Monday, January 23, 2012

White Flag

I'm waving my white flag.  Throwing in the towel.  Done.

Mommy Wars?!  Ridiculous.

Read any article on breastfeeding, home births, epidurals, co-sleeping, crying it out, working mothers or whatever the hot topic is..........and you're going to find the comments section burgeoning with hateful and judgmental barbs from both sides of the fence.  Every article is full of self-righteousness quoting this study or sharing that anecdote all which "help" them to prove that their SIDE is right.  

But is it really about SIDES and what's best for children?  Or is it about fear.  Fear that if you chose wrong and made a mistake it must mean you don't love your child enough to give them the best.

There is a woman that I know very closely.  As far as all of those hot button issues go, we're pretty much on opposite sides of the spectrum.  She allows her children to wean naturally while I weaned Natalie at four months.  She and her children co-sleep while Natalie sleeps in her own crib in her own room.  She uses cloth diapers and I use disposable.  She is a part-time worker and mostly a stay-at-home while I teach and coach.  She had three home births while Natalie was induced and eventually a c-section birth.

And guess what?

All of our children are healthy, intelligent, sociable, funny, curious and creative.

But above all those wonderful characteristics?

All of our children are LOVED.  

See in the grand scheme of things, none of that Mommy Wars stuff matters.

None of it.

I know this woman loves her children just as much as I love my Natalie.  And by judging and critiquing other people's parenting choices what a person is really saying is "I love my child enough to make the best decisions and if you don't make the same decisions that I do then you must not love your child as much as I love mine."  And that thought process and the behavior that comes along with it is simply not acceptable because I've seen her love for those boys.  I have seen her compassion, her strength, her kindness, her boundaries, her discipline, her creativity and her thoughtfulness.  And all those characteristics that she displays for her children will have much more of an impact on the men they become than whether they wore cloth or disposable diapers.

So women.......lay down your weapons, suck up your pride and approach the fence.  Stick out your hand and say "I love my child.  I do my best.  And and I know that you do too."  Smile, shake hands and call a truce.  Because while we're sitting around arguing, bickering, calling names and quoting facts and studies, our children are growing and learning.  Shouldn't we be focusing all the attention we spend defending our point of view onto developing our children to have opinions of their own?  And that when they develop those opinions that sometimes there will be people that think differently......and that's okay too?

At the core of every mother fiercely defending her parenting decisions is a woman that is terrified that she's doing IT ALL WRONG.  So why are we pushing each other down and yelling "Yep!  You've surely screwed that child up!" when we should be reaching out a hand to pull them up while patting them on the back saying "It's a tough world out there.  You love those babies and you're doing a good job."

So here I am.  I'm not classifying myself.  I'm not WORKING.  I'm not BOTTLE FEEDING.  I'm not BABYWISE or FERBER.  I'm not C-SECTION or EPIDURAL.


And that my friends, is all that matters.


Melissa said...

Thank you for posting this. I get so sick of the debates as well. None of it matters one bit in comparison to your child's happiness!! Well said!!

Mud Mama said...

I don't think it's about thinking we're doing it wrong or we don't love our children.

The wars are about feeling judged yes, but not on our love for our children.

I think its all about feeling ISOLATED. That's why the mommy wars are online, not happening in face to face dealings with one another. I think it's easy to misinterpret tone online as well. a mother who blogs or writes on a forum about research she's done on any parenting issue is probably sharing because it's important to *her* and then everyone on the internet has an opinion and the war isn't in the body of that post, it's in the comments. Its i defensive comments and its in supportive comments and were it a real live conversation no one would be getting their hackles raised.

Laura said...

Mud Mama - I see what you're saying and there is some truth to that, but I've also encountered snide remarks in person and I also think that the media eggs it on as well.

Laura said...

But women who don't breastfeed or co-sleep or all that other stuff can still raise healthy and well-adjusted children. It's not an either or situation.