The Mommy Debates

I am so sick of moms beating up on each other.  As if we don’t already have the most stressful, tedious, and overwhelming job in the world.  (Of course it is amazing and wonderful too.  But let’s be honest, we’ve all considered jumping off a cliff at least once!) Why is there so much tension out there?

For those of you without kids, there is an endless tug of war between opposing viewpoints on just about any subject you can imagine.  Nothing is without contentious debate.  And I am tired of it!

For your consideration, a list of just three of the debates that rage through the mommy world.

TO EPIDURAL, OR NOT TO EPIDURAL

The saddest part of all of this is that you can’t even glow through your pregnancy without being embroiled in a mommy debate.  Almost from the moment you announce you are about to be bigger than a beached whale, people want to know what you are going to do: home birth, natural, epidural, c-section…  Point one.  It is none of their damn business.  If they ask they are rarely doing so out of curiosity.  They most likely want to regale you with stories of their own labor, and talk you into doing it their way.  Point two.  In a lot of cases you don’t get to pick what you want to do.  You may have a perfect labor planned in your mind, but Mother Nature usually has her own script.  So then you feel like shit because your Lamaze plan was interrupted by the need for an emergency surgery to get the baby out.  I have friends who asked for the epidural the second they got to the hospital,  who made it through drug free at home, and who had c-sections and everything in between.  And you know what?  They all came home with the ultimate prize:  A HEALTHY BABY!  They don’t give out plaques for going drug free.  There is no special line at Target.  While I admire greatly people that can handle that kind of pain and exhaustion without chemical relief, I honestly can’t see any difference in the end products.  I have never been at the playground scoping out the kids…”oh, well he was born by Bradley method.  That one’s mom must have had an epidural.  And look at that poor one, definitely a c-section.”  

PLAYTHING OR MILK BAGS?

Once you have finally extricated the baby from your body in the method you agonized over, you have to confront your next life-changing decision:  breast or bottle.  You don’t even have the time to catch your breath before the nurses want to know if it is okay to give the baby a little formula in the nursery.  “What?  I’m sorry, my privates are on fire and you want me to make a rational decision?”  This one is one of the most contentious because it is the most public.  Go to the mall and you will see people disgusted by the poor mom trying to breast feed discretely in the corner.  And after that you can pass a woman making snide comments (not quite) under her breath to the mom giving her child a bottle on the other bench.  I had a friend once who called me in tears about breast feeding.  She hated it.  There was nothing about it that gave her any joy.  I made the simple statement that maybe she should try formula.  You would have thought I had suggested putting the baby in the oven on warm.  There is so much pressure to breast feed that it never occurred to her that you could bottle feed and still be a good mother.  Never mind that she was in tears, never mind that it was turning her early bonding time with the baby into a depressing mess.  Bottle feeding in our circles is equated with child abuse.  I have done both.  I preferred breast feeding.  Not because of any magical bond, or any near religious devotion to it.  My plumbing worked well and it was easier than buying formula and washing bottles.  God I hated washing bottles.  And I didn’t have to hold anything, which meant that I could fall asleep while they were eating.  But I have never, and will never try to make someone feel bad for FEEDING THEIR BABY.  Isn’t that what matters?  The baby is being cared for and fed so that it will grow up strong and healthy.  And again, it is nearly impossible to tell which kids were breast fed as babies.  

And don’t you dare tell me that stats show that breast fed babies are smarter!  Shame on you!  Most exclusively breast fed babies come from higher socio-economic groups, who aren’t smarter, they just get a better education.  I am in my late thirties.  My mom didn’t breast feed me and I have to say I have never felt that it held back my intellectual development.  

WORK VS HOME

This one, for a lot of moms, is out of their hands.  Many moms just have to work.  That’s just how it is.  But there are those moms, I know a few, that don’t HAVE to work.  They like to work.  So hence begins the round and round that is home vs work.  

Working moms show their sons and daughters an example of a independent, strong woman.

Funny, so do stay at home moms.

And can I say that I hate the term “full time mom”.  Every mom is a full time mom.  Just because someone is at the office doesn’t mean that they are not thinking about, worrying about their kids.  It’s a 24/7 gig whether you add another job on top of it or not. I equally hate when a woman will answer the do you work outside the home question with : “no, I’m just a mom.”  As if there could ever be anything “just” about being a mom.  

This debate can go in circles for decades.  And the ultimate answer to this as to every mommy debate can be summed up in a nutshell:

EVERY MOM DOES THE BEST SHE CAN,  MAKING THE DECISIONS SHE FEELS IS BEST FOR HER AND HER FAMILY.

That’s it.  Period.  

No one makes a bad decision about their babies on purpose, well maybe the mentally unbalanced, but that is such an exception to the rule…

So how about we put away the mommy politics and just support each other?  

Just take a deep breath and say “sure, I might do it differently, but I will support this woman because she is just like me.  She is a mother.”

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