peace, love, no more mommy wars

[begin rant...

With the declaration of January Jones eating her placenta and Alicia Silverstone pre-chewing her baby's food, the 'Mommy Wars' seem to be back in full swing these past couple weeks.  Just when I thought we had hung up the gloves, now I'm doubting this will ever happen.  At least not anytime soon.  And after reading some comments from the many blog posts written about this last week - I'm really starting to understand why this will never happen and it's not as simple as pure disagreement.  I think I figured out at least a few important contributors-

1.  "Fear" or "discomfort" with the unknown.

2.  Lack of knowledge.

3.  No desire to acquire said knowledge.

4.  Ignorance.

I'm sure there are many more factors that breed this divide, but in my experience as a mother (a whole five years of it, I know I'm far from expert status) I really feel that when women [and men and grandparents and aunts and uncles and strangers] are indifferent to each other’s parenting ways – it’s mostly because of a general lack of understanding.  What works for my family may not work for yours and I get that, but do you?

A great quote:

The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about. – Wayne Dyer

In general, when we are faced with something that may make us uncomfortable (in Momville this may include placenta encapsulation, elimination communication, home birth, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding and so on) we tend to act with a quick rush to judgement without really thinking it through.

Some comments I found:

  • I really believe that so much of the crunchy mom shit is for the benefit of the neurotic mother and not the kid. Let’s strap the kid to me 24 hrs a day, and watch his face to see if he needs a crap instead of putting diapers on, and pre chew his food, and give him booby milk every time he cries till he’s 8, and basically anything else that is that most inconvenient way to do anything so they can be the Best Mommy Martyr and look down on those ‘mainstream moms’.
  • She’s still nursing her nearly four-year old child?  Talk about attachment.
  • Holy hell! I hadnt heard of “silverstoning” and I am beyond disgusted! What is she, a momma bird? If the kid cant eat it on his own then I have a great idea…. DON’T FEED IT TO HIM! She will probably continue to breatfeed him thru highschool as well.
  • …she still breastfeeds her 3 1/2 year old, all of her children sleep in the same bed as her and her husband, and none of her children have ever worn diapers.I’m not sure how that worked with babies in the bed with them! Nuts
  • THREE AND A HALF??? If you’re old enough to spell “T-I-T-S,” you’re too old to drink from them.
  • It’s not the co-sleeping thing alone that’s weird. It’s the no diapers plus co-sleeping!!!
  • Agreed. Also you should right about the extremists that use breastmilk for everything…I know a mom that shot it up her kid’s nose when he had a cold. I have also heard of using it for pink eye. Thanks but I’ll stick to the drops the doc prescribes!

So I ask all moms, how do we propose to open the minds and hearts of other women?  Is it even possible?  I realize that we ALL have different opinions on subjects such as parenting, but the judging and crudeness out there in Mommyland is alive and kicking.  And believe you me, I am well aware that it’s not just a one way street attack on ‘crunchy’ moms, this street has many twists and turns and likes to tear down SAHMs, working moms, bottle feeding, formula feeding, crib sleeping, co-sleeping, vaccinators, non-vaccinators, home-schoolers, private-schoolers, public-schoolers, soccer, helicopter – you name it.

Why can’t we as moms just accept that everyone will not parent the same way we do?   Why is that so hard to comprehend?   Why do we feel the need to be harsh and judgmental towards others?  Is it satisfying?  Does it feed our own ego?  Does it help make us feel better about our own choices?  Is it productive?  Entertainment?  What do you think?

…end rant.]

lisa

15 thoughts on “peace, love, no more mommy wars

  1. Sadly its human nature. Like you said, there are a lot of motives involved in the remarks above. If we as people could hold our tongues for that second the remark comes to mind and reconsider it, wouldn’t that be something.

  2. I think there’s a tendancy to forget that on the other side of the screen, there are real people, real moms, real kids, all just doing their best. I think it’s easy to judge words on a screen, without knowing the WHOLE story.

    Today, I read about a six-year-old who was handcuffed (!!!) after throwing a temper fit in a Georgia school. I was horrified, not only by the incident, but by the comments about “the next pic we see of her will be in jailhouse orange” and so on. What the heck is wrong with these people? Certainly we don’t have the whole story, but… really? And the attacks on the parents “she must have a bad home situation to act like that…”

    Umm *raises hand* My son was expelled in fifth grade, for throwing those exact type of fits.
    He lives at home with myself and his dad and his older sister. He has friends. He spends most of his days outdoors, riding bikes, building “forts” in the woods (some of them quite elaborate, I might add!) and doing all the things a normal boy his age does.

    His “problem” was a combination of the staff in the school handling his temper tantrums in completely inappropriate manner (a fact backed up by the counselor he was seeing at the time, and later a psychiatrist AND an educational advocate), and extreme frustration with some minor learning issues he was having.

    I’m with you, Doctor Lisa. Us Moms need to stick together, even if we think it’s weird to “prechew” a baby’s food or eat (sorry but… yuck) the placenta. And even as I say “yuck”, I have to say that eating a freeze-dried, encapsulated afterbirth, while still high on my gross-out factor, doesn’t make her some kind of nut. It makes her a Mom, just like the rest of us, who’s doing her best. It’s time we all recognized that.

    • I think you’re spot on Mary when you say how easy it is to be tough behind the computer screen. There is a blog I just read the other day that prompted this post and what do you know- the author of the blog doesn’t reveal any photos of herself or who she is. Just a first name and town. Interesting? I hope there will come a time where people don’t get their “rocks” off by making fun or judging others. It’s awful what happened to your son. I hope everything is on the right track now since he was evaluated and diagnosed! All my best to you and yours! ♥

      • Thanks so much. It has been hard, but homeschooling was the best choice we ever made. For some kids, public or private school is a better choice- in fact, our daughter is thriving in highschool, and although she gets a little jealous sometimes of her brother’s freedom, she would miss her friends terribly if we tried to homeschool her as well.
        Every child, and every family is different. I think the trick is learning to rejoice in those differences. :)

  3. I think rather than having all these titles for different types of mums ie: soccer, helicopter, crunchy… We should just simply be called mums (parents). All children are different and we all parent differently, I think I’m a pretty regular mum.. I breastfed my kids 6mths for the 1st 2 and 12 mths for the 3rd, I started them on solids from between 4&5 mths and never did the 1 food at a time thing, I squirted breast milk up noses and in eyes (it really works wonders and was highly recommended by our doctor), I let my kids eat pretty much anything, from beautiful healthy fresh home grown home made things to lollies… I have never used controlled crying and let them sleep with me whenever they like, I use disposable nappies and had the 1st 2 toilet trained at 2.. Now many people may agree with my choices and many won’t but they are MY choices no one else’s, just as they are MY children, and as long as they are happy, healthy & well cared for and loved I don’t see any problem. If you choose to bottle feed, go for it, if you use cloth nappies, go for it, if you use controlled crying, go for it! If that’s what works for your family then great. I think if we just cut all the name calling and giving a particular way of patenting titles we would all be better off. When I had my 1st son I listened to everything everyone told me (and everyone has an opinion on what’s best for your child) , I listened, said “oh that’s interesting, I might try that” and walked away, if I did like the idea I tried it, if I didn’t I just didn’t do it, simple.
    Sorry for the massive post, but I’m rather passionate about this sort of rubbish coming to an end, us mums should be supporting each other rather than knocking each other.
    Thanks for a great post :)

    • Beautifully put Amber! We are all just moms doing the best we can. We all do what we feel is best for our family. And hopefully we ALL open our minds to new ideas and things to help us improve our mothering. :O)

  4. I think you left out one possible reason it will never happen. The human ego. I think many offenders just believe they’re “right” and the other is “wrong”. Some of us have this insane need to be “right” all the time. (This is a character defect that I struggle with myself.) When I’m in this mode, my husband frequently says, “Don’t confuse me with the facts!” (imitating my voice). I find that when I have been judgemental, it’s a simple matter of pride/ego. Once I check that at the door, I’m open to learning/accepting other ways of thinking. —Nothing has helped humble me more often than motherhood! lol

  5. Well said. Honestly, I think that sometimes a lot of all the mommy war comments have to do with jealousy (whether the person knows that they have it or not). I find that people – especially women – tend to judge others when those “others” are doing things differently. Instead of trying to understand why “others” are doing things differently, automatic judgement is placed. It would be a much nicer world if women could stop judging and start helping each other – but for some reason so many women have confidence issues that they feel that if they are able to judge others on their successes, failures, struggles, or even parenting styles, then they have “just” a little bit more self esteem than they had the previous day. Because “they” are doing it right (or that’s what the judgemental women think). I also find that when there are other moms who are able to accomplish more then some mothers, judgement starts to come out because of jealousy that those moms can “do” more than they can do. Which, it may just be perception. But again, judgement comes out with each other instead of actually asking and understanding the other person. I don’t know, but it’s stressful and not good for anyone to have to deal with this when we are all trying the best we can. :) Thanks Dr. Lisa!

  6. oh boy, I don’t know. Mostly ignorance is what I imagine. Though I would never be mean about it, I too am guilty of judgments. I tend to be more regularly in the “crunchy camp” so I am hoping one day so many of these things that are seen as weird become more mainstream. But no matter what my personal opinions are, I am 100% with you. NO MORE GLOVES! I do not fight with my peers. Whatever works for you, works for you!

  7. Unfortunately women seem to judge each other in every way, we an be very “catty”, we start it as teenage girls, and rather than grow out of it, we take it with us into adulthood. Women, not all, for example will bitch behind another womans back “OMG look at the pants she’s wearing, doesn’t she realize they’re just not right for her” men will either say nothing to their male counterpart or just say “mate, what’s with those pants?! lol”
    I grew up in house of men (6 older brothers) and if they had a problem with you they sorted it out then and there, us women tend to drag it out, not talk to each other or bitch about it, I mean as adults we are not quite as bad as teen girls, but on some fronts, ie judging other mothers, we don’t seem to have stepped too far out of high school…. I find it a bizarre phenomenon that women can be such loving, caring, understanding creatures and yet at the same time are unable to support each other in our differences. As I teach my kids, we all come in different shapes, sizes, & colors, we are all different in our ways and wouldn’t the world be a boring place if everyone was the same

  8. I try to never believe anything is impossible, especially changes we can make for the better so I want to believe the mommy wars can come to an end some day. I think you are right about ignorance and not understanding others points of view but I also believe ego and wanting to be right is another big factor. I see this in every part of our society though. If someone doesn’t agree with us or do things our way, we are quick to label them as stupid, weird, crazy, etc. I think if we can create and encourage more basic respect for each other as people as well as encouraging new and different information instead of just immediately being afraid and condemning it, that could be a good beginning. Unfortunately, I think this is how we have been oppressed as people for many, many years though and a big part of our consumerism culture – make people afraid of new/different information or anything unsupported by the main stream so we just keep buying and believing everything the t.v. tells us we need and want.
    Sorry for the long comments – great post!

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