We’ve all heard the phrase mommy wars, but what does it really mean? Originally coined in the 1980s, the term mommy wars refers to the proverbial battle between the working mom and the stay-at-home mom about who is right and who is a better parent. Social media, while a great tool, can perpetuate this kind of divide between women. The mommy wars can really harm our relationships and our own self-esteem. Here are some ways to put an end to the mean-spirited mommy wars:
Make Peace With Your Own Life Choices
Have you ever noticed that the things that bug us most about other people usually reflect on our own lack of self-confidence? Carl Jung said that “everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” When we get caught up in the mommy wars, we’re often just projecting our own insecurities. I encourage you to look at your own life choices (stay-at-home parent, working part-time or full-time, utilizing daycare, etc.) and really own them. You’ll be less likely to criticize others when you feel secure in yourself. If you feel you’d like to make a change, work toward it, but don’t expend emotional energy on putting others down (even if it’s only in your mind).
This one is easier said than done, right? We’re not always conscious of our thoughts, so when it comes to topics related to parenting, I challenge you to become aware of the internal messages you’re telling yourself. Are you secretly (or not so secretly) judging how other women conduct their family lives? If so, make a concerted effort to stop! It’s alright to have preferences, but remember that what’s best for your family may not be best for another family. Let’s replace our judgmental tendencies with respect and acknowledge that everyone is just trying to do their best.
Find and Give Support
Instead of insisting that we’re right or that our way is the best way to do things, how about we support each other? No matter how one goes about raising children, parenthood is hard, and the last thing we need to do is tear each other down. We do a good enough job of doing that to ourselves- so we don’t need the extra ammunition from others. It’s easy to be comfortable with people who think and act like us, but there’s an awful lot we can learn from individuals who do things differently. Why not reach out and connect with other mothers? When it comes to parenting, everyone needs help (physical, emotional, etc.) at some point or another, and we can work to lend our support as needed.
Cut Out The Cattiness
Even as we try our best to respect different styles of parenting, we’re bound to favor certain methods over others (breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, home school vs. traditional school, etc.), and as mature women, we can certainly express our views. However, we’ve crossed a line the second we become rude or unkind. Different discussions about motherhood can bring up a lot of tender feelings, so be sensitive to others’ experiences. Always, always steer clear of drama and gossiping (online or in person); it’s not worth it!