Oh, how I hate the mommy wars. At the end of each year, I like to spend time focusing on things that bring us together as humans, rather than things that tear us apart. Once again, as 2016 draws to a close, I’m saying no to engaging in this silly mommy wars battle that continues to rage on.
I know these so-called mommy wars are technically about the rift between those mamas who “work” versus those who “stay home.” (Quotes intentional.) But since having children myself, I’ve been surprised to find there are plenty of things for new moms to have “wars” about. Breast feeding vs. formula. Cry-it-out vs. not. Scheduling vs. free-flowing time. Baby-wearing vs. strollers. Daycare vs. nanny. Organic strawberries vs. oh, the regular kind. Who knew?
It seems there is always an opportunity to judge. To look out there at the sea of opinions and feel guilty for the path you’ve chosen. Or to feel like you’re not doing enough. And even when it’s not about warring opinions and perspectives, I’ve also discovered we don’t always reach out to the mamas right in front of our faces who need some reassurance, a pick-me-up, or a smile.
But just as there are a few billion ways to live a good life on this planet, there must be a few billion ways to be a good parent, no?
Today, I challenge you, mamas, to resolve to stick together in 2017. This resolution comes in 3 parts:
Think of a Mama Who Needs Help Today – And Lend a Hand
Maybe she’s about to go back to work this week. Can you bring her some food? Maybe it’s that mom at daycare whose kids are giving her hell at pickup in the evening. Can you help cajole her son to put on his hat and coat? And then give her a hug? Maybe it’s the stranger at the grocery store with a baby in an Ergo carrier and bags under her eyes. Can you give that look that says it’s okay? Or perhaps give her your spot in line?
Join a Community Where You Can Lift One Another Up
Joining a community of supportive mamas can fill up your own soul, and help you realize you’re not alone in these parenting struggles. Where can you find a supportive community of mamas? Your neighborhood? Daycare? Yoga studio? If you’re planning to return or recently returned to work after maternity leave, consider joining other new moms in the Mindful Return Community through the e-course starting in January.
Let What You Do…AND What She Does…Be Enough
So much of that mama guilt comes from comparing ourselves to others and to using that dirty word “should” way too much. I should have gotten my kids to sleep earlier tonight! (So-and-so puts hers to bed at 7:30pm on the dot every night…). I should have cooked an organic five-color meal for them for lunch tomorrow. (So-and-so would never stoop so low as to cut up little pieces of cold pizza and pack them for daycare…) To all those voices, I say: SHHHH! You are enough, mama. Remind yourself. Believe it. And let that mama across from you be enough, too.
Madeleine Albright said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” This upcoming year, let’s resolve to stick together. Respect one another’s decisions. And support each other. Let’s choose peace over war in this overwhelming-but-wonderful mama world. Let’s choose to see these differences not as “either…or” but as the billion beautiful ways to raise kids in this crazy world.
Heading back to work after maternity leave soon? Get help with the transition here. A new session of Mindful Return starts soon.
Note that this post was first published on November 29, 2014. I have renewed these resolutions annually ever since.