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Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Blog, Friends | 2 comments

Mommy Wars – They Don’t Exist

Mommy Wars – They Don’t Exist

I’m going to say something here, and I’m sure you’re going to kind of freak out when I say it, because on the surface, it’s not really true, but you have to hear me out.

Mommy wars—they don’t exist.

But—but—but—you say.

I hear you. I know what you’re going to say.

Here’s the thing: Do you know why mommy wars exist? Because we use the term “mommy wars.” We created the term. We are perpetuating the legacy by using the phrase.

People will always have opinions; they will always disagree with each other. Periodicals have had a “letters to the editor” section forever, and they welcome disagreements, no matter how friendly or unfriendly.

Until we learn to censor ourselves (along with learning manners), we give our opinions freely. Just think of your kid when you ask him which shoes look better with your outfit or whether he likes your recent drawing. Kids are overwhelmingly honest. And not only with their enemies; with the ones they love too.

At some point in our preteens, we realize that we will lose friends if we don’t censor ourselves. So we begin to hold back our opinions, especially when we’re around loved ones. We’re not used to being honest with one another.

Then we become adults, and we become more self aware. We are mindful of when it is appropriate to share our honest opinions and when we should hold back. Of course, hiding behind computer screens has made it somewhat easier to be sincere, so perhaps we are now more straightforward more often than we would otherwise be if facing people in person.

Then we become mothers. And apparently all hell breaks loose (!?)

There is a thing these days. It has a name. And it makes many honest interactions between moms seem negative. In other words, I think it’s great that more moms are able to connect with each other; and I think it’s beneficial (for women personally and for society) that moms are able to be more honest with each other and with themselves.

Yes, when women are honest with one another, it can come across as catty. People may get offended. That happens when you share your opinion sometimes. It’s the way of the world, and it happens within and among every demographic group. It is what it is. It’s human nature. And there will always be mean girls. They will always suck, and we can always hate them on an individual level. But we don’t need to constantly tell grown women that we need to be nicer and more respectful to one another. That goes without saying. We’re not five year olds.

But when we label it as a “war,” it becomes one.

When we are confronted in a war, we are defensive.
When we are in a war, we feel like our side has to win.
When we are in a war, we’ve gone beyond trying to understand the opponent’s point of view.
When we are in a war, we are trying to take someone down.

Is that what moms are trying to do to one another? I really don’t think so. We created the notion of mommy wars, and saying it has made it real.

Let’s stop calling it that, and maybe we’ll all be more happy to express our opinions and listen to honesty, and it won’t turn into something it’s not.
Let’s stop calling it that, and maybe we’ll be more respectful when giving our opinion. We won’t feel like it’s a competition.
Let’s stop calling it that, and maybe we’ll all put ourselves in the other’s shoes before being harsh.
Let’s stop calling it that, and maybe we’ll try to life each other up more.

So who’s with me? Who agrees to stop using the term “mommy wars” in their blogs, on their social media pages, and in daily conversation? If we can change the rhetoric, we can change the movement. Click here to join the movement!

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Mommy Wars Don't Exist

2 Comments

  1. When I was pregnant, I had a couple of things that I knew I would do as a mom, and they related to sleeping and eating. I was not going to ever, EVER make my baby self-soothe (read: Cry it out) and breastfeeding was going to be easy, natural and the beautiful thing I always saw in nursing moms around me. My kid was going to sleep like a champ and I was going to be one of those normalizing-breastfeeding-revolutionary moms. If you cried it out, or gave up on breastfeeding, then you were a wuss. And I was not going to be a mom wuss.

    Neither one of those things worked out for me the way I thought they would. And I spent the first months of motherhood just trying to tread water. We succeeded with breastfeeding (almost at a year and going strong!) but the magic sleep plan bombed miserably and I have resigned myself to our new family sleeping pattern. I can’t even talk about our sleep journey because I still get defensive over my choices. Because I am scared of being judged, and scared of doing something wrong and I feel selfish.

    This relates to the “mommy war” conversation because, before I was in it myself, I was very polarized as to what I thought was the right way to parent, for me and I was going to stick to my guns no matter what. Now, a year later I am a completely different, but still happy and confident mom than how I thought I was going to be. But it is still a daily job keeping that fear from taking over.

    When I felt like I was following someone else’s plan, then it took some of the responsibility away from me and I could defend my decisions without taking criticisms (my own or other people’s) personally. I have grown away from that polarized dichotomy of there being a “right” way for me to raise my baby. On Monday I am zen super mom, getting it all done and on top of the world (and getting that feeling like I was better than other moms who were struggling) and on Tuesday, I am the struggling mom who can barely get out the door to get groceries (and feeling like a huge failure).

    What I know now is that in both of those examples I was and am a good mom because I can adapt to what is right for my family day to day. Its ok to fail. Its ok to feel successful. It doesn’t make me any better or worse of a mom (or person) Finding what works for my family, in this moment, is the important thing for me. And sometimes thats eating frozen pizza so we can go on an afternoon bike ride to get over a crummy day is that thing. The key I have learned is that motherhood is always changing!

    Giving myself that permission to change and be adaptable to the situation and my emotions helps me to support other moms who just like me, are constantly living in the moment and in every moment, doing the best they can, at that moment. I feel like there are less mountains and chasms, and more hills and valleys that are way easier to manage. When I judge others less, I also judge myself less harshly and everything gets a little softer and more forgiving. Moms need a lot of soft and forgiving.

  2. You put that so well, Kathryn. Thanks for being so open and honest!

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