Monday, July 7, 2014

Are "Mommy Wars" a Real Thing?

There seems to be a new popular article on Facebook each week (or day).  Sometimes it is about moms needing to cover up while breastfeeding, toys that we owned that prove we were true children of the 90’s, or even the big teaser that there was going to be a Hocus Pocus 2 (such a disappointment)!  Yet one seems to come up over and over again that I just don’t know if I can relate to well – the story of “Mommy Wars.”

The introduction of Pinterest in to most of our lives has probably made us all feel inadequate in some way or another.  There are amazing recipes that we should be making for our families, adorable costumes we should be starting to sew for our children to wear on Halloween, and over-the-top themed parties to be had for every stinking holiday imaginable!  I should tell you all that I am not a great cook, made a pair of boxer shorts in home-ec class in eighth grade that promptly fell apart in the wash, and will expect you to bring a dish if I want to have you over for a party.  And no, there won’t be a theme or even a festive drink.  We are serving beer and wine.  Deal with it!  I’m the worst Pinterest mom ever!

Yet just because I am terrible at all of these things does not mean that I don’t like them or add them to my virtual pin-boards.  Of course I do!  And of course, if you were to look at them you would be expecting me to make gourmet dinner tonight while wearing a phenomenal outfit in my exquisitely decorated mansion.  For some moms this means that we must be in competition with one another.  That your kid’s birthday party has to be more over-the-top than my kid’s party.  That your Fourth of July has to be way more exciting than mine.  That everything you do must make every other mother out there swoon and say, “Man, if I could only be like her!”

This isn’t my reality.  It isn’t just because I know *most* of you aren’t making gourmet dinners every night, wearing perfectly put together outfits with matching wedge heels, and flitting around your mansions.  It is because my experience has taught me that we aren’t at war with one another.  We are attempting to create A VILLAGE!

My husband sent me a link to an article today that revealed the author’s greatest fears for our youth.  One of these fears was that “the village” was disappearing.  Those people in our lives who had previously succeeding in helping to raise each other’s children were going by the wayside.  Sure, I agree that some parents are quick to snap if someone corrects their child in front of them, that many parents are eager to blame teachers instead of their own children, and that many people do nothing more than shake their heads at poor behavior.  However, I also must reflect on my own situation. 

I am not at war with mothersI am in an alliance.  And a BIG ONE!  My village is HUGE!  Where some people are finding Pinterest and Facebook as battlegrounds for these so-called “Mommy Wars,” I am finding them to be sources of great help and strength.  Since Kendall has been born I have taken to Facebook dozens of times seeking advice, from what kind of shoes I should be buying her, to different Mommy and Me activities, to finding her a pediatrician.  I have connected with so many different people, it is remarkable!

- When I was trying to conceive one of my greatest sources of comfort was a girl with whom I went to high school.  We didn’t talk much throughout college, but suddenly, there she was and I was sharing my deepest struggles with her.

- Many of my greatest recommendations for Kendall and pieces of advice as a mom have come from girls from my elementary school.  Some girls are still local, while others are as far away as Connecticut!  It doesn’t even matter that some fifteen years may have passed since we have seen or spoken to one another.  Our motherhood connects us!

- As I am faced with more and more challenges as a wife, mother, and teacher, I have discovered a new friend!  Although we went to high school together, we weren’t friends then.  In fact, I’m not sure we had ever spoken to one another!  But that doesn’t matter, as our situations in life are so similar now. 

- With my time off during the summer, the opportunities for play dates are presenting themselves.  These aren’t just with friends that I have had for years and years, but play dates with girls from elementary school and high school.  Again, it has been YEARS since we have seen one other, but we are still bonded together.

I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed that I have been surrounded by women who are so eager to help, to support, and sympathize.  My successes are celebrated and my failures are commiserated.  And even though many of these interactions are taking place over social media, they are no less important than the ones that happen in person. 

So, for the very important moms in my life (and those who are not moms) who have offered so much of yourselves in support of my daughter and me, I am so very grateful!  Thank you for being a part of my village.