being a mom

The ‘Mommy Wars’ Have Us Fighting the Wrong Enemy

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(iStock / princigalli)

Are you familiar with Newton’s Third Law?  It says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  How about Mommy’s Third Law?  It says that for every belief there is an equal and opposite opinion.  No, not as familiar with the second one?

You may know it by another name then, The Mommy Wars.

If you have ever read the comments section of a parenting article on online, you have probably seen it firsthand.  It’s the ongoing feud between breastfeeders and formula feeders, preschooling and unschooling, working moms and those that stay at home…

This war isn’t being played out in the real world.  There aren’t mothers clad in camo leggings or sensible pumps taking this battle into the streets.  They’re not pushing strollers and wearing babies into actual combat.

No, the strikes are being launched from behind keyboards and cell phone screens.  The ammunition is obnoxious comments on articles and publicly shaming one another in Facebook groups.

I understand the impulse.  With all of the access to information we have today, we spend so much time researching every choice we make.  Once we finally settle on the approach that we think is best for us, it becomes hard to understand why another mother would have chosen differently.  So, we judge one another.

The problem is that we should be judging the children instead.

I remember a particularly peaceful time in my life when I only had one child, and she was just a little lump that couldn’t get into anything that I didn’t personally hand her.

Today I had to fish a green marble out of her diaper.  I was literally looking at the back of her head, as she quietly sat there playing, when it happened.

Well, she was quietly playing until the screaming began…

baby crying

Giphy / GifSoup

A few weeks ago my toddler found a little green marble.  It was the kind that you buy in a mesh bag from AC Moore to use as a filler in vases.   With her squeaky little voice she declared it a “shamrock” and alternated between hugging it and making it dance across the kitchen floor.

It was the cutest thing I had ever seen.

I watched her play with it for about ten minutes before she put it down, forgot about it, and moved onto something else.  In the time it took her to pick up the next toy, I had forgotten about it too.

That is until the screaming began.  With giant eyes, and tears running down her cheeks, she told me that she had eaten her “shamrock.”

I spent three gag worthy days digging through poop, and three mostly sleepless nights imagining all of the different ways that this stupid marble could kill her.

The moment I saw that bedazzled turd in her diaper a wave of relief washed over me.  Everything was going to be okay.  Things could have gone so much worse, but fortunately it all worked out in the end.  I have to think of it as a live and learn moment.  She lived, and I learned that she hasn’t quite left the phase where she puts random stuff in her mouth.

I don’t think there is a mom among us that hasn’t made at least one choice that has gone horribly wrong.

And for the most part, it’s not our faults.

We try and do everything we can for these kids but they seem determined to kill themselves at every turn.  When I first became a mother I painstakingly researched the benefits of breastfeeding, staying at home, and baby wearing.

I cloth diapered for crying out loud!

Every choice I made was carefully weighed.  I thought I was doing everything right, and then I left a marble on the kitchen table and my damn kid ate it.

I’m beginning to suspect that maybe we mothers and our stupid wars aren’t the problem.  Our children are the problem.

We are all so busy defending our decisions, and decrying the choices of others, that we are missing the bigger picture.

Our kids, for the most part, just don’t care.

Not only do they not actively care about the choices we make, but they are going to do their level best to make us question those decisions (Would she gain more weight if she were bottle fed?  Would the diaper rash go away if I switched to cloth?) most of their lives.

So I propose we mothers unite.  Let us focus on the things that join us together instead of the things that divide us.  After all, alone we are but one mom, but together we are an army.  And an army of moms is probably exactly what it’s going to take to prevent kids from picking up random shit and putting it in their mouths.