The mommy wars have been raging for what feels like forever now.
There’s the breast versus bottle debate, the co-sleeping controversy, the pressure to feed your kids organic/gluten-free/non-GMO/grown-in-your-own-garden meals every day, and of course, the SAHM versus working mom brouhaha. You need only flip through Instagram or scroll through Facebook comments these days to feel like a parenting failure.
But now, a Facebook post begging moms everywhere to call a truce is going viral.
It was penned by Babble contributor and writer Karen Johnson of the blog, The 21st-Century SAHM, and it begins with a confession:
“Girlfriends, I got to get something off my chest,” writes Johnson. “My house is never clean. Like ever. I have friends (with kids) whose houses are spotless. Are they better mothers than me? Nope. Am I a better mother than them? Nope.”
Johnson then lays out an exhaustive list of polarizing choices most moms face daily, whether they realize it or not:
“I work out every day,” she continues. “I have mom friends who don’t exercise. (I mean other than running around like crazy people after their kids). Does that make either of us a better mom? Nope.”
“I have a friend who gave birth in a pool in her living room. I pushed mine out in a hospital bed after receiving a gift from the epidural fairy. Both of us are good moms.”
“I drink a beer or glass of wine (sometimes in front of my kids!) on occasion. I’m a good mom. My neighbor and good friend doesn’t drink. Also a good mom.”
“I’m a yeller. I have a good friend who is quiet and extremely patient. I envy her. But we are both good moms.”
But she doesn’t just end it there. She wants to make it real clear no matter which camp you fall into — no matter whether your house is immaculate or a total disaster; no matter if you always manage to pull off Pinterest-worthy cupcakes for the bake sale or grab donuts from the gas station — you are a good mom. You hear that? You’re a good mom.
“Are stay-at-home moms better than working moms? NO.
Are working moms better than stay-at-home moms? NO.
Are married moms better than single moms? NO.
Are you a better mom if you take your kids on exotic vacations? NO.
Can you be a good mom if you the closest thing you get to a vacation is the park? YES.
Can you be a good mom and have a super scheduled summer with lots of planned activities? Yep.
What about if your summer is lazy with no plans? Yep.
Do good moms let their kids watch TV? Yes.
Play video games? Yes.
What about if you say no? Also fine. Your choice. You’re the mom. And a good one.
I’m a Christian. My friend and neighbor is Muslim. Another friend practices no religion at all. WE ARE ALL GOOD MOTHERS.
My other friend is gay. Her kids have TWO mothers. They are both good moms.”
Got it? Good.
“So how about this?” Johnson concludes, “Can we all climb down off judgmental mountain for a second? And just support one another? And just say, Hey, motherhood is hard. You’re doing a good job. Raising kids can knock the wind out of a person. You got this. How awesome would that be? Just a thought.”
Her message may be simple, but it’s clearly resonating with moms everywhere. In less than 24 hours, her post has skyrocketed to a mind-boggling 466K Facebook likes, and been shared more than 317K times.
“Truth in every word and I’m tickled you had the guts to put it out there,” one commenter wrote. “Seems to me like you’re a wonderful mother.”
“Love this,” added another. “I struggle with feeling like a failure at this mom thing because I compare myself to others.”
Johnson herself is shocked by how viral the post has gone in such a short time, but she admits she’s not surprised by how deeply moms needed this reminder. “I know how much moms need to hear this,” she says, “because I need to hear it.”
Speaking with Babble, Johnson says this topic has been on her mind for a while now.
“I’ve talked to my friends who have faced judgment and see how much it hurts,” she says. “But being blasted in the past couple years since becoming an online writer, I have realized more and more how important it is to say this. I think we all just want to hear and believe that we are doing a good job, because we work so damn hard. And in a job, there’s a boss who tells you you’re doing a good job. You get a raise or a bonus or an evaluation. Or at least a paycheck. But at home, we trudge on, every day, doing our best, trying not to feel like failures when our kids won’t potty-train or can’t read sight words, or refuse to learn to ride a bike. And then to add to that, we face judgment from OTHER MOMS?! Other moms who KNOW how hard this is?! It doesn’t make sense.”
It seriously doesn’t.
Johnson herself says she’s dealt with the “who has it harder” debate between working and stay-at-home moms for years — it’s what in large part inspired her to start her blog in the first place.
“And that battle drives me crazy,” she says. “Some of the best moms I know are working moms. There is NO winning that argument. Some aspects of a working mom’s life are harder, some are easier. Some aspects of a stay-at-home mom’s life are harder, some are easier. I’ve done both. WE ALL WORK REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HARD.”
In the end, Johnson feels like the pressure moms feel to compete with each other is a two part issue: While social media has certainly driven us all to compare our lives and successes in a way we never did before, we ultimately have no one to blame but ourselves for letting this all get so contentious.
“I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to keep up with other mothers,” says Johnson, “[And] that’s on us. We need to give ourselves some grace and patience and realize that we are wonderful mothers. But especially knowing how hard that is for some of us (myself included), wouldn’t it be great to build each other up and help each other do it?”
Amen to that.
So repeat after me: “I am a good mom.”
This time, with feeling: “I am a good mom!”
(See, doesn’t that feel good?)