Every day, I read my newsfeed and see articles about how stay-at-home moms have it the hardest. Wait, no. Of course, working moms have it harder. And each article is accompanied by a bunch of pissed-off people complaining in comments about why the article is complete crap.
If the working vs. stay-at-home debate isn't your cup of tea, how about formula vs. breastfeeding? Or breastfeeding for a short period vs. continuing long after the infant year?
Every subset of motherdom has its own speciality versions, too.
Today, I had a long discussion with a couple of moms who happen to have hearing impaired kids. Both have gone through the process of getting cochlear implants for their kids to improve the children's ability to hear. And because of that, the deaf community in their town disassociates from them entirely. They are given no support because they chose a different path.
I joined the limb different community by way of a surprising ultrasound and the arrival of the baby that would grow into the force that is Ella. I was lucky to find warm, supportive and loving people. But, after some time, I also found a similar "my way is the only way" debate over prosthetics. I had many people -- doctors included -- tell me that I HAD to get a prosthetic for Ella even though she quite obviously was doing rather well for herself. Then I saw others looking in disdain at the first people.
When does the cycle of judgment stop?
I recently finished reading Amy Poehler's book Yes Please, and if there is anything I wish people would take from it, look to page 149. The concept of "good for you, not for me." It's a simple concept but one that is seriously missing... especially online. What works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. Choosing a different path doesn't make me a moron. It simply shows that I am a mom who is trying to make the best choices for my family -- and doing so doesn't actually impact your family one single bit.
To be clear, I'm not talking about safety concerns. I do think that if you see someone who is, for example, doing something egregiously wrong with a car seat, it's fair to kindly and politely let them know. But, even then, that's completely different from hopping on a Facebook feed to berate someone you don't know about a situation you know nothing about.
Why don't we support each other? Why do we constantly judge others? I genuinely don't know, but maybe if we could find more compassion and less criticism, we might actually learn something from each other and see our way to appreciate the differences.
The funny thing is that I don't think all mothers are this way. There are a great many who don't act this way at all. So, why are the combative ones always getting the press? Well, it's up to us to change it. Fill our newsfeeds with interesting conversations about different opinions. Fill them with stories of mothers helping other mothers. Fill them with kindness. Maybe then we can start to drown out all the noise that just serves to drive us all nuts and engender discord. Maybe then we can realize we are all just doing the best we can.
And by the way, this is the only assurance I need... happy girls.