I’m starting to think that the entire concept of the Mommy Wars was invented from whole cloth. Articles discussing the Mommy Wars make for great click-bait on websites, and people undoubtedly get riled up in Facebook mommy groups… but in real life I just don’t see it.
I have many friends who live their lives and parent their children in very different ways. Some work, some stay at home, some breastfeed, some formula feed, some co-sleep, some put their babies in their cribs, some cook organic, some go through the drive-through, some ban screen time, some have 83 different video games, some use daycares and nannies, some homeschool…and all of them are pretty cool to each other.
In real life there’s not a lot of eye rolling or judgment or acting superior. I don’t think most people have the time for that, much less the inclination.
There is a lot of texting stuff like, “Hey, do you want to have a playdate on Friday?” and, “I’m stuck in traffic and freaking out – can you grab Ethan for me when school gets out?” and “Want me to pick up Harper and take her to baby ballet on Sunday? Annie would love to have her!” and “When is money due for the preschool fundraiser? I lost the flyer!” Most of my circle seems to be in on the secret that this parenting gig is much easier if we’re all kind to one another, and they act accordingly.
I’ve been a parent for almost eight years now, and I can only think of one single instance in real life where another mom was actively, intentionally mean to me. After watching me feed my four-month-old son a bottle of formula, a friend who also had an infant made several cruel comments to the effect that: (i) I was poisoning my baby, and (ii) I could have exclusively breastfed if I’d tried hard enough. Ouch.
Telling a sleep-deprived, lacking-in-confidence new mom that she’s hurting her baby by formula feeding is obviously not acceptable behavior, and I remember the incident in detail all these years later.
I think it sticks out because it’s such an anomaly. It’s much more akin to something you’d typically see on the internet.
There is a lot of meanness and judgment on the internet, particularly in Facebook mommy groups. It’s disappointing to see these online communities – places initially created to provide support and advice – descend into anarchy and name-calling. It even happens to the really nice, cool, smart mommy groups. But then again, I suppose it’s easy to be mean to other people from behind the safety of a keyboard, far from any actual human interaction.
In real life, I see kindness and support, and recognition that we’re all in this together. I see people like my friend C, who drove my son to basketball practice every single week this basketball season, because he knew that practice was tough for me to make, schedule-wise. People like my friend S, who filmed the entire kindergarten holiday performance and emailed it to every single parent who couldn’t make it in person. People like my friend T, who cheerfully handled school drop-off for a friend’s daughter last week when the friend was sick in bed with the flu. I see people who have each other’s backs.
So don’t believe the hype about the Mommy Wars. It turns out in real life, we’re all a little better than that.
Don’t you love it when people surprise you by being amazing?
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