I know we all want to believe that mothers everywhere watch out for each other with the whole, “it takes a village” harmony stuff. But in case you haven’t taken a gander in some mommy Facebook groups or scrolled through the comments on a Yahoo! ask page, I’ll give you a heads up: not all mothers are nice to each other, especially if they are sitting behind a computer screen.
Sure, just like in any situation, there are the redeeming souls who are actually supportive, nice, and quick to give the benefit of the doubt. I’m a firm believer that there is still love and light in this world and that there are many kind people sharing their goodness and positivity. And granted, there are some moms who may have seemed nasty, but they “mean well” and genuinely don’t realize their comment came off rude or judgmental. But well intended or not, there will be times when you ask a question or make a statement about anything child related and you will be misunderstood and judged.
Because in life, everything has an opposite. With every good comment, sometimes there’s 10 bad ones that will drown it out. For every parenting hill you conquer, there might be another put in your place by someone only thinking of themselves. There’s just no way to get through raising kids without having some nasty encounters eventually. I mean, heaven forbid we don’t all start our parenting stage of life with a master’s degree in all thing child!
So if you’re a new mommy who would like a roadmap of the delicate subjects you will need to tread lightly around, here’s a list of 10 hot topics that are guaranteed to get most moms wagging their opinionated tongues:
Home birth? You’re putting yourself and baby in danger.
Hospital birth? Too much intervention.
Water birth? Gross.
Epidural? You’re weak.
Natural/no medication? You’re just trying to prove something.
Hooked up to monitors? You actually prefer to be tethered down?
Labor without monitoring and instrument cords? You are being difficult.
Cesarean? You failed.
Vaginal? You just tore up your husband’s favorite part of your body and it’ll never be the same, congrats.
Basically, no matter how your kid got here, there are people who will think you’ve done it wrong. So get used to ignoring the haters.
“I don’t want to vaccinate my kids.”
*Out come the torches, pitchforks, and accusations of Measles*
“I want to vaccinate my kids.”
*Out come the Torches, pitchforks, and accusations of Autism*
This one stumps me every time. There’s no way to compare straight across what circumcising an infant will do to him, verses what leaving him intact will do to him. You can’t have it both ways. Sure, a male can be left intact as an infant and then get a medically necessary circumcision later in life (ouch) but there’s no way to tell if his later-life experience/pain level would be exactly the same as if he had gotten it as a 2-day old. So why fight about it? As you conduct your research in order to make a decision about it, just be warned that the mere mention of the C-word will be the spark to the mommy wildfire argument.
Breast is Best VS Fed is Best:
“Breast milk is the only option you should feed your baby. It is full of nutrients and protection that can’t be fully duplicated with formula. Plus the mommy-baby bonding time can only be achieved this way.”
But on the other hand…
“There are a million reasons why a mother might not be able to breastfeed her baby or might not have access to donors. Formula is scientifically improved to give your baby the same nutrients and is heaven sent to a mother’s sanity. It doesn’t matter where it comes from; just that the baby is being fed and thriving.”
My opinion (not that you asked): I prefer to give my baby pizza and shakes. Start ‘em young on the tasty stuff, I say!
When your kid gets older and moves to solids, you’ve just stepped into another hot topic—what to feed her now? Don’t you know that American’s throw a ton of soy and other processed crap into all their food? So you better feed them only homemade or organic purees.
But, don’t you know that mothers are busy and over-tired, so grabbing one of those veggie pouches from the baby aisle is their lifesaver? And that millions of kids eat America’s “processed crap” and still survive (even thrive)?
Again, I prefer to just feed my kid pizza and shakes and let the school systems dictate what my kid will eat later on. (That’s sarcasm, folks.)
Sleep training methods (specifically the Cry It Out option):
Apparently, the CIO method will harm your baby, leading to increased anxiety and neurological damage. But also, the CIO method will not harm your baby and instead, teaches her to self-soothe and develop good sleep habits. Wait, what? How can there be research that support each polar opposite side? Well, probably because no two kids are the same and one sleep training method might be perfect for one kid and terrible for the next. So unless you have a thick skin and can take a very heated discussion from both sides of the spectrum, best to decide what you want to do for your own baby and then tiptoe away from the discussion boards.
Stay-At-Home vs. Working Mothers:
SAH moms have it harder. No wait, working moms have it harder. No wait… Don’t all moms have it hard, because motherhood, by definition, is difficult? Since when did we feel the need to bag on each other and compete for who has it worse or who is more of a superhero because of the busier schedule and better balance skills? ALL moms have it hard and ALL moms deserve to complain every now and then, without the competition. But it seems people forget this and take to Twitter and Facebook to participate in mommy wars.
Some people think that even a glance at a phone tablet or TV screen will fry your kid’s brain. Some think 6 hours total screen time a day is completely fine. You’re hated for the first (because you must be a rockin’ mom that never needs a sanity break) and you’re hated for the second (how dare you use TV as a babysitter), so just do whatever the heck you want and don’t bother asking for strangers’ opinions.
Yup, you might even be classified into a certain “type” of mom, and then ruthlessly made fun of for it, based on your parenting preferences. Common “Types” would be: Crunchy, Hot Mess, Pinterest Perfect, Hipster, Expert. All get ragged on but the most commonly hated one is probably the Expert/Pulled-together mom, since we all are jealous of her abilities to multitask and organize, with the seemingly perfectly behaved kids. So yeah, if you actually figure out any aspect of mothering, apparently you’ll still get attacked for it. There’s no winning, so just avoid the gossip and don’t get sucked into the stereotypes.
Discipline (specifically spanking):
Basically, don’t touch your kid or else someone, somewhere, will call CPS on you for abuse.
In just the three short years I’ve held motherhood status, I’ve seen both sides of the judgment battle (I’m not perfect so yes, I’ve judged another’s decisions, too). Trust me when I say this:
There is no way to please everyone, and “everyone” doesn’t matter when it comes to your own kid.