Lately on the internet we see it everywhere we turn: End the Mommy Wars! It has become the latest trendy stance among bloggers and social media alike. Many jump on board because it sounds good. War? No one wants war. It must end!
But I stand on the other side of the fence. I want to ignite those Mommy Wars. I want to light the fires in every corner I can find in hopes that they never die out. I want to pit one mother against another on every aspect of parenting that we face day in and day out.
I am sure you are wondering what would possess anyone, especially a mother herself, to want to fuel talks and articles that focus on judgments and shaming, driving wedges between those who should be standing united. It’s because I believe that ending the Mommy Wars is a concept that is solely focused on the mommies, leaving the children behind.
This job is hard. Not only because of the hours and labors and selflessness that are required, but mostly because of the emotions that fuel it all. We want to be the best and do the best. We believe there is no room for failure lest our children become impoverished and drug addicted giving nothing to society. Even the strongest mother can’t help but fight that day to day to fear that she may be missing something. She may be doing something astronomically wrong. She may be making some poor choices.
It’s scary. And the last thing we want is someone straight out telling us that something we are doing, something within our control, could be damaging our children. It feeds those terrifying feelings that all ready pool up in each of us daily. So of course, the natural stance would be to want to bring a halt to those calling us out, whether they are correct or not.
Ending the Mommy Wars is completely focused on making moms everywhere feel good. We are looking for others to pat us on the back and tell us we are doing our best. We want some outside source to soothe those awful feelings that naturally plague us and are so difficult to fight off for ourselves.
Meanwhile, the children suffer.
While mothers are out there trying to stop others from shaming them, they are exerting all their energy outward, never once looking at themselves and why they feel that shame. They want their negative feelings to stop, without ever questioning their roots. They want other people to tell them they are doing a wonderful job without ever deciding whether or not they are.
Basically, they don’t want to do their best. They just want to be told that they are.
Perhaps the shame from reading about the link between ADHD and poor diet is dredged up because it tells you that your choices may be at the root of your child’s problem. Maybe the discussion on why breast is best makes you feel awful because you know you could have tried harder. Is it possible that learning about the reality of cry-it-out or spanking rip at your heart strings because it causes you to think about what you chose to do to your child.
We all make mistakes. We all have to make rash decisions with very little time to educate ourselves. We all have to face the fact that sometimes we do the wrong thing for our children.
But the important thing is that we face these mistakes, own them and learn from them. If we are focused on stopping others from shaming us and telling us what we are doing wrong, then we have no time to deal with our own feelings of shame in order to become better for our children.
Mommy Wars bring up all these issues from every angle. They throw around opinions and facts, forcing us to challenge our own thoughts and beliefs. Only through challenging what we think is best can we become better for our children. If we sit complacent, silencing all avenues that may bring us shame, then our children are the ones who take the brunt of our selfishness and poor decisions.
Being a mother is hard. Feeling shame is awful. But it is all part of the selflessness of the job. Don’t selfishly focus on ending the Mommy Wars. Instead read, learn, discuss, embrace all information and fight your shame yourself. Only then will both mother and child win.
So for the sake of all children, hop on over to Facebook and ignite some Mommy Wars!