Talking Shop

When men gather round and start talking shop, you can bet it’s not about pregnancy and childbirth. But when women have a moment to talk to one another, whether it’s on facebook or actually face to face, that’s often the subject. And I’m not complaining. This is as it should be. We talk about what we are doing, and young moms are having kids, so that’s the biggest topic on their minds.

When the men talk about  whether it’s better to drive a Ford or a Chevy, I’m betting that it would be pretty rare for any of the men to get their feelings hurt. But when women are talking about how much weight to gain or whether to use cloth diapers, feelings can be right out there on the line, being crushed by every toe that steps on them.

So here are a couple of cautions for us all. If you are a young mom looking for input on any issue under the huge heading of mothering or childbearing, be wise. Be prepared to receive lots of advice and opinions that you may or may not agree with. Some may even be positively fruity. Don’t take it personally. Don’t take offense.  And on the flip side, if you are offering advice and opinions, whether solicited or not, don’t be imperialistic. Be wise. Give one another room. If Susie doesn’t take your advice, don’t end the friendship over it.

Women are sensitive creatures and we know not what we are made of. We ask for input and then feel criticized when we get it. We put our picture out there on the world-wide-web, and then we are offended when people make insensitive comments. So there are two things to learn here. Maybe you shouldn’t publish too much information on facebook. Be discreet. Hold back.  Don’t disclose all your news. Maybe don’t put up that picture.You’re just asking for lots and lots of feedback and opinions. Are you sure you’re up for that?

And don’t be too quick to offer your opinion. You may be the ninety-ninth person to offer a criticism. Be considerate. Be kind. Hold back. Mothers can take their mothering skills too far by trying to mother all the new  mothers. Mothers can wag their fingers and their tongues at one another. Life is too short to wreck friendships over diapers and formula and how much weight to gain or not gain in pregnancy.

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8 thoughts on “Talking Shop

  1. Thanks so much for this wise post. We often forget to think through the implications of our conversations and questions.

  2. Thanks for this – so applicable! One thing that other mothers did a lot when I was pregnant was “brag” about all the pain they suffered during labor and delivery, which of course scares a newly pregnant mother like crazy! I don’t think they were meaning to scare anyone, but what they didn’t tell me was that having a child is one of the most amazing experiences you can go through and the joy far outweighs the pain. I want every mom who is looking forward to her first baby to know that even though it might be painful and a little scary, your baby’s birth will be an incredibly joyful memory and I would do it a million times again. Seriously, who cares about a few stitches when you get to be a part of bringing a new life into the world.

  3. I am a new reader, I just discovered this blog the other day and already it has greatly impacted my life (no joke)! As a new mom of a four month old, I can very much relate to this. I definitely received a lot of advice during my pregnancy and in the early weeks. I even gave myself advice by reading 5637485 parenting books. Because I read so much and received so much advice, I expected things to be a certain way after my son was born.

    Shockingly, nothing went according to plan and all of my expectations fell short. My birth plan, breastfeeding, cloth diapers- every thing I thought would go according to plan did NOT. And I struggled to find contentment. God has refined me through being a mother and shown me that it is not what I plan that matters because ultimately I am not in control. He is. We would do well to remember that when we give advice as well, because we may be creating expectations that will fall short. God has a plan for the mother and baby, and what we have to say about it matters very little. :)

  4. I’m expecting my first and, like Lindsey, have been extremely grateful for the women who do NOT give me a gloom and doom prophecy about my new life as a mother. Words of encouragement are always appreciated! If you are giving another woman (I hope solicited!) advice, the words ‘you can do it’ are much more encouraging than the always-ominous ‘just you wait!’

  5. But just you wait are exactly the perfect words ;). Spoken with love! Nothing is ever what we plan and even though we want to be in control and are disappointed when it doesn’t always work out, we serve the One who is in control.

    Motherhood is the one job where you do just wait and see what happens ( with lots of prayers), the most heart wrenching and most joyful of journeys…and hopefully we can all be there to support and encourage one another and not to judge. More often than not we compare ourselves to one another and many times feel we fall short, but every momma out there, no matter how well together she may appear on the outside still struggles with something.

    Hugs to all the moms out there!

  6. Thanks, Karen! :) The ‘just you wait’ from you is actually quite nice! You seem like the kind of wise woman who knows how to temper her honest advice with encouraging words, which is more what I was trying to get at.

    Like Lindsey, I can handle the awful pregnancy, labor and breastfeeding stories better when they’re accompanied by a few words of perspective on how ‘worth it’ they will all be in the end. The ‘just-you-waiters’ I was referring to are the women who would probably rain on your parade with tales of woe about your next phase of life whether you were at your high school graduation, your bridal shower, your baby shower, or your child’s school play. :)

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