Although 2015 isn’t even half way over, there are some things that I would like to see laid to rest before we welcome 2016. I read a lot of mommy blogs and there is always some ‘mommy war’ cropping up. Parents are duking it out over who raises their kids better and who has it harder as a parent. I thought the U.S. Congress had problems! Trust me, their arguing and intense debates is nothing compared to those moms who are steadfast in their beliefs and are committed to verbally annihilating anyone who remotely disagrees with them.
In the spirit of unity and solidarity, I would love for a cease fire in the following ‘wars’:
Stay at home moms vs. working moms. I don’t even know why this is even a thing. All moms are working moms in my opinion. Some moms just get a paycheck every two weeks. I’ve been on both sides and neither one is exactly a retreat in paradise. Both groups of moms worry about keeping their children safe, adequately meeting their needs, and being there for them when it matters. Both experience mom guilt and both never quite feel like they are living up to expectations. Given that stay at home moms and working moms are hard enough on themselves already, can we just end the debate about who has it harder and support each other instead of tearing each other down?
Breast feeding vs. Formula feeding. Again, I have been on both sides. I had my first child at 24 and the thought of having another human sucking on me for nourishment was gross. I wanted no parts of it and was content with feeding my baby formula. The lactation consultant who visited me after I had my son was intent on changing my mind. So much so that during our conversation she took my boob and shoved into my son’s mouth to which he latched on. I was mortified, but my little guy seemed to like it so it was worth giving nursing a try.
I get that there are real benefits to breastfeeding and now I’m all for it. However, blogger Jennifer Brenan from Breastfeeding Needs raises a good point here. Do we have to humiliate the parents who choose to bottle feed or in some cases have to bottle feed? On the flip side, do we have to mock women who breast feed and question how long or where they nurse? Instead of bashing each other, why not focus on children who are starving and are malnourished. They are not getting ANY food!
Attachment parenting vs. Free range parenting vs. positive parenting vs. conscious parenting, etc. I can’t even keep up with all the labels! Blogger Leslie Sholly from Life in Every Limb wrote a great piece on this issue here. People get into their respective corners and start hurling insults at each other to defend what they believe to be the best style of parenting. The interesting thing is that there are benefits to many of the different parenting styles.
However, some styles work better for some children than others. I’m OK with people subscribing to whatever style they choose, but why do they feel it necessary to impose their beliefs on other parents? Everyone has a belief system based on their life experiences. We all experience life differently and therefore will have different values and viewpoints. This doesn’t make people bad parents. Are there people who distort certain parenting styles and go to the extreme? Of course! But why throw the baby out with the bath water?
Six pack mommy vs thick in the waist mommy. Remember that picture of that really in shape mom surrounded by three kids with the caption that read “What’s your excuse?” Yeah, those were the ultimate fighting words! The picture went viral and moms who weren’t part of the six pack crew prepared for battle and posted their own pictures to social media stating what they believed was their excuse. Some of the responses were clever and I loved it! However, I feel like this also created an epidemic of women who feel its necessary to post pictures of their flawed post baby bodies all over the internet.
Initially it was a statement and one I supported. However, enough with the post baby bikini shots displaying stretch marks and cellulite for the world to see. Yes, it’s important for people to love their bodies and have a positive self-image. I hear you loud and clear. The problem is, every time I get to a space where I feel good about myself, some bikini clad mom shows up on the scene to remind me of the toll pregnancy took on my body. We all don’t feel empowered by these constant reminders. Is there no other way to encourage people to love themselves than to highlight all the ways pregnancy changes a woman’s body over and over and over again? Trust me, we live it. We know!
I’m not naïve enough to believe that all moms will unite and have a cumbaya fire side moment. It would just be nice for the blaming and shaming to end. Most people don’t respond well to humiliation and tend to get defensive anyway. It’s one thing to want to inform people, but in the end, they are free to make whatever choices they want to make, regardless of how you feel.