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I’m going to shatter a rule here. Despite what the title says, I’m not going to start this article talking about a revolution.
*bloggers everywhere faint* (We’ll get to the bloody revolution, people. Bear with me.)
I’m going to start this article talking about a recipe. A recipe every mom knows by heart. Break out your Rachel Ray mixing bowls, slip on a sexy hairnet (I know – rawr!) and tie back your hot pink “Burnt is the New Black” apron.
Your ingredients list, Chef:
- 1 cup Insecurity (found in the inner knowledge that we’re all really just winging it.)
- 1 cup Snide Stranger Comments
- 1 cup of Red-Hot Hormones
- 1 Tbsp of Mother-in-Law Facial Expressions
- A dash of Self-Doubt
- 4 cups of the Comparison King: Facebook
Let it simmer in the back of your mind for 30 minutes.
Ding! It’s ready!
Here’s the result of our recipe:
Look familiar? This is a dish served in every single mother’s mind several times a week…and it’s poison.
It erodes our self-confidence like frosting on a hot cupcake: a few seconds of “looking good” before sliding off and plopping on the floor in a heap of shame.
Out of curiosity, I asked the Mighty Moms Facebook Fans to share what they feel most judged about. Can you relate to any of their comments?
- “I felt judged about our feeding choices.”
- “I felt judged about not starting solids at a certain age.”
- “I felt judged for the name we chose for our baby.”
- “I felt judged about our choice regarding circumcision.”
- “I felt judged about using daycare.”
- “I felt judged about only having one child.”
- “I felt judged about our vaccination decisions.”
- “I felt judged about using the crib too early…or too late…or not at all…”
And these are just a few of the “spill your guts and tell us” comments moms shared. That’s a lot of stress we are carrying around!
Mighty Moms, the Duff Sisters, and the TODAY Show…
As many of you readers may remember, this year I was honored to partner with Similac and the Sisterhood of Motherhood initiative. This group of women is on a mission to end the Mommy Wars once and for all.
The highlight of this campaign was to gather in New York City with Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, and TODAY Show correspondents to discuss how moms can throw out that old recipe of shame and judgment and replace it with something new.
If you’d like to watch the full Roundtable Event, with the Duff sisters and other parenting experts, click here. It’s worth the watch!
Our own Chelsea Stanley flew out to shake hands, take pictures, and talk to other moms (like the Duff sisters!) about the Mommy Wars.
Are the Mommy Wars Epidemic?
Honestly, we both started this journey a little skeptical. Is “Mommy Wars” something that really exists? Or is it all in our own heads?
Here’s the conclusion Chelsea reached:
After talking with other moms and participating in the roundtable discussion, I realized that one of the biggest mommy warfare tactics is being passive aggressive. Comments like “He must really like his pacifier!” or the eye-rolls in the supermarket, or the Facebook status that smells of superiority…
Think back and consider the last time you had an interaction with someone that left you feeling a bit “off”. Like something had been stated, but hadn’t really been stated. Like you’re standing in a cloud of something that smells suspiciously like NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
Those are the Mommy Wars.
Don’t head out your front door without having a battle plan, because those kinds of one-sided “conversations” are going to happen. These wars aren’t just a PR campaign. They are real. And they have victims.
Here’s how to avoid being one of them.
How to Handle
Judgmental People Jerks
Unlike unicorns, the tooth fairy, and Cadet Kelly, Jerks actually exist. They are bumping into you at the super market, writing comments to you online, and even, sometimes, sitting across from you at holiday dinners.
Don’t walk into those battles without some strong armor.
Tip #1: Replace Stabs of Shame with Pangs of Pity
Like a bully on the playground, Mom Bullies are pained individuals. You’re mental stronghold will be to acknowledge that pain and counter it by extending compassion and grace.
You know the phrase you use with your kids about certain animals or bugs? They are more afraid of you, than you are of them.
The same can be said about those Bully Moms. They are so panicked in their heads, trying to justify and prove to themselves that they are doing an A+ job, they lash out and wound any mother who has different choices.
I think the End Mommy Wars panel psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Shefali Tsabary said it best: “The person judging you comes from a real place of lack.”
Tip #2: Surround Yourself with the Sisterhood
Hilary Duff shared how a magazine published a photo of her son Luca having a meltdown while he was getting his haircut. The headline?
She was devastated and talked about how she was so thankful to have her sister Haylie with her for support. We all need someone to lean on when judgments happen. (Even celebrity moms.)
There is comfort in numbers. You are not alone in your parenting choices. Find people who will support you, and then allow yourself to be nurtured in the glow of their friendship. Identify with those who are pledging to stand against the tide of self-superiority.
You can do that by joining the conversation on the Sisterhood of Motherhood Facebook page.
What Your Baby Really Needs
What your baby really needs…is you. Your mental presence.
Our children need us to get mentally unstuck from the pressures of what others think about our mothering, and be free to focus 100% on them.
It’s hard to do that when you’re looking over your shoulder every ten seconds, searching for approval. Take your Mom-Esteem out of the hands of that loud opinionated woman who shamed you and put it back into the chubby little hands of your baby.
The “End Mommy Wars” effort shouldn’t be just a movement, doomed to fizzle away in a year or two.
No. This should be a revolution.
Let’s replace the old regime of fear and shame. It’s time for something new.
What’s Your Mommy War Story?
Share how you’ve been judged in the comments. It’s time to rebuild what the Mommy Wars has torn down.
Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I receive compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.