We’ve all been there. You meet someone new and then comes the infamous question “So, what do you do?” Great, here it comes. I’ll either be seen as unloving or unmotivated. Regardless of your reply, whether you work in or out of your home, it seems like there’s no answer that is applauded by everyone. Some days you might even struggle with how you feel about your chosen occupation. Maybe you immediately think of that diploma that’s collecting dust, or you start dreaming of yoga pants and play dates. Some days the grass will always be greener.
Sadly, mom wars don’t just end with your difference in occupation. Oh no. A few minutes of scrolling through trending Facebook articles and you’ll see moms battling it out in the internet arena on topics like breastfeeding, education (home, private, public), birth choices, diet, co-sleeping, and heaven forbid you even think about using the word vaccination! And trying to have a conversation with a mom you just met is like trying to navigate a verbal minefield and make sure you don’t land on the wrong parenting topic.
What’s really going on here? Speaking for myself, the moment I start looking to others for validation on whatever I do, that’s when my own insecurities come creeping in, and the passive-aggressive judgments start creeping out. The first problem here is me. Until I truly settle within myself that my choice (whatever that choice may be) is valid and best for MY family, I can’t adequately silence the nagging, insecure voices from myself or others. No one knows my family, my finances, and my priorities like I do. Why would I let their minimal knowledge make me question my well thought out choices?
After we make peace with our own choices, we have to get to a point where another mom’s choices don’t threaten our own, and where different doesn’t always mean less than. What are we teaching our children when we put down other moms, not because their choices are harming others, but because they simply are not our own? To expect all families to look and function exactly the same as yours is a little too Hitler-ish for me to accept.
Why can’t we focus a bit more on what we have in common? The facts–both camps of moms have pros and cons to their positions. The stresses and advantages may look different, but they are there just the same. Neither are less valid. We all share the fears and joys of raising children. The midnight cries, the stressful decisions, the toddler tantrums, we’re all in the trenches together, fighting similar battles. Why can’t we look for ways to be allies instead of enemies? Maybe one wears heels to battle and the other flip-flops. Who cares? At some point, we have to stand strong in our choices believing they are valid and right for our family, at the same time accepting that someone else’s choices are just as valid for their family.
So the next time you feel “less than” when giving your reply as to what you do, or how you parent, remember that your choice is not diminished in any way by public opinion or a haughty look from another mother who may be dealing with her own insecurities. Or the next time your insecurities tempt you to judge another mother’s choices, take a step back and choose your words wisely. Your focus should be on what’s right for your family. And if you’re doing that, let me just say, good job mama. Here’s a digital fist bump. Mom life isn’t an easy one, whether you’re working it in heels or flip-flops.