I’m not sure when the so-called “mommy wars” began, but I’m sure it was after families stopped living in multi-generational homes and close-knit communities. I am sure of this, because I don’t believe we would be so judgmental of other moms if we were living under the same roofs and witnessing the complete and total love that motivates most of what they do for their children.
My thoughts about the mommy wars seems so obvious that I’m sure it has already been said, but I haven’t read it anywhere, so I’m going to say it anyway just in case it actually is something new.
So here’s my thought- or, my question, really:
What if there isn’t one right way to mom?
What if there is not a “right” way or a “best” way? What if there is just “your” way or “my” way? And what if “my” way is best for my kids and “your” way is best for your kids?
I haven’t been a mom very long, but I have known a lot of moms, and one thing always stands out to me- moms mom from who they are. Here is what I mean- the moms I know make decisions about parenting that fit who they are (I wonder if this could be why it is so hurtful when someone questions or criticizes our mommy choices…), and as such, serve them and their children well.
For moms who like to live spontaneously, feeding and sleeping schedules may feel like work. They and their children may thrive on more of a go-with-the-flow atmosphere in the home.
For moms who love structure and routine (like me:), having a feeding and sleeping schedule can give the freedom and peace of mind to help them bend more and be more responsive to their children’s needs.
So we make choices as moms that are true to who we are and allow us to parent from a place of strength and calm.
I’m too lazy to look it up, but I think I read a study when I was in school about how a mom just has to be a “good enough” mom- meaning, as long as she is loving and nurturing the child will turn out okay, regardless of all the peripheral parenting choices. I read another study that stated the “best” mom was the “best fit” mom- meaning the mom whose personality fit best with the temperament of the child.
Sure, those could both be true. But doesn’t it also make sense that a mom who finds her own groove and raises her children in a way that comes from who she is might create the most genuine and caring environment for her children?
One of the cool things about getting pregnant and having a baby this past year is how many of my friends were going through the experience with me. For example, two of my grad school friends gave birth with me in 2015.
The three of us chat often in an international group text (along with a fourth friend who doesn’t have children yet and will most likely add even more diversity to our myriad of mothering choices). We have chatted about the many differences in our experiences: the ways we responded to our pregnancies (and all the joys and woes that go with them), our three completely different birthing experiences, and our various differences in parenting choices (from diapering, to feeding, to sleeping). I do not feel judgment from them, even though we choose to mother differently. And I love hearing about the various ways they see, view, or do things with their babies.
Same goes for my sisters. We share many similarities, but also have different personalities- to which my parents can attest. All of my sisters are amazing moms, but no two of us do things exactly alike. When my twin sister visited this past summer, we shared a playful banter- she teased me about how structured I am in my parenting and I teased her about how lax she is in hers. We have chosen to parent differently, but we have also chosen to respect each other’s parenting (despite the occasional friendly banter of course). We are constantly affirming one another and telling each other what a great mom the other is.
So maybe instead of asking what the right choice is as a mom–because trust me, you can find evidence on both sides of every mommy debate–we can start asking ourselves what the right choice for me is.
Oh, and by the way, it’s not our job to ask what the right choice for anyone else is.
And maybe as we start asking ourselves that question, we will not only stop questioning other moms, but will feel confident enough in ourselves that we won’t feel the need to defend and explain ourselves to others.
We all want the best for our kids, and our kids don’t need us to be doubtful and insecure.
Our kids simply need us to be ourselves.