Thursday, August 5, 2010

Waving the White Flag

Gisele's whole "breastfeeding should be a law" thing has been bothering me the last few days and other than providing an excuse to criticize a supermodel, I couldn't understand why. It's not as if breastfeeding has anything to do with me. My knowledge on the subject is limited to my friends' experiences, some of whom feel it was a cherished bonding ritual and others who describe it as a horrific, stressful trauma.

It occurred to me today the reason her comments got under my skin is that I'm tired of mothers judging each other.

breastfeeding v. bottle feeding

cloth diapers v. disposables

stay-at-home moms v. working moms

co-sleeping v. cry-it-out

spankings v. timeouts

private school v. public school

I could go on, but you get my point. From the moment you start your day, every choice you make as a mom seems to be up for debate. It's ridiculous...and believe me, I'm not trying to sound preachy b/c I'm guilty of it too.

I'm not sure why we do it. Being a mom is such a huge responsibility and even though we all want to do what's best, half the time we aren't really sure what we are doing (at least I'm not anyway). I think it's that insecurity, that nagging voice in the back of our minds wondering "Am I screwing this up?", that makes us feel the need to justify our choices by pointing out all the reasons other people's are wrong. We're missing the fact that someone else's choice doesn't have to be wrong in order for ours to be right.

In our rush to prove what amazing mothers we are, so many of us have forgotten that kids do not come with a set of "one size fits all" instructions. Every family, every child, is different. If breastfeeding and co-sleeping work for you, that's great. If they don't, that's okay too. It would be so great if we could all really, truly accept that.

Ridiculing each other's choices isolates us. It draws a line in the sand and forces us to choose sides. It creates opponents rather than allies. It would be so much better if we could reach a place where we could share our experiences without all the judgement and support each other's choices - even when they are different from our own. The bottom line is we're all trying to be the best mom we can be and it sure would be a lot easier to do that with the help of other moms.


  1. I totally agree with you!! We're still in the "waiting for a referral" stage, and I'm already struck by how much mothers criticize one another. All families are different -- parents and children, and what works for one just doesn't work for another. And I haven't figured out why mothers even CARE so much what another family does. So I don't co-sleep and my friend does -- what difference does it make to me how her family does things? Love this post!!

  2. In some ways becoming a mother has made me more critical of other parents but most times it has made me much much more understanding.