A friend of mine recently commented, “I think one of the inadvertent results of the “Mommy Wars” (only the first world could get away with calling it that) is that sometimes we end up on the defensive when someone makes a statement about how they do things.” However, it’s likely that parents have little intent of riling each other up when they make statements about their choices in parenting. In fact, I think most parents are simply looking to share stories, experiences, and commiserate a little.
Despite knowing this, it’s hard not to take things personally when your friend tells you she lets her child “cry it out”. Or when your sister openly nurses her 18 month old (when you’d stopped nursing at 3 months). It’s easy to think there are hidden agendas, it’s easy to think your friends judge you, it’s easy to think “I’m a better parent than you because . . . and you should do what I do if you want to be a good parent.” When a parent makes a statement about his or her parenting choices, another parent hears something completely different. Thus, fuel for the Mommy Wars.
For fun, below are a host of examples. While you read, consider that none of the initial statements are offensive or judgmental in nature (while the reframes are as judgmental as I could make them). And to be fair, I take both perspectives on the issues. Enjoy.
- I’m a full time mom = Oh. You’re sacrificing your career and sense of self to wipe butts and do laundry. How wonderful for you.
- I have a full time career = While you selfishly follow your passion in life, your baby feels abandoned. You have no chance at a secure attachment with your child, and I’m sure you’ll fail at pumping.
On Sleep Arrangements
- We cosleep = OMG, you are going to roll over on your baby and kill him, you pro-suffocation heathen. This is a public health issue and criminal charges must be filed.
- My baby sleeps in his own crib = If only you’d put your baby’s needs above your own selfish desire for uninterrupted sleep! That poor soul is all alone and scared.
- My son slept through the night by 4 months = You tortured your child by letting him “cry it out” at night until, despondent, he stopped crying for you because he no longer believed you cared. He’ll likely be insecure.
- I respond to my child’s cries at night = How’s sleep deprivation treating you? Maybe if you gain a sense of self and get some rest you could actually be a better parent during the day. Also, you’re spoiling your child and breeding co-dependence.
- My son is circumcised = Oh, you mutilated your son’s genitals without his consent?
- My son is intact = Get ready for a medical nightmare – urinary tract infections, HIV, STDs, and likely an expensive surgery for phimosis. Way to think about your child’s long-term health.
- We’re delaying immunizations = How selfish of you to rely on herd immunity to keep your child safe from deadly diseases. My kid has leukemia, can’t be vaccinated, and can’t go to school because your kid could infect him. Thanks for being socially irresponsible.
- We follow the recommended schedule for immunizations = Way to expose your kid to toxic levels of aluminum, questionable chemicals, and possibly unclean animal tissues. When he’s diagnosed with autism, sensory processing disorder, or manifests neurological issues later in life, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- I nurse my toddler = That’s disgusting. No child that has teeth, can talk, or can walk should be allowed to suck on your boobs. Stop trying to satisfy your unmet sexual needs with a two year old!
- I couldn’t breastfeed = You wouldn’t breastfeed. How could you deny your child what science has proven is best? Breastfed babies have higher IQs – you’ve robbed your child of intelligence.
- We use positive discipline = Uh, yeah, you use permissiveness. You allow your wild child to rule the roost. If you’d actually enforce a little discipline, I might be able to eat a meal out in peace.
- We use time-outs = Oh, the “forcible isolation of children”? So you model for your child that the use of power gets people what they want, I see.
And many, many more! To all the Mommies and Daddies – you’re doing great, and I wish you peace.