Could this be why there are “mommy wars”?

May 22, 2012

Dear Max

There’s a lot being said and felt about “mommy wars” at the moment – from blog posts and furore over magazine covers, to passive aggressive tweeting, and snubbing. I suspect that these fractions are as old as toddler tantrums, poo nappies and 2am wake-ups, and try as we might to call them off, claim we’ll never be part of them, or roll our eyes at other moms who get involved, I reckon we’re all somehow a part.

We say we don’t judge, but we do. We say we mind our own business and our kids, but we don’t. We even try to put our heads down and do the best parenting job we can, but we’re still looking at the others – judging, envying, criticising and condemning.

And I think I know why, and I think it’s because we’re insecure about our own abilities as moms, plus we don’t get enough high-fives for the good we sometimes do. I remember getting quite irritated with moms who fed their babies jarred foods. WTF would I even care? Jarred foods are mostly perfectly good and healthy, and many are organic and free of cooties and dodgy stuff. Well, I’ll tell you why – it’s because no one was cheering me on for making everything from scratch and boiling, pureeing and freezing, and balancing every meal from Annabel Karmel’s book. And if not everyone was doing it my way, did that mean I wasn’t doing it right? I needed validation, dammit! I still do, dammit!

And do you want to know why I think women shouldn’t breastfeed their toddlers? Because I feel like a “loser” sometimes because I only breastfed for seven months. And often the only way to validate my “awesome parenting” is to knock someone else’s, even in my own head. And it’s not fair.

Just like it’s not fair that I’ve been criticised openly for being a working mom and choosing to have a caesar. Or giving you an iPad. But if I had to look really hard, those criticisms probably came from moms who were just as insecure as I am, and who wanted a cheer or a hug for making sacrifices and enduring pain. Or who couldn’t afford their own iPad.

I think so many of us are “guilty” of sparring and judging, and I think the starting point is to feel better about our parenting, to realise we’re doing the best for right now and that there’s always room for improvement, and to be confident, conscious and careful about parenting. I am pretty sure that if I felt validated, confident as a mom all the time and certain that my choices as a mother were the “right” ones, I wouldn’t have the desire to roll my eyes or judge or laugh at the others. And I remember that while I judge the others, I’m really just judging myself. And that’s not doing me much good. In fact, that sucks.

That’s my five cents (though by the time you get to read this that will probably be a relic term and an ancient monetary form).


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  • Sian

    I was thinking about this the other day. I think you are spot on. I also think that every one judges, its how you judge that make the difference.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      Agree. And I think it’s worse when we’re feeling kak 🙂

      May 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm Reply
  • acidicice

    I really agree with this post. Often feel like I’m not good enough and sometimes my judgement stems from envy.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      Totally agree

      May 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm Reply
  • Tali Sher

    You are such a wonderful writer and mom Tanya. I love your honesty. This was a very special one.xx

    May 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm Reply
  • Hayley

    Just wanted to add, that even as a non-mommy, I can see the judgement happening all around me…what moms say about other moms etc. Like you say Tanya, I guess we all do it no matter what…

    May 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      Sad but true…

      May 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm Reply
  • Samantha Robinson

    Instead of moms supporting each other, most of the time we judge and criticise based on our insecurites and what they have that we dont. Thanks for the article. We should all stand together and help each other.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm Reply
  • Cat@jugglingactoflife

    Oh gosh. i agree. I feel it’s so hard to be a mom, we are all just trying to do the best we can. And we need to respect this in each other

    May 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm Reply
  • Adina Roth

    Love this. Thanks to Tali Sher for posting the link. It’s true about moms and about people in general. We judge because we are insecure and as you say it’s worse when WE feel kak. Thanks so much. Needed this.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm Reply
  • Sam

    Yes. Great food for thought here T.

    Fact is I personally feel that as human’s we are natural “judgers”. We judge all the time based on several different parametres. Our social circles, our upbringing, our beliefs, our insecurities, our confidences. Those who say they don’t judge lie. Because each and every one of us judge. I think like Sian said, its how we impart our judgement that counts.

    Me peronsally, I hope that I’ve learnt how to impart my judgement in a amicable manner, and when I steep to the passive aggressive sub impartation (is that even a word?) I hope that I learn from the consequences that brings with it.


    May 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      Couldn’t agree more Sam!

      May 24, 2012 at 11:10 am Reply
  • TJ

    This is a great post and look at the ‘mommy wars’. I think it’s a very valid point you make. I guess we do feel we need to be validated for the work we do, yet the world sees it as “it’s your job” so why does the universe owe us any validation?

    Perhaps our generation of mothers will remember to validate their daughters/daughters-in-law when they become moms.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      I hope so too…

      May 24, 2012 at 11:09 am Reply
  • MeeA

    You’re right.
    Generally, I *try* not to judge, but sometimes I fail.
    What I have learned over the years, though, and having had 4 kids, is that I judge myself more harshly than anyone else could, so (most of the time) I really don’t care what other people think.

    On the subject of iPads – I WISH I could afford to give my kids iPads – hell, I wish I could afford one just for myself. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving your kid/s cool stuff if you can afford it. But I also think it’s important that kids don’t grow up thinking they’re *entitled* to everything. What’s important, IMHO, is the balance… But this is, of course, not the subject under discussion here.

    June 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm Reply
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