Bring on the Mommy WarsCassandra Barry
There are no “mommy wars.” There are just moms with different parenting techniques and then there are moms who who like to get upset about it because they’re offended by it.
The phrase is used by moms who love being defensive and angry. Anybody who says anything specific about a particular parenting style is accused of “inciting a mommy war.” Is the Tiger Mom too hard on her kids? Does the “Time” magazine cover of a young, hot mom breastfeeding her four year old make attachment parenting seem extreme? Is the French style of parenting written about by Pamela Druckerman not child-centered enough? Think Elisabeth Badinter sounds like a bitch? Then accuse them all of starting a “mommy war!” But actually, they’re just talking about different parenting styles. These moms aren’t instigating anything and the media does not have an “agenda.” They just have something to say other than telling you that you’re amazing just for being whatever kind of mom you are.
If inciting a mommy war means that you have an idea about parenting, then bring it on. Every time a mom accuses someone else of inciting a mommy war, I automatically become interested in the accused mom because I’m guessing that she has some actual ideas about parenting that I could probably learn from, or at least be entertained by, whether I agree with them or not.
The mommy wars don’t bother me. What incenses me is the meaningless sentiment that we should end them. Because it’s hypocritical. It’s so easy to just say “let’s all get along” and come off looking like the good guy. I find it hard to believe that the moms who want to end the mommy wars are nice to all moms. I’m guessing there’s a parent at their playground or their kid’s school who really gets on their nerves. In fact, I’m guessing there’s about a dozen moms who get on their nerves. And that’s okay. That’s life. You’re not going to get along with everybody. It’s all well and good to say that moms should all get along, support each other and stop judging each other, but the reality of life is that pretty much nobody gets along with everybody.
It’s okay to judge each other as long as we’re not vicious about it. We learn from each other this way. We don’t learn anything by blankly smiling at each other while pretending to get along or ignoring our differences. Just because we’re judging each other and trying to figure out what works for us, that doesn’t mean there’s a war on.
More and more, moms are getting unnecessarily riled up about mommy wars. I’m guessing that they think everything is a mommy war because they feel vulnerable, defensive and fragile about their own parenting. They assume they’re being attacked even when they’re not. How about we all just try to not assume that everyone who has a different point of view from us is attacking us?
Besides, reading about extreme parenting and different parenting techniques makes for interesting stories. I can’t think of anything more boring than reading about how all moms should just ignore our differences and just get along.