The other day, a new friend and I were having a friendly chat, just getting to know each other. We covered all of the topics--family, faith, etc.--and in the middle of the conversation, she casually mentioned that she chooses to not vaccinate her children. We continued chatting about something else and I mentioned that our youngest daughter is getting tubes next week.
And we continued chatting and had a great conversation.
It was only later that I realized that she and I both brought up what some would consider to be "hot topic" issues in parenting (vaccinations and tubes for ear infections)...and we both breezed right over them. I didn't wag my finger at her for not vaccinating her kids (we choose to vaccinate ours) and she didn't condemn me for choosing tubes for Lydia (they would use chiropractics). Instead, our conversation focused on the things we have in common and the struggles that life has given us, and how we've chosen to handle those struggles. I've loved getting to know her and I can confidently say, she's my friend.
Even if I've never been to a chiropractor. Even if she has chosen to not vaccinate her kids.
If you've been a Mom for any amount of time, then you understand what I'm talking about. There seem to be these hot topic issues floating around the Mom circuit, and Moms find themselves forced to pick a side. The line has been drawn! Run to the side that reflects the decisions you make, and STAY THERE. See those Moms who share your side? Stay only with them. The Moms on the other side? They clearly don't know what they're doing and we must not only stay away from them, but we must also criticize them.
"You use cloth diapers? Gross!"
"You let your baby cry it out? Horrific!"
"You circumcise your child? Mutilation!"
"You give your baby Tylenol? Foolish!"
And so on and so forth. It's a fairly lame conversation, if you can even call it a conversation. It's more like a verbal beating, each Mom finding herself in a defensive position, clambering to explain why she has chosen to do things a certain way with her children.
At some point, we've found it okay to underestimate the intelligence of Moms who chose to do things differently than we do.
I know that some of these topics are personal and Moms have good reason to be passionate about them ... but is yelling about it worth sacrificing potential friendships? Is it worth insulting the intelligence of someone who thinks differently than you do? Just because we choose to vaccinate doesn't mean that we didn't research the option of not vaccinating. We did, and we chose to vaccinate. We have our reasons, for sure. And my friend? Her research led her to not vaccinate. And that's that. And she has her reasons, too.
What if we had cut each other off? What if, when she had mentioned the vaccination thing, I had immediately scoffed and marched away? I would have missed the part where she told me about God's guidance in her life. I would have missed her hilarious stories. I would have missed the rest of our conversation.
We don't have to agree on everything. But we don't have to underestimate each other, either.
At some point, Moms stopped talking about these things and started yelling about them instead. You can still have a civil conversation. And you know what?
YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE.
But you can still show grace. And enjoy the common ground you share.
Like being a Mom.
What are your thoughts? Do you think I'm way off?
Friday, October 18, 2013
Okay, y'all. I'm here.
Life, oh Life, how busy you have been.
And Blog, oh Blog, how neglected you have been.
Let's play some catch-up, shall we?
1) My Mother and I took a girls' trip to IKEA in Frisco, Texas, which is about a four-hour drive from my house. We had the girls with us, so manuevering through the maze that is IKEA was a little tricky and we were all quite tired when it was done (please note the cookie-devouring that is happening in the picture below), but it was fun!
I bought some stuff to re-do the entryway. The Farmer's Almanac is calling for a bitterly cold winter, y'all. Time to create some boot storage.
2) This big kid turned five.
FIVE. I can't believe my oldest is FIVE. PawPaw made him this special pancake, since his birthday fell on Friday, which is the day we eat pancakes with the kids' great-grandfather. Cub was pretty stoked. (We have had major health concerns with the kids' great-grandparents lately and the ups and downs have been tough, so I treasure our Friday breakfasts.) I am so proud of this kid. He refers to his sisters as "my sisters" all the time. "My sisters needed a snack, so I got it for them." "My sisters are ready for bed, I think." Obviously, duh, they are his sisters, but I love hearing him talk about them. He loves school, loves learning, is obsessed with anything that has to do with building things. Next goal: Tying shoes. You're on your way, buddy. You're on your way.
3) I ran my first 15k of the season and beat my time from last year. Yay! Also, I'm super red and sweaty in this picture. Gross. I have learned the value of a good ice bath. Even though I was cold, I plunged (fully-clothed) into a tub full of cold water with a bowl of ice dumped in and I wasn't sore at all the next day. I credit the ice bath. And maybe the double-cheeseburger I ate that night. Maybe.
4) I made a Pinterest dessert that DIDN'T FAIL! And the angels rejoiced! The girls and I had a little baking day while Cub was in school. We made some (boxed) pumpkin bread and when it cooled, we sliced it and used a leaf cookie cutter to cut a leaf shape out of each slice. Then we lined the "leaves" of cooked pumpkin bread in a loaf pan and dumped (boxed) cinnamon bread batter on top of them and baked it. After pouring softened cream cheese frosting on top and covering it with a crumbled almond/brown sugar topping, we finished. And it WORKED!
5) My husband surprised me with a new dishwasher. I almost cried. Ten years ago, it was flowers. Now, it's a dishwasher that doesn't sound like a roaring waterfall when it runs. We can actually ... have a conversation? Watch TV? when the dishwasher is running and it's amazing. Oh, how he speaks my language!
6) Remember the double-cheeseburger mentioned above? Yeah. Running makes me hungry and thusly, I eat. Like a bear. A big bear. And put on pounds. Yes, yes, I gain weight when I run. Ha! So, I've tried to cut back on the bear-ish eating. One of my favorite not-so-bear-ish lunches is a cilantro-lime shrimp dish. I sauté shrimp in lime juice with cilantro and once it is browned, I mix it with a tablespoon of guacamole and a tablespoon of pico de gallo. DELISH.
7) This is a pic of Naomi and I from last night. Our Thursdays have turned into sleepover days with the kids. Naomi and I sleep in the master bedroom while the boys take up residence in the guest room (Lydia still sleeps in the girls' room at this point, ha!). We watch a movie and eat popcorn. Sleeping with a three year-old is a lot like sleeping with a ninja, but I love when her little hand finds my face, and I love the sweet sounds she makes when she sleeps. And I love that she actually loves to do sleepovers with me. It's the kids' favorite night of the week and we love it, too.
Of course, these are all of the happy highlights. There have been some rough patches thrown in there, too, that add to the craziness of life right now. But I am reminded, over and over again, of the good things with which God has blessed us. And I am so thankful for them and humbled by His grace.
Have a lovely weekend!