I see it time and time again. Moms fighting. (Or having what is currently known as “mommy wars”.)
Hot topic issues, such as vaccinating vs. non-vaccinating, breastfeeding vs. formula feeding and natural vs. medicated births, tear apart the delicate threads of mommy camaraderie. Parenting decisions that were once private and kept behind closed doors are now banner-makers in the parenting world, publicly viewable from virtually everywhere.
And these arguments go further than the topic at hand: they go right to the very heart of mothering. The fact that some mom somewhere has chosen to parent her kids differently than you or I is enough to bring about battles of epic proportion. The very quality and character of someone’s mothering is brought into question, their peers are the judge and jury over anything and everything. Advice, warnings, correction, and name-calling are rolled into one swift mess of words and emotions.
Sometimes, a fellow mom’s advice and warnings are warranted. Other times they aren’t. And the times they aren’t are when things get heated and people get hurt.
We take offense so easily when someone questions or puts down the way we raise our kids, when they have no right to judge or say anything. And we get defensive of our own parenting when other moms are doing things the way they deem right. We make it our personal mission to make sure other moms know just how wrong they are and how right we are. Our mama-bear claws come out and we start mini battles with one another. The one with the quickest, hardest words wins.
I’m not sure if it is because we feel safe behind our computer screens, or if not being face-to-face has removed any humanness from our conversations and interactions, or if we don’t care what other people around us think. Maybe we have simply forgotten the old adage “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, moms can be so, so, so cruel to each other. We know what parts of our mommy hearts hurt the most, and we are quick to cut deep right there on those we feel deserve it.
But how can we teach our kids to get along if we can’t even do it ourselves? (Something about a pot calling a kettle black…)
Sometimes we mess up. Sometimes someone’s parenting decisions will be way different than ours. Sometimes our personal, cultural and religious beliefs dictate our parenting decisions. Sometimes our kids don’t “turn out” the way we planned, no matter how hard we tried. Sometimes the only way we can learn is through trial and error, and even more errors, because kids don’t come with instruction manuals, and parenting books are not cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in tearing each other down that we forget that this mothering thing is hard.
We forget there is no one “right” way to parent. We forget that our differences and uniqueness are what make this world an interesting place to live. We forget that we don’t like being judged or called out on anything related to raising our own kids. We forget that none of us have this parenting thing figured out. We forget that we aren’t perfect, nor do we have to be. We forget that we aren’t that different at all.
Since when are other moms the enemy?
Since when do we need to feel threatened by someone else’s parenting decisions?
Since when do we feel it is our duty to tell others what they are doing “wrong”?
I’m tired of seeing these mommy wars. I’m tired of seeing other moms victimized and/or creating drama. Parenting is hard enough without having to worry about what other parents and onlookers think about us and our parenting decisions. It is time we put aside our differences and focus on what is most important: raising our own kids the very best way we know how. Because if we can get along with each other, our kids will get along with each other (most of the time, at least). We can show our kids what it really means to be tolerant and accepting by showing them that we can coexist, even if we don’t parent the same way.
Instead of tearing each other down, we need to start building each other up. We need to stop worrying about what other parents are doing and focus on how we are doing.
So the next time you see a mom doing something you yourself wouldn’t do, instead of rolling your eyes, just smile and realize it is ok. The mama-bear claws don’t need to be sharpened. She is mommying the best way she knows how, just like you are mommying the best way you know how. It doesn’t make her way of doing things “right” or “wrong”; it simply means judging is not needed. Let’s extend each other the same grace we would like to be extended.
Easier said than done, I know, but I think it is worth at least thinking over. 🙂
Have a good weekend!!! 🙂