When I was at work I was semi-aware that there were some hot button, mommy war, issues out there.
SAHMs vs. Working Moms
Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feedings
Spanking vs. Not Spanking
That's it. That's all I thought there was.
Now that I am home I have found there are more. MANY more - here are a few:
Attachment Parenting vs. um not? (I don't know what the opposite is called - some AP sites and groups would call it abuse...)
Vaccines vs. Not Vaccination vs. Reduced Vaccination vs. Different Schedule for Vaccination
Organic vs. Conventional
Cloth vs. Disposable (not just diapers people - dish towels, napkins, mama personal care, toilet paper)
Medication vs. Homeopathy
Pacifiers vs. Only boobs
Free Range vs. Helicopter Parenting
Time out vs. Time in vs. Gentle Dicipline
Conventional Schooling vs. Montessori Schooling vs. Unschooling vs. Homeschooling
Co-sleeping vs. Separate Sleeping Spaces
Baby Food Purees vs. Baby Led Weaning
Breastfeeding Exclusively for 6 Months vs. 12 Months vs. 2 Years vs. Full Term Breastfeeding
And so many more.
It is not enough to just pick a side in one of these things. Nope - this is mean girls turned mom. It's like the cool table in high school talking about you behind your back except you don't know they're doing it! In high school - you knew who was talking about you (and probably what they were saying). Navigating the mommy world now is almost impossible.
There are yahoo groups, facebook groups, mommy meetups, playground groups, homeschooling groups, jogging groups, yoga groups, new mom groups, old mom groups, working mom groups, library book groups... those are the ones you know about.
There is a whole network of secret groups talking about what is going on in the rest of the groups.
Who is more AP than who else (especially those who *think* they are AP but not) - don't worry I can't follow it either.
Who someone saw using a time out (or worse spanking).
Who saw someone drinking coffee (or worse Diet Coke) while they were ______ (fill in the blank (pregnant, breast feeding, should have been watching their kid on the playground).
Who saw someone talking about something they thought they saw someone else doing in another online group.
I wish I were kidding.
I have thought a lot about this lately.
This idea of mean moms.
Grown up mean girls.
Many years ago women worked together.
They washed their laundry, cooked their meals, milked their cows, nursed their kids (and yikes... probably each others'!!), they taught their kids - and each others' kids right from wrong, they went to church, harvested (organically grown) food.
They worked together as a village.
It took a village to raise a child.
I have thought a lot about this ancient proverb lately. It's hard to find where it came from. I am a history teacher by trade - so research is kind of what I do. I can't find the primary source this came from... but I guess it doesn't matter.
A village worked together.
Not against each other.
I have thought a lot about it lately with the work I have taken on in this year "off." MY village has (mostly) come together around one of our own. I hope that working with this wonderful, meaningful organization we can get back to the core of working together to raise our children because honestly - I don't think we were meant to do it alone, behind a computer, with emoticons. To show them what is important, how to help those in need, what values are crucial to a happy life, and how to treat one another.
In the end I think the reason moms (and mean girls) tear each other down is because it's really scary being a girl and a mom. There is a lot of pressure to be the best and not make any mistakes and now moms groups and the internet bring that pressure into our homes, our living rooms, our kitchens.
They are there telling us there is a better way to do something and that the way we're doing it is wrong or worse is harming our children.
They are there telling us we could do better.
They are there telling us they are doing better.
I think what all this debate misses is that we are all doing our best. We research and read more than any other generation of mothers (think of just the amount of work you go through finding a pediatrician - in a few of the groups I am in there are FILES of pediatricians, their pros and cons, their areas of expertise, etc.). In the past there has been one doctor. Everyone went to him (yup no lady doctors). And no one even thought about it!
So I repeat.
We are all doing our best.
If we thought that before we commented online or at the playground about the actions of another mother in our village I think we would be a lot better off.
She is doing her best.
She is part of our village.
Other than thinking it was a giant waste of time, I wonder what pioneer women would have done with the internet. Or immigrant women working in factories and living in tenements. What would they do with this technology, this virtual village? I hope they would use it to help not hurt. To lift up not tear down.
I hope we will too.