The Mommy Wars began innocently enough. Two moms settled in for a chat while their 5-year-old boys enjoyed a playdate. As the children played downstairs, the suburban moms started sharing their birth stories. When one mom mentioned that her son was born at home, the other mom, who had delivered her second child by planned c-section, fired the opening volley.
“So, you cared more about your birth experience than your baby? How irresponsible.”
The other mother fired back “At least I didn’t plan my birth around my OB’s tee-time.”
Before long, the women were engaged in hand-to-hand combat on the living room floor. The children, not knowing how polarizing their entries in the world made them, tried to stop the carnage.
“My mommy was fighting with Johnny’s mommy!” one little boy recounted. “I told her to keep her hands to herself and use her words. She said ‘Oh yeah. I’ll use my words. Twitter is coming for you, hippie freak’. Then she started typing on her phone. Johnny and I didn’t know what to do so we went back down to play Legos some more.”
Soon, snark and insults were echoing through cyberspace. On Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, moms took sides. Breastfeeders against formula feeders. Co-sleepers versus Ferberizers. Homeschoolers versus public schoolers versus private schoolers. And, most destructive, vaccine proponents versus anti-vaccine mothers.
Playgroups became combat strategy zones with mothers whispering plans in secret. Dogwhistle comments flew between previously friendly mothers, now suspicious of everyone around them, their words meant to ferret out moles from opposing ideologies who might have infiltrated their group.
Before long, playgrounds were war zones. Business-suited working moms traded off sentry duty with their nannies, making sure their kids didn’t hear stay-at-home moms mumbling about how they’d never outsource raising their children. Parks were mined with IEDs made of Similac and jarred baby food, while breastfeeding moms staked out prime territory in the shade.
“Keep your GMO eating hands off my baby!” one mom was heard to yell when her vegan child tried to share a teeter-totter with a child munching on a pack of fruit snacks. “Your kind isn’t welcome around here!”
The children both entreated their moms to just let them play as they were frog-marched to their cars.
Leaders of prominent women’s groups were silent as the combat escalated, but they began taking sides as it became clear that the Mommy Wars are deeply entrenched. The president of the Women’s National Organization released a statement saying, “Women are free to make their choices for how they raise children, but there are consequences. Homeschoolers will be narrowly judged as anti-social separatists and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.” Meanwhile leaders at the conservative Concerned American Women said, “We continue to pray for the godless offspring of permissive, free-range parents as they immorally twerk their way across this great nation.”
The President held an unprecedented press conference with leadership of the House and Senate begging women to draw down the violence.
“Halloween is coming and we need peace. Don’t let home-made versus store-bought costume battles lead to the destruction of America. Let all the kids trick-or treat-together!” the President implored.
Give Peace a Chance
There is a glimmer of hope that the Mommy Wars may resolve peacefully. In one midwestern suburb, there was a neighborhood block party where everyone attended without their smartphones. Quinoa salads sat side by side with free-range beef burgers and all the kids were allowed to choose a gluten-free brownie or an ice cream sandwich from Costco for dessert. As picturesque as the scene was, no one uploaded photos to Instagram or tweeted stories of what their neighbors were doing wrong. Instead, everyone ate, chatted, then looked for fireflies as the sun went down.
“This was so great,” one mom said, cuddling a chocolate-smeared toddler on her shoulder. “No one even asked if we were choosing Waldorf kindergarten or public school under the pretense of having me join their Facebook group. And no one shamed me for my c-section scar on Twitter. It was like the old days, when everyone minded their manners and had a good time.”
“Maybe someday, we can have days like this every day,” she said wistfully.
Photo credit: iStock
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