Monday, February 2, 2015

How you feed your baby is NOT the issue...

So much talk lately since a certain formula company came out with the now infamous "mommy wars commercial". Perhaps the commercial had me until the final slide where it said the name of the formula company... I will not harp on this here, but yet again, this is a COMMERCIAL for a product- regardless of the message, marketing is by nature manipulative.

I am so tired of the "mommy wars" topic I could scream. Maybe because my oldest is 9 years old and I have been hearing this stuff for so long, maybe because I am a lactation consultant so I deal directly with one of the hot topics on a daily basis, maybe because I think it misses the ENTIRE point. Maybe because commercials like this make it look like women are sitting around talking smack about each other ALL DAY LONG- (not true, it is hard to scrounge up the energy to talk smack when you are caring for little people and sleep deprived.) 

The ENTIRE issue is that being a parent is one of our most IMPORTANT jobs we could ever have and there are NO guarantees that we are going to do it right and get the perfect kid. Add this to the modern world where we have so many other responsibilities and the lack of a village to support us, and no wonder we are overwhelmed and can cling to a certain way of being.

I LOVE what Brene Brown says on this topic: "Our need for certainty in an endeavor as uncertain as raising children makes explicit "how-to-parent" strategies both seductive and dangerous. I say "dangerous" because certainty often breeds absolutes, intolerance, and judgment. That's why parents are so critical of one another --we latch on to a method or approach and very quickly our way becomes the way. When we obsess over our parenting choices to the extent that most of us do, and then see someone else making different choices, we often perceive that difference as direct criticism of how we are parenting." Did you hear that?? We think that when someone makes a different choice then we do that they are criticizing us- they are NOT, they are making the best choice for THEIR family in THEIR situation!!

I have been around many many mothers in my life and we do not sit around telling each other we are better than the other moms, mostly we sit around trying to figure out how to survive. We all deal with things that are hard for us. I always say that motherhood is about pushing you to your limits, and then making you go even farther. Everyone feels shamed at some point. Breastfeeding mothers feel nervous and judged trying to feed their babies in public, formula feeding mothers feel judged when they feed their babies with a bottle. Working moms feel guilty when they go to work, stay at home moms feel that they "only stay at home with their kids". WE are ALL feeling judged and uncertain ALL the time and yet no one is really judging us besides ourselves.

The issue is NOT what we feel judged for, the issue is that we feel judged at all. I have some news for everyone. All people are thinking about themselves 95% of the time. No one is judging anyone for longer than a split second because we are all so self absorbed and have better things to do with our time. There are some exceptions to this of course, I am certainly not always perfect, but I try very hard to remember the saying- Until you have walked a mile in someone elses shoes...

I truly believe that all moms GET each other. Can we please just all recognize that we are doing the best we can and PLEASE put this mommy wars stuff to rest!! 

Lots of Love,