My first introduction to mommy-wars occurred before I was even technically a mommy. I was expecting my first-born and had joined a website for mommies and mommies-to-be.
The women were vicious.
It didn’t seem to matter the topic of conversation: diapers, formula, car seats, vaccinations…you name it. All it took was for one mean mom to start in, and it was suddenly a contest to see who could be the snarkiest, meanest mom.
I will admit, I was naive enough to be shocked.
I honestly had no idea that women could be this mean. Hormones or no hormones.
And since that time, I have encountered this mommy-war syndrome on so many levels, ranging on so many topics.
And the question that plagued me then, and still begs the question is: Why can’t we agree on the fact that:
a) Every mom wants what’s best for her child
b) Every mom is working hard to be the best mom she can be to her child and
c) There is no right-way to do everything. Each mom must find what what works best for her child and her family.
Admittedly, there will always be the mean girl who has to be sarcastic and rude. Bullies have been around since Cain and they will always be with us. However, that doesn’t mean we have to cater to the lowest common denominator.
As moms, we there are two things we can do to combat mommy wars.
1) We can choose to be secure in the decisions we make for our homes. We know what choices are best for our children, so lets make those choices and stick by them. We don’t even have to defend them. Neither do we have to be knocked off balance by the mean mom who comes along with 10 reasons why our choice was the worst possible choice a mom could make.
If you know your choice is the best choice for your family, it is the best choice you. Period. Don’t listen to the mean moms!
2) We can choose to lock arms and support one another. When we see a mean mom attack, defend the victim. When the majority chooses a line of defense, the bully loses his power.
8 Mommy Wars That Need to Stop Right Now
1. The family-size war.
No mom can hope to win this war. She will either have too many or too few children. If, as in my case, she has two boys, she needs a girl. If she has only one child, she dare not make that child and only child. If she has more than three children, she is victim to the most vicious and brazen comments: such as, “You do know what causes that, don’t you?”
Here’s why the family size comment is so hurtful.
Not only does it communicate that society now has the freedom to determine the appropriate size of a family, and that each family is no longer free to determine whether or not they want a small or large family, it also fails to take into consideration other factors that are out of their control.
In my case, I am not capable to have a third child. I have literally had people try to engage me in an argument as to why I must have a third child. I would love to have a third child….in my arms. I have 2 children in my arms and 4 in my heart. So, being told that my family size is not acceptable is very painful.
So please, stop the family-size war. It hurts.
2. The new-mom war.
As if it is not intimidating enough to be a new mom, there are always those moms who feel it is their calling to remind them of everything they are not doing correctly.
There are few things so hurtful to a mom as to be told – directly or indirectly – that she is a bad mom; that she is failing at a role she has only barely taken on.
Here are the new mom wars that need to stop….stat!
a) Breastfeeding vs. formula
b) Cloth diapers vs. disposables
c) Vaccination vs. no vaccination
d) cry-it-out vs. pick-up/put-down vs. any and every other sleep method
e) Home birth vs. hospital birth or c-section
Honestly, the attacks on women who have had c-sections needs to stop. A c-section is a viable form of birth and for many women the choice to save her life and the life of the child. To say that a woman having a c-section is somehow less of a mother because she did not endure the pain of labor is degrading and beneath us as women.
3. The school-choice war
No mom aims for her child to be uneducated, under-educated or unable to attend a decent University. Every mom wants her child to get straight “As” and be at the top of his class.
Many moms choose to home school for this very reason. But even if their reason differs from this one; even if their reason is because they simply want to be their child’s educator, every mom should have the freedom to choose their child’s education without having to endure disparaging remarks from moms who have exercised that same choice to send their child to public or private school.
One the other hand, home educators have the tendency to climb up on a pedestal, supposing that their choice is superior to all others. This is simply not the case. Home education is not a choice for everyone. This is why it is a choice – not a law.
The school choice war needs to stop. The freedom to choose ones form of education is still a freedom we all have, so let’s support each one’s liberty at making that choice.
4. The comparison war
How sad it is that we have grown so narcissistic so as to hold ourselves up as the gold standard for women everywhere.
I recall the picture one fitness mom took of herself with her two and three year old showing off her toned body and abs every woman would kill for with the text: “What’s Your Excuse?”. The back-lash she received was almost worse. Mom’s everywhere took similar images of themselves with flabby bodies and stretch marks to show the world that real moms don’t have flat abs and toned bodies.
Neither image was right.
Take a moment and go look at yourself in the mirror. Did you see that? Yep – that right there is a real mom.
As women we need to stop comparing ourselves. Paul warned us that comparing ourselves among ourselves is unwise and dangerous.
But this carries over into other areas as well.
How organized our homes are
How our children behave
How many responsibilities we are able to juggle at one time
Each woman is different in her abilities, from how the home is run to how she cares for herself and her children. Comparing only breeds envy and jealousy; both of which are a sin.
The effort to improve our ability and character with the motive to serve God and our families better is noble; but if our motive flows from an heart of discontent and an effort to be like someone else, we are unhealthy and we will never truly achieve what we want.
5. The work-at-home vs. stay-at-home war
While one side claims how nice it would be to stay at home and do nothing, the other side charges that work-home-moms don’t give their children what they need most: time and attention.
Both sides can be so mean.
I would venture to guess that many work-at-home moms haven’t even been truly given a choice. While its true that many moms have chosen to maintain a career while parenting children, many other moms would gladly choose to stay home if they could; but economics have stripped them of that choice.
Perhaps they are a single parent.
Perhaps they live in an economy where a single income is simply not enough – even on a frugal budget.
Perhaps their husband has been laid off and has been unable to find a job.
On the other hand, if we truly celebrate freedom and the right of every individual to choose the path they wish to travel, should we not celebrate the freedom of women to choose to remain home with their children?
But the battle ensues.
Working moms accuse stay-at-home or work-at-home moms of doing nothing all day, while stay-at-home moms sarcastically inflate their resumes with professional titles for every job they do.
Neither woman should feel the need to prove herself. But they do. Because the mommy wars demand they prove their right to choose what’s best for their family.
6. The healthy food vs. junk food war
Every generation has been marked by some sort of scientific research that proved something in our diet was killing us, or about to kill us, or could potentially kill us.
The media loves this kind of hype. Why? Because we buy into so easily.
I remember when only thinking people drank soy milk; while people who didn’t care about their families gave them dairy. Well, now we know that soy isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
And coconut oil was the absolute worst kind of fat one could use. I’ll bet you didn’t know that people used to believe that. Perhaps we’ll find out they were right, because people used to believe that margarine was better for us, too!
The bottom line is, whether you choose to feed your child food packed full of chemicals and GMOs or whether you only shop at Whole Foods and your whole family eats clean, each mother must make her choice and she must be free to make that choice.
Stop labeling, blaming, and accusing one other. It only keeps the war going!
7. The milestones war
This was the one that really had my guns blazing and swords drawn.
I tracked each milestone my kid met and whether he met it early, on time or late. I greeted each early milestone with cheers, each on-time one with “meh” and each late one with anxiety and fear.
It was usually when the latter occurred that I read some status on Facebook about some kid who was 6 months old and sang the ABC song correctly and in proper order. Such news was met with worry and disdain by turn.
I worried that my kid might be slow and then silently accused that parent of inflating (or worse: inventing) their child’s achievements.
It wasn’t long before I did the healthiest thing any parent could do: I stopped tracking milestones and realized that each child grows and develops as God created them to. So many factors play into milestones, personality traits, birth order, and gender to name a few.
One thing we can do as moms to stop the milestones war is to cease comparing our children’s milestones or leaving the impression that a mom isn’t doing all she can to help her child reach those milestones. Should we celebrate our children’s successes?
But if you see a mom struggling with a child who is slower to reach milestones, encourage her and support her…
Because at the end of the day, every mom is the same:
Every mom worries over every little thing her child does or doesn’t do
Every mom wants her child to be healthy
Every mom wants to give her child the very best
And every mom is fairly certain that she isn’t doing all she could do to be the best mom.
It’s time to stop the mommy wars, and start building an alliance of friendship, encouragement and support!