Before becoming a mother, I had never come across this term – Mommy Wars. We have Leslie Morgan Steiner to thank for coining it. As she defines the term, Mommy Wars are the struggles mothers go through to come to terms with the choices they make as parents against society’s standards.
Which means, just when you are dealing with all the guilt that inevitably comes along with being a mother, blows in a cartload of judgmental ‘advice’ and ‘in-my-opinions’ from your so called well-wishers.
Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely want to know and do what’s best for my child. And I’m open to every view and suggestion. But I reckon it’s only fair if I eventually get to decide what is right for me and my baby. And I also understand how easy it is to fall into these conflicts when you are a new mom. You’re naive, clueless about mommy life, and you might be too quick to pass judgment on another mom, while you’re still figuring out how to handle your own little one.
Mommy wars may have been only about stay-at-home and working moms initially. But now it has extended to every single aspect of parenting.
– Natural birth vs. induced/epidural/C-section birth
– Breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding
– Cry it out vs. attachment parenting
– Disposable diapers vs. cloth diapers
– Co-sleeping vs. sleeping in their own bed
– Strictly organic foods vs. fast foods
– Strollers vs. Baby wearing
– Spanking vs. not spanking
– Television time vs. books only
The list never ends.
Blame it on the information explosion – social media, blogs, websites and what not; we mommies tend to get all sanctimonious about OUR way of parenting. And this discord exists not just between mums and their other mommy friends, but also with grandparents, relatives, and caretakers.
From grandmas who insisted on cloth diapering and aunts who couldn’t stand baby mittens, from relatives who swore by hammocks to friends who found natural birth extremely risky, I’ve seen them all. And men also fervidly contribute to the debate, sometimes even on birthing preferences, and I find myself quoting Rachel Green from ‘Friends’, “Hey! No Uterus, No Opinion!”
As Steiner herself would say, these mommy wars do nothing to promote self acceptance or balance in individual lives. Then why have them?
So here’s how I pull myself out of it. I constantly remind myself with these pointers:
a. To each her own – This phrase helps me remember not to jump to judgment of another mommy. As it loudly plays in my mind, I immediately fall back from shoving my opinion out there.
b. Her side is my side – I always decide to take the side of the mother. That’s the team I’m always on. Her opinion or style can differ from mine, and I compliment her anyways. She’s a mom and that’s reason enough to earn my respect.
c. If you are already in the middle of a strife, always ask yourself – is it worth risking the relationship you have with your friend or relative.
d. It’s not a race or competition, it’s your life with your baby. Enjoy your time!
e. Stay away from offending remarks – If I ever do come across such statements, I tell myself not to take it personally. Most of the time they are just trying to propitiate themselves and might be sincerely unaware of the hurt they are inflicting.
So dear mommies, can’t we all just get along? Don’t we already have too many battles lined up in life, and do we really need another one? On a personal note, I have always found meeting new moms very helpful. It has made me flexible and accommodating. I really hope motherhood becomes that factor which brings us all together and inspires us to support and encourage each other. So from one mommy to another, let’s promise to keep it always positive and uplifting among us. You are all wonderful! And you are all doing a terrific job! Love you all!
Thushara – A fairly new Mommy who is always at Target to a highly inquisitive little guy who inspires her to be a better entertainer, chef, nurse, maid, playmate and much more every single day. She tries her best to keep up with the big world wide web on @dhruvacharitham and @stayatTargetmom