Monday, February 16, 2015

I refuse to engage in the "Mommy Wars"

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of becoming a mother and for the day when a little someone would call me Mommy and want only the comfort that I could bring. I now have a beautiful three year old daughter. Unfortunately, as a mother, I am constantly bombarded with the so-called “Mommy Wars,” the argument or debates originally centered on stay at home moms and working moms and most recently the breastfeeding/formula and vaccinations debates have fueled the “war.” Tempers flare and words get nasty when mothers on both sides face off. I’m here to say the “war” stops for me. It all started with the Similac ad titled "The Mother 'Hood."

I DON’T CARE if you are a breastfeeding mom or use formula. As a woman who wanted to breastfeed and couldn’t, this debate really irks me. I’ve read comments by breastfeeding moms who use shame and guilt to persuade all mothers to breastfeed. I know the benefits of breast milk and I was crushed and heartbroken when I could not provide the necessary milk to feed my daughter. Don’t tell me I didn’t try hard enough. Don’t give me advice about teas, supplements or techniques. I tried them all and they didn’t work. Many breastfeeding moms I’ve met or seen on TV (a certain celebrity comes to mind) have been very condescending and self-righteous. You don’t have the right to question or doubt my ability to feed my child. Breastfeeding or formula, as long as nourishment being provided, who am you to judge?

I’M SO TIRED of the vaccination debate. Parents who don’t vaccinate have mountains of evidence to promote their stance and often believe that parents who do vaccinate blindly follow medical orders. That may be true for some parents, but; for me, I weigh both sides of the evidence and make an informed decision about vaccinations. While I don’t trust some vaccines, I trust others. You have your reasons for rejecting or accepting vaccinations and I have mine. However, it does not give anyone the right to call others names who happen to disagree. I will protect my daughter as I see fit and you protect your child as you do. There is so much information available on vaccinations, both pro and con, that every parent can make an informed decision without bullying, guilt or shaming.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND the working mom versus stay-at-home mom debate. I don’t care if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom. Whatever you need to do to provide for your child, you need to do. If you want to have a career and children, then more power to you. If you want to stay at home and focus on your family, then great. I am currently a stay-at-home mom who knows that one day she will to go back to work, I am enjoying my time I have at home as long as I can and make certain budget cuts in order to stay at home. Every mom makes sacrifices for her children, whether it’s going to work or staying at home in order to provide for their needs. Who are we to say which way is best? 

There is so much pressures on mothers to Super Mom and as mothers, we need to realize that parenting isn’t one size fits all. What will work for one child, isn’t going to work for the next one or the one after that. Why are we generalizing? Author and blogger, Leslie Morgan Steiner summarized the “Mommy Wars” like this: women struggle to come to terms with their own choices in parenting against society’s standards that they engage in this warfare that does nothing to promote self-acceptance, acceptance of others or balance within their individual lives. Therefore, I accept my parenting choices and I accept yours. You do not know the ends and outs of my family and I don’t know yours. I know that we all love our children and want what’s best for them. Stop the guilt. Stop the shaming. The “Mommy Wars” are over for me.