There is something that has been really bothering me lately and I really feel that as mothers we need to talk about it. It seems like everywhere I turn I come across women on the defensive when it comes to issues of motherhood. I see it everywhere; on the web, on television, at church, school, etc. Mothers everywhere are arguing about things such as where we should have a baby (home/hospital), when we should have a baby (induced, natural, overdue, c-section), how we should have a baby, (natural, epidural, water birth, doula, doctor, mid-wife), what we should choose to do after our bundles of joy are here (breastfeed/bottle feed, be a working mom, SAHM, or WAHM), which sleep strategies we should use for our babies, and the list goes on and on and on. Why are we spending so much time debating why our way is the best and only way and how someone who chooses to do things differently is somehow a bad mother or at least not quite as good?
I know discussions of motherhood and child rearing can become very heated and women on all sides of debates can have valid points but WHY do we care to argue in the first place? Why do we feel the need to be validated by someone who doesn’t walk in our shoes each and every day?
Now, last time I checked there wasn’t a perfect formula for producing perfect babies and perfect children. And if there were, I’m not sure I’d want it anyways. Babies are individuals, and mothers and babies don’t fit into some perfect mold. I believe that mothers are given an intuition for what is best for themselves and their babies, but that doesn’t mean that Mother Nature won’t butt in and mess things up. I think that as women and as mothers we have a hard enough job filling the demands that come from those titles and that instead of comparing and arguing with each other we should be supporting and encouraging each other, regardless of our personal choices. Motherhood is hard! But how much better would this world be if instead of criticizing each other, we simply celebrated the fact that we are mothers and in need of each other’s support.
In the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms: Simple Ways to Stress Less and Enjoy Your Family More , Kristine Carlson she says, “Being a mother is a round-the-clock job. There are no sick days, no vacations, no personal days. Whether you have a partner or not, this job requires tenacity, patience, creative problem-solving, great listening and communication skills, tremendous physical stamina, and emotional resolve, not to mention running the household and staying on top of the laundry. The rewards are intrinsic; but a job well done is not always recognized or quantifiable. Nonetheless, it’s the most important job there is. That’s why it’s so essential for us to celebrate our sisters and to acknowledge other moms for what they do by giving them a compliment…Though we may not have a lot in common and may live our lives under very different circumstances, every encounter with a mother is an opportunity to celebrate our common journey and reinforce what an incredible impact we have on the world as we serve our families with love and kindness.
When you celebrate other mothers, you will be surprised about the benefits it brings to your own parenting, and to your feelings about the job you’re doing as a mom. When we compliment someone else, the simple act of noticing what they do right affects how we do things ourselves. By observing and complimenting one another, we see what great mothers we are and realize what even better moms we can be!”
Next time you come across one of these mommy debates, before you jump in with your opinions, think about what a better world this would be if we could just be supportive and encouraging of other mothers. Instead of feeling the need to prove a point or validate personal choices, remember that every situation and person is different and you haven’t walked in other mother’s shoes just as they haven’t walked in yours. And instead of comparing and criticizing, let’s compliment and celebrate each other.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this topic without starting any debates (pretty please). Am I the only one that is bothered by “mommy wars” as I’ve heard them termed?