Who Are Your Five?
I often speak to businesses and other organizations on topics of stress management and productivity enhancement. One of the most important points I try to get across in the 30-60 minutes I’m with the group, is the idea that you become like the five people with whom you spend the most time. Scary, right?! This is why it’s is so crucial for us to guard our time. Our conversations and our energy should be saved for those people who lift us up, encourage and support us in all that we do.
I was recently invited to be part of a segment on Fox59 News on the topic of “Mom-Shaming.” As a new mom, I’ve become personally familiar with all the cliché ways moms encounter this negativity. As a chiropractor, however, I’ve been familiar with the concept for much longer. The health approach of the majority of moms I’ve cared for over the years is unique. Unique, that is, compared to society’s established norms. The more holistic, natural and “non-conventional” approach often raises the eyebrows of those who are simply new or unfamiliar with the concept. Many of the moms I’ve worked with see medication as a last resort rather than using it as a first option for basic childhood symptoms and concerns. Chiropractic care, essential oils, nutritional supplements, home births and the avoidance of processed foods and sugars is simply more common among this community.
The purpose of this blog isn’t to convince anyone that a “crunchy” more organic or natural lifestyle is best. There is no “one size fits all” and every parent must choose for themselves what’s right for their family. Don’t define yourself as a “granola mom?” That’s ok – this topic still applies. I do hope, however, to put mom-shaming in a different light. Maybe redefine mom-shaming in a way that helps those who feel it’s pressures become more grounded in themselves and their choices.
Your Ideal Tribe
This, I’ve found myself firmly grounded in: mom-shaming on any level is just an attempt by any mom to assemble and define her “tribe.” For example, if you proclaim that you would “never take my child to a chiropractor for any reason,” to me, that simply means – you’re in a different tribe! And that’s perfectly ok. If, however, if you aspire to breastfeed your baby until 12 months of age and have carefully planned what foods you’ll allow when they do start on solids – then we’re probably in the same tribe. Cool! That simply means we speak the same language.
When in a large group of new people, it’s human nature to seek out ways in which we are similar. We’ve all seen men do it – shouting out to the stranger across the street “Go Cardinals!” (that would be my husband) as a verbal confirmation, “we speak the same language!” From the same home-state? I bet you’ll find that out quickly in a superficial conversation with a new acquaintance as you seek ways to relate.
In the world of social media, however – it appears the tables have turned. Opinions are more freely offered because we can all stay safely behind our profile. In this faceless world where we often have never met some of our “friends” in person – it seems to me that most people are looking for ways to stand out. We all want to have something that differentiates ourselves. While sometimes blending in, is safe, standing out can be important. A bold statement that separates oneself from the group is the only way to show others what makes one unique. [IMHO], it’s a way of digging through the masses to help identify your “tribe.”
What topics of conversation inspire you? In what areas do you want or need to be challenged, or just learn more? Isn’t life all about finding out more about ourselves, and sharing who we are? Part of helping us stay true to ourselves is recognizing boundaries. They will tell us when we’ve wandered outside of what resonates with our personal truth. It’s important to me to find my ideal tribe – but remain open enough to be challenged and grow. New opinions, when offered in the right way, can help us grasp new ideas or improve upon things we might already be doing well.
Still feeling mom-shame? Remember that no one has the right to tell you what’s best of you or your family. Assess their perspective, review your own, then stand firm in what you believe. Perhaps even say a silent “thank you” to them for challenging you, and helping you grow stronger in your decisions or for pushing you a step closer to what resonates more. In the end – you’ll know what’s right for you, and the opinions of others will matter less.