Draft Dodging The Mom Wars
Before I had a baby I was, like most childless people, the perfect parent. The list of things I would always do and never do was long, detailed and set in stone. Then Andrew arrived and with him came Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. That potent combination of the three of us - me, my baby and my mental illness, made me throw pretty much every single always and never out of the window.
It changed me. I am stronger and more fragile now. I am more complete and riddled with holes. It's complicated.
One of my favorite things about the new me is that ALWAYS and NEVER are almost gone. I will always love my child. I will never stop loving him. The same goes for the little girl I'm carrying now. Other than that? I have absolutely no idea.
I have plans. Yes. I have books and lists and experiences behind me to learn from. I have friends and mentors and hopes and dreams. I have doctors and medications. Those things I have.
I have very few judgements left, though. It's hard to look down on someone when you're in your own pit of despair and can barely see out of it. It's hard to get angry at other mothers when you have felt like the worst mother in the universe for so long. I ask myself, who am I to judge? And the answer is: I have no idea.
But I'm online so it's expected. I move in this blogging world and on Facebook and Twitter and every few seconds there's an uproar because World Breastfeeding Week alienates bottle feeding moms or someone writes an article about how you can't practice attachment parenting and RIE or how co-sleeping is the most dangerous way to parent or the only way to make sure your baby or child is secure.
People get mean. People get ugly. People get defensive and friendships will end over cloth diapering or over specific types of cloth diapering.
I get it. I really do. For many of us this is the most important thing that we will ever do in our lives. We feel like if we do these specific things we won't screw up our kids and all we want out of life is to not screw up our kids. Then along comes someone else who is not only doing the thing we won't allow ourselves to do, but they are also saying it's better. They're saying that thing we know is wrong is the very thing that will keep their kids safe and make our kids unsafe (or unloved, or, or, or, etc).
None of it is really true though. I can think of maybe three of four things that are universally good for every child: food, shelter, medical care, love, education. After that? Well, after that there is very little 100% certainty.
I read through these threads and rants and the fear is so real, so palpable that I don't know how we all don't see it. So here's what I want to tell you all - everyone who is in the mom wars - you are all right. You are all good enough. You are all the very best mother for your child. YOU. ARE. and that is enough.
Depressed mama - you are good enough. Anxiety filled mama - you are good enough. OCD terrified mama - you are good enough. Breastfeeding mama - you are good enough. Bottle feeding mama - you are good enough. Pumping mama - you are good enough. Cloth diaper mama - you are good enough. Disposable diaper mama - you are good enough. Vegan mama - you are good enough. Vegetarian mama - you are good enough. Omnivore mama - you are good enough. Yoga mama - you are good enough. Workout mama - you are good enough. Couch mama - you are good enough. No TV mama - you are good enough. Some TV mama - you are good enough. TV saves my life mama - you are good enough. Working mama - you are good enough. Stay at home mama - you are good enough. Work at home mama - you are good enough. Mama with a full time nanny - you are good enough. Mama with part time help - you are good enough. Mama who wishes for help - you are good enough. Single mama - you are good enough. Divorced mama - you are good enough. Married mama - you are good enough. Lesbian mama - you are good enough. Adoptive mama - you are good enough.
Is anyone spotting a trend here?
These little things that we're fighting about are all part of a really big thing - how we will raise our children. It's okay to be passionate about that. It's okay to disagree. It is not okay to attack another mother, father or caregiver. It is not okay to let your own fears lash out at someone else.
If you agree with me, please take a moment to head over to www.mommitment.org and join us. We are the moms who refuse to fight other moms. We are the moms who will have your back and will let you make your choices and will not let anyone come after you.