what if we had a mommy war and nobody came?

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Several parenting blog posts recently went viral among my Facebook friends.

First there was Glendon’s cry to not carpe diem and to soak in the kairos moments. Then the Huffington Post offered “Apologies to The Parents I Judged Four Years Ago” about one mother’s conversion from harsh critic to sympathetic insider.

In Catholic circles, Simcha’s encouragement to the mother with only one child was shared and reshared. As was the stay-at-home-mom blues.

But as post after post popped up on my friends’ walls, I noticed one thing. Only the new mothers were sharing them.

Moms with babies, toddlers and preschoolers leapt on these stories – of being real, of encouraging each other, of stopping the cruel judgment. But the moms I know with grade-schoolers, high-schoolers and beyond? Silent.

Did they not need the same reminder to play nice? Was the battle no longer theirs? Did they simply stop caring?

As someone swept up in the worries of new parenting, I found myself floored by this obvious fact. All the wise and experienced moms I knew seemed to have risen above the mommy wars, while my friends were firmly entrenched in the fight.

When would I, too, reach the place where I was confident enough in my own parenting to let all my silly insecurities go?

All the arguments over how we bear and birth and feed and clothe and teach young children – they’re meaningful to the extent they help us figure out how to take our first few steps in this strange new land called Parenthood. But once we’ve learned how to walk, we’re no longer concerned with bickering over breastfeeding vs. formula.

Because, as this wise and witty blogger describes, little of it matters in the long run.

I often find comfort in the fact that whenever I ask my own mother, over a panicked phone call, if any of her five kids did x or didn’t do y, I always get a pause and then the same light-hearted response: I don’t really remember!

During my first few months as a mother, I simply could not believe this was true. How could my mom have possibly forgotten the Life-Altering Transformation That Is Getting Your Baby On A Nap Schedule or Starting To Feed Your Child Solid Foods or Diagnosing That Strange Childhood Rash?

But now that we’re on baby #2 and seem to have lost any knowledge we thought we gained with #1, I completely understand how it happens.

I barely remember the days, only a few short years ago, when my first was a baby. Now my new obsessions are potty training and preschool, not naps and nursing. With the questions and concerns that arise at every new stage, we lose the worries of the last.

Which underscores the truth that ultimately, most of the daily dilemmas don’t matter. Each human being turns out to be a mysterious mix of nature and nurture, impossible to predict, define or control.

But when we’re taking our first few toddling steps into the world of raising children, we have no idea what we’re doing. We’re bumbling along, trying to make the best decisions with little experience and lots of anxiety – a perfect recipe for insecurity. So even when we try not to trash-talk other parents, the cruel beast of judgment sneaks in and rears its ugly head.

We roll our eyes. Snicker behind others’ backs. Share juicy gossip of “you won’t believe this…” with our spouse over dinner. I’ll admit to it. I bet you’ve done it, too. But for what gain?

In a season of life when the mommy wars are still raging around me, I wonder about peacemaking. At the heart of the Gospel is a call to make peace. Beyond passive observers or angry protesters, what would it mean to be a peacemaking parent among parents? To actively build up instead of tear others down?

I know that I want more peace and less anxiety around my parenting, and I imagine most new parents are in the same boat.

So I’m throwing it out there:

The next time someone invites you to a mommy war – through their gossip or email or jokes or judgment – try not showing up.

Instead, wonder about what it means to be a peacemaker.

Take a stand against pettiness and pride. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Try compassion or empathy. Picture yourself as an older, wiser parent and imagine the better perspective you’d bring with more confidence.

Because wouldn’t it be lovely to live a world of parenting peacemakers? To be at peace? To teach our children the same?

What if they threw a mommy war and none of us came?

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14 thoughts on “what if we had a mommy war and nobody came?

    Second chances said:
    April 2, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Love this! I just came to my own realization a few weeks ago in a post that I’m sooooo done caring about the little particulars of parenting. It took having my third to realize this and I still have a ways to go!

      mothering spirit responded:
      April 2, 2012 at 9:50 am

      Amen! I said the same thing to my husband last night when I was telling him about this post – I’m done with the drama. When certain people or situations in my life seem to provoke the worst in me, I need a new attitude to reframe things and take the long view. Peacemaking was just the perspective I was looking for.

        Second chances said:
        April 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

        Yes, peacemaking and changing MY attitude rather than comparing myself and wanting them to change. Brilliant! Totally healing.

        Second chances said:
        April 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

        Also, I may want to link to this post someday soon. Is that ok?

        mothering spirit responded:
        April 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm

        Absolutely – thanks!

    stephicakes said:
    April 2, 2012 at 10:05 am

    What wonderful sentiments!

    mamacravings said:
    April 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I am IN LOVE with this. I kept throwing my hands up and yelling out,”Preach!” as I was reading this.

    It is so easy to get caught up in the mommy wars of how to feed, diaper, sleep, dress, parent everyone else’s children.

    It’s funny that my dearest friends use completely opposite parenting techniques than I do….and it works for their family. That is ALL that matters. I don’t know where we got the notion that parenting must be lumped into one wrong way or right way. We are parenting people. People are complete individuals. There will never be a perfect way to parent all people.

    I am complete agreement with making peace and stepping away from the mommy wars. This concept was one of my main reasons in creating mamacravings. I wanted parents to come together in the realization that we crave the same things for our families. How we get there is just in the details.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!

    Have a beautiful week,
    Casi

    http://www.mamacravings.com

      mothering spirit responded:
      April 5, 2012 at 7:57 am

      Thanks, Casi. I loved your words of affirmation. And I really loved your description of how easy it is to get caught up in parenting other people’s children – ha!
      You sum it up so well: we are indeed “parenting people,” each of us whole and hurting in different ways. Maybe if we each made a little more space for peace in our lives, we could celebrate that diversity instead of snipe about the others who aren’t like us. Preach it! :)

    Ginny @ RandomActsofMomness said:
    April 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Great insights! Blessed are the peacemakers … and they are blessed at all levels, whether it’s an international arms summit or a neighborhood playgroup. Thanks for inviting us all to be a part of that peace.

      mothering spirit responded:
      April 5, 2012 at 7:58 am

      Sometimes the international arms summits seem more civilized… ;)

    Leanne@ Life Happens When said:
    April 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    You are so right! I had to stop and think for a minute about the “new” moms vs. the more experienced ones. I realized you are right!!

    My big sister has grade schoolers and often when I cry to her over things I feel guilty about (thanks to the mommy wars), she shrugs it off and says, “Oh! Don’t be silly! None of that really matters!”

    I just made the connection that she’s at peace with her mothering and she’s encouraging me to be, too!

    Thanks for sharing this! I loved it!

      mothering spirit responded:
      April 5, 2012 at 7:58 am

      Isn’t that funny & true? And someday we will be the ones at peace with our (flawed-but-still-ok) parenting, too. At least I tell myself that now…

    MangoTreeMama said:
    April 10, 2012 at 8:07 am

    I’m a bit slow on the uptake. We’re looking forward to #8 in a few more months, and I’m just now kind of starting to “get it”…
    “It” being the main idea behind your post here and the one common to all the wonderful ones linked to in it.
    I’m getting up the courage to refuse to feel guilty about things like this morning, I slept in and then we had cold cereal for breakfast… and then I feel guilty for not feeling guilty! :0P
    I’m definitely growing, and stepping out of the mommy-war with myself and my expectations. It’s a bit scary though- I don’t want to “go downhill” :0)
    Thanks for this post, I’ve bookmarked it and will be reading it often.

    yes, i’m mom. ENOUGH. « mothering spirit said:
    May 11, 2012 at 10:24 am

    [...] that drives me nuts about today’s treatment of parenting in the media. Enough with the mommy wars, enough with the attachment parenting debates. Parenting is not a competitive sport. It’s [...]

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