Have you heard of the Mommy Wars? Worse yet, have you experienced them?
I just shake my head in disbelief when the new moms in our family tell me their stories of verbal abuse by other moms.
These people are not just critical of your parenting methods, but they demonize you for having a difference of opinion.
I think the term Mommy Wars was first used by Time magazine about moms who had jobs and those who were stay-at-home moms. Many people thought it was just a way to manufacture a story. I thought so too. It turns out the Mommy Wars are about more than that. Waaay more.
What the heck is going on? Don’t moms have enough to handle without getting in-your-face criticism from other moms?
I was a young mom back in the 80’s and read a fair amount about child rearing. I was no expert, but I felt I had done enough research by reading several books. This is back before the internet. Maybe we all have so much information now that we get super hyped about sharing it?
I breast fed our four kids and all went well. I didn’t read much about it. I just figured that it was a natural system, so it would work. And it did. I was considered a bit of a hippie for breast feeding. Times change. I’m glad more moms breastfeed now, but I don’t judge those who don’t. It’s their choice and their circumstances.
There are many more “mom groups” now for moms to join. We didn’t have that back then. I did go to a mom group run by the county in which a child-rearing expert talked to us about development stages to expect. Now every mom is an expert in everything having to do with kids. Internet and more books are definitely involved.
I sometimes wonder how people get so militant about a particular child-rearing method. Back in the day we mainly had Dr. Spock and if we didn’t like part of his book we’d just ignore it and use the parts we liked. Does anyone do this anymore?
There are so many parenting books. In order to get your book sold you have to get as much publicity as possible. That means you get passionate about your method and put the fear of something evil into going against that method in the last minute detail. I wouldn’t call this being sensational exactly, but it is definitely PR and a way to get people discussing your book. I mean, who would buy a book that just recommended common sense?
So then you have new parents steeped in their chosen doctrine coming together in small groups of strangers. Gee, what trouble could possibly happen? Quite a bit.
Parent groups break up over the correct method of putting the baby to bed, breastfeeding or not, whether to pick up the child when they cry, and many more issues. They form into factions that have at it at the weekly meetings. When the disagreement becomes intolerable, the group splits into two new
congregations parenting groups. The new groups continue until they again come upon a powerful disagreement.
All this causes hurt feelings and stress. Not what new parents need. I just don’t get it. What ever happened to tolerance for other beliefs? After all, these are belief systems.
Do we really need to judge others? Why is that? Do we have to be right all the time? Really?
Sure our kids are our most important investment, but what gives us the right to jump all over others for doing something a different way?
I say we all need to step back a bit and give each other some breathing room. Parenting is challenging enough without dealing with extra stress.
We moms and dads need to support each other and be there for each other when possible. The concept of a support group needs to emphasize the “support” part a lot more.
I’m proud of the new moms in our family for how they handled this. They exchanged phone numbers with a few moms they liked so they could go to lunch or the park sometimes. Arranging for a few outings eliminates the drama of the mom groups and gives you a start on possible friendships.
It’s a horrible sickness (in every sense of the word) and I hope someone comes up with an antibiotic to wipe it out! As one of my friends says, people need to “Chill.”
I know this is going on in Texas, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. Is it in your state yet? Have you found an effective way to deal with this?