By Dr. Lisa Kaplin for YourTango.com.
There’s an endless discussion of whether women who are mothers should work outside of the home or not. For many of us, it is a tiresome, useless argument that only serves to make mothers feel insecure regardless of their decision. The argument certainly doesn’t improve the lives of children or their parents. Most women I know find themselves in the unenviable position of either defending their decision, judging someone else’s, or worst of all: a combination of both.
Why are we defending ourselves, anyway? Are we insecure about our decisions? Influenced by the constant media barrage of mixed messages? Are we in a continual state of second-guessing ourselves, thus feeling forced into the position of defending what we hope is right for our family? Is your decision so tenuous, or your confidence so fragile that someone’s silly or cruel comment can throw you into a defensive, angry frenzy? And who are you really hurting when you find yourself in that state?
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And one more question: why in the world are we judging other mothers? The most common reason that people judge others is because they don’t feel good about themselves. When we are firm and confident in our own decisions and ourselves, we have no need to criticize or judge others. When we are good with our lives, we are ultimately loving and kind to others. Hating and judging other mamas isn’t about them — it’s about you. So if you find yourself gossiping about other mothers and their decisions, I have to ask you: “Why are you so unhappy with yourself… and what can you do to change that?”
Defending and judging are the ultimate sanity killers for all of us, yet they are also the perfect red flag, indicating that we are struggling internally with our own lives and decisions. I urge you to watch for those signs, and use them to dig deep in order to make decisions for you and your family that are right for you and your family, and absolutely no one else. You owe it to your children to make choices that work for the whole family. That includes you. There is absolutely no solid evidence that working inside or outside the home is right for every family. What is best for your family is unique to you and if it honors your morals, values, and financial needs, then own it with pride and confidence.
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The one and only way to end the ridiculous mommy wars is for each one of us to live our decision with complete assurance that what we have chosen for our family is unshakeable and right. No judgmental media, other parents, or non-parents can take away what is good for you. Why in the world would you let them? Why would you let someone else’s comments take away from the joy you feel with your family, your career, or both? Why would you waste your precious energy, good will, and self-esteem, on defending a decision that is yours to make?
Surround yourself with people who not only don’t judge, but who support you and your decision completely. A friend who looks down on your decision is no friend — and probably not one you would want to spend a lot of time with. A true friend celebrates your decisions, helps you make them work, and walks with you through the tough times. Parenthood is fleeting, as children grow so quickly; why spend that time second-guessing your decisions, defending them, and judging others? Go do what is best for your family, enjoy every moment of it and quit the mommy wars for good. You are too good for anything else.
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Lisa Kaplin is the proud mother of three, a psychologist and life coach at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com
You can reach her at Lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com
This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Stop The Madness & Stop The Mommy Wars.