Happy New Year! Today we have a guest post from a dear friend of mine - after reading it when she shared it with me I decided I needed to share it with all of you. I have been thinking similar thoughts for some time now, but haven't taken the time to put my thoughts into words-on-paper. Thank you, Beth, for eloquently saying things that I think most of us can agree with!
The word agreement, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is defined as such: agree·ment
: the act of agreeing
: a situation in which people share the same opinion : a situation in which people agree
: an arrangement, contract, etc., by which people agree about what is to be done
I would like to focus mainly on the third definition. An arrangement, contract, etc, by which people agree about what is to be done.
We have all heard about the power of positive thinking. Mayo Clinic even has articles about how positive thinking can help with stress management and improving your health. We KNOW that our outlook on life affects our quality of life.
The same can be said about agreement. Positive agreement can have a profound effect on our lives. It is by agreement that the triune God created the earth. According to the Bible, it is by agreement that covenants are made (2 Kings 23:3), and by agreement that anything we ask shall be done by the Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:19)
Needless to say, agreement is a pretty powerful force. Generally we think of agreement as a positive thing, done in a positive state. But in all truth, it is actually lived out more often than not, negatively.
Think about your typical beauty shop talk or hen house chatter. How much of it is uplifting and encouraging? How much of that gossip centers around what someone is doing wrong or how others feel they are under performing.
Now let’s put that in the realm of motherhood and parenting. We’ve all heard of the mommy wars. Breast vs. Bottle, pacifiers, vaccinations, hospital vs. homebirth, etc. It’s almost like Newton’s Third Law of parenting. “For every choice available, there is an equal and opposite option and choice and group pushing for it”.
I think it’s pretty safe to say we have all experienced this “negative agreement” at one time or another. It comes to us in comments such as “you look tired, are you feeling ok?” or to the pregnant mama “just wait until that baby comes, then you’ll really miss your sleep!” or “haven’t you had that baby yet? You must be so sick of being pregnant.” To the new mother trying to find her footing we offer all our horror stories and tell her of all the ways she can or is going to mess up her child. To the mom struggling with toddlers we tell her to just wait until they are teenagers, then she’ll really know what it is like to struggle. To the mom recovering from a miscarriage we tritely offer that “something must have been wrong” or it was just “God’s will” for her to lose her baby. To the single mothers we look at them in pity and tell them how we have no idea how they do it. To the mothers whose husbands work long hours or are away from home often we tell them “we’ll see how long you last.”
Why? All of these statements are just tearing other mamas down. Whether we realize it or not, we are forming negative agreements against our fellow moms. All the other comments she has already heard, as well as any of her own doubts we have now validated in her mind. It’s almost as if we are cursing them and their efforts. Why? Why do we feel the need to do this? It’s the crab bucket mentality. It’s our own self-image issues and our own struggles with our identity as mothers. We take it out on others. We feel that we couldn’t possibly handle that situation the way they are handling it, so we tear them down to make ourselves feel better. Generally I believe this all takes place behind the scenes in our minds and that most of us don’t truly wish negative energies on our fellow mamas. But just like the crab trying to get out of the bucket, we grab them by the leg and pull them back down.
In this new year I challenge you to make a conscious effort to stop the negative agreement. Let’s start being a positive change and spreading positive vibes to our fellow mamas. We are all in the trenches together, no matter what stage of motherhood we’re in. Let’s stop pulling each other down and start building up. Think closely about what you’re going to say before you say it. Don’t spread negative energy and agreement. There is enough of that in the world without us fueling it in our own villages. Think positive, be positive, and let’s start 2015 with positive agreements.