I've been hearing this term more and more... "Mommy Wars"... and its implication is intriguing. After much (about .25 seconds) investigation, exploration, and deliberation I've formulated a pretty elaborate definition of the term "Mommy Wars."
Drum roll please......
Mommy Wars [mom-ee wawrz]: noun A battle between mothers of different parenting styles and philosophies in order to maliciously yet ineffectually prove that the other mother is, in nearly every way, inferior to themselves.
I have to admit that through a process of looking inward and reflecting on some (not so) distant conversations I came to realize that I am a frequent combatant in this battle of words. In fact I would be willing to bet that if many of you mamas out there are as well. It starts with, "well, what works for ME is...." followed by rambling about our tried and true method that is the answer to every problem ever, and then is completed with a, "But that's just ME." However, if we were to look deeper into our carefully articulated advice, past the misleading pleasantry, right there where the true motivation behind our "guidance" is left exposed, you will find that it was nothing more than a switchblade shot in our own personal "mommy war."
Now I know why I feel like I have the right to wage mommy battle against others who clearly have no idea what they are doing. I mean, I'm in the process of raising four children. They are practically perfect in every way (near-perfection is not just reserved for Mary Poppins). I am always well put together. My house is always clean. I sleep a solid 9 hours every night. And to top it all off I have dinner on the table at 5 o'clock sharp every day. I really just have it all figured out and want every one else to be as amazing as I am. (Hopefully all of you who know me also know that I'm joking. OR maybe you know that I'm being serious... dun dun dunnnnn)
But I don't understand why, ya know, OTHER mothers feel its necessary to war against everyone else. I think its pretty safe to assume that not every family is the same, right? So then why do we also assume that one particular method will work for the rest of humanity the way it worked for us?
Parenting is one great big adventure of trial and error. And its through that trial and error that we become the parents that are perfect for our own family. Frankly that's why I keep having kids, I screw up less and less, and figure things out a little bit more with each child (mostly joking... ok... kinda joking...but seriously). I really want to encourage the new moms, or even the seasoned moms. It's not bad to ask for advice. Its not even bad to heed this advice. However, be confident in your abilities as well because the advice you receive just might not work for you. You have (more likely than not) been given an instinct that is far better than any other mothers anecdotal remedy to your personal situation.
I sit here writing this and, really, I'm writing to myself more than anyone else. I have personal struggles with wanting to be right and being critical (that is an entirely different post for an entirely different day) and I often find myself forcing my philosophies on others under the guise of trying to help. There is research to support all different sides of the parenting table, and no method/style is more right then the other. So mama's reading this, will you put down the proverbial battle ax with me and accept the fact that what works for one isn't going to work for the other? And that we are no better than the next mom who is just trying to figure it all out?
Let's offer advice in love, not war. (hehe)