Editor's note: This article was originally published on Julie Maida's blog, Next Life ... No Kids. It has been modified and republished here with permission.
I don't care how you define motherhood; whether you think it's a job or a hobby. I do not care what words you choose to describe what you do "for a living."
I don't care if or where you went to college.
I couldn't care less how many kids you have, how or why you conceived them, or whether they were planned.
I don't care if you're single, married, divorced or separated.
I do not care who you love, or how you identify in your relationships.
I don't really care how old your children are, or how many years you chose (or didn't choose) to space them apart. I will not make comments like, "Wow! That's quite a separation, same father?" or "Did you get pregnant again in the delivery room?"
I don't care if you breast fed or bottle fed, and I don't care if you used formula or bought breast milk off the black market. You don't need to justify your attempts to nurse, or explain to me why formula was the best option for your child. There is also no need to defend your complete aversion to having your nipples chewed, or your forced time constraints because you had to head back to work right away.
It does not concern me that you work eighty hours a week or stay home with your children full time to support your family. You do not have to explain your feminist belief system, or the reasons you can't justify working to pay for childcare.
I don't care if you use cloth diapers, disposal diapers, or what brand you use. I really don't care how naturally savvy or challenged you are, or if you choose organic or fast food for your kids.
I don't care what religion you most identify with or what your beliefs are. You don't believe in anything? That's perfectly fine with me.
I don't care if you have wash board abs or junk in your trunk. It makes no difference to me if you hit the gym every day or not; if you are a size 2 or 22.
I don't care if you wear yoga or stretch pants, or why you choose not to.
I hold absolutely no emotional attachment to your views regarding my personal life choices. I don't care how you feel about my parenting style, beliefs, what I'm wearing at the bus stop drop off, or how often I'm looking down at my iPhone.
None of those things make us who we are. They are merely details of our lives, small parts of the big picture, and personal choices we all have the right to make. I will not use any of those facts as weapons against you or challenge you to a motherhood showdown.
I understand and appreciate that the decisions you make are none of my business. I respect your right to raise your kids and live your life however you choose; without my input or judgment.
Being a woman and mother is hard enough. I get that, because we are the same.
I care about your thoughts and feelings, and how they impact your choices. I know we can learn from each other, especially if we think and feel differently. I can honor your perspective and view points even if I don't share or agree with them.
I care about whether or not you know how important you are in the lives of your children, and how capable you are of making tough decisions for them; even on the days you question your sanity.
Because under all the details, labels, and hats we wear — behind all of the masks and titles — we're all just scared to death. We're all just doing the best we can, and hoping it's enough.
I don't care about your outsides, or how they compare to mine. I know that I'm not better than you, and I don't care to put on a show and pretend that I am.
I care about how we relate to one another, and what kind of person you are. I care about what matters.
Julie Maida gave up a career in addictions counseling to be at home with her teenager, preschooler, and toddler. To keep her sanity, she writes both humor and inspiration at nextlifenokids.com and sobermommies.com.