I blog for a few different mama centered outlets, and I read my fair share of mom blogs (because, hello, there are a whole lot of awesome mama writers out there). And every so often the “mommy wars” get mentioned. Actually, quite often. It seems like everywhere I turn, someone on the Internet is obsessed with the mommy wars. Or more specifically, ending the mommy wars. These moms put in a valiant effort to end the mommy wars. This woman apparently ended them once and for all with a single Facebook status.
We all seem to be able to agree that the judging and side-eying and comparison games moms engage in on the Internet need to stop. So if we all seem to agree that more love and less judgement is the answer, who exactly takes part in these so-called mommy wars? Do you? Of course you don’t. I think we’ve collectively decided to launch a war, on a war that never existed in the first place.
I think the mommy wars are a myth.
There are no commanding officers putting together camps of formula versus breastfeeding mothers and setting up attack plans to shame the other camp. There are no strategies. There are no victors. Reading things you don’t agree with on the Internet does not constitute a war. The idea that we are fighting a battle against other moms is a ludicrous idea we’ve created ourselves, stemming from our own insecurities. There is no harm except that which we inflict upon ourselves.
Is there hateful writing out there? Of course there is. On every subject under the sun. Moms don’t have a monopoly on Internet trolling. If you don’t believe me, go check out the comment sections of local newspapers (actually, don’t do that, if you want to believe that humanity and intelligence still exist in the world). The point is, we get a choice in what we consume and how we interpret the words of others.
If you go out looking to feel attacked, it’s pretty darn easy to find someone who rattles your cage. We all have our insecurities, we all wonder if we’re doing this parenting thing right sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we are persecuted because some mama out there thinks her way is the best for her family.
When you take a step back and think about the intention of those mamas writing and sharing from their platforms to defend their choices (whether you agree with them or not), you’ll find their words aren’t about you. These die-hard mamas on every side of every parenting “issue” aren’t looking to beat down an opponent. They’re looking for a community. They’re affirming to themselves that they’re doing the best they can. They’re asking for support, and love, and someone to say, “Good job, mama.”
And maybe sometimes it comes off a bit judgmental or a tad overbearing, but feeling threatened by the opinion of another mom has a whole lot more to do you than it does with them. I think if we look inside ourselves, we’ll see that this mythical war really begins and ends with the way we feel about ourselves.
So yes, let’s love more and judge less, and let’s start with the woman in the mirror.