Parenting is a dog eat dog world, it seems. Here’s what I really think it takes to end mommy wars. Maybe, just maybe, it’s you jumping to conclusions and allowing people to offend you. Maybe it’s you, closing lines of communication.
Are mommy wars all in your head?
At every turn, moms everywhere are faced with judgment. Well, at least it seems that way. Forums, blog posts, and Facebook comments are often littered with negativity from moms against other moms. Why are women at such odds with each other during the time when we need the most support? I mean, it’s bad enough we’re constantly questioning ourselves. “Am I a good mom?” is a regular thought that runs through my mind.
Being a mom is hard and I can’t figure out why we’re making it harder on each other.
Stopping mommy wars, though, can be as simple as working on your reactions. Now, I don’t mean that you are the single power to end mommy wars. I’m also not insinuating that this is an overnight process. But, the movement needs to start within your own mind.
What I’ve come to realize is that many of the parenting arguments don’t start out as such. They’re turned into squabbles because:
- someone takes personal offense to a comment or opinion, and
- they believe this person thinks less of them.
Yes, I’m telling you that many of these parenting arguments are caused by assumptions. Unless someone has come out and told you to your face that you’re a bad mommy or directly stated that she believes you’re doing such-and-such wrong for such-and-such reason, you’re probably making an assumption. And, you know what they say about assumptions…
What are Mommy Wars?
Just like any war, mommy wars are founded on a group of moms who strongly believe in “their way” of parenting. Just like religious zealots who militantly oppose another religion (or lack of religion), moms can be pretty friggin’ fanatical about their beliefs in the “right way” to parent children.
Moms tend to argue about:
- How to birth babies
- What to feed babies
- Whether or not to wear their babies
- Whether or not being a stay at home mom or working mom is harder
- How to discipline
- Sleep training
And sure, I’ve probably contributed to a few of these heated debates. I think we all kind of get sucked into them, until we learn better.
How to End Mommy Wars
Whatever your, maybe now ex-, friend said to you probably wasn’t meant to hurt your feelings or piss you off. The all-organic, everything whole food bitch at the grocery store probably isn’t looking in your cart to see what you’re feeding your baby. She probably couldn’t give a shit. Maybe you’re reading between the lines when there wasn’t anything to read.
As an example, a few years ago, as I handed my daughter a sippy cup, my sister-in-law asked “why are you giving her a sippy cup if she knows how to use a regular cup?”
At the time, I got offended. “Why was she questioning my choices in parenting, and in front of my kid?”
Looking back, however, I can’t help but wonder if she genuinely wanted to know if there was a benefit or some parenting rule she needed to know about as her son was a bit younger.
I could have easily taken the opportunity to explain our house rules. One of which was “no open cups allowed through the house” as my young daughter toddled around. At the time, she was allowed to carry her milk in a sippy so she didn’t have to go back for it whenever she needed a drink. It saved me from cleaning messes and gave her some freedom to roam with her milk.
Can you think of a time a friend or family member made a comment that you were offended by? Maybe you’re a buy-nothing-new mommy because the babies don’t use anything long enough to be worth it. That’s what makes you feel good. But, your friend remarks how she has to have all the latest and greatest baby gear, because nothing else will do. And that’s her choice. Did you feel perturbed? Maybe you felt like you weren’t as good a mom or you didn’t care as much about your baby.
That shit is all in your head. And, if you continue allowing things like that to offend you, you continue the mommy wars. It’s self-inflicted.
Stopping Mommy Wars Starts With YouMaybe mommy wars are all in your head #mommywars #momlife #ponderthis Click To Tweet
Stopping mommy wars isn’t on other people to keep their mouths shut. It’s up to you to handle what’s said, or done, in a mature fashion. Don’t LET someone offend you.
When you give someone’s words the power to offend you, you begin to sever relationships. By becoming offended, you’ve allowed someone to make you feel inferior or imperfect. When you partake in offending others because you wrongly assumed they were out to hurt you, you add fuel to the fire.
Instead, use someone’s opinions or statements to start discussions. Ask questions to better understand their point. Stop trying to fight that your point is right. I mean, your opinion is right for you. But that doesn’t mean you shit on the other person’s opinion in the process.
An opinion isn’t necessarily an invitation to start another battle in the overall mommy wars. It can be a wonderful opportunity to understand someone on a deeper level. But YOU have to make that happen by allowing other people to have their opinions. That means allowing them to voice their opinions without bashing them. And, you should remind yourself that someone else’s opinions or beliefs have no bearing on yours.
Of course, we should also be mindful of not offering unsolicited parenting advice.End mommy wars by accepting and celebrating differences, not silencing them #momlife #mommywars #acceptance Click To Tweet
A mom sharing her personal opinion on parenting doesn’t mean she doesn’t like you or thinks of herself as being better than you. I know plenty of people who don’t share the same parenting values as me and I don’t think any less of them for it. Just because I don’t agree with them doesn’t mean I should fight with them. Sharing our opinions is our way of opening up discussions and learning more about each other. We should be able to respect and love each other for our differences.
I do things differently than you because it’s what works for me and my family. You do things differently for the same reasons.
Why can’t we open our hearts and our minds to willingly accept and respect people for their differences? Why can’t one mom express her opinion openly without worry about being bashed, as she listens to you complain about needing your opinion heard? When we give each other the respect we need for our opinions and beliefs, and learn to celebrate our differences, we create more unity and potentially end the mommy wars.
Those are my thoughts on stopping mommy wars …
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This post originally appeared on SAHM, plus… January 30, 2017 and has been updated.