Sunday, October 12, 2014

Declaring War on the Mommy Wars

I never expected my blog about my four c-sections would garner as much feedback as it did.  When I blog, I write what I feel needs to be said.  If one person breathes a little easier that day because of something I write, that is enough for me.  I so appreciated the sweet feedback from you all.  And I am so grateful for those mamas working through c-section shame to feel validated in their decision.  I cherish your comments, so thank you for interacting with me.

As I read through Facebook comments and private messages, a desire of my heart was rekindled.  It's an issue that's been burning in my soul for years but I haven't the courage to address.  But it's time.

It's time to declare war on the mommy wars.

But first, I must disclaim this:
I am most guilty of all.  I have judged.  I have criticized.  I have questioned others' decisions.

The reason I hesitated to address the mommy wars is for fear that those who know me best would know my hypocrisy.

My precious sister knows the horrible words I said to her when childless me thought I knew how to parent.  And if I didn't say the words, my eyes said enough.  (Oh, the humble pie I've eaten since then, now that I have children.  She's a great mom, and her son is so awesome that I was CLEARLY wrong).  But she still knows the guilt of my judgements.

{The great irony, THANKFULLY, is that my parenting looks a lot more like hers than the way I tried to tell her to do it.}

My closest friends have been there when I have been harsh, critical, and wrong.  If I were to write about how awful the mommy wars are, they would know I contributed to them.  More times than I care to admit.

Though I can't speak for others, I know exactly why I've contributed to this terrible war.

When I left the hospital with my baby for the first time, I had exactly no clue what to do with him.  Brett looked at me on that drive home and said, "I can't believe they trust us with a baby.  Do they know we don't know what we're doing?"

As I tried to make the best decisions for my baby, there were articles, people, and my own mind telling me I was doing it all wrong....when all I wanted was to do it right.

Insecurity is birthed from wanting a desired attribute but feeling like you don't measure up.  The way to cope with this is to find the way everyone else is doing it wrong.  Because parenthood is possibly the most scrutinized experience ever, it is so easy to become defensive.

Defensive people guard their ideals very tightly.  The tighter you hold to these, the harder it is to accept your way isn't the only way.  {Case in point: politics}

All of us trying [unsuccessfully] to deal with our insecurities has turned into one of the greatest battles of our generation.

breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding
stay at home moms vs. working moms
to vaccinate or not to vaccinate
co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping
cry it out vs. soothing the child
public school vs. homeschool

I say this in the kindest way possible: these are not real battles.  And it's time we stop fighting them.

We are all doing the absolute best we can for our children.  We are all different, and our families needs are different.  I can barely figure things out in my own home, so I definitely do not have the authority on anyone else's.  The best part of life is the diversity among us all.

Rather than criticize one other's choices, let's celebrate the freedom to have those choices.  Rather than judge the mom at Target whose toddler is throwing the tantrum maybe offer her a hug (speaking from experience, it's less weird than it seems) and ask how you can help.  When you read an article that supports your stance on vaccinations, maybe e-mail it to a like-minded friend rather than post it on Facebook with the caption "a great article to read if you don't want to kill your child" (because you know that happens for both sides of the argument).  When a mama pulls out a bottle of formula, go ahead and keep your mouth shut about what you believe are "the benefits of breastfeeding".  I drank Diet Coke while breastfeeding.  I imagine that's way worse than formula is perceived to be.  That's just a working theory; I don't actually know.  But the point is is that it doesn't even matter.  (While we're at it, you can go ahead and stop posting the Facebook articles about how Diet Coke is killing me.)

Whew, I am feeling feisty.  

Anyway.  Back to my point.

Women are powerful.  Women are a force to be reckoned with.  We have the power to unite for good and to change the world.  If we used all of the energy spent on arguing these ultimately unimportant topics for the benefit of others, we would experience a cultural shift unlike anything we've ever seen.

Mamas, let's unite together and be for one another.  Let's start waging war on things that are actually destroying our children.  Let's turn our attention to the mamas whose precious babies will die today because of preventable diseases.....to the epidemic of unarmed black boys in America being gunned down for, it seems, being black....to the children growing up without knowing their daddy's love....to the millions of children around the world fighting hunger pains as they drift off to sleep tonight.

It's time, mamas.  The mommy wars started with us.  Let it end with us.  Let's create a culture for our daughters where they don't know the shame and condemnation that seemingly come with motherhood.  Let's do better.

Today is the day.  I am declaring war on the mommy wars.

Who's with me??




2 comments:

  1. I am with you! I've been guilty of it myself, but oh how I agree it's time to end these mommy wars!! What a great passionate post, thank you for sharing your thoughts :)

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  2. I love this. I am so glad someone had the courage to say this. All this political correctness if truly getting on my last good nerve. Thank you for a candid post.

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