This is the part where we gather around the proverbial parenting/mothering ‘campfire’ hug each other, and sing Kumbaya. Oh, and we hug, and cry, and tell each other we are perfect. And while we are dreaming lets pretend that through our awesomeness of just being a parent that we have cured poverty, world hunger, and ended disease. After all, that is what we should be striving for, right? No partaking in those awful, icky, might make someone feel bad altercations that have been dubbed ‘The Mommy Wars’, right?
Wrong.Now, before getting your panties in a twist (which you are free to do immediately after I say this), I think it’s important to note that I am actually very much in the ‘Kumbaya’ camp. I am one of those earthy, tree hugging, save the world, “Let there be peace” type people. Annoyingly so, some might say. So, it’s probably a little odd that I am so outspoken and down right rude when it comes to the ‘Mommy Wars’.
Oh, hells yes I am vocal.
I can be really loud and vocal, and all sorts of disagreeable. Which is why I have noticed something that is truly scary, and appalling, and something I have to come out and let it all hang out there and say that there is something going on that I cannot and will not stand for.
There are some people who would really like to see an end to these ‘Wars’. They want the Kumbaya moment. They want the supporting of each other, and not the tearing down. It’s no surprise that- I want these things too. That isn’t all they are advocating for. Some want us to close our eyes, ears, and mouths and shut up about these things because, hey! We’re all parents and that makes all parenting choice equal and valid even if different! So, maybe CIO wasn’t right for me. I should just turn to the CIO parent next to me, give them a ‘high-five’, a hand-shake, a back pat, a hug, hump their leg, what ever. And tell them-
“It’s so great that you found something that worked for you. Go you! You rock! Don’t let anyone say anything to you that might make you feel bad about it, because you are the mom and your situation is ‘unique’ and you just need to do what ever is right, for you!’
Well you know what? Screw that. Listen, I 110% know and agree that each situation is ‘unique’ and ‘different’ and that one size in parenting does not ‘fit-all’. But, just because a mother literally cannot breastfeed (per se) does not mean that feeding her baby Coke, or Mountain Dew in a bottle is a great achievement just because she’s a parent- does it? I mean, if baby is allergic to breastmilk, and literally is no longer ‘best’ for that baby, we can all agree that soda does not some how become a better or ‘valid’ choice.
We all agree on that, because bottle feeding soda is not mainstream, has not been ingrained in our society as acceptable for decades. It has not been WIDELY promoted as ‘good’ for babies and is NOW being touted as harmful- to everyone. If a mom posted about doing that to her 4 month old- not a single person would be like-
‘Woot! High-five woman! Whatever works for you!’
However, when it comes to parenting practices that are mainstream, and have been used for years, ones that are or were recommended by doctors… well, it’s hard to let go. It’s hard to say ‘you know what- you’re right, that is wrong’. We don’t want to admit that to ourselves. We are parents, we are mothers. We love our kids and not one of us takes pleasure in knowing that we didn’t do the best by them.
As a mother myself, I have to be brutally honest and say that I have screwed up a lot. There are so many things I wish I had known, had done differently. That’s the way things will go for a long time, I am sure. The struggle to do better, to improve will always be there because I am human. I am tired. Sometimes I am selfish. Sometimes I am ignorant. I do not want to be applauded for those moments. They are not something to celebrate, but rather to overcome. My children will have to overcome them.
While I would love to stick my fingers in my ears and hum upbeat musing at some of the things I have found, to stay blissfully unaware so I can continue to justify my actions- I just can’t be that person. That’s why I wade into those awful mommy battles. To inform so others can do better too. I wont high-five anyone for doing something I have found to be crappy. I refuse to allow poor choices, reasoning, or excuses to be acceptable simply because we want them to be. I want to be proud of doing the things I know are right, are good, are beneficial. I do my best to strive to support, and applaud and engage in people who are also doing ‘the best’- even if that choice is not one I made for my family.
So no. No thank-you. No high-five for my poor choices please.