Please put down your pitch forks and hold those tomatoes for dinner rather than throwing them at me. Hear me out. I used to be on the bandwagon of “stop the mommy wars” too, simply because that was the only side ever argued publicly and I hadn’t really though it through. But, when I think about it I start to think the so called “mommy wars” might be exactly what our society needs.
So, dare I say it, keep up the mommy wars!
Women naturally compete with one another; it’s written in our DNA and there’s no way around it. When we dress up to go out for an evening, we rarely are dressing up for the men, we’re dressing for the women. We exercise and eat right for health, yes, but many of us also desire looking great in our swimsuits and cocktail dresses around our girlfriends. If I want shinier hair I’ll ask my friend with the shiniest hair what she uses. I save the recipes my health nut friend posts on facebook because I’d love to be as healthy and toned as she is. I watch the way my best friend meets new people and admire how she instantly puts them at ease. I try to be more like that.
The point I’m getting at is that a little competition is good so long as we’re not putting one another down.
So, why try to stop competition among mothers? Sure, there are women who make certain choices solely based on how great they will come off to other mothers, but there are also women who are just kick ass moms! A trained eye can tell the difference. If we keep chanting, “stop the mommy wars”, it might make those really amazing moms insecure about doing their best for fear they’ll be ridiculed as a sancti-mommy or some other ridiculous term.
There are moms who get up every morning and make breakfast for their children before school. They pack their lunches, write notes to put in their backpacks, and make whimsical snacks they either made up, or pulled off Pinterest, each afternoon. They have a homemade dinner on the table every night. Is this mom competing in some hypothetical mommy war or is she doing what she feels is best for her family? Some women gossip behind her back and accuse her of showing off, but maybe they just need to step it up! Maybe you’re a working mom and don’t have time to make meals, but can you leave notes? Can you decorate the lunchable with stickers? Be the best you for your child.
There’s the mom who throws the birthday parties with a spread fit for a king, handmade decorations, custom dress or outfit for the birthday boy/girl, and invitations that rival those for a royal wedding. Maybe she is a mommy war competitor, but maybe she just goes all out for birthdays because growing up she never had a party. Maybe she knows how special a birthday celebration can make a child feel and she’s willing to put in the man hours to make it great. Instead of mocking her, join her. Throwing a wonderful party for a child is not something that should be shamed.
Some moms decide to birth naturally because they know it’s what’s best for babies, not because they look down on those who had a c-section. Don’t assume they’re trying to prove anything by making that choice. Some moms cloth diaper because they’ve done the research and know the benefits for their child’s health, the environment, and their finances, not because they’re trying to “win” the mommy war. These moms may also cook organic baby food and breastfeed exclusively for a year. If this makes another mom feel inadequate, step it up! Again, do what you can do to make the best decisions for your child.
Shaming each other for our choices as mothers? Bad. Acknowledging each other’s choices and being aware of our own inadequacies? Good.
We could use a lil’ healthy competition in the world of motherhood so keep it up. Share your recipes, pin those DIY projects, tell us about your triumphant parenting skills. Some moms are just better than others, either get over it, or do something about it. We should acknowledge these moms, watch them, try to learn from them, and keep raising the bar higher for motherhood. We should keep trying to be more patient, more creative, more balanced, more kind, a better cook, a better teacher, more prepared…keep up the mommy wars (with kindness)!