or craptastic as formula feeding moms, too. If there was a simple step by step way to be a good mother, we'd all do it. But the truth is, there is no special map to Mommy of the Year.
The bottom line is that I assume you love your kids. (Psst.... I love mine, too). I assume that you do what works for your family. (Psst... I am doing what works for mine, too). I assume that you are just like the rest of us.... trying to make it work. (FYI...that's what I am doing, too.) It may take a village to raise a child, but maybe the village should be offering a little less condescending judgement and a little more understanding and support. Instead of worrying where my breasts have been, maybe you should worry about where you just put your foot. The next time you decide that you are the end all be all of motherhood wisdom, think twice before you open your mouth. That way, you might have a better chance of keeping your feet out of it.