Could this be why there are “mommy wars”?
There’s a lot being said and felt about “mommy wars” at the moment – from blog posts and furore over magazine covers, to passive aggressive tweeting, and snubbing. I suspect that these fractions are as old as toddler tantrums, poo nappies and 2am wake-ups, and try as we might to call them off, claim we’ll never be part of them, or roll our eyes at other moms who get involved, I reckon we’re all somehow a part.
We say we don’t judge, but we do. We say we mind our own business and our kids, but we don’t. We even try to put our heads down and do the best parenting job we can, but we’re still looking at the others – judging, envying, criticising and condemning.
And I think I know why, and I think it’s because we’re insecure about our own abilities as moms, plus we don’t get enough high-fives for the good we sometimes do. I remember getting quite irritated with moms who fed their babies jarred foods. WTF would I even care? Jarred foods are mostly perfectly good and healthy, and many are organic and free of cooties and dodgy stuff. Well, I’ll tell you why – it’s because no one was cheering me on for making everything from scratch and boiling, pureeing and freezing, and balancing every meal from Annabel Karmel’s book. And if not everyone was doing it my way, did that mean I wasn’t doing it right? I needed validation, dammit! I still do, dammit!
And do you want to know why I think women shouldn’t breastfeed their toddlers? Because I feel like a “loser” sometimes because I only breastfed for seven months. And often the only way to validate my “awesome parenting” is to knock someone else’s, even in my own head. And it’s not fair.
Just like it’s not fair that I’ve been criticised openly for being a working mom and choosing to have a caesar. Or giving you an iPad. But if I had to look really hard, those criticisms probably came from moms who were just as insecure as I am, and who wanted a cheer or a hug for making sacrifices and enduring pain. Or who couldn’t afford their own iPad.
I think so many of us are “guilty” of sparring and judging, and I think the starting point is to feel better about our parenting, to realise we’re doing the best for right now and that there’s always room for improvement, and to be confident, conscious and careful about parenting. I am pretty sure that if I felt validated, confident as a mom all the time and certain that my choices as a mother were the “right” ones, I wouldn’t have the desire to roll my eyes or judge or laugh at the others. And I remember that while I judge the others, I’m really just judging myself. And that’s not doing me much good. In fact, that sucks.
That’s my five cents (though by the time you get to read this that will probably be a relic term and an ancient monetary form).