Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mommy wars

I've been reading and hearing a lot lately about something called the "Mommy Wars." Basically, mothers feel the need to defend their own choices for their children, and often in doing so, end up fighting with and criticizing other mothers who do not make the same choices. Go to any message board aimed at mothers and you will see what I mean.
It starts from the moment the pee is dry on the stick. There are all the things you should and shouldn't do during pregnancy. These discussions, for the most part, don't get too serious. It's when you get toward the end of the pregnancy that things start to heat up. There's the good old C-section vs. natural birth debate. Epidural or no medication. Home vs. hospital birth. Circumcision. Vaccinations. Baby-wearing. Strollers. You name it. Bring up any of these topics and World War III could break out.
I'm all for healthy discussion and debate. This is what challenges us in life to use our brains. It's good to be exposed to other points of view. The problem is that some use these platforms as a way to not just promote their point of view, but to criticize others'.
That's what I have a problem with. Why do mothers--a group that should be supporting and encouraging one another--feel the need to be superior over one another? There was a time when the only people new mothers had to learn from were each other. There was no Dr. Sears, or "What to Expect When You're Expecting." There was just your mother, your grandmother, your aunts, your sisters, and your friends. Now we have so much different information coming at us from all different directions that, for a first-time mother, it's overwhelming and discouraging. This at a time when we are rebounding from childbirth and dealing with extreme hormonal changes.
One mother might feel extremely satisfied to finally get her child to sleep using one method only to have someone else tell her that method is bad in some way. The baby should be held all the time, one person tells you. Someone else claims that holding the baby too much will spoil her. You should let her cry it out ... you shouldn't let her cry. Babies should learn to self-soothe ... babies who learn to self-soothe have "given up" that their parents will fulfill their needs. It's enough to make your head spin!
What it all comes down to is this: I believe that the vast majority of mothers are doing the best that they can. We are all just trying to keep our heads above water. We love our children, and that is the best parenting technique there is. We should encourage, not belittle. We should empathize, not criticize. We should focus on what we have in common, rather than what sets us apart.

No comments:

Post a Comment