The term “Mommy Wars” just doesn’t sound right to me. As moms we are supposed to be peaceful role models for our children. We teach our kids not to fight, to think of other people’s feelings, and to be kind to others. So how can we be at war with each other and still teach our kids how to be decent, inclusive, thoughtful humans? We can’t. Four years ago, I was inspired to create my own photo montage in protest of the mom war struggle I was feeling. I enlisted the help of my local mom friends and got to work.
All the moms in these photos are friends I met as members of a mom’s group on Facebook. Over the years we’ve celebrated birthdays together, brought each other meals, and have encouraged and supported each other through the trials of motherhood. On this day four years ago, we were standing next to each other smiling and holding signs reflecting our “opposing” mom choices. It was all the proof I needed to see that even though we make different choices for our families, we can still be friends and even respect each other’s personal choices. I have come to realize that without the different opinions and choices lived out by other moms in my circle, I wouldn’t know I have options in my parenting.
Seven years into this mom gig and I have learned to let go of the pressure to make the same choices as other moms. I have also learned that it is par for the course for every new mom to grapple with her confidence as a mom. That’s really where the mom wars start. It begins with that first wobbly step into motherhood. As we put one foot in front of the other, we learn the path that works for ourselves and our families. We also begin to realize that choices other moms make in their own homes really do not affect us. For example, nothing in my world shakes when another mom feeds her kid formula because she can’t breast feed. There isn’t a slight shift in the wind when someone feeds their kids McDonald’s for dinner because they are too worn out to cook. And if a mom uses bleach to clean her floors instead of the finest essential oils, I can still sleep at night. I firmly believe that if a mom falls at the playground and no one is around to hear her she will still swear like a trucker (all moms do that right, not just me?).
I haven’t done any hard research on this, but I have yet to see any viral social media clips of a Harvard grad mentioning their mom’s meticulous house as the reason for their success, or that her perfect dinners and over the top birthday parties drove them to the top of their class. If at the end of the day your kids are safe and alive, you deserve a round of applause. We all bear the same burdens of motherhood so why do we put so much pressure on ourselves (and each other to be perfect?). No matter what your style of mothering is, we will all run the same course: stomach bugs, sleepless nights and feelings of self-doubt. All of these quintessential mom moments level the battlefield for the “Mommy War.” Certainly none of us makes perfect decisions, but we all have the same end goal- to raise healthy, happy and productive humans. Does it really matter what path we follow to get them there?
My call to arms remains the same: do whatever it takes to let go of your fears and worries that you are not enough. Take up the charge to own your mom choices. Decide right now to be confident in your decisions because any decision you make in the best interest of your children is the best decision you can make for them. Never ask yourself, “Which side am I on?” Instead ask yourself, “How can I stand with my momrades?”
The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia