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As much as we want to say parenting is not a competitive, contact bloodsport — it is. Parenting today comes with more than the stress of kids. It comes with the derision of your fellow breeders when you choose a path that goes against their deeply held beliefs. And it's going to happen. No matter how closely you choose your friends, someone—even if it's just another parent at the playground—is going to judge you harshly for your choices.
For me, this post is more of a rant. Three incidents have led to this written burst up, described below.
The first incident happened when a fellow mommy happened to come over to my place to invite me for her son’s second birthday party. This was one of the rare times that I was actually all alone at home, my boys having gone to visit their grandparents because I was organizing a huge dinner party for all our extended family members and I needed the space to make that happen. She very sarcastically told me “Oh it must be so nice to have someplace to send your boys to with the maids while you enjoy the peace and quiet at home. I could NEVER do that to my son though, as I would constantly worry and fret about him!”
I was flabbergasted. What was I doing wrong? I needed the time to prepare dinner for about 30 people. My sons were with their grandparents, spending quality time with them. In addition, they were accompanied by maids who loved them and took great care of them, in case my aged parents needed help running after their lively grandkids. What on earth about my actions warranted such a judgmental view?
The second incident was when I saw this beautiful Similac ad. The commercial, which has now been seen more than 4 million times on YouTube, pits the rival mommy (and daddy) camps against each other on the playground, ending with the tagline "No matter what our beliefs, we are parents first."
The third incident happened a few days back but I just flashed to it again. A mommy in my building was fretting about what a picky eater her two and half year old daughter is and having a discussion with other moms on how to deal with the situation. As soon as she saw me, she said “Oh you are so lucky, you have twins. It wouldn’t be too much trouble for you right, Looking at one eating, the other boy would automatically start eating! ( as they say in Hindi- ek to dekh ke doosra bhi kha leta hoga! )”.
Seriously. Who is she to comment on how easy or how difficult it is for me, as a mother of twins? She’s having a tough time with her child in the terrible twos phase, does she ever think that I am going through that phase, times two with my twins!
These incidents resonated with me, as I started thinking about why mommies all over the world are always playing a game of one-upmanship and are at war with each other ? Why do we, as a group, not take a single second to count our blessings and think about what we are saying and how it will make another mommy feel, or respect another mommy’s way and style of bringing up her kids?
These days we have Mommy Wars over a number of other parenting issues. Younger mothers versus older mothers. Breastfeeding mothers versus formula feeding mothers. Cloth diapering mothers versus disposable diapering mothers. Allowing TV Moms versus No TV Allowed Moms. Moms with large families versus Moms with just one child. Moms who had a natural birth versus Moms who had an assisted birth. Moms who do it “ALL” themselves versus Moms who have assistance from Maids.
In short, Moms everywhere.
I feel that so many people have to chime in with "This is what I would do if I were you" or "This is how I did it” or "You shouldn't get an epidural. It's so bad for the baby" or "Your son is how old and he's still drinking from a bottle!" or “You haven’t potty trained your boys yet ? what have you been doing?” etc, etc, etc... (And I say "people" instead of "moms" because I get a lot of people who don't even have kids telling me how I should raise mine.)
Who are we to judge someone else's parenting style? We don't live with them. We aren't married to their husbands. Their kids are not our kids. And chances are we may not even have the same beliefs!
I have so many friends who parents differently than I do. Even though I don't do the same things my friends do with their kids, and there are some that I disagree with, I keep my mouth shut except to say "This is what works for us." But I've never intentionally put any of my friends down for their choices. If that's how they want to parent then that's their choice. Not mine.
I'm learning every day what works for me and my family. I'll be the first to admit that I make mistakes, but I learn from those mistakes. And they mould and form me into the perfect Mom for MY kids. I am 110% satisfied with the way my husband and I "parent". Our kids are happy. They are loved. And they are supported by both my husband and I every minute of every day. In the end, that's all I care about. The here and now.
Lets all sign this petition. To End the Mommy Wars. Make a #mommitment.