A few weeks ago, the article Why You're Never Failing as a Mother made the rounds on facebook. The intent behind the article is obvious: don't feel bad about keeping up with the Joneses (how do you make that plural?). The "Mommy Wars" have received a lot of coverage over the past few years and I'm not going to say that they aren't alive and well, because I'm sure many people have experienced them (or the fall out), but, in my experience, it isn't about stay at home moms against work at home or bottle feeders versus breastfeeders. It's about someone being a jerk and, to be honest, I'm pretty sure that person would be a jerk about anything, not just your or my choices on motherhood.
Yes, people have told me to sleep train my 5 week old, yes, people have told me not to feed her as often, yes, people have stopped me at the playground with (unsolicited) "advice" for how to help my non-crawling 9 month old crawl (Q didn't crawl until 10.5 months). But you know what? I never thought to myself, wow, you are so right, I feel so badly about my choices and you make me second guess myself. Nope, I just thought, "jerk" or "you're crazy."* (One time, a friend and I were at the Fra Angelico exhibit at the Met - I think it was that exhibit, she is an art history grad student, I'm not, and it was over 5 years ago - and we were examining representations of the dormition of Mary, which is an Eastern Orthodox, not Western belief, I believe. At least, my 12+ years of Catholic school hadn't mentioned it and I was confused and said, "I've never heard of the dormition of Mary." Well, a woman behind me interjected to tell me that I need to "read more." It turned out she was a big fan of Dan Brown - no, I will not link to any of his work - and firmly believed in a Church cover up about Mary. My internal reaction? "You're crazy." My external? "Oh, wow, thanks, yes, we'll look into that.")
How do I internalize the majority of unsolicited advice or critiques on my parenting? I don't. I just - in most cases - think "Jerk." What I'm saying is, if you offer me unsolicited advice or criticisms, I will mentally categorize you as a crazy Dan Brown fan who accosts innocent museum-goers and insists that they "read more" until they are as steeped in the crazy as you.
A better question for the Mommy Wars is not "why are women fighting amongst themselves/not supporting their sisters" but "why are women so willing to second-guess themselves?" And it isn't just about motherhood.
I have two little girls and I want them to be confident in their beliefs and choices.
Disclaimer: I am talking about unsolicited, unhelpful advice, not suggestions by professionals. Also, my mom loves Dan Brown. Furthermore, while I don't Pinterest, I love seeing all the creative efforts. My sister did EVERYTHING for her wedding, including making her own papier mache centerpieces and cake top. It looked wonderful and even made it to Style Me Pretty. She and many people are really talented and I am in awe of their and, perhaps, your abilities. But they don't make me feel like my mothering is subpar, since I have not one crafty/artsy bone in my body. They just make me appreciate your efforts all the more. You want to explain the origins of the undead to preschoolers? I'm your mom. You want to make cupcake toppers? I am not.
Z doing tummy time on a blanket made by my sister while wearing PJ pants ALSO made by my sister. See? Crafty. Me? Not at all. But I reap the benefits.
*I am so badass that neither my parents nor H's liked Q's name when we told it to them when she was still in utero and their negativity did nothing to make me change my mind about it other than to think, "Why would you keep asking what we were going to name the baby, only to shoot it down as soon as we told you? Jerks."