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My Mother’s Day Manifesto

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I’ve noticed that people on the interwebs are becoming increasingly prickly.  Maybe it is because everyone has a soapbox platform now.  We blog, tweet, facebook, comment, vlog.

Hey, I get it.  I’m doing it now.

But this phenomenon has turned every news article, research study, opinion piece, heck–even the obituaries into an opportunity to express one’s anecdotal experience.

Laboratory of one.

Want an example?

I read an article about a kindergarten kid who was forced to sit in her own feces during testing.  Terrible story about a specific incident.  I knew what I would read in the comments.  “That is why we homeschool.”  And, “If you have a kid about to enter the odd social experiment American public schools have become I fear for you.”  Over 1000 comments.  Ad nauseam.

A study that shows breastfeeding boosts immunity?  You guessed it:  “Well, my kid wasn’t breastfed and he never got sick.  Not once.”

A soccer team gets sick from germs on a reusable bag.  “Please hippies, stop using your reusable bags.  You’re going to kill the rest of us.”  Real comment.

Can we please stop taking everything so personally?  Everything isn’t about you.

Cloth diapers vs. disposables.  Breastmilk vs. Formula.  Bed-sharing vs. Crib-sleeping.  Free-Range vs. Helicopter.  Public school vs. Homeschool.  Hospital vs. Homebirth.  SAHM vs WOHM.  Vaccinations, Cry-it-out, Attachment Parenting, Child-Led Weaning.

Guess what?

At the end of the day, these are not moral decisions.  They are choices.

I know they are important choices to the parents making them.  But in the scheme of things?  These are distractions to bigger issues.  And bottom line:  who cares what choices other parents make?

The so-called Mommy Wars keep us busy fighting petty battles.

I admit that when I was a new mom, high on oxytocin and prolactin, I proudly stamped the labels after my name.  Have you seen such?

NorahsMom: non-CIO, babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, no-circ, waterbirther.  Go ahead.  Google me.  You’ll probably find pages of forum activity.  You’ll find me all fluffed up with icons and smileys.  Full of advice.

Embarrassing.  Ridiculous.  Thank goodness I realize now we’re all pretty much clueless, hanging on by a thread, and doing the best we can for these children we love.

Listen mamas.  There are real issues that involve moral decisions.  Issues like maternity leave, access to healthcare, toxic food and products, children without mothers, maternal mortality and morbidity.  There are children who are trafficked and children who work on coffee plantations.  Why aren’t we taking our fierce mama bear selves and fighting about that?

I write a blog about my life, my work, and my choices.  My life.  My work.  My choices.  I parent in the way that feels normal.  To me.  And yes, I advocate for natural birth and cloth diapers and the like.  I’m passionate about these things.  But I do not assume these translate into roadmaps for other families.

Yesterday when I overheard some women talking about attachment parenting in a dismissive and demeaning way, it made me angry.  But then it made me wonder, when have I done the same?

The so-called Mommy Wars keep us busy fighting petty battles.

Polarizing us.

Paralyzing us.

A mom is a powerful force.  With our multi-tasking skills, our sacrificial love, and our relentless desire to protect, we are unstoppable.  Sounds a bit like a superhero.

Alright, I admit I am caught up in the Avengers.  Maybe I am dreaming of a Mothers Initiative.

So I’ll start small.

I’ll start with not taking everything personally.  And taking a step away when I get too close to the choices I’ve made.  My fight is not with other mamas.

We are on the same team.

(And while we’re talking teams, can we please pick out some uniforms à la avengers?  Something high-tech with snazzy gadgets?)

7 responses »

  1. Preach it! You’re the second mama this week pointing out that we are *not* in competition with each other! I hope hope hope you’re both early indicators of a new trend in finding our identities somewhere outside of our parenting choices. We can’t be the only few tired of the bickering.

    And please don’t google me! 😉

  2. Well said! Happy Mothers Day! Thanking God you guys became parents!

  3. Thank you, Julie. Very well said!

  4. There is only a few things I will battle openly about 🙂 I dare to draw that line in the sand…I feel the same way you do, but I think it is inherent as women – we judge – we justify – we jump and pick our battles ; cautiously, but non-the-less we do 😦 That paradigm (spelling?) shift of thinking about others above ourselves would do us well indeed. Very appropriate timing for this post 🙂

  5. I want an all white uniform inspired by Mac with a cape and boots. Oh… and can I have a motorcycle too?

  6. Thank you for this. I plan to link to it from my blog, as you voiced many of my thoughts recently. If nothing else, judging, fighting and one-upmanship are just plain exhausting. Let’s save that energy to love on our kids and help others who really need it.

  7. writeratheart

    Love a blog post that keeps it real. This reminds me of my favorite line from the much-admonished Time magazine piece on Sears that just published last week: “… In fact there ARE no macho tests of motherhood. Motherhood is — should be — a village, where we explore each other’s choices, learn from them, respect them, and then go off and make our own.” Bravo.


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