Any girl who survived middle school and high school knows how mean other girls can be. Which is why it doesn’t surprise me to hear about something known as “Mommy Wars,” in which mothers compare other moms’ parenting choices amongst themselves and ridicule them as though there’s a winner in the game of parenthood.
I’m not proud to admit that I’ve engaged in some parental judging, both pre- and post-Rowan. Some things are easier to criticize than others—you let your child watch R-rated movies? You put soda in your infant’s bottle? And some things are extremely personal choices no outside parent should weigh in on without permission—breastfeeding vs. formula, cloth vs. disposable diaper, stay-at-home vs. working parent, pro-or anti-vaccinations.
I feel like a broken record, but the one thing I keep realizing again and again as a new mother is that I need to do what’s best for my family. It’s hard enough being a parent without having to deal with the wrath of outside opinions. You shouldn’t have to answer to an army of moms who have nothing better to do than sit on their throne of righteousness. What’s best for me isn’t necessarily best for you, and vice-versa. If you’re consciously making choices in the best interest of your family, then what else matters? You’re giving it the best you’ve got.
Growing up, my son should be learning to respect others. It’s a hard lesson to teach if parents can’t even respect each other. So when I catch myself thinking or speaking critically about another mom’s action (or lack thereof), I’m going to stop and remind myself to live and let live. And I’ll hope that others extend the same courtesy.
Okay okay, I’m off my soapbox. Let’s just please play nice, for the sake of the kids.