Last week I experienced an actual mommy war. This means I literally messaged back and forth with a mom who strongly dislikes many of the things I do as a mother. This mom isn’t a stranger either. We went to college together, attended football games, frat parties, had sleepovers, you name it. There was most certainly a time in our lives where I might describe her as a close friend. Well life happened and as so many relationships do, we drifted apart and became strictly Facebook friends. Wishing each other happy birthday, liking photos from vacations, congratulating each other on engagements and new homes, etc. Then we both became moms. For a while it was the same, saying congrats, liking photos of each other’s kiddos, and maybe even commenting here or there on how adorable they were. At some point I noticed a shift. When she would comment on something, it never made me feel good. She never said anything hateful or wrong per say, it just always rubbed me the wrong way. Then recently I figured it out. It never felt good because it was passive aggressive.
If anyone out there reading this actually follows my blog then you know my family recently hired a sleep consultant. If you want to know more about that, go here. When we made the decision to hire our consultant, like most everything in my life, I shared the journey on my social media accounts. Here is where my mommy war came full circle. This mom all but said I was a dumb ass for paying money to a sleep consultant for help. And that’s exactly the point. She never called me a dumb ass to my face she just ever so subtly commented on my post asking why a sleep consultant??? Don’t we have our kid on a schedule? What more could the sleep consultant say other than create a routine? Don’t I know children are creatures of habit? You get the idea. She didn’t call me a name or say I was wrong, but her questioning implied it. It implied I was the dumbest fucking mother on the planet wasting hard-earned money to get help on an issue I should already know how to fix on my own. Fast forward a few days and I stumble upon this beauty of a blog:
It made me literally laugh out loud. It was like the author lived in my brain and knew exactly how I felt and knew I had recently dealt with just such a mother. So naturally I posted it on Facebook. Well this mom had a fast reaction to my post. She couldn’t handle it much more. Shouldn’t I be supporting and encouraging her? Don’t I know that these “perfect moms” are simply trying to be positive in my completely negative outlook on what parenting is like? How do I think my children will react knowing I complain about them the way I do?
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. She was right. Well, let me clarify. I don’t agree with much of what she said, but in that moment reading her words I realized I had just judged another mother. Sure, she hadn’t been a saint herself, but just because someone says or does something hurtful to us, does not mean we should retaliate. And essentially my posting that blog was my own passive aggressive way to get back at her. So I made the decision right then and there to try to repair the damage I’d done. I deleted my post and then messaged her to apologize. She didn’t take kindly to my reaching out, in fact she went on to say even more hurtful and judgemental things, but there’s no point reliving all those details. The point in me sharing all this is to illustrate how ridiculous the whole business of the mommy war is.
There are countless blogs on the subject and I know my two cents on the matter won’t solve the issue, but this whole experience made me realize that despite my efforts to remain open and accepting to every parent, I still manage to sometimes fall into the trap. We all probably have at some point or another. We are human after all. And no human being is perfect. Not even the “perfect mom”. Nothing about being human is perfect. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Life. Is. Hard. And I won’t ever apologize for being real about that. That’s how I deal with it all. I say it out loud. I say the truth. Always have, always will. That’s who I am and despite what this mom might think, my honesty does not mean I love my children less. It does not mean they will grow up and wonder why I complained so much about them not sleeping or not eating or refusing to take posed smiley pictures for me. One day we can laugh together about all the grey hairs they gave me and then I can watch them navigate those same realities. That’s right, realities. You can call it a complaint or negative or ugly, but that’s not how I see it. Anything I ever say about my children is honest and real and beautiful. Because life and parenthood are beautiful, even on the shitty terrible craziest of days. And I want to remember all of it – the good, the bad, the ugly.
So take all that how you want. You can follow me, not follow me. Read my blog, not read it. I don’t care. What I do care about is continuing to live my life with joy and confidence. We doubt everything we do as mothers enough on our own and I don’t need another mom adding to that daily struggle. And I certainly don’t want to be that negative voice for anyone else either. This experience mostly made me realize what does in fact bind us together no matter our differences. Love. Deep, immense, and overwhelming love for our children. It doesn’t matter if you work or stay at home. If you breastfeed or bottle feed. If you follow a routine or feed on demand. If you co-sleep or have your own sleeping spaces. In the end, a parent makes one choice or another because they love their child. Period. So from here on out I’ve made a conscious decision to hold that concept close to my heart and when the beast of judgement or uncertainty starts to creep in, I will remind myself of that simple, wonderful thing about parents. We love.