why i stay away from the mommys (wars)
I have to admit a deep, dark, pregnant blogger secret: I try my best to stay away from pregnancy/mommy blogs. I took small notice of them before being blessed with a bump, but ever since I’ve kept my distance for fear of the comment wrath that may occur at my keyboard. They’re the dark alleys (disguised and painted in pastels) where primal instincts dominate and the mommy wars are waged on an hourly basis.
Now just to clarify, I love visiting blogs of moms and blogs of soon-to-be moms and “oohing and ahhing” over precious little babies and kids. But what I don’t enjoy — the political mommy roundtable. We women have practiced all of our lives to reach the elite status of cattiness that reigns supreme in the mommy wars. For me, it was a steady diet of 8 years of girl scouts, 4 years of all-girls high school and then, for good measure, I tossed in some time at the good ‘ol sorority house. I understand how petty things can be and for the most part I can roll my eyes and move on past silliness and bitterness caused by hormones. But these mommy wars — I can’t seem to walk away unscathed — and that’s why I keep my distance and, for the most part, keep my mouth shut.
Pregnancy and motherhood means different things to different people. Just as there is no universal operating manual for your life… there is no universal truth as to the perfect way to be pregnant, raise a baby, and have a family. I’ll give you the necessity of food, water and nurturing, but after that… you got me! I’ve seen women judge others on maternity clothes, diet (and this is after they’ve eliminated all of the “we know this is bad for you” food), breast feeding, daycare, occupational choices, crib decor, environmentalism, etc. and it just never seems to stop. The worst part is that most mommy war participants write up long blogs about their choices in a non-objective manner. They don’t simply say, “I bought my daughter a bouncy swing.” Instead it’s, “I bought my daughter the only bouncy swing that is made from organic materials, has no risk of causing brain cancer and was made in the USA.” This wouldn’t be a problem if there wasn’t another mom out there who would possibly have bought “something else” and might take offense to the messages between the lines. That’s where the trouble brews… and I swear some people feed on it like vultures in the comments sections! The back and forth of judgement statements keep the debate alive until another mommy war breaks out on another site and they swarm over to it with a new burst of vigor!
I can’t argue about how to give birth because I haven’t been there yet — and even after I go through it, I know that my experience will be just one way to go through it. I can’t argue about how to raise a kid because I’m pretty certain there are a million ways to do it well. And I really can’t argue over the tiny semantics of these large long-term tasks because I know enough about statistics and bad research to know that there are very very few facts that are cited that mean anything. And so…. I just flip the virtual page and walk away. I keep my statements as objective as possible when I speak to others… and I try to contribute as little as I can to the toxic mom-beats up-mom world that swirls in some places. I’m certain that I’d have friends who’d agree with the choices I’m making, but others who would fight me to the death on other topics. I have no idea which crowd will prevail in the end (if I ever find out that the one little choice actually led to any lifechanging moment for my child), but it looks like we’re all trying to actively do what we think is right.
And that’s why I stay here in my corner. I like happy and bright mommy places, and even those super honest blogs that share what’s going on in life through a bright happy soul. I’d just like a little less of the “queen of the mountain” with this whole motherhood thing, because watching moms battle it out for years upon years sure seems like an exhausting way of living! I really don’t think I could keep up even if I tried!
So does anyone else want to join me in the sunshine corner? Where we can enjoy being pregnant, having kids and just loving life without bringing someone else down for their choices in the process? I’ll get the cookies and milk ready if you’d like to join me…
Wow, i really love this. Yes! I mean, I don’t even have kids, and am a long way off, but I totally agree. In a similar vein, I had to stop reading some “healthy living” blogs for similar reason.
Um, can I please send this to my pregnant best friend’s SIL: “I know that my experience will be just one way to go through it. I can’t argue about how to raise a kid because I’m pretty certain there are a million ways to do it well.” It amazes me how people think their way is the only way, and are so judgmental toward people doing things differently.
That being said, do you read All Things G+D? She’s a new mom (like, as of last Saturday) and was hilarious throughout her pregnancy! http://allthingsgd.blogspot.com/
One word. Amen.
Thank goodness I have a small group, about 8 women, that all had babies within 2 weeks of Charlie, and we have never fought or ganged up on each other about anything. Some breastfeed, some didn’t. Some did baby food, some didn’t. Some were particular about their diet, and some (like me) drank wine and ate sushi. But, we were open, and caring, and for over 2 years have been able to be “online friends” all over the country, with no harsh words or criticism. It is refreshing, but because of baby sites, like you mentioned, we had to move from one site to the next, finally being a completely private group on FB, in order to avoid the drama.
Keep your head up, do what you feel is best, and don’t let anyone tell you different. I have my own feelings on most baby topics, having worked with babies for so long, and having one, but I won’t offer opinions or advice, unless asked, because I am not wanting to start a war. And that’s how most people take it…
Good luck hon! I am sure you will do a fabulous job…no matter what choices you make :)
Great post Kim!
I think the wars break out because there’s a fine line between having an opinion (which I certainly have no objection to, and even encourage), and judging others for having a different one. If everyone could accept that our pregnancies, our life situations, and our kids are/will be all different, then it would just be natural to respect the reasons why someone else’s different choice is truly the best one for them.
Personally, I like to read mommy blogs and see other’s opinions, if only lurker-style. Do I let them affect my own? In most cases, no, because their situation and mine are usually very different (though I do have an interest in product reviews in a “Consumer Reports” sort of way… to me the real “wars” are more typically over less tangible things like breastfeeding, birth, career or what not to do when one is pregnant). Like you, I tend to keep to myself when it comes to those things.
Please pass the cookies and milk! :)
I often check your blog because I’ve always enjoyed the upbeat tone you set, and I love this post.
I’m not pregnant, but my only sister is, and it hurts me to hear about the comments, the judgment and the unsolicited advice she’s gotten from people who hardly know her and surely don’t care about her baby as much as she does. She’s been making extra efforts to read positive things, surround herself with supportive folks, and focus on the hope and the joy of motherhood. I’m glad you’re doing that, too. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, but there are plenty of examples of really great parents, and I think you and Mr. M. are going to be a wonderful mom and dad.
So enjoy the sunshine, and good for you for staying away from the snark!
I’m not pregnant yet, boo on that, but how did you, once again, get in my head?
i’ve noticed that almost bullying nature myself in a few blogs that i read and it’s sad that it’s come to a point where we have to defend every choice we make and then come up with a rebuttal. i’m not pregnant nor will be for a while but i’ll join your corner if you’ll have me.
I don’t have kids and I already have people telling me how to raise my future kids. The cattiness of women scared the crap out of me sometimes. I can only imagine it will get even worse when I do have to make decisions for a little one. Vaccinations, pets, play dates, breast milk, organic food, car seats, etc. It’s crazy the debates that people get into over this stuff.
Don’t worry, I’ll hang out with you in a corner. It’ll be cool, the sane people will be there.
I am so with you on this one. I hate all of the questions I get regarding Brayden’s health, eating, sleeping habits, etc. I truly believe there is no wrong or right way, it is what works best for mommy and baby. I am very open to lots of things (cloth diapers, cloth wipes, organic food) I have just chosen not to use those things for Brayden. It’s just a personal preference, not one that I think is wrong.
Goodness, YES. I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by only amazing, supportive women in my life but some of what I’ve seen going on online makes me sad. I’m not sure why some gals seem to need to prove that their way is the best way and that all other ways are inferior but I do the same as you – shake it off and smile. I’d rather spend my time perpetuating joy and reading others that do the same.
So I’m in your corner… (and I brought chocolate too!).
I totally agree with you. As a non-preggo, I don’t think the baby bloggers who incite those arguments realize how obnoxious it comes across to everyone on the outside. I just see moms being wild and woolly unnecessarily.
You’re so right–nothing solicits unasked-for advice like a pregnancy bump. (And/or holding a baby.) Just know you and Chris are already great parents!
Although there are still irritating comments, I think I get even more smiles or thoughtful gestures or “I’ve been there” looks from people (depending on what Baby H is currently doing in a public place).
And it is pretty fantastic to instantly have so much in common with any other parent on the planet–no matter their views on certain issues, every mom or dad has been there!
YOU put it so well! I will join you with you milk and cookies and bring anything else to add to the delightful spread!
I shared this in google reader with this long, rambling comment and decided it was totally unfair that I didn’t also share my thoughts (and complete agreement) with you!
I know this entry is about having kids, which I can’t really relate to, but I can relate to the sentiments expressed. Why are some women constantly attacking each other for making life choices different from their own? Why do we choose to perceive other’s choices as an attack on our way of life? Feminism is 100% about choice and letting others choose how to live their lives, HOWEVER they want to do it. We should all steer clear of the pointed comments.
For example, I have a cousin who is really into eating healthy food (limit white sugar! no unnatural sugar substitutes!, Pescatarian is the only way to eat) and the whole New Age lifestyle (I wonder what would come up if she had a past life regression done?) and she could not be preachier about it. I could practically feel the disdain rolling off of her when I deigned to drink a diet soda in her presence. She has even lectured my mom about it too. She was horrified that I didn’t enjoy “Eat, Pray, Love” and, when I removed my wedding ring before we went to a hot springs, she told me that she never takes off the ring her mother gave her until the last minute because it is “like a talisman for her.” And what? I consider my wedding ring to be meaningless because I didn’t want it to be lost in the car?
Personally, I would never presume to force my beliefs on anyone. I don’t lecture my friends and family for eating meat; I could never picture myself doing that. Why on earth would I ever have the right to do that? (unfortunately, my vegetarian/atheist/liberal/married/childfree [or any other aspects that people somehow are bothered by] nature seems to offend some people and they pre-attack me anyway)
Just be nice, people!!
Wonderful post, Kim.
BRAVO, Kim!! A thousand head nods, and a hurrah. I was just going to blog about this exact thing, when I was clicking over to your blog!
Word! I am not even there yet, although with several people around me having children, I am sure it will occur eventually. I’m just going to keep my head in the sand. I will join you in the corner!
Aubrey @ My Simple Everyday
Yes! I love this post… I’m not pregnant (yet), but have been reading mommy blogs lately and people are just BRUTAL – resulting in many of my fave bloggers to take breaks from posting!!! Take a chill pill people!!
Kelly | Glamour This
How did I miss this post? Yup… I am with you 200% I can’t really add much because you’ve basically said it all…
Imma come join you in that corner of yours!