I’m better than you, let me tell you all the reasons my parenting choices are better than yours.
If you know me you knew I wasn’t actually making that statement seriously and yet all over the land of internetdom that exact sentence is being screamed, shouted, cried and begged in so many more words.
Yep. The Mommy Wars. They don’t exist…or do they.
They have left a deep scar on the collective psyche of women in their parenting years so there must be some truth to the term. If you look to Merriam Webster and find the definition of war as ” a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism” then you can safely bet your paycheck the mommy wars are real, happening and destructive.
The topics are endless…. I mean seriously endless. EVERY issue a parent has ever faced can become a skirmish. Even issues almost no parent has ever faced but still theoretically could pertain to parenting cause the tongue lashings to begin.
Breast, bottle, organic, processed, cosleeping, cry it out, potty training methods 1 through 793, gender neutrality, gender roles, baby education, benefits of child classes in various art forms, child led weaning, daycare, stay at home, working, father roles, technology, seriously no joke this list could just keep growing for eternity and NO ONE WOULD EVER BE RIGHT.
But what about the benefits of…Nope.
But science says that…Nope.
But my friend does …Nope.
[Disclaimer, I am OBVIOUSLY not referring to matters of safety, I am talking about issues where it is all subjective and the child is not endangered. That’s a crime not a parenting choice so please don’t pull out the lunatics who refuse all health care, people who give their children dangerous substances, etc.]
I’m talking about good old fashioned preference. Whether you have science, your doctor, six generations of your family or anyone else backing you up on these choices they are still just that: choices.
Every kid is different. Really. I can’t say it enough because our society seems to hear it as every child is special (and beautiful and unique and blah blah blah) but that’s not what I am saying. I am saying that every child is a tiny human being with emotions, personalities and preferences. What works for one kid will not work for all kids. Period.
For every method there are success stories. AND a bunch of failures too.
If we could stop telling ourselves that who our children become is entirely on our shoulders and recognize that within the confines of any healthy loving home most kids are going to turn out just fine we might could stop the wars.
If you didn’t think you were solely responsible for whether your child becomes obese some day you might not go postal over the thought of them tasting a non-organic snack once in a while.
If you didn’t convince yourself that the deciding factor between your child becoming a CEO or an exotic dancer is her exposure to the arts you might stop putting her in a dozen dance, art and music lessons and judging everyone who isn’t.
So maybe these wars exist, although I contend it is largely within the confines of the great anonymous portal we call the internet and that out here in the real world women aren’t judging each other this harshly. (Because it’s harder to pretend your kids are perfect when people can actually see them (you know awake and stuff).
So next time you see an opposing view (that’s wouldn’t cause child protective services to raise an eyebrow) think about what your saying before you say it and if the other person is going to read it and hear you saying “I’m a better mother than you” just don’t say it.
Even better, next time someone is sharing just listen. If they want advice they will ask. I promise. Until then it’s ok just to listen even if they are making choices you wouldn’t make. By listening you may gain their respect enough that they will actually WANT your advice sometime. 🙂