Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Mommy Wars


I had no idea what I was getting into.

Though I had read all the books, gone to the classes, talked to all the professionals and over-researched every tiny, intricate, detail of birth and parenting, nothing prepared me for what was in store when I had my first child.

Nobody told me how judgmental, how hurtful, how alienating and how hot the Mommy Wars would rage around me.  

Oh.

You thought I was going to talk about something else?  Like, how unprepared I was for the amount of poop that could come out of a tiny, seven pound baby?  Or how surprised I was by the overwhelming love that filled my heart the first time I laid eyes on my son?  Or how unready I was to tackle the real life messiness of what it means to be a mama?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Those things, too.

But really, guys.  I just have to talk about these Mommy Wars for a minute.

They are the worst.

I had no idea we mamas could find so much to fight about.  Natural births or scheduled c-sections?  Pacifiers or nipple confusion?  Breastfeeding or straight formula?  Or pumping?  Or exclusively pumping?  Circumcision or not?  Swaddles or no?  Baby-wearing?  Co-Sleeping?  Sleep Training?  Cry it out?  Attachment parenting?  And vaccines!  What about those?!  Organic?  Pesticides?  Maternity leave?  Stay-at-home?  Work from home?  Daycare?  Cloth diapers?  Disposable?  

The list makes me anxious just writing it.  

Those of us who tend to be more assertive join the war with our disapproving looks, our pointed questions, our not-so-helpful horror stories, and our not-so-helpful unsolicited advice.  Those of us who tend to be more passive aggressive join the fight by "just" posting controversial and polarizing articles on Facebook, and slipping in snide remarks when we're in the company of likeminded friends.  "Can you believe they let their baby cry it out?!"  If you're like me, you tend to stay out of the trenches and more on the sidelines, but your mind becomes the battlefield - I stay up at night fighting these dumb battles in my head.  "Am I really making the right decision?  What will so-and-so think?  How would anyone in their right mind do that?!  How selfish.  How naive."  

I don't think any mom is immune.  The battle rages on - all around us - and it seems to show up in every detail of our parenting.

Praise the Lord, some of us aren't buying it.  There are so many great mamas out there who are sounding the alarm and saying, "This Mommy War stuff is a load of crap, and we should not be fighting this much!  Stop, stop, stop!"  High fives - all around.  

Many articles I have read in regard to ending Mommy Wars have hovered around some common themes - judge less, love more, put yourself in another mom's shoes, be respectful, etc.  Though I heartily agree with these sentiments, I have felt like something was missing.

I'm not sure these approaches really get to the root of the issue.  We can modify our behaviors, keep trimming back the weeds of judgments and disrespectful comments and polarizing Facebook articles, we can keep desperately trying to love each other more, but until we really pull up the roots and get to the heart of the problem, those stubborn weeds will keep growing back.  Another, different issue will pop up, we will be offended or defensive or passionate, and we will jump into battle all over again.  And, beyond pulling up the weeds, how in the world do we disagreeing mamas build positive relationships in the space that's cleared?

I would like to take another handful of blog posts to talk more in depth about these sorts of things.  I won't be writing as someone who has this all figured out.  Heck, I still pick up my sword and join the Mommy Wars all-too-often.  Instead, I will be writing as a weak, sinful, somebody who is fed up with the way things are, and who wants to be part of the change I am hoping to see in the world.  The only way I know how to tackle this warring epidemic, at least right now, is to continue the discussion through some of my writing.  

Because we need to keep talking about this.  We need to keep chipping away at the issue, or it will continue to rage.  Let these blog posts provoke some thinking and some talking and some changing, in however the Lord leads.

Up next?  What might be at the heart of all of our mommy warring.  
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2 comments

  1. Yes. I'm excited to read your thoughts because they are bathed in the Spirit, and we moms need more of the Spirit in our lives.

    I was reading James today. You know, "Quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." I think that should especially be our mantra in this mommy war business. Also, "Sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death." And in our judgement and and mud-throwing, we are not creating life-- we are giving birth to death. When God made us mothers I think he envisioned it to be LIFE-giving on many, many fronts. Yet here we are, giving birth to death.

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    Replies
    1. I love this picture, Kelsey. You should blog about mamas giving birth to LIFE! So great.

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