My mother-in-law has strong views about what a woman should do when she has kids. I have 2 small kids and I have kept working. Over the last few years, I’ve had to host them in our home for 2-3 months out of the year. She makes passive aggressive comments about my childcare situation. I have a nanny that cares for my kids in her own home (because I work from my home). My nanny is the absolute best in my mind and I couldn’t ask for a better arrangement. We make good money and can afford to pay for phenomenal childcare. Most of my family members are low income or living paycheck to paycheck and all they know about are the “horror” stories we hear from people about childcare abuse. She doesn’t know that having the kind of nanny we have is a luxury and one that we’re happy to pay for. They don’t know how much money we make as we’re not flashy people. I know this is all just evidence that I have for supporting my decision.

Through scholars, I see now that everything she says to me are based on her own beliefs on what a good mother is and my thoughts about motherhood are so different from her. For years, I always thought I was just doing it the “wrong” way because her whole family believes the same thing. I was the rebel doing it the wrong way, although it felt “right” to me. Even though I understand this now, I still struggle with the thoughts I’m assigning to her words. I want her to see me as a “good mother” and because I never was accepted from the beginning (because I’m the first college graduate that pursued a career) it’s like I seek her/their approval even though I don’t want to be like them, just want to be who I want to be.

As I step into having my own back on my decisions in motherhood, I want to keep working through noticing my thoughts and creating intentional models. This is what I have:

C – MIL said: “Do they even feed your daughter over there where they take care of her?”
T – She thinks I’m that shitty of a mother that I would allow my daughter to go hungry for the day.
F – Sad
A – Cry and complain to my husband, don’t take action on my goals, ruminate for days
R – I’m not showing up as the mother I want to be for my kids

Intentional – need a lot of help
C – MIL said “Do they even feed your daughter over there where they take care of her?”
T – She doesn’t understand the type of care my daughter receives and I’m okay with it.
F – ? ?
A – Still keep working toward my goals, share the conversation with my husband
R – ??

Here’s another one:
C – MIL said “No one will take care of your kids better than their mother”
T – I’m a terrible mother for not staying home with them
F – Guilty
A – Question my decisions every day, cry because I’m not sure if I’m making the right decision, complain to my husband, not work towards my goals, ruminate in my thoughts.
R – Don’t show up for my husband and kids the way I want to

C – MIL said “No one will take care of your kids better than their mother”
T – My goals are bigger than her thoughts about my parenting
F – Empowered? I think this thought would make me feel “good” about my decisions
A – Keep working toward my goals, keep loving my children unconditionally, keep parenting the way I want to parent them, keep loving my husband the way I want to love him
R – ?? I reach my goals?