Zen and the Art of Staying Out of Online Mommy Wars
As a new mom-to-be, I'm fortunate to still live in a little bit of a bubble, sheltered from most of the so-called "mommy wars" just yet. I'm also an expat living most my year abroad, so I'm sort of bubbled to the 2nd power. Though I spend a good bit of time online for work in mommy webispheres, I work with a lot of like-minded mamas at Boba.What are we like-minded about? Well, sure we dig babywearing. Naturally, we are all proponents of natural parenting styles (AP, gentle, etc.) to one extent or another. Absolutely, we really dig the benefits of breastfeeding. We also like ice cream. A lot. Oh, and smoothies! But more than some of the specific parenting (or other) topics of interest we share, we are all committed to helping and supporting mothers, fathers, children… families.We are pro-family. We are pro-mother. We are pro-baby. We are pro-love. And we are pro-freedom.So it was with a sad heart that I read through a particularly conflict-ridden Boba Facebook wall thread recently. An open question about what members chose not to bring into their homes opened up a little mommy war right there on our page filled with a lot of perceived and directed judgement, name-calling and subsequent pleas to chill out. Well, color my bubble a wee bit bursted!Bubbled or not, I do know that we all appreciate a chance to express ourselves. We love to share what works. We are built to share. I write blogs about what I’m excited about and sometimes I even mention the things I don’t like *gasp*. But that’s my take, and I know it’s mine. Sometimes I read a post out there from a mom that lives very differently than I am choosing to live and usually feel a combination of judgement and curiosity. Both! Of course I do. Most likely you do, too. It’s how we’re wired. Discernment is a pretty basic life skill. It just sucks when others turn their ugly sides against us, and just as much when we turn ours against others.Okay, here comes the Zen (or the Crack Jack Wisdom Moment if you will): I think the great thing about having adverse reactions to anything is that it helps me hone my own beliefs. A moment of flared up judgement gives me pause and provides a little burst of energy that helps me better understand why I choose what I choose which I think is different than something someone else in front of me is choosing. But here’s the trick: I do that work inside. Sometimes I discuss it with a close friend. I also wonder why that other person thinks that different way. I really do. Sometimes I even ask. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes that moment to stop and think vs. condemning actually changes my mind a bit. Do I ever hammer off some unkind nearly-anonymous (or as I sadly see online at times fully anonymous) comment in the name of my own opposite position? NO WAY. Why? Because it won’t make me a better person or mother, it won’t change their mind, it won’t impress anyone. It won’t. Ever.Ladies (and Gents), I urge you to remember that we all love to spread the news about things we believe in and also that at times we’re not always as perfectly skillful in writing about them as we could (we can all be downright clumsy on occasion). Give each other the break you would want yourself, and when in doubt, even against memories of the judgie-mcjudgersons in your life, remember that though of course not always mutually exclusive:
- Pro-babywearing does not automatically equal anti-strollering.
- Pro-breastfeeding moms do not automatically assume bottle feeders are bad moms.
- Pro-organic, natural medicine lovers are not sharing their enthusiasm to condemn you if you are a Tylenol-buyer.
- Those of us who prefer dark chocolate do not think you milk chocolate eaters are idiots. We don’t.
Top Five Tips for NOT Adding to the Online “Mommy Wars”
- Facebook is better used as a place for sharing and caring, not swearing and scaring. The world just doesn’t need any more aggression.
- Stop and take a deep breath.
- Just leave the page and go find something beautiful on Pinterest.
- Remember the last time you got a negative comment on your wall and how that felt.
- Imagine the writer is your own baby all grown up and apply motherly kindness accordingly.
Of course, if you want some fun snappy come-backs that help disarm hostile judgement moments with humor, check out this post on responding to critical parenting questions.
- Love yourself enough to not add yourself to whatever particular mommy war firing range is in front of you and just eat a chocolate (may I recommend Green & Black’s Mayan Gold Dark?).