(I found this image via search. I do not own it!)
• You're an awful mom because you use formula. Don't you know what's in that??
• You're an awful mom because you STILL breastfeed your 2 year old. Don't you know that's perverted and your kid is going to be scarred?
• You're horrible for using disposable diapers. Don't you know that they ruin the environment? Don't you care about our children's futures?
• Cloth diapers are disgusting. You shouldn't be washing poop in the washing machine. It's unsanitary.
• You don't put your kid down? You're only teaching them to be clingy and needy. That's not good parenting.
• You leave your baby in his bouncer/crib/exersaucer/on the floor? What's he going to learn from that? That's horrible of you.
• A CRIB?! The baby needs to be next to the parents who love her! You DO love her, right??
• You're going to kill your baby by cosleeping. My sisters best friends cousins boyfriends aunts classmates friend knew a girl who rolled over on her baby, therefore it's dangerous for everyone. Clearly, you aren't putting your kids safety first.
• You are awful for doing CIO. Don't you know just how damaging it is to their little brains? Do you care??
•You work outside of the home? So, you pay people to raise your kids? How terrible of you!
No matter where you turn, EVERYTHING is about how much of a worse parent you are because you chose to do something differently than someone else did. But who decides what makes you an awesome parent versus a crappy parent? No matter what you do, SOMEONE is going to have a differing opinion. And nowadays, it's worse than ever. No matter where you go, you see the comments belittling other mothers. Snarky little comments. Full blown insults. Guilt trips.
When will we, as mothers, learn to come together and SUPPORT one another? Since when did it become okay to bully another mother into doing what YOU think is right? Why is it okay to make another mother feel less than human because she does differently than you? There are so many "right" choices when it comes to parenting. Who are we to say what is or isn't right?
So what, you used formula! Yay for you who breastfed! As a mom who has done both, I don't understand what the fight is all about?? All 3 of my children are healthy. You would never be able to tell which was breastfed and which was formula fed. As a matter of fact, my children who were formula fed are MORE healthy than my sole breastfed child! For a time, yes, I felt judged because I used formula. But you know what? That was MY issue. Yes, other mothers tried to tell me that I didn't try hard enough to breastfeed my first 2. I was told that I gave in too easy. That I didn't care. Well, guess what? I had some underlying guilt that I wasn't enough because I didn't succeed. And these other mothers who said crap? They weren't telling me anything new. But they did make me aware of my hidden feelings. I worked through them, and now when people tell me that I didn't try hard enough, or that I didn't care, it just rolls off my shoulders. I am no less of a mom because I used formula. That was YOUR opinion. And quite frankly, the opinion of a mom who doesn't know me personally means nothing to me.
Any one who knows me knows that I am ALL for breastfeeding now. I believe wholeheartedly that every baby deserves to be breastfed. I believe that every mother should at least try. However, I do not believe in belittling a mother to do it. I have friends and family who didn't even try. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine recently had a beautiful baby boy, and guess what? She decided she wasn't going to breastfeed at all. Not even once. She knows my stance, yet still came to me to ask how she could dry up her milk, or stop it from even coming in. We talked a bit about the benefits of breastfeeding, but ultimately, it is HER decision on how she feeds him. I told her to let me know if she thought I was being too pushy. She assured me that she would, but that I don't have to worry about it. There is a huge difference in how I approached her, rather than how others did. I never overstepped my boundaries. We discussed formula, and making sure that the doctors and nurses didn't force her to overfeed him. Never once did I say to her that she's awful for using formula. Never once did I insult her. Why? Because I am better than these Mommy Wars, and I understand that this is a personal choice.
Same goes with circumcision (get ready for the shit storm!). This is a PERSONAL matter. No one can make me feel guilty because my son is circumcised! I don't go around telling people "You need to circumcise that boy. His penis is going to be ugly if you don't! He's going to get so many infections and diseases if you don't! It's unsanitary!!" Why? Because it's NOT MY CHILD!!! What another parent chooses to do with their son's penis is none of my concern! It doesn't make me any less of a mother because I chose to circumcise. It doesn't make you any better of a parent because you chose to keep your son whole. I'll bet, if we put my circ'd boy next to your intact boy, no one would know the difference. I'm sure your boy and my boy would tell people just how much they are loved by their parents, how much we do for them, and how we keep them safe.
How about cosleeping and crib sleeping? Just because I sleep with Gianna doesn't make me any more dangerous of a parent as you. Despite what the media wants you to think, we don't have a knife on our bed. I haven't yet rolled over onto her. As a matter of fact, I am more in tune with her than I was with my crib sleeping children. But this doesn't mean that I'm a better parent than you if you crib sleep. It just means that I am doing what works for MY family. Just as crib sleeping may be better for your family, it doesn't make you better than I am. As much as I love my space on my bed, and I would love if G stayed in her crib all night, it's just not going to happen. And I'm okay with that. We all get good sleep. It works for us.
When will all learn to just come TOGETHER and SUPPORT one another!? Isn't parenting hard enough without all the judging and snide comments? We need to learn to open our minds to other forms of parenting. Of course, if you see a parent shoving a bottle of Diet Coke in their infants mouths, then by all means, don't support that. I certainly don't support any child under the age of 8 drinking any kind of dark soda. I don't call someone a bad mom because they allow their 4 year old to drink it. But I certainly don't agree with it.
Here's the deal. I started this blog because of a blog post I read that had to do with Formula Marketing. The comments there drove me insane, and made me realize just how ridiculous this has become. The blog was about placement of formula ads within a website's information on breastfeeding. Of course, I don't believe that the formula ad should be there. However, it wasn't THAT big of a deal. At least, not to me. Maybe it wasn't that big of a deal because I've used formula, and I've actually called said formula company for advice when I was struggling to breastfeed Gianna. Believe it or not, they were super supportive, and advised me to NOT reach for the formula. I was told that they would send me samples if I wanted them, but they strongly advised that I do not reach for them in a moment of weakness. They assured me that I COULD breastfeed successfully, and that they would always be there if I needed reassurance. If not for them, I would have likely given up.
If a formula company can be supportive and not judgmental, or try to pressure me, why can't fellow mothers? Why is it that I'm constantly being judged, and hearing (and seeing) other mothers being judged? No one can state what works for them without someone from the "other side" saying that it isn't good enough. Without being told that you aren't doing the "right thing". That you're "damaging" your child. Why not, instead of belittling each other, how about saying "I'm glad that worked for you!" and be happy for them??
It comes down to not being supportive. This is 100% MY OWN OPINION, but I think the attacks are getting out of hand. I think they're ridiculous. I think we need to STOP. Think back to all the times where someone posted something that you didn't agree with. How did you respond? Did you say "You're an awful mother for doing that?" or did you say "Way to go for doing what was right for your family, even though I disagree."? I've asked a few Mommy friends for their take on the Mommy Wars. These are their responses:
Personally, I think "mommy wars" are stupid. Every mom loves their child and wants what is best for them. It's hard enough being a mom, and other moms know this, so I don't understand why we must judge each other for the decisions we make. Unless a child is being emotionally or physically abused, or neglected, it is none of my business. You raise your child and I will raise mine. -KS
L from Everyday Educated Mamas:
I think it comes down to this: people are afraid to be wrong. If they are wrong, then it means they screwed up. No one likes to admit they screwed up. But we are only human. We do the best we can with what we know. And, "when we know better, we do better." We need to stop attacking other people for their mistakes. We need to be about guilt free education, not bashing each other over the head for every little thing.
My BFF Ange said:
Raising a child is a difficult enough task. To point fingers at others moms because they do it differently is ridiculous. We should be coming together to support one another, not tear each other down. Unless it is Kristen...she does everything wrong. (She's lucky I love her!)
I think TL has hit it spot on!
Mommy Wars sounds like a bad reality show. There are different thoughts on child rearing and what works for one, might not work for another. Mind your own child, keep it healthy and safe and don't think your way is the only way, no one has the right answer to anything going on in life.
It is tough enough to be a parent as it is. To have people judging you on your parenting skills is annoying. As if we mothers don't already have the thought that we aren't good enough already, it just makes it worse!- Lindsey Enders from The Crafty Monkeh
Mommy wars are getting out of hand. No one knows what's best for someone else's child. Make your own choices. -Anonymous
Abby, better known as The Badass Breastfeeder, had this to say:
These wars come about when people aren't treating each other gently. We are so passionate about parenting that we can be harsh with the information that we have and want people to know. Being gentle and allowing people to hear it in their own time would end many wars.
Check out her blog here.
Becky, from Naturo-Mommy, had this to say:
I'm not sure exactly what to say about mommy wars. Everyone knows its ridiculous to fight. The beauty of it though, is that it throws all this amazing information into the world about other mothers' experiences and lessons learned.
Let's try remember that there is no one right way to parent. Remember the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child"? I'm fairly certain that village didn't insult and belittle. Smile and nod when someone tells you that they do something differently. If someone suggests you try something they do that you don't believe in, you can disagree without putting another mother down. A simple "Thanks for sharing, but I don't think that will work for us. But I'll keep it in mind." keeps the waters calm.
Above all, let's remember that NO ONE wins in these "Mommy Wars". Parenting is NOT a "One size fits all" deal. Find what works for your family, and be proud of it! Don't ever let someone guilt you into feeling that you're doing something wrong. Only you know your family inside and out.
(Bottle Babies on FB)