The Mommy Wars
- on November 14, 2013
I’m tapping out. I’m crying “Uncle”. I’m forfeiting. I am done and over the Mommy Wars. It seems a new battle breaks out over a new topic each day. And I’m throwing in the towel.
I got sucked in early as I read my pro-breastfeeding books and made my own pre-baby parenting decisions in the weeks leading up to HJ’s birth. Before I was pregnant, I was ignorant to the battles and nastiness between moms online, in person, and even the silent judgments passed back and forth. I just thought everyone was a part of this “Mom Club” and everyone was helpful and taught each other all the Mom tricks and Mom songs. I was sure it was rainbows and sunshine as they all adored each others’ offspring and shared cookies at playgroups.
And then I joined my birth month club on the expectant moms website. Wowza. The first battles I saw duked out were over inductions, VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), and elective cesareans. It got vicious. The women were downright nasty to each other. I had my own opinions, of course, but I had no idea that people felt so strongly about certain topics that they’d be that mean to perfect strangers.
I saw the battles continue over blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, at playdates and so on. The eight most common “fights” I see are:
breastfeeding vs. formula
feeding kids organic vs. processed food
nursing in public vs. private
vaccinating vs. not vaccinating your children
working moms vs. stay-at-home moms
attachment parenting techniques vs. self-soothing techniques
cloth vs. disposable diapers
hospital vs. home births
There seems to be a battle over nearly every aspect of childrearing, which is crazy. People get incredibly riled up about each one of these topics too. Bringing them up is almost up there with discussing religion and politics in some circles: It just shouldn't happen.
I remember falling into this cycle just three months following HJ’s birth. I felt the judgments rising up in my head over another mom’s choice to not breastfeed. I spewed my negative comments to my husband behind closed doors, but I was still no better than the people who said them online or to another parent’s face. It was unnecessary and was none of my business. I needed a slap upside the head.
But there’s something that gets rooted in us when we become a parent. We want so badly to be the best parent we can possibly be to our children that when we make a finite decision on their upbringing, we feel the need to justify it...even if it’s only to ourselves. When someone puts down our way of parenting or a decision that we made, it’s personal. We feel personally attacked. And that need to strike back or explain why our way is the better way to go can be so overwhelming that we get pulled into the battle too.
It’s what fuels the Mommy Wars.
But isn’t it funny that the underlying cause of it all is the same? We all want to be the BEST parent that our kids can possibly have, a parent who makes all the best decisions and fights for their ability to do so.
So that’s what I’m going to do my best to remember the next time I find myself in the battle.
Everyone is doing what they know (or think) to be the best. And that makes them a pretty damn awesome parent.