Mommy Wars

A friend on facebook shared this link on her wall showing pairs of moms who seem to be friends in real life, each holding signs that declare their opposing choices in raising their kids. It’s a great visual representation of the decisions moms (and dads in many cases) make for their families that easily become battlegrounds online but really don’t need to pit us against each other. It’s a pretty feel-good page to scan through and see women beaming about their choices, and I agree that moms shouldn’t be tearing each other down over these things – 99% of moms honestly want to do what is best for their kids, and that is why mommy wars get so intense so often – these are issues that cut to the core of our values and represent our very best efforts, so for someone to question them feels like a personal attack and we want to respond in kind.

An issue that I have seen raised a few times when women call for a cease-fire in these mommy wars is that we are extremely fortunate to have these choices and to be the ones making these decisions for our families. Billions of women don’t have the luxury of choosing to breastfeed or use formula, don’t get to make a list of pros and cons about returning to work, don’t have access to nutritious food for their family regardless if it is organic or hormone-free. Our efforts would go to much better use if we advocate for justice and fight for change for the moms across the world and in our own communities who don’t have what they need to choose what they want instead of tearing down the people who make different choices from us. Sponsoring a child, buying nutritious food for a food bank, sharing outgrown clothes so that financial resources can go to other areas are all practical ways to help. It is stunning to me how simple some of the needs around the world are – from cloth wraps for mothers and nurses to carry preemie babies skin-to-skin, which greatly improves their chances of surviving and thriving (these wraps cost $10-15); I also saw a magazine ad promoting a certain brand, that if you bought their products between May and July a donation would be given to provide children with a day’s worth of clean water. There was an asterisk beside the claim which led down to fine print which stated the value of such a donation: 2 cents.

I have done my best to steer clear of the mommy wars, making the best decisions I can, sharing my opinions with friends who know me well enough to know I’m not judging their choices where we differ (or to call me out if I come off as trying to know it all!). I know I am not the first or only person calling for an end to mommy wars. But I want to add my voice, to insist that outrage is misplaced when we turn it on well-meaning parents instead of systems that hold families captive in chaos and poverty.

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