eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: Calling a Truce in the Motherhood Wars

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Calling a Truce in the Motherhood Wars

As moms, we make a lot of choices, even before our babies are officially here. Drugs or no drugs during childbirth? Hospital or home birth? Breastfeeding or formula feeding? Cloth or disposable diapers? Will I work or stay home with the baby? Cosleeping or crib? Vaccinations or no vaccinations? The list of choices is endless. 

We read, we research, we decide what is best for our kids, our families, our lives, our unique situations, our individual babies.

But no matter what you decide, it seems like there is always someone who thinks your decision is wrong...and that someone is usually another mother who made a different decision for her child.

Why are moms so hard on each other and so prone to attacking each other in order to "defend" their lifestyles? It seems like there are so many moms out there who can't say something like "I'm breastfeeding" without also adding something like "I can't understand why anyone would ever choose to feed their baby formula", which of course starts an all out debate/war because someone out there did choose to feed their baby formula and that comment just left them feeling attacked. It's okay to state your opinion or choice. However, I think that we should learn to do so in a way that doesn't make those who chose a different option feel attacked. 

I've seen a lot of posts lately about the recent Milwaukee cosleeping ads. We had billboards like these months ago all over Birmingham. I thought they were sad (anything about a baby dying is sad), but the message of the billboard didn't offend me, even though my baby sleeps with me. I think women who cosleep certainly have the right to discuss why the ads upset them. However, I feel like it's gone too far when they turn to attacking those who put their babies in cribs to sleep. This week, I've seen women write things on blog posts and Facebook threads like "I could never let my infant sleep all alone in a crib- that's just cruel" and "It's just not natural for a mom to give birth and then lay her baby in a bassinet, away from her." If you don't like people attacking cosleeping, please don't turn around and attack those whose babies sleep in cribs.

It makes me sad when women fight over these and other issues. I've been made to feel bad for sending my kids to daycare, for cosleeping, for not cosleeping, and more. I am my own worst critic and give myself a hard enough time over parenting issues. I think most moms are doing the best they can, making the decisions that they deem right for their children and families. Every family is not the same. Every child is not the same. What worked for you might not work for someone else. What was best for your baby might not be best for someone else's. Moms have a hard enough time as it is. We should support each other, and when necessary (such as in issues of car seat safety) look for ways to gently educate each other without being condescending and rude. 

Everyone is not going to parent the same way you do. They won't make the same choices for their baby that you do for yours, and guess what? That's okay.  

Have you ever felt attacked for a choice you made for your baby/family?   


  1. Oh my goodness, yes. Moms can be sooo judgemental! I think it's really sad, too - I see it all the time, the war between the moms. When I first started blogging and reading mom blogs I was really shocked that there was all this information online on the "right" way to do things. I tortured myself trying to be perfect and do everything right and then later realized that you can't put your kid in a box and assume that what worked for one mom will work for you. They certainly are not you, they don't live your exact lifestyle, they aren't raising your kids... people need to just take care of their kids the way they feel is right and stop telling everyone else they need to do things their way. My latest thing I'm trying not to be oversensitive about is someone mentioning more than once that my giving pacifiers to my kids has been the cause of certain things like biting while nursing or my daughter not talking as soon as some other children. I think it's silly. But becoming a parent is a learning experience, it definitely teaches you to grow a thick skin and not worry about what others are thinking about you. :) Great post!

  2. Ahh- yes, the strive to be the perfect mom! I know it well. I also think it doesn't exist (at least not in a model form that can be copied). I think the perfect mom for my kids is me being the best me I can be.

    Oh, and about the pacifier issue- my daughter never took a pacifier and she didn't talk until she was over 2 years old. She really started talking well when she was about 3 and then she never shut up. When she started talking, it was clear she had a huge vocabulary but she had just never seen fit to use it before. It wasn't that she couldn't talk - she just didn't want to. I was a little worried at first when she wasn't talking at 18 months, but I also recognized that she was stubborn and smart and extremely independent...and she refused from birth to be pigeon-holed into what's "normal." She's very smart, and delayed talking did not set her back at all.