Featured as a guest post on The Manifest-Station.
I’ve only been a mom for 6 years, so I am definitely still a rookie, but one thing that I’ve learned during my short time with this parenting gig is that everyone is an expert. Whether it’s the woman in line behind you at the checkout stand, or your co-worker down the hall, EVERYONE has an opinion on the right way to do motherhood – and they are willing to go to WAR over it.
I can go on social media right now and find countless mom-shamers with thousands of followers, you know…the ones who only let their children play with wooden toys, wouldn’t even speak the words “formula fed,” and have a PhD in being a perfect fucking parent. Something about the combination of a keyboard and those damn Instagram squares makes people delusionally entitled. The judgmental comments, the better than attitudes – I’m so over it.
So here it is. This is MY WAR on Mommy Wars – and here are my rules of engagement:
Be real: I love seeing posts on social media about how awesome it is to be a mom and how ridiculously cute your child is. I mean, who doesn’t love a cute baby pic to brighten your day? But let’s all do each other a favor and sprinkle in some of the REAL shit. Feel free to use it in the literal sense too, like the time my 3 year old used the shower curtain to wipe his ass because it was too difficult for him to ask for another roll of toilet paper. Gross, but I’m serious – it’s refreshing and normalizing to hear other moms’ horror stories, but most importantly, it helps lessen the stereotypes that depict motherhood as a permanent state of joy. I think it’s GREAT to celebrate our successes and good days, but I also think it’s just as important to acknowledge our struggles. Just try it, I dare you. Be honest and open about the struggles you face and look at the response you get. You’ll be surprised by how many moms are living parallel lives and walking through the trenches right along side you.
Stop judging: There are millions of ways to be a great mom. Some of the best moms I know are women who do things very differently than I do. Despite all of our differences, I am certain that behind every child is a mother who is doing the best with what she knows and the resources she has. We all have different circumstances, different backgrounds, and different life experiences; You may not understand or support the way another mom chooses to raise her littles, but that’s okay. They aren’t your kids to parent. It’s not your life to live. Hop off that soap box and do something more valuable with your time. I will also point out that whenever I find myself judging another mom, it’s usually fueled by my own insecurities. So next time you hear that little bitchy voice in your head start to get all judgey-mc-judgerson on that mom who just screamed bloody murder at her kid in the middle of the Costco parking lot, go look in the mirror and figure out why it’s so upsetting to you. In my experience, it’s usually because it’s hitting a nerve. What was that one saying in that kinda important book? Oh yeah: only those without sin may cast the first stone…
Keep your mouth shut: When you see a mom struggling outside of Trader Joes, as she tries to get her tantruming 4 year old out of the car, while the infant in her carrier spits up all over her shoulder – please, PLEASE refrain from comments like, “sweetie, you’re gonna look back on this and miss it.” We get it, times flies and looking back on these moments is nostalgic…yada yada yada. But you know what? When you’re in the trenches, it fucking sucks and the last thing you need is a pep talk about how you should be more appreciative of your unwashed hair, the dishes that await you at home, and the toddler whose favorite word is NO. If you really want to help, hand her a god damn napkin to wipe the throw up from her hair, and offer her your cart. Even a simple, “you are a rockstar, momma” or “hang in there” will do.
Support one another: For goodness sakes ladies, drop the Regina George act, this isn’t high school anymore. Let’s be real, us moms have enough ass-holes rooting against us – whether it’s the woman at Target who dishes out parenting advice when you’re toddler slaps you in the face because you won’t buy the candy bar, or the man at the park who rolls his eyes and tells you to cover up when you’re trying to nurse a teething baby and keep your two older children from killing one another on the swings. Instead of tearing each other down, we should be rooting for one another – giving each other enthusiastic ass slaps and fist bumps as we rock this motherhood gig together. Try to remember: Many of us are struggling. Most of us are exhausted. And all of us are just trying to survive. So please, let’s back the fuck off and start supporting one another.
And last but not least – Focus on the sisterhood: Despite our many differences, us moms all have 2 things in common. ONE – we all have the amazing privilege of raising children; and TWO – we all want whats best for them. Yeah, our approaches are all a little different, and some things you see might cause you to raise an eyebrow or two; but let’s be real here, regardless of whether you give your kid a boob or a bottle, wear size 0 or size 16 mom jeans, stay at home or go to work…there is one fact that we can all agree on: we are a rare species of superheroes. Plain and simple. There’s just no debating it. We all just need to start acting like the rockstars we are, because together, we can take on the world.