a thought on "mommy war-ing" & self-worth

Over the last few months, the whole "Mommy War" idea has been on my mind a lot. There have been endless amounts of blog posts, news articles, and headlines talking about how women need to combat this problem.  At the same time, many of these articles are from women and mothers themselves.  They talk about those other moms - moms that feed their kids organic foods, moms that complain constantly, moms that don't allow their kids to watch TV, moms that formula feed, moms that don't give their kids sugar, or moms that apologize for their house being "messy."  Every time I come across those posts/articles {literally, 100% of the time}, I find myself being at least ONE of those moms.  Aren't we all?

While those articles can make us feel better about our lives, it just seems like a lot of DO NOT's.  As well intentioned as each article intends to be, I can't help but think that as mothers, we all seem to be pointing fingers at each other. If my best friend gives her son a package of perfectly organic, sugar free fruit snacks, then I must be a horrible mom for handing my daughter a package of full-sugar, preservative-packed, and heaven forbid, FROZEN fruit snacks.  How dare my friend make me feel like such a failure!?  If only she hadn't brought those organic snacks, I wouldn't look like such a bad parent.

Do you see what I mean??  Us mothers sit there, judging other moms for what they do because it makes us feel bad about our own parenting chooses - so it must be their fault.

The article that particularly caught my attention was one that spoke about how mothers need to stop complaining.  It came from a mother.  One who has her own ups and downs and her fair share of complaining moments.  Her point made sense. She argued that as mothers, we chose this life.  We chose to have children and because we made that choice, we need to not complain about it.  While I agree that mothers shouldn't complain all the time, it doesn't seem fair to tell other moms to stop complaining because SHE understands.  

Here's the deal : if you want to complain, then complain.  Know who you can complain to and know who won't judge you for saying such horrible things about those precious little angels that you love more than life itself.  

Just because you need to get things off your chest, doesn't mean you hate your life and it doesn't mean you hate your children or your husband.  What it mean is that you are HUMAN.  You are not some super-mom or super-woman or even pretending to be any version of that.  You will need to cry. You will need to complain.  You will need to break down and punch a pillow.  That is NORMAL. YOU ARE NORMAL. Obviously, you don't want to let complaining consume you, but you should feel empowered - as a woman, mother, daughter, aunt, cousin, sister - to complain and let others know how you feel.

And yes, maybe you have a friend that doesn't stop complaining.. maybe it's annoying, but you've been there.  Love her for trusting you enough to be the person she tells the deepest, darkest parts of her soul to.  Love her for putting on her "happy" face and loving her family even when days are hard. Love her for wanting to talk to an adult.  Love her because you understand what its like to not have someone to talk to.

The other article that caught my attention was about mothers who apologize for their house being a "mess" when it most certainly is NOT.  You know, one of those "messy" homes with perfectly vacuumed floors and the aroma of bleach everywhere. The mother writing the particular article was speaking her annoyance of those type of women, because her house always has dishes and laundry piled high, crumbs on the table, and toys strewn throughout the house.  She spoke about feeling inadequate when walking into a perfectly clean home and the other woman apologizes for the "mess."  I'm guilty of this!  Having just cleaned, I may still apologize for my "mess" because it's just not up to par with my standards... and then those sneaky thoughts creep in making me believe that the person I'm apologizing to must be appalled at the sight of laundry folded on the sofa and toys thrown in a box because her home is probably spit-shine clean.  Hello!  How are we to know what her home looks like?  Who are we to judge ourselves against some fantasy we just created in our head?  We should never feel the need to apologize for our "messy" home.  Why? Our home is where we raise our children, cook meals, lounge on the floor, play with blocks, and fold our laundry.  And even when I do apologize for that mess that's... well, not so messy... it shouldn't make your friend feel bad. Why?  Because we are different women with entirely different expectations of ourselves.  Our lives, homes, day-to-day activities, children, and hobbies are all different.  We can't afford to take on that guilt of feeling like a failure when we have no idea what is going on in the other woman's life.

Needless to say, there are days where my house is a mess.  Those are the days when my kids need me the most.  Those are the days where we are headed out to the museum or park to play.  As mothers, we understand both sides.  We will always apologize for that single toy on the ground.  We will apologize for the pile of dishes in the sink.  Whatever the case may be, we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  Some of us are amazing home-makers.  Some of us are amazing at scheduling activities for our kids.  Some of us are amazing at teaching our children about nature.  Some of us our amazing at including our kids in every project.  Don't you see??  We are amazing - unique, human, different - but still AMAZING! 

I've noticed that people have a tendency to project their feelings on other people.  If I feel bad {discouraged, angry, frustrated, ugly} then I treat people badly.  If I feel good {happy, confident, beautiful, strong} then I treat people well.  It may not be fair, but it's part of our human nature.  It's easy as mothers to feel discouraged, so when other mom's seem to be doing everything right, we immediately start to think of all of our failures and want to explain our reasoning for this or that.  You don't owe anyone an explanation!  You may feel discouraged, but you are not a failure.  No matter if you choose to give your kids organic veggies or regular veggies, breastfeed or bottle feed, TV or no TV.  The best part? Just because someone does something the exact opposite of you, doesn't mean you can't be friends with them.  It doesn't make you less or more, worse or better.  It means you are different than the person standing next to you.  Isn't that such a beautiful thing?

You are a mother.  You are good.  Give your kids an ice cream {or not}.  Let your kids watch TV {or not}.  Clean your house {or not}.  Do what you WANT to do.  Do what you KNOW is right.  You don't owe anyone an explanation or apology for the way you choose to parent.  You were blessed to be a mother and with that comes the knowledge, the power, the ability to make decisions for yourself, your children, and your family.  Allow other mothers to do the same.  Love them, don't judge them. Most importantly, love yourself.  Believe in yourself.  Trust yourself.  Don't judge yourself against other women and don't judge other women against yourself.  You are intended to be a unique individual, not the clone of your best friend or sister.

Be of good cheer momma.
You are doing more right than you know!

1 comment

  1. Hey Kels this post is awesome! Thank you. I totally agree mom's are cool :-) kids are sent to their moms and Dads because no other parent could raise them better. You're an awesome mom and I love hearing how your cute family is doing!


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