As a single, childless woman, I’ve witnessed the Mom Wars as a silent observer for years. It’s brutal out there. I’ve watched as some of you have torn others to pieces in the ring, and I’ve been there to catch tears as some of you were on the losing end of a match. Because I’m not a mom myself, I’ve always stayed in this observer role. Who wants to get parenting advice from a non-parent? Besides, there are thousands of blogs out there about the Mom Wars, and they all speak to the issue a hundred times more eloquently than I ever could. But I’ve been thinking about the War recently, and specifically how it affects everyone around you, and I decided that I can’t stay silent any longer.
There’s always a hot button topic that vies for a spot at the forefront of the Mom Wars, like homeschooling or cloth diapering or co-sleeping. If you mention any of these topics in a room full of women, you’re bound to hear as many opinions as there are dress sizes in that room. And then you can sit back and watch as the room transforms into something that resembles an Animal Kingdom show on the Discovery Channel…the dominate females rise to the top of the pack as the more submissive cubs are clawed and trampled to death.
Why do you do this to each other???
As the friend of many women with children, I’ve heard it all.
They’re sending their kids to public school so she can go back to work. She might as well send them straight to prison.
They’ve decided to homeschool. What a shame. Poor kids are doomed to be social outcasts.
She’s using cloth diapers. That’s so disgusting.
She’s using disposable diapers. That’s so disgusting.
Can you believe she lets their kid sleep with them? That’s so unhealthy. I’d NEVER do that.
And on and on and on and on and on and on and on.
Listen. The beauty about the human race is that we’re all different. Which means we’re all going to do things differently. And God gave you your kids to parent, not somebody else’s kids. You’re going to make enough parenting mistakes every day to deal with on your own…do you really want to waste precious energy judging the mistakes of others?
Sorry, I’m digressing. I’m not writing to hash out the various battles in the Mom Wars. What I wanted to say was this: I don’t think any of you realize how much you’re affecting the rest of us–the bystanders in the War.
If God allows me to conquer this cancer battle and I go on to be a mother, I feel like I’m already bound for failure. I’ve been watching you all beat each other up for years and, quite frankly, I’m afraid to join your club. It’s terrifying! I mess up a lot already, and it’s suffocating enough dealing with judgment for every choice that I make for myself. How am I going to stand up under the judgment for the choices I make on behalf of tiny humans, too?!
And while we’re on this subject of how cruel you all are to one another, can we talk about body image for a moment? You all are beautiful. You have birthed tiny humans, and those tiny humans have given you scars and stretch marks and perhaps a rounder stomach than you had before. Those things are all a part of your story, and I know it’s an incredible story because it’s the story God’s given you. I marvel at each of you.
But you know what? I have scars and stretch marks and a rounder stomach than I’d like, and I haven’t birthed anything but some baggage here and there throughout my life. You point and stare and talk about your bodies as though they’re the ugliest things on earth, and I feel like I have to hug the walls and hope nobody notices mine. At my smallest as an adult, when people told me I was too skinny and should put a few pounds back on, I still couldn’t get rid of my round stomach. I’m heading towards that weight again, and I still don’t see the stomach going anywhere. What in the world is going to happen to my body if I ever actually birth a child? Should I point and stare and talk about it as though it’s the ugliest thing around?
Or should I thank God for shaping me the way He did? Shouldn’t I embrace my scars & stripes and allow them to be markers on my journey?
I try. I really do. But you all make an incredibly difficult task just a little more difficult. I look at you and see pure beauty, but you keep calling it ugly and making me wonder what you must think when you look at me.
I guess what I’m trying to say, moms, is that I love you. You’re beautiful. And strong and smart and brave. Can you all please stop fighting now so that we can start building each other up instead?
Homeschoolers are not socially inept, and public school is not evil. I know some really incredible kids being schooled at home, but I also hope a lot of you keep sending your kids to public school because I think they need incredible kids there, too. Cloth diapering is great for some people, but don’t feel guilty if you just need to be able to throw the poop out with the pizza. If your kid keeps screaming at night and you desperately need to get some sleep, pull the kid into your bed already!
And FOR THE LOVE, give other moms the freedom to make choices that may look different from yours. If you’re in relationship with someone and they invite you to share your opinion/advice/experience, it is appropriate within that relationship to do so. I wouldn’t make it through life without being able to seek the wisdom of others. But if you’re just sitting around talking about how Suzy Q down the street is ruining her children’s lives because you don’t like the brand of peanut butter that she buys, please stop and think about your own peanut butter choice. God may enlighten you to see that crunchy is always superior to creamy.
Okay, I think I might be getting a little delirious, so I’ll wrap this up. I have opinions on parenting and schooling and everything in between, but there is very little in life that I believe I’ve mastered. I’m always watching the people around me and seeking to learn from what they can teach me. I just needed to step out of my observer role for a moment to say that sometimes you all make me really sad. The world is cruel enough on its own–we don’t need to be at war with one another.
And just to make sure you heard me, let me say one more time…you’re beautiful. Exactly as you are.