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Not My Sister’s Keeper by J.G. McGlothern September 1, 2009

Filed under: From The Heart,motherhood — heartwriter @ 3:58 pm

How we raise our children is dependent on how we were raised. We either are motivated by what we feel we didn’t get enough of as children or we are inspired by what we received and want to pass that on.

My sister and I are seven years apart in age and each have two children, who are just days apart. She and I are like night and day, so are our children. And even though my sister and I come from the same family we were raised quite differently. We have memories that on the surface appear like we were raised on different planets. In actuality she was raised by a dysfunctional couple, and I was raised by a single mom. Different planets indeed. The difference seven years can make.

There is no need to go into our different parenting styles for it would sound like bickering sister-talk, bitchy and comparative.

I am learning that judging the way others parent, why it might momentarily make me feel like a better mom – doesn’t help anyone. We can make ourselves feel really rotten if we constantly compare our parenting to others in a derogatory fashion. Wishing we did things differently with envy isn’t productive. Puffing ourselves up into Mother Heroes doesn’t grow us into healthy individuals either.

Instead, being inspired with curiosity and fueled by new wisdom we can learn from other parents. Take bits and pieces that work for us and try out new tactics.

When we start to judge we can take a breath and remind ourselves we all come from different planets and even though we are all here right now, we got here from various directions.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to ask five other women their experience of the words… “I love you.” Varying in ages from 80’s to 60’s, 50’s to 40’s we all had unique memories of those words. The older generations around the table shared experiences of barely hearing those words. Those words weren’t heard in their families instead the love was shown by action. Each woman shared their solitary story with many united threads crossing over to the other stories. We all had either heard the words too much or too little. The point being those experiences motivated our actions – how we tell others we love them. How we express our love. We are molded, motivated, and moved by our pasts.

I am going to make a conscience effort when I see a stranger in the grocery store parenting in a way I don’t agree with, to send love her way instead of judgment. Or if the parenting style is one I can learn from I will send gratitude her way instead of comparison or negating my efforts. And yes at those family gatherings, I will remember my sister and I have solitary childhood experiences so in return raise our kids in opposite directions. Judging her actions only turns me against her not toward her. And after all she is my sister.


One Response to “Not My Sister’s Keeper by J.G. McGlothern”

  1. dianne Says:

    Dearest Jen:

    Again, you’ve made a point with your fabulous words, and did it with grace and love.

    As you know, I’m very fond of you. I really don’t know your history, though, and I was surprised that you have a sister so much older- and so different from you. I really thought you must have had the happiest of childhoods!

    You should be so proud and grateful that you have gotten the good genes, and somehow obtained the best way to raise children. You are a fabulous parent, and I’m so very impressed! Margaret and Simon are treasures and proof of your good parenting.


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