Earlier this evening, I read this post (and the ensuing comments) about the Mommy Wars. I must confess I generally avoid such conversations, because I feel much the same as the author. Parenthood is hard enough and laden enough guilt without piling it on to our peers.
The thing is, these conversations most often happen at the very outset of Mommy-hood – in those days, weeks and months that run together thanks to sleep deprivation and the self-sacrifice that is required of all mammalian parents. Most moms are less than sane at that point, if we’re honest. And all too many women deal with some level of post-partum depression that leaves them even more vulnerable to self-loathing and isolation.
To be honest, as I struggle to get my 16yo ready for launch, all of that seems so silly. The best I could do on any given day was to make the best possible decision in the moment. We are where we are. But there is part of me that hates to go on Facebook, knowing that friends will be posting status updates that are the equivalent of the My Kid is an Honor Student bumper stickers and photos of shiny happy kiddos earning awards and dressed for events… What happens when your family’s biggest victory is several days in a row of getting out of bed, dressed and making it through a day without a panic attack?
The damage done in those early “mommy war” years is more than just the frustration of new moms (and dads). It struck me today that if we don’t learn early on to be honest and real about the struggles we face AND SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER as allies in this crazy job… there is just no way we can lean into one another when the kids are ready to drive us from activity to activity.
What kind of community might exist long term if we agreed to be as supportive as possible from the get-go? Have your opinions, share your ideas and passions, give advice when asked… But then let it go.
Cheer each other on; wipe each others’ tears. Bring peace and hope, today and as the kids grow up.