Why the Mommy Wars Are Important

Why Mommy Wars Are Important | Moving Through Life

Parenting, by far, is the most difficult job I will ever hold. It’s not because of other jobs I may or may not have, it’s because I’m shaping the world of little beings. The choices they will make, the principals they will hold dear, their attitude towards other people, their ability to contribute to society, and so much more. I’m also developing some of the closest bonds I will ever have.

My little people, as I call them, actually have just as much to teach me about parenting as I have to parent them. They have changed how I view the world, myself, people in my life, politics, laws, doctors, and again, so much more.

Because becoming a parent for the first time, second time, third time, or more changes you. You cannot be the same person you were before you had a child and you won’t be the same person having a fourth child as you were having that first child. It’s just fact. And, if for some reason you did not grow and change, there’s something wrong. I mean that seriously.

What is a Mommy War?

The term is one I have recently heard, but it’s something that has gone on for such a long time. In the worst sense, a mommy war is where mothers, from different walks, argue with each other their parenting choices. It’s the stay-at-home mom verses the working mother. It’s the vaccination versus the anti-vaccination. It’s the circumcision verses the anti-circumcision. It’s breastfeeding verses formula feeding. It’s spanking verses time out.

Works vs Family Mommy War

You get the idea.

A mommy war, however, typically is ugly. It’s not fun to watch. It’s disheartening. An outsider will always feel empathy for one side or another. In this capacity, mommy wars should not continue!

The truth of the matter is, the term is widely over used. I’ve used it in my post title for a number of reasons, primarily to get your attention. The internet by and large has amplified these so-called wars, and I see a reason for that, too.

Why Then Are Mommy Wars Important?

It is not the war that it is important. In fact, that’s the one thing that should be discontinued. It’s the dialog that happens in these conversations that should be carried on. Here are some [very] personal reasons why:

When I was pregnant with my twins, I didn’t know about birthing options or having the freedom and say-so in my own birth. It was because another mother, who cared about a woman’s right her birthing options, had an interest to say something to me. While I ended up with a c-section, by my own choosing, and against her practice of the natural birth, I became educated. It was also because of her that I was empowered to make my own decision. Had she kept silent, I would have felt as though I had to follow all of doctor’s orders, regardless of how my body felt.

The boys’ father is a man that is not circumcised. Being that I had a daughter, circumcision was something I had never thought about. Didn’t care, actually. He asked the boys not be circumcised and it prompted me to begin research. I didn’t know that I should care if my sons were circumcised or not, until I began my research. Going further, I now find myself in a place of advocacy for intact little boys, believing it’s their body and their choice. Sometimes, I’m the one with a piece to share with a mother about to have a little boy and because of me, she begins her research. Had he not of asked, I wouldn’t have known the difference.

I struggled to breastfeed my boys. It was so important for me to do it and I encountered one hurdle after another. It was my sister-in-law that talked me through getting help and advice. It was also her that understood I needed to grieve for not being able to breastfeed after more than 6 months of trying. Meanwhile, it was my sister-in-law who gave birth 2 weeks before I did, that supplied 10 months of breastmilk for my sons (and my nephew)!

In all of the scenarios, I was on the receiving end of advice. Advice that I admit is sometimes hard to take. It’s hard to hear, process, understand, and even more so accept. The thing is, because the delivery of all this information was kind, personal, and respectful, I was able to receive it in a way that made a difference in my life. And, that, that makes all the difference in the world.

It’s about the respect that is involved.

Love More, Judge Less Mommy Wars

A friend of mine had a son about a month before my boys were born. She and I had lengthy conversations about circumcision; all during the height of my passion. She told me many times she did her research and still chose to circumcise her son. It broke my heart. I ache for her little boy. Once, I cried for him.

However, she heard me. She listened to the information, she processed it, and did what she felt she needed to do. I don’t agree. I wholeheartedly hate the decision that she made. It makes me sad and it makes me upset. But, because she and I chose a respectful conversation over a mommy war, that same friend I speak to often. We have lunch dates, we have play dates, and I’m more than happy to be a sounding board for her at any time. I’d even call her a close friend and one I’m looking forward to seeing upon our arrival back in California.

Our friendship continued, without hiccup, because we have enough respect for each other to agree to disagree.

Disagree with Your Parenting

Then, It’s Not A Mommy War

No, it’s not. I don’t recommend that mothers or fathers, for that matter, start heated debates with each other. I don’t see it useful or productive for anyone to have heated disagreements that end friendships or create hostility. However, our parenting methods are shaped by the people around us. Regardless of the job we think they’re doing as parents, they have something valuable to add. If nothing else, for you to put in your mind what you don’t want to do.

I love a great debate. I’ll be the first to admit it. And when they’re on parenting topics I get very in to them. I love facts, research, science, and understanding. I love a passionate exchange of ideas and beliefs. I love the idea that someone else, in different shoes, can make me think about the choices I am making as a mother. Be it good or bad. I’m not a perfect parent… and neither are you. All we have though is our advice. Valuable advice that deserves to be shared.

We all have something to add to the conversation. Be it scientific information, something we went through so we understand, or just a feeling or opinion about it. Parenting is a difficult job. And that old saying “it takes a village,” works with parents, too. While I don’t want a village raising my children, I’d love to have the village support me, share ideas with me, help me grow and learn so that ultimately I can be a better mom for having been more informed.

So I submit to you, don’t stop talking. Just gain understanding and remember that the person you’re speaking to:

  • Trusts You
  • Needs Understanding
  • Just Wants A New Perspective
  • Will Hear You If You’re Not Negative
  • Will Respect You, If You Show Respect

Our debates, our conversations, we need them to grow. Be respectful that my view is different than yours, but know that your view is still one that should be shared.

69 Comments

  1. says

    I love this post. You are so right in so many of your points. I am one who tries to shy away from the Mommy wars. I think how we are as parents generally stems from how we were raised.

  2. says

    You are definitely right in some of the points you made. I believe that we each have to take the time to educate ourselves or we are just making decisions based on what we are told to do. It’s the same with politics and electing officials.

  3. says

    I absolutely LOVE this post. It is so true, you can disagree with people and still respect them for their passion to their belief! When I chose unmedicated births with both my babies I got lots of criticism and some were heartbreakingly rude. We are all moms doing what we believe is best!

  4. says

    I never adhere to one ‘set’ of parenting so I constantly find myself falling into a ‘war’ because people assume if I think this way on topic A, then I must feel the same way on topic B. My friends learn quickly that I do my own thing AND I don’t mind if they do their own.

  5. says

    I think that it is important to acknowledge both sides and understand that regardless of where you stand your choice is not the only choice out there. The bottom line is that the decision is personal and something each family needs to decide for itself without outside pressure or badmouthing from outsiders.

  6. says

    I think it’s important to have healthy debates and discussions with other Moms, it’s what opens our eyes to things we haven’t really realized yet or it helps us see the world through other people’s eyes. I don’t feel there is any right way to live or parent, we all do what we are comfortable with. I know many don’t agree with how I parent and I may not agree with how another parents, maybe I think working from home as a mom has helped boost myself confidence and motivation while others feel that happens for them when they work outside of the home. We are all different and that is what makes us special, Moms Rock!

  7. says

    when i hear the wars start with formula vs breast feeding, my usual reply was “i fed my babies.”

    period. that’s it.

    some of us can breastfeed and some of us can’t. some of us want to and some of us don’t. i watched a woman berate another for bottle feeding her newborn son formula at a pediatric office once. the new mom sat quietly and tried to just kind of ignore what the woman was saying. turned out, she’s on medication and it’s not something she can stop and it’s not safe for breastfeeding. she’d already stopped during her pregnancy.

    this poor brand new, first time mom, was put to tears because a stranger judged her.

    it’s really hard to be a parent. 99% of us are doing the very best we can. we need to stop judging others.

    • says

      That right there is what makes me so mad! The lady who was yelling at her had NO RIGHT to even give her opinion. She didn’t know that woman and she wasn’t asked for her opinion. Ugh this while topic makes me so mad.

    • says

      Yeah, that’s a really awful way to go about it. I had someone go after me once for giving my oldest a bottle, instead of breastfeeding, at Target. I listened to her whole speech and then kindly said “she adopted.” But, it still didn’t give her the right.

      It’s this kind of thing that bothers me and creates that “war” feeling, even for other parents who have to hear it. I don’t appreciate that at all. It’s the conversation, for me, that I find so valuable. I really enjoy having parenting discussions with other people — I find it invaluable to helping me learn, grow as a person, and discover. With my friends it also helps me understand them better, making me a better friend to them.

  8. says

    I agree the discussions are important! I get so discouraged when I see other women judging and belittling others that made different choices. Supporting each other no matter what is much more important! Great article!

  9. says

    Great post! There is so much judgment out there, and as mothers we can be so hard on ourselves. We all are just trying to make the best decisions for us and our children, aren’t we? Thanks for the read.

  10. says

    I agree, the WAR part needs to go! But the discussion needs to continue. As long as both sides can do it respectfully and listen to the other side. But still allow them their own choice in the matter. That is where I get riled up, is when people become closed minded and won’t allow another person another point of view or opinion. I have so many friends with opposing opinions on a vast variety of parenting topics. I actually LIKE to hear both sides. But I expect them to allow me to make my OWN choice without belittling me for it. And I extend the same courtesy to them. We talk about our view points often and WHY we have our view points. but at the end of the day, they do their thing and I do mine, and we are OK that we don’t agree. We still love the other person. And I am grateful for the opposing view points because I have learned so much. And after hearing BOTH sides to a parenting topic, I am better able to form my own opinion.

  11. says

    This is a great post! While I don’t agree with some of the decisions made by my friends when it comes to parenting, I won’t disengage with them for those decisions.

  12. says

    I agree. The “war” itself is nothing but unhelpful, but to be passionate about what you believe in and share that with moms can and does help!

    There’s ways about going about it nicely, that I think some women just don’t get.

  13. says

    I love your points listed at the end about how to engage in a discussion. It would be awesome if the “War” part could be left out but I wonder if that is even possible for most people. It’s unfortunate that there are so many moms out there just waiting to judge another mom’s way of doing things.

  14. says

    I inadvertently got myself stuck right in the middle of a mommy war once. Since then, if someone brings up any of the heated topics, I keep my mouth shut. I think you have it right. It’s great to have passions and beliefs, and to share them respectfully. I’m not going to say what mine was about, but I assure you that someone telling me that they hoped I die a painful death for doing a certain thing didn’t exactly make me want to hear their opinion. It told me that clearly parents who do that thing are nuts. Being at war with me only pushed me further in the other direction.

  15. says

    This is an excellent post. Sometimes I like to think of parenting styles the same way I think of grieving. Unless it’s abuse or extreme, every parent is different and is going to have their own ways of doing things. What works for one, might not work for others. I have the most unorthodox way of parenting my children and I’ve gotten called all kinds of names & judged based on how the kind of parent I choose to be. Yet, my kids all get great grades, are respectful, help in the community and know they are loved above all. Indeed, they can get on my last nerve…but parenting is a personal experience. Thanks again for a great read!

  16. mel says

    You are spot on with this post. I try to stay away from the Mommy Wars but I totally understand all your points in this thread!

  17. says

    I can see where the “mommy wars” are important. There are always differing opinions and knowledge base. It’s good to share differing opinions, just as long as they’re done friendly and with an intent to educate.

  18. says

    This is a wonderful post and it contains SO much truth. I hate when moms judge other moms. We are all different and have various ways of parenting that work for us. Just because we do not all do things the same doesn’t mean we are less of a parent. Agree to disagree!

  19. says

    I don’t have kids, but know so many “judgy” parents. I hate to hear all the negativity and smack talk about peoples’ parenting choices. I agree with you that it’s nice to have a open conversation about things, but you don’t have to end on the same side!

  20. says

    What an awesome and honest post! I have a 5-year old and a 2-year, and during those five years, I have stayed at home. worked full-time, and worked part-time. I can honestly say all are SO hard for different reasons. They’re all emotionally and physically hard. Folks need to respect other parents and not judge. Thank you again for a such a great post!

  21. says

    I’m all for everyone doing their own thing. Discussion can be great as long as the people involved realize they aren’t necessarily going to change the other person’s opinion.

  22. Pauline says

    Parents should read this. It is so right on so many levels and can help strengthen the relationship between parent and child.

  23. says

    I totally agree with this post!! Mommy Wars have become so prominent online because everyone can hide behind their computer. I don’t see them nowhere near as much in the offline world. Still, no matter where we are talking, we should always be respectful of others’ parenting decisions, whether we agree or not.

  24. says

    Such a refreshing post!! Thank you for sharing it. I’ve never been one to push my opinions off on others and so it really bothers me when others treat me that way. I am more of a “Let’s just agree to disagree” and move on kind of person.

  25. says

    I’m not a parent, but it does seem to be a lot of parents who like to push their views on other parents. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong – but a suggestion is better than an accusation!

  26. says

    The one mommy war I wish would end completely is the stay at home moms vs working moms. I’m not as invested yet, because I don’t have kids, but its the same with stay at home wives vs working wives. I love my husband just as much as stay at home wives. I just have a career as well.

  27. says

    there are 3 conversations I don’t have: politics, religion and my parenting methods. If someone ask a question I will give an honest answer. When they ask me “why” I give them a firm “this is what worked for us.” I am not interested in a mommy war or defending my choice on parenting. Parenting is hard enough.

  28. says

    It has been a long time since I had little ones, and it is a much different world. Vaccinations were required or your child could not attend school, just as an example. I think it is great to have options and to learn about them and make the right choice for you and your children. Great post!

  29. says

    It’s definitely about respect and tone. There are many issues we feel strongly about one way and others feel equally as strongly for the opposite. What’s right for one is not right for all and we really do need to go with the agree to disagree philosophy.

  30. says

    I think the most important thing – in all of life – is to respect one another. We all have unique life experiences and circumstances that impact our decisions – no two lives are alike. As moms and as women, we should support one another!

  31. says

    I agree that people need to focus less on participating in a war and more on trying to just share the information. While I don’t agree with everything you have in the post I do agree with your right to have those opinions. Along with that I’ll continue to read your blog even though we have opinions that differ because again that’s your right :)

  32. says

    There is definitely opportunities to open up great conversations because of our differences. I’m like your mom – I’m always telling people about natural birth! ;)

  33. says

    I am way to busy in this life to try to understand why someone else is doing something in their life. I just dont have the energy to have people see my side of things. They can research. They can make choices. They can parent their own kids.

    • says

      That makes me sad, for you, Elizabeth. It’s not just about having people “see your side.” As I mentioned in the post, there were several things I didn’t even know that I should be concerned with or research until someone shared it with me. Those people I’m eternally grateful to because their help, advice, and support made me a better parent. I never want to be too busy in my own life that I miss understanding someone or having them understand me. I would be lost without that connection to other people.

  34. says

    When it comes to parenting, I let everyone make the best decision for their family, and I hope they’ll do the same for me. If someone asks my advice or opinion, I’m happy to share, but I don’t really find myself offering unsolicited information, because I wouldn’t enjoy receiving it.

  35. says

    The world would definitely be a better place if people were more willing to have an open dialogue. Listening with an open mind is so important when discussing important issues, but so is taking care with one’s delivery and tone. It can be tough, but would be wonderful if we could all communicate more effectively – and respect each other’s opinions, even when they differ from ours. I definitely agree – the “war” idea needs to disappear!

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