“I will tell you what I can’t abide - and I think the Internet has really created a space for it - women criticizing other women and mothers criticizing other mothers. It just makes me crazy, whether it’s between staying at home, going to work, how long you breast-feed, if you use formula. I feel like we should just assume everyone is doing the best they can. Women should take care of each other, not tear each other down. I would just like to see a mother who really believes that she has done it all so right, you know what I mean?" - actress Jennifer Garner
I think this is so very - unfortunately - true. The internet is a place rampant with criticism and critique of practically everyone. Lots of new moms who are home taking care of kids turn to the internet to find support and friends. (I believe Parents magazine did a article on this just a few issues ago - but it mainly focused on moms who get sucked into & even addicted to the internet. Which is a whole OTHER story for another time.) Oftentimes moms will find the support they are searching for in places like Mom Bloggers Club, Cafe Mom, 5 Minutes for Mom and countless other websites & blogs. There are other websites though that only thrive to create drama, arguments and trouble - they only focus on the negative aspects of parenting or on a select group of mothers that they deem to be awful for a certain choice in their parenting that I feel only brings others down. In the case of new moms (perhaps those with PPD) these sites are only going to bring them down even more than they already are or make them doubt their choices. I'm not saying that the occasional post or article about the stresses of parenting is wrong or awful - obviously they're not because I've written my fair share - on the contrary, it's a good way to let off steam, maybe help other people in the same situation and perhaps even see the funny side of the story. It's the places that ONLY talk about the bad and none of the good that I think we need to avoid.
The internet isn't the only place that "mommy bashing" goes on either. (Or Daddy bashing, which I suppose might also go on...I don't know, I'm not a Daddy!) In my own personal life experiences, I've seen mommy bashing first hand and have even been bashed myself. There are so many things that moms argue about - bottle and formula feeding, staying at home vs. working, children's milestones, sleeping methods, how many children you have, the list goes on and on. The sad reality is that these things are NOT THAT BIG A DEAL and most, if not all of them, do not affect any one else. They are a personal choice.
I don't know why we as moms feel the need to critique other women's choices. I think it's a combination of things. Maybe it's our need to feel we're doing the right thing for our own kids or our own lack of confidence in our parenting skills. Or just to assert our knowledge of parenting - that we know what's best for every kid because we're a mom. Regardless of what the issue is, it's silly, spiteful and mean-spirited. What works for one parent isn't going to work for another because every child is different. Somebody else might do something different and of course we can disagree with them, but we don't need to pick them apart, be snarky or harass them. "To each his own" is a good little gem to remember if you are being bashed or hear other moms bashing someone else.
You can glean a lot of good information by sharing with other moms - and you might help someone else out with your own ideas on parenting. Just something to think about.
What are your thoughts on mommy bashing? Please leave them in the comments!