By now, “mommy wars” has become a household phrase. We all know the battles and opposing sides: working mom vs. stay-at-home mom, breastfeeding mom vs. bottle-feeding mom, attachment vs. free-range … the list goes on. We’ve all taken our various sides and have our own personal battle scars from living with our choices and facing the upturned noses of those who chose differently. And the Internet, bless its soul, has helped us dig in our heels, wage ugly words, and fire judgmental accusations against each other at lightening speed.
But I’m kind of over that. And I think (hope) that while these wars will surely always boil under the surface, there’s a new movement to band together and accept each other’s choices, and just know that we all do the best we can, and what’s best for our own individual families. With any luck the wars will soon get a downgrade to something more like … spats. Can I get an Amen?
So the mommy wars aren’t what get me riled up these days. No, it’s something a little more tricky to put your finger on, something that masks itself as a positive thing but leaves you feeling just as icky. In honor of the upcoming festivities this week, I’m going to call it the Mommy Olympics. The all-out, fierce, no-holds-barred competition of who can out-do, out-shine, out-perform the other--a race to the finish of earning that gold medal of parenting (if only it existed!). Official sponsor: social media. Leaving the rest of us–please say it isn’t just me--with only feelings of inadequacy.
Just log on to Facebook and you’re sure to see a gold-medal mom listing her wins of the day – homemade meal in the oven, brilliant new craft idea for the kids, photos of a perfectly groomed child having the time of her life (while learning something way beyond her years), and some sort of I-have-the-best-life-ever-and-could-not-be-more-happy status. Oh, and the laundry is all done.
Then hop over to Pinterest. You’ll see kids’ birthday party themes fit for a Queen’s Jubilee, nursery decorations worthy of a catalog, and snack foods cut into the shapes of a zoo scene.
How are these moms able to do these things? Why don’t I have the time for them? More importantly, even if I had the time, why don’t I CARE to do many of them? (I can think of about 999 other things I’d rather spend time on than arranging fruit into the shape of a caterpillar. Considering that it all ends up on the floor, anyway.) There’s a big race out there, and I’m not even fit for training. What I really want to know is, can these moms really do it all? Or, like me, are they finding it just a tad tough just to get through a day of meal-planning, playtime, housework, work, baths, and bedtime battles, while mustering up some smidgen of patience and a smile? In this social media era of one-up-womanship, are we all just doing each other a disservice by pretending we’ve all got everything neatly in its photo-worthy place, with creativity to spare?
In any case, this mommy is going to leave the Olympics to the professionals. I’ll watch from my couch as I slump over in exhaustion in the midst of my messy living room. And I’ll tell Facebook all about it.