Are the ‘mommy wars’ the new cliques?

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We’ve all seen the movie Mean Girls, right? Right? We all have? If your answer is no, stop reading. Seriously, stop reading and run to Netflix or the nearest video store…are there even video stores anymore? If you have not seen this movie your pop culture education is severely lacking and I’m not sure we can be friends until you get yourself squared away.

I’ll just put this out there right now – I love Regina George. I think she was the most interesting part of the movie. A lot of us love to hate the villainess but I always find some little sliver of something about the bad girls that sort of pulls at my heartstrings.

I really felt bad for Regina when her ass grew because she was unknowingly binging on weight gain bars. I’m not sure what that says about me. I’m not a mean girl at heart but my inner snarky girl surfaces from time to time. And…by “from time to time” I mean pretty much every day.

So, “Mean Girls” was about cliques and inclusion…and boobs that could predict the weather but mostly about cliques and inclusion. And, as much as I was entertained by Regina’s antics, watching this movie brought back memories from my youth that made me wince. Times when I felt left out or picked on. Most of us have been there.

As a (somewhat) grown-up person, a mom, I say cliques have been replaced by the Mommy Wars. I know you’re probably just as tired as I am about hearing people bitch and moan about the Mommy Wars. You might even be rolling your eyes right now. The phrase was originally coined as a way to describe the face-off between working mothers and stay-at-home-mothers but this shit has bloomed, people. Escalated ridiculously.

I can’t get on my computer without seeing another tired reference to the Mommy Wars. Bottle versus breast. Cosleeping versus cry it out. To vaccinate or not? Is your child allowed to wear a bikini or pierce her ears? Do you let her shave her legs in the fifth grade? Do you limit screen time or let your darlings play with the iPad until their little eyes glaze out? Are your kids allowed to have sleepovers? Have sex? Listen to Eminem? Do you spank your kids? Drink and swear in front of them? I could go on. And on. But you get the picture…even if you’re not a mother, you’re probably well familiar with the concept of Mommy Wars and like me, you probably wish it would just effing stop already.

I have an opinion on pretty much everything. Sometimes I keep my thoughts to myself; sometimes I’m compelled to share them when I should probably keep my pie hole shut. I don’t think I’m much different than everyone else in this regard.

With the exceptions of vaccines (pro all the way) I don’t have a “my way is the highway” view of…well, anything us mommies out there are finding to “battle” about. For the most part, I just don’t care that much about what other people do. With few exceptions, I don’t give a rat’s ass about what other people think of my parenting decisions.

But, are mommy wars the new cliques?

So why has stating your opinion or telling someone you disagree with them being labeled a freakin' battle? Why can’t I voice an unpopular opinion without someone springing from the trenches, thrusting a little pink plastic semi-automatic weapon in my hands and crying “Aha! Disagreement! To war you go, mom.”

Why does every instance of disagreement automatically get labeled as Mommy Wars? Why do I have to walk on eggshells and avoid sharing my views just because some fictional Mommy Army is waiting in the wings ready to push me into this made-up fight? Really, why?

Do we have to brand everyone who might speak against our choices as combative? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for minding my beez most of the time but the various online mom groups and forums have provided many behind-the-screens opportunities for us to share our opinions and piss off others…intentional or not.

I’m not going to say I’ve never been guilty of stirring the pot, because we all have at some point but generally, I strive to be pretty peaceful. I try to make good decisions and practice tolerance. Maybe that’s why the shitstorm the Mommy Wars seems to be causing doesn’t make sense to me.

There’s a movement circulating around the internet asking moms to make a “momittment” to stop the Mommy Wars. It’s sort of a rolling online petition and a very nice sentiment based in support for other moms. I have been invited to make a momittment a couple of different times and to publicly give my support to stopping the Mommy Wars and judging other moms.

And I say no. I’m not making that momittment. Why should I? Yes, the Mommy Wars are ridiculously out of hand and yes, I really, really keep hoping the Internets will find something else to talk about. And while my goal isn’t to be a judgmental asshole, sometimes I am. Sometimes we all are.

The internet is a place to connect, learn and to be entertained. It shouldn’t be a place where we identify a need for public commitment not to be assholes. I’m tired of hearing about the Mommy Wars. Cliques weren’t fun in high school and a bunch of way old enough to know better women shouldn’t be perpetuating them.

I’m a simple person: I generally have two goals for each day. One is to finish a full cup of coffee before I have to talk to my kids and the other is to be a good human. Sometimes I suck at the second thing…and I consider myself fortunate when I have another day to wake up and try it again.

Sometimes we need to screw something up before we get a do-over. Even Regina George knows that.

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  1. Jill, I totally agree with your views about the Mommy Wars. Ain’t nobody got time for that! It especially bothers me because I like to think of the internet as a place that I can go to find support and understanding. I know, I know — very naive of me. So I seek out place and groups that are supportive and understanding. Which makes the Mommy Wars something about which I am vaguely aware. But not a part of my everyday life…

  2. You took this exactly where I was wanting to and it completely rocks! The fact that people make room for mommy wars is just plain sad, because we’re so much more alike than different. Kudos to you my sweet awesome friend.

  3. I love this. When did we forget the old adage of everyone you meet is fighting a battle – most of the time we don’t even know the half of it! I am so frustrated by people that come from a place of superiority instead of compassion, empathy, or just plain, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all! Well written and right on point!!

  4. I agree with your Mommy Wars stance too. We really shouldn’t need a movement to stop being a-holes. You can disagree with someone without calling them names or judging them; of course, most of them still take it wrong regardless, but I still stand firm if you approach the topic and not the person, you can’t be blamed for anyone getting offended. I try to approach opinions with the topic, “Breastfeeding is my subject of my sentence, not you. Never you when I’m telling you I disagree with your stance on breastfeeding,” and I approach a person with feelings, “No matter what I feel about breastfeeding, I think the most important thing a mother can do as a mother for her child is to listen to her intuition. If you feel breastfeeding is different than what i feel, go with it.” Of course I screw this up a lot in the name of snark, and it comes out, “If you are one of those jerks who belittle people to make yourself feel better about your bad decisions, go jump off a bridge into a river of legos.” Of course, that’s on the basis that, which this is probably more true than funny, the people who are screwing things up the most are the loudest and pushiest ones about making everyone else do the same.

  5. I started learning about the Mommy Wars when I worked in a family support program, long before I became a mom myself. That job taught me just how hard it can be to be a parent and how important it is to have support. Why are moms constantly tearing each other down? Do what works for you and your family. As long as your kids aren’t be abused or neglected, how you raise your child ultimately doesn’t affect me or my child (well, minus thing or two). I’d say I don’t fit into any particular mommy clique, because I pick and choose what works for me and my family. I wish more moms had the same attitude as you. Then there’d be more time for coffee (and wine).

  6. I agree with you on the “Mommy wars.” I think people just like typing that phase because it’s good click-bait and it gets women all riled up. haha I mean, I totally just clicked on your post with the phrase “mommy wars” in the title. I actually really enjoy a good debate and I think it can be done in a civil manner without resorting to name-calling and all that. I understand that no matter how right I think I am and how wrong I think someone else is, we all have our own opinions and that’s okay. Sometimes we get too passionate about certain subjects that we put blinders on and refuse to consider other’s viewpoints. It’s a tricky thing with all the social media and internet.

  7. Ok, now I totally want a pink plastic semi-automatic weapon…Anyway, off topic. Brilliant post, by the way. I have to admit, I did sign the Mommitment petition. I did write a piece about my eating disorder and how other moms have judged me because I have one, and because my daughter might “catch” it. It’s funny because the point of the post was to unite us all as one in this war, and yet, the first person who replied to me on Twitter said that her first reaction was to shit all over me, but then she “reconsidered.” That’s nice. Anyway, I left the Facebook group because yes, it absolutely was a clique, and I didn’t fit in in high school, and I most certainly don’t now that I’m a grown ass woman with a life. I’m so glad to see that it wasn’t just me who found this Mommitment thing a little overbearing. Very refreshing post.

  8. Jill, I found this full of so many good points. I agree, moms shouldn’t be hating in each other. We should all be doing our best to support each other or at the very least to not judge one another. (Though with you all the way on vaccines). But no one is perfect and, you’re right, sometimes we all need a do over the next day. Thanks for all this great food for thought!

  9. I wonder when disagreement, discussion and debate turned us into warriors. I think it is great to disagree, that is how we learn and evolve. It isn’t an us vs. them, but for some reason that is how it turns out.