I’m a proud sponsored blog partner and happy panelist for the Sisterhood of Motherhood program. That said, I’m pretty pigheaded about being told what to do, so all the opinions shared are 100% authentic “Heather” thoughts. Keep reading for additional disclosure.
Instead of handing out diaper bags at the hospital, they should hand out bulletproof vests, camo makeup, and a few defensive surveillance drones.
Because when you leave that antiseptic-smelling building with your little bundle joy, you’re not just heading home.
You’re heading into a war zone.
A war zone of opinions.
You’re entering into the Mommy Wars.
Perhaps it’s my old-age catching up with me (I’m guessing I’m a good deal older than y’all at 37.), but I’m done with all that sh——nannigins. (HA! gotcha!)
A line has got to be drawn in the sand, and people have to stop crossing over it.
(You thought I was going to name someone else, didn’t you? 🙂 )
Surviving the Mommy Wars
We are constantly looking to have our parental decisions validated, because we feel so insecure about almost everything. (Or is it just me??)
It’s that need for validation that puts us into our friend groups.
We find a group of people/parents that see things similar to the way we do (validation), and so spend more time with those people, because they help us feel secure and comfortable.
When we make a decision and someone doesn’t validate that decision, we survive by doing one of two things:
- We feel panicked that we’re doing it wrong and lash out to prove that we’re NOT doing it wrong (they are).
- We feel panicked that we’re doing it wrong and lash inwardly, falling into self-condemnation and fear.
If it’s the first (lashing out), we may leave opinionated comments, or drop the occasional ungracious comment in an effort to help the other party see the “error of their ways”. This hilarious-yet-poignant video by Similac perfectly captures this response.
I talked about this kind of “Mom Judgment” previously in the article No More Judging in the Mom Space.
In the second situation where we are lashing inwardly, we carry that decision like a wart on the tip of our nose. It just seems so public.
It’s as if everyone knows we are wrong, but we’re still stubbornly sticking with our choice.
As a result, we feel compelled to insert into every conversation various disclaimers designed to lessen the blow of how we failed to meet their expectations.
Confused? Let me use myself as an example..
My Biggest “Let Me Explain Before You Categorize Me” Parenting Issue
Right now, my biggest “let me explain before you categorize me” parenting choice is homeschooling.
The moment someone asks my children where they go to school, I brace myself.
I expect them to look at me and wonder/think the following things:
- Where is your denim jumper? Or are you still sewing it?
- Congrats on raising the next generation of awkward non-socialized kids.
- Are you just too lazy to get dressed in the morning?
So, in order to get ahead of the assumptions I’m assuming they have (note that irony), I feel compelled to throw in a few…
- I didn’t want to homeschool, but our neighborhood school is at-risk.
- The kids go to a co-op every week, so they can have choir, art, science, gym, and drama opportunities. (aka I promise they won’t be weird!)
- We may not homeschool next year! We’re deciding year-by-year.
The interesting thing about this, is that while my brain is frantically trying to share excuses as to why they should approve of our schooling decision, the woman I’m talking with is probably ALSO frantically trying to come up with some acceptable excuses as to why they don’t homeschool.
A whole lot of bother, both of us trying to justify our parenting decisions to each other.
And really, does it matter?
Nope. I’m going to continue to homeschool because that’s best for my family. She’s going to continue to take her kids to public school because that’s best for her family.
All that emotional stress, for what?
Not. Worth. It.
Okay, humorous sidenote: if you haven’t seen this comical video about homeschooling by Tim Hawkins please click and watch it. It always gets me giggling.
What Are You Giving Disclaimers For?
The fastest way to figure out what you feel ashamed about is to consider the subjects you give disclaimers for.
- Do you feel compelled to tell people that you gave breastfeeding a try before moving to formula?
- Do you have to remind people of a financial burden or reason why you’re returning back to work?
Instead of just telling someone a parenting decision you’ve made, how often do you couch that decision in extra information that frankly they don’t need to know, hoping that extra information will protect you from the torture of their judgment?
We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.
Breaking Out of Captivity
I said earlier that a line needs to be drawn in the sand, and I need to stop stepping over it.
Here’s the line in the sand I’ve decided to draw. The line that will keep me OUT of the Mommy Wars, and hopefully begin to take away some of the power these guilt-trips have.
Heather: Stop making assumptions.
I’m going to stop assuming what people think about me.
I’m going to stop assuming things about other people.
The moment an assumptions floats to the top of my consciousness, I’m going to take out a Brain Bazooka and blast those assumptions to Bahrain.
I know nothing about their life. So there it stays. In the category of “their life”.
Since this is my new “Life Mantra” I thought it would be a good idea to go beyond my own corner of cyberspace. I went to Similac’s Facebook Page and shared it with the world. (How’s that for accountability!)
Bravely step out and make your own declaration on how you’re going to fight against the Mommy Wars.
State your personal treaty on Similiac’s Facebook Page like I did.
Not only will you be joining me and thousands of other mothers, you’ll be partnering up with Sisterhood of Motherhood’s celebrity sponsors, Hilary and Haylie Duff.
Incredible Infant will be connecting with the Duff sisters and talking more about the #SisterhoodUnite movement in New York at a special event in September. Stay tuned!
My little ‘ole line in the sand isn’t going to turn back the war. But if you draw a line in the sand behind mine…eventually we could create quite a gap.
Think about this dream: In 15-20 years, our daughters — living as mothers outside the tortuous realm of the Mommy Wars. Doesn’t that sound like something to fight for?
Post your line-in-the-sand here on Facebook. For extra support, tag me in your comment with @IncredibleInfant. We’ve got to help each other in the new “Post Mom War” world we’re building!
Do you carry the scars of the Mommy Wars? If you’ve carried those wounds, it’s time to find healing and encouragement. Leave your story below, sister.
Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I receive compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac's policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guideliness and social media engagement recommendations.
Meet Heather Taylor
Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at Incredible Infant and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She's certified in baby sleep coaching (yes, that's a real thing), has served as an Expert Parenting Panelist for numerous events, and has been a featured writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, My Kid's Adventures, Cafe Mom, and others. If it's 2am and you're desperate to read SOMETHING, click here for all her darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn't be allowed to blog.