When I was trying to get pregnant, I did what lots of ladies do and joined a “TTC” (trying to conceive) message board. I was hoping to find people to chat with and get advice from. I was amazed at how “clique-y” the board seemed. It was like I was the new girl who didn’t quite fit in. That feeling continued once I became a mom. In online communities where I expected to find support, I’ve come across a lot of criticism, bashing, and even name-calling. These “Mommy Wars” flare up quite a bit when the topic being discussed is controversial. I’ll admit, I’ve jumped in a time or two when I’ve both agreed and disagreed with comments, but I’m getting really tired of all the bickering. In 2016, I’m making it a point not to get involved in any online arguments. Arguing with people on the Internet doesn’t get you anywhere. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. With that being said, here are some of the “Mommy Wars” I’m tired of seeing.
Natural vs. Medicated vs. C-section
Awhile back, a Facebook friend used an image to tout her status as badass because she had an all-natural childbirth. Good for her. I don’t think requesting an epidural makes you any less of a badass. I’ve seen people claim that having a C-section isn’t the same as giving birth and that it’s the “easy way out.” Major abdominal surgery is easy? I don’t think so. C-section mamas are just as badass. So are women who struggle through infertility treatments and finally succeed in getting pregnant. So are women who have a miscarriage and put their devastation and fear aside so that they can try to conceive again. You know who else is badass? Foster moms and moms who adopt. It doesn’t matter how you become a mom; if you’re a mom, you’re already pretty badass.
Breast vs. Bottle
Breast is best, right? But unfortunately, it doesn’t work out for everybody. I planned on breastfeeding, and when my son first latched on like a champ, I thought nursing was going to be easy. Until he started having digestive problems. After finally trying a bottle of formula for sensitive stomachs and seeing how much better he was doing, I knew that formula was better for my son. If one bottle made him calm, happy, and got rid of his upset stomach, then that was what I had to do. I didn’t want to give up breastfeeding after only a month, but I knew it was the best thing to do.
Nursing moms are taking “brelfies” (breastfeeding selfies) and posting them on social media to normalize breastfeeding. But… Isn’t breastfeeding already normal? Women have been doing that for… Forever. Feeding and caring for your baby, no matter how you do it, is normal. Breast is best? No, FED is best.
Pro-Vax vs. Anti-Vax
This topic is a doozy and is sure to spark lots of debates and raise some hackles. I say do what you think is best for your child and I’ll do what’s best for mine. Some people believe that using science to protect your kids from disease is the way to go. Others don’t want to inject their child with potentially dangerous substances. Pro-vax people don’t want their kids around unvaccinated children. Anti-vaxxers argue that it doesn’t matter if their unvaccinated child is around a vaccinated kid, because if they’re vaccinated, they’re protected, right? Both sides spout data and evidence and neither side is willing to defer to the other, so this discussion is one that oftentimes escalates into inflammatory remarks and in the end, nobody changes anybody’s mind one way or the other.
Cry it Out vs. Comfort
I can’t do it. I have a tough time listening to my baby cry and listening to those cries increase in intensity for any given amount of time before I have to see what’s going on. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often at all; my kid mostly just cries when he’s hungry or tired and those are two easy things to fix, so crying it out has never come up as a possible solution for anything. But I’m not saying that it’s wrong. Some families do it and it works fine for them, solving sleep problems or decreasing dependency. And other families do whatever they do, and I don’t see why anybody should care what someone else is doing. If it works for them, let ’em do it.
High Tech vs. Low Tech
You’ve probably been to a restaurant or a grocery store and seen a toddler with an iPhone or iPad in front of them. Just the other day, my husband and I were out at lunch, and I didn’t realize that the couple next to us even had a child with them until they got up to leave, and led the little girl out by the hand, with her iPad still held up in front of her face. Some people swear that gadgets are great educational tools, others complain that they’re being misused as a way to “babysit” the kids. Some say it’s great if a kid can hang out at a restaurant and play a game without misbehaving at the table. Others say it’s a shame that the kid isn’t learning how to interact appropriately in a social/public setting. Again, I feel like this is one of those things that is up to the individual family. Chances are, the same person complaining that the kid is just staring at a screen throughout the whole meal would be the same person who would complain if the kid acted up. You can’t please everybody. Do what you need to do.
SAHM vs. Working Mom
I was a little unsure about becoming a SAHM. Our income could handle it, but I was worried that I would be bored, or would become a boring person because all I do is tend to my little one all day. But it’s amazing how quickly the days go by and how much I can get done. Sure, our house is far from spotless, the laundry is endless, and we probably get pizza or takeout once or twice a week, but I love staying at home and I think I’ve finally found my groove. We have a schedule and a routine, I can write while my son naps, and my husband works from home on Fridays, so we’re all together. I wouldn’t miss out on these days for all the world. My son has changed so much in 7 months, that I couldn’t imagine not seeing every day happen. I also couldn’t imagine paying someone to watch him all day. I’d basically be working to pay for daycare, and I know I’m not the only SAHM with that same issue.
On the other hand, I have friends that wouldn’t be able to swing it financially if they didn’t go back to work. I also have some friends who flat-out said they couldn’t wait to return to the workplace, because they really enjoy what they do. More power to them. Being a SAHM has it’s challenges, but a working mom has two jobs – one at the office and another one at home. Guess what? It’s ALL hard work, no matter what.
Moms vs. The “Sanctimommy”
Ugh. “Sanctimommy” has become a moniker for a mom who sounds like she’s perfect and better than everyone else. Maybe she really does have her shit together, but a lot of times, a mom will be called a sanctimommy simply because of her unpopular opinion. I’m sure that someone, somewhere, is reading this, and thinks that I’m being a sanctimommy for wishing that everybody would stop arguing, but oh well… So be it. The problem that I have with this name-calling is that, usually, as soon as someone steps in and contributes an opposing opinion in a discussion, they’re immediately dubbed a sanctimommy. Just because they speak their mind, and just because it doesn’t align with most of what everybody else is saying, they’ve got a label slapped on them. It sucks.
Like I said earlier, everyone has their opinions. From now on, I’m going to try to be better about voicing mine respectfully and considerately, especially when my fellow hardworking badass moms are involved!