The “mommy wars”: we’ve all heard of those. Even the childless know about the “mommy wars”, but in case you’ve been living in a cardboard box for the last decade or so, the “mommy wars” are, in short, what any strong disagreement or difference of opinion is called among adult women who have children. And quite frankly, it’s ridiculous.
Let’s not get it twisted: the fact that all women (who happen to have children (you know, “moms”)) don’t agree on everything is not ridiculous. What’s ridiculous is that society expects all “moms” to feel the same, act the same, and think the same. It’s just not realistic, and it’s absolutely unfair. Furthermore, it’s definitely sexist beyond belief. And I have a huge problem with all of it.
While, in theory, it would be great for women with children to get along and form an unbreakable, unified support group for each other, it’s just never going to happen. Why? Well, because the only thing every mom has in common is that she has children. That’s it. That’s the only unifier. We don’t expect all persons with penises to unanimously agree on all things. We don’t expect all persons with brown hair to like purple. We don’t expect all persons who live in the same town to eat the same cereal for breakfast (or even eat cereal at all). Although having children and being responsible for children is a huge, life changing acquisition, there is very little to do with motherhood and child rearing that is one size fits all.
Think of your “mommy” friends: among your small group, you likely do things much differently. From your birth story to your dietary choices, you most likely do not agree 100% (or even 79%) with your fellow mom friends. So, why does society keep insisting we all circle together and sing Kumbaya? It’s not going to happen. Ever.
What would happen if instead of calling every disagreement a “mommy war”, we just settled into the fact that we are adults first, mommies second. In fact, we are only mommies to those we birthed or adopted; we are not societies mommies. We are not responsible for being “mommies” to the world, or even to our “mommy” friends.
“We smugly shake our heads at the backward attitudes of “Mad Men,” but at this particular moment in our history, some combination of overzealous parenting, savvy marketing and glorification of hearth and home have coaxed the public into viewing female parents as a strange breed apart from regular people. You might feel like the same person deep inside, but what the world apparently sees is a woman lugging around a giant umbilical cord.” – Heather Havrilesky, “Our ‘Mommy’ Problem”, NYTimes
It’s time we stopped grouping adult, female parents into an isolated group of glitter, goop, and Graco. Most “moms” are so much more than their parenting ideals, so let’s start treating each other that way. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a “traditional” role. It doesn’t mean you have to put down the glitter glue. It just means we shouldn’t expect that from every mom – Pinterest be damned. Let’s rejoice in the beauty of our diverse opinions. Let’s celebrate the fact that our lives are not cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all creations. Because one size fits all truly fits no one well. So, let’s all disagree. Let’s get upset. Let’s hate each other. Let us be, unapologetically, who we are. And let’s stop being passive aggressive about it; let’s be honest. I’m a mom, but I’m not your mom. So, pardon me if I don’t act like your moral compass.