Ladies, we need to end the “mommy wars”.
This article argues that they do not exist, but unfortunately, that has not been my experience. I am constantly barraged with unsolicited “advice” or being told that one method of parenting is far superior to all others.
It continually blows my mind that we fight over such ridiculous things when it comes to what is best for our children. I think in most cases we are all trying our hardest and to do what is best for our kids. I also suspect that the nature of individuality means that “the best” isn’t the same for every single child.
Diapering: I am so sick of being judged by people (especially people who aren’t even parents) for cloth diapering. Cloth diapering has been the right choice FOR US for a multitude of factors, including money and my baby’s skin. I am not “cray-cray” or “making unnecessary work for [myself]” or “trying to be cool”. At the same time, CD moms, could we try being a little less sanctimonious? “Sposies” sounds derogatory and just because cloth diapering is right for us doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone. Disposable diapering moms love their kids just as much as CD moms and don’t need you to judge them for “exposing baby to chemicals” or “killing the planet”.
Breast feeding: Yes, there is scientific evidence suggesting that breast milk may be better for a normal baby than formula. However, exclusively breast feeding is hard. It’s not always possible and pointing out the statistics on milk supply and latch issues makes you kind of a putz. Being a new mom is really quite difficult enough without feeling this tremendous pressure to breast feed (people are still pressuring me to force C to learn to latch). And quit glaring at me for giving my baby a bottle. First of all, it’s filled with breast milk and second of all, it’s none of your damn business. And formula feeding moms, quit getting so defensive and saying that breast feeding is gross. I don’t care what you feed your baby so stop acting like it’s something you have to defend.
The Time magazine mom: You guys, it’s her kid and her boobs, so why are we still talking about this? Honestly, I’m tempted to pump for the rest of my life because I can eat whatever I want and still lose weight. I do think Time should have titled that cover something other than “Are You Mom Enough?” because you are still a mom (and probably a great one) whether or not you breast feed. I am mom enough because I am a mom and I am doing my best.
Birth: I am so sick of being made to feel ashamed of my c-section. I refuse to say that I gave birth because I feel like it doesn’t count. No more. I let a doctor rip open my insides (without good anesthesia no less) because I love my daughter enough to want her to come out however she needed to. No matter how you give birth (natural, interventions, c-section, etc), you did something amazing and terrifying and no one method is superior to the other. There is no shame in epidurals and c-sections and it isn’t crazy to decide to labor medication free. The point is a happy, healthy baby, not how they got here.
Circumcision: This is a hard one for me to comment on because I only have a daughter. Even the American Pediatric Association seems unwilling to take a strong stand on this. This is another situation where there isn’t a “right” or “wrong”. Stop calling mommies that circumcise “mutilators” and stop saying that uncircumcised penises are ugly or will get boys teased. It’s a flap of skin for crying out loud.
The number of kids and how far apart in age they are: I was absolutely horrified when someone confessed to me that she was suffering from secondary infertility (infertility that occurs after having a child) and that people regularly told her that her child needed a sibling. What. the. hell? I’ve written about this a little recently, but I still can’t believe how many people think the only proper interval is how far apart their kids are. This, to me, is one of the stupidest things I see women arguing about. You cannot always control the age difference. You might not get pregnant again at the speed you want (if at all) and only children are a valid lifestyle choice too.
SAHM versus Working mom: Look, being a SAHM isn’t an option for everyone. Some people can’t for financial reasons and some people just don’t want to. Personally, I can’t imagine being a working mom because I’m too tired to think straight. Neither choice is wrong. Neither choice makes you a bad mother. And you aren’t betraying everything your mothers fought for if you stay home. They fought for the choice.
I could go on and on, but I think the common thread on all of this stuff is that your decisions as a parent do not effect my child and are none of my business unless you child is clearly being neglected or abused (and then it’s not my business, it’s the state’s). I will admit that I feel very strongly about vaccination, because unvaccinated children are a direct hazard to my child. HOWEVER, there is no reason to fight about it. I really get angry when anti-vaccine advocates tell me I am ignorant or uninformed for choosing to vaccinate. I am using my knowledge (which includes a PhD in Biomedical Science) to make the right decisions for MY child. You have to make your own choices and I’m not going to insult you or call you stupid, because we are all doing the best we can.
Seriously, enough of the mommy wars and crippling mommy guilt. Now if you’ll excuse us, I’m going to go feed my child in the manner that best suits us.