After some interesting interactions with other mums, I’m trying to come to terms with the ‘mummy wars’. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
As 21st Century women there is a huge external and internal pressure for us to have it all and do it all. And this includes in a rather significant way motherhood. We expect ourselves to step into the role of motherhood and be able to just do it and succeed. We then spend a lot of energy in trying to do the right things and make the best decisions, to be able to be a average/normal/perfect mum. We invest a lot of ourselves in the parenting choices we make.
I’m suspecting this makes us firstly very defensive of our choices. We put a lot of angst into making them and someone just saying they did something different can feel like criticism. We are invested emotionally and don’t really want to consider an alternative once the decision is made because it hurts. Secondly it tends to give us a missionary zeal at times to tell others what we do, because if we can convince others to do it our way it validates our position and reinforces our rightness in choosing our path. Most of us can do this reasonably nicely, but there are women who feel the need to tear down the opposing view to build their own. Thirdly somehow all the decisions seem to take on equal importance. Guess what, the decision to not use a seat belt at all with your kids is not on par with the decision as to if you are going to use a jolly jumper. But somehow our brains don’t get that message, and we feel just as judged for both decisions.
I’ve been trying to work out why we care so much about the decisions other people make, to the extent that there are so many impassioned posts on various forums about the choices of others. And women getting so defensive. Unfortunately our social media world has added mob mentality to the mix.
I’m just trying to work out why people care about the parenting decisions of others when I know they are trying as hard as I am to make the best decisions for their child in their own family context. What I want to do is act out ‘I disagree with your decision, but you are an awesome parent who is parenting your kid in the best way possible for your family’, in a totally non-condescending way as they are doing a great job.