There has been debate recently over the so-called Mommy Wars and if they really exist. Well one quick peek at posts on Facebook would confirm that yes, they do exist. Just like this commercial shows, we mamas argue over all sorts of things.
Breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding.
Cloth diapering vs. disposables.
Working moms vs. stay-at-home moms.
Attachment parenting vs. crying it out.
And the mother (puns!) of all arguments: Vaccinate or not?
All this arguing amongst each other is just sad. Motherhood is hard. This is a time in our life when we need understanding friends the most and instead of supporting each other we are busy putting each other down for our parenting choices.
I’m growing weary of the backhanded, passive aggressive judgment posts on Facebook. You know the ones. They’re usually disguised as a “concern” and sometimes contain a scripture reference. Those posts that make you second guess every parenting decision you’ve ever made.
Maybe I shouldn’t have started my baby on a bottle so soon–that’s probably why he had that cold last week. Maybe my daughter shouldn’t have gotten that vaccine–if she gets cancer it’s going to be all my fault. Maybe I shouldn’t have let her start wearing make up–I wonder what her friends’ parents think?
We need to put an end to the Mommy Wars and to do that I think we need to accept these two truths.
We all know our own children better than anyone else.
We know their likes and their dislikes. We know their strengths and their weaknesses. We know how they think and how they learn. We know what scares them and what empowers them. We know them better than anyone in this world.
I knew that my daughter at ten years old was mature enough to babysit her younger siblings. Maybe your child at seventeen is not that responsible. I knew at twelve years old that my daughter was mature enough to read The Fault in Our Stars. Maybe you knew that your daughter at sixteen years old was not. And that’s okay. They are unique individuals and they shouldn’t be raised or treated the same.
We need to stop judging our fellow moms and the decisions they make for their children. Can we trust each other to acknowledge that maybe we really do know what we are doing? That maybe what works for your child is different than what works for mine?
Just because your family does something one way doesn’t make it the right way.
I think we all learn this pretty quickly when we get married. Maybe your family goes out to eat for every holiday while your husband’s family prefers to stay home and cook. Neither way is the “right” way. They are just different ways. Somehow once we have children we forget that there is no “right” way to parent our children and we tend to think that our parenting is superior and that all families should function like ours.
In our family, we do not allow our children to wear bikinis. This is a personal decision that was made by me and my husband. Maybe you don’t have the same rule in your family. We allowed our twelve year old to buy an iPod and we allow her to text with her friends. Maybe in your house your child isn’t allowed to text until they are older. We don’t all have to have the same rules. Your way doesn’t always equal the right way.
I love the Connecticut Working Moms who put together this awesome photojournalism project called “Let’s Stop the Mommy Wars.” It is a beautiful reminder that though we do not all parent the same way we are all trying our best to do what is right for our own children.
So let’s call it a truce and commit to encouraging and supporting one another instead of condemning and judging our fellow mamas. After all, it really does take a village.