It’s really trendy right now to talk about the “Mommy Wars” and how they’re everything that’s wrong with the world–specifically the parenting world. It’s basically Mean Girls: The Mom Version. Or at least that’s what a lot of people would like you to believe. Granted, there are people out there who make others feel bad about themselves for the way they’re parenting. There’s a word for people like that and it’s not exclusive to moms: they’re assholes. They’re diehard about the choices they make and think anyone who doesn’t do things like they do is inferior.
Breast vs. Bottle. Cloth vs. Disposable. Co-sleepers vs. Cry-it-outers. Public School vs. Private vs. Homeschool. It’s a never-ending versus list.
We all make different choices in how we parent. Sometimes it’s based on how we were raised and what we want to do the same / differently, other times it depends on our current schedule, relationship situation, finances, or health. The only thing that’s certain is every person’s parenting journey is different. Every person’s experience is unique.
The problem is some people are hell-bent on sharing their opinions on how parenting “should” be done. The My Way or the Highway types. There’s a universal term for all of them: they’re assholes.
But now, when any of us calls someone out for being a jerk, we’re told we’re waging war–a Mommy War. It’s no longer reserved to define behavior where moms criticize other moms or scorn them for their parenting choices. It’s now expanded to include any kind of negative comment from one female to another.
Here it is: I’m tired of hearing about the Mommy Wars. The “wars” waged by women on women who are critical of each other. There’s no “war” … that’s just a gimmicky term to make it look like women are catty bitches. Most of us aren’t. At all. We’re helpful, supportive, loving, and kind to each other. We share stories about life in the parenting trenches and commiserate about the difficult days and nights. We are there for one another and stand up for each other. But for the few who do fall into the category of meanies who just want to make others feel like they’re not good enough–they’re assholes … and that has NOTHING to do with being a Mommy or being at war.
What I really have a problem with is the idea that any time a woman says something negative about another woman, she’s engaging in Mommy Wars.
Some people (women and moms, too) are asshats who deserve to be called out for their behavior.
Not long ago, a woman had written a piece about how unfair it was that her child couldn’t have a birthday treat in class because some of his classmates have food allergies. She thought those kids should just be excluded from the classroom celebration because it was more important that her son got to have a cupcake than it is to make every child feel part of the celebration. It was an incredibly callous and self-centered position to take … and I ripped her a new one because she’s an asshat. She doesn’t get a free pass because she’s a mom. I will not tiptoe around the issue or keep quiet because I don’t want to engage in Mommy Wars.
I call bullshit.
Another example: Maria Kang. She’s the woman who posed with her three small children wearing only a sports bra and some booty shorts to expose her ripped abdominal muscles with the caption “What’s Your Excuse?” A lot of shit hit the fan about that one, and many women were being accused of perpetuating the Mommy Wars because they commented and called her out for taking a condescending stance on other people’s priorities. Ms. Kang tried to play off the firestorm by saying she was just trying to motivate other people to be healthy, but it was too late. The damage was done. (If she really had been trying to motivate, I would have expected something more along the lines of “If I can do it, you can too” as her slogan. But instead she chose verbiage that implied if you have kids and aren’t sporting a six-pack, you’re making excuses for being lazy.) So in response to her antagonistic “ad,” women who called her out for being condescending were accused of taking part in Mommy Wars.
Again, I call bullshit.
Newsflash: sometimes moms are assholes. It happens. Sometimes they cut in front of you in line. Sometimes they pick on other people’s kids. Sometimes they call the police to report you for abusing your child when you make him stand in the corner at a rest stop. Anyone who does things like those deserves to be called out for their ignorant behavior, regardless of whether or not they’re a mom.
I want to be clear: I am all for supportive, kind, and helpful interactions–especially when it comes to parenting. I love a good discussion and sharing different ways of doing things. I’ve learned incredibly helpful tips and strategies from others through networking and talking. I believe that every parent should do what works for them and their family–and as long as you’re doing the best you can to keep your kids safe, provide them with a nurturing home, and help them grow up to be responsible, conscientious, caring people, then you’re probably doing just fine.
However, I’m also a fan of keeping it real (which is why this blog is about being Real in Life and Parenting). Real life isn’t all puppies and rainbows. Parenting certainly isn’t like that. Sometimes it’s crappy–and sometimes it’s that way because people around us are jerks.
If it walks like an asshat and talks like an asshat, it certainly doesn’t mean you’re at war.