I had always heard about "mommy wars" and thought that was just something that happened on Facebook between moms who don't know each other. But not only is this is a real life thing, it happens between friends! The funny part is, every mom I talk to hates getting unsolicited advice or feeling judged for her decisions. I have never met someone who hangs out with fellow moms and purposely tries to make others feel bad for their choices. So why do mommy wars exist?
In my very short time of being a mom I've tried to observe why my feelings get hurt, or why I have felt compelled to give another mom unsolicited advice. I think it's because my biggest mommy war is with myself!
Before I became a mom I was an employee, a student, a volunteer,etc. I've spent so much time in roles where I've had clear expectations and boundaries given to me. I am used to being evaluated, or being given a rubric to follow. I have had regular performance reviews where I have been told what I am doing well and what I need to improve. This helped encourage me and point me in the right direction.
But motherhood has no rubric! There's no clear expectations or boundaries that I need to follow, and there is no one who regularly tells me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong. The only way I can think of evaluating myself is to see what others are doing and to measure myself next to moms with babies the same age.
So for me, I am secretly looking for validation from other moms that I am doing ok.
For example, someone might ask me "how is he sleeping?" and my response is "Oh he's doing ok, I mean he's still sleeping in my bed, but I kind of like it although I know I shouldn't do it for too long, but its good because he gets better sleep and so do I, but maybe he would wake up less if I just put him in the crib but he won't sleep by himself so yeah he's sleeping fine, thanks for asking."
Why do i answer like that? Because that is the commentary going on in my mind about every topic and deep down in my heart I want my mom friend to calm that voice and say that I'm doing ok.
I love my mom friends- I want to tell them they are doing ok, because I genuinely think they are! Literally every mom I hang out with I think to myself how amazing they are and how their kids are just the most darling little things ever. Maybe if I spend more time encouraging my friends instead of looking for validation, the mommy wars will slow down.