We've all done it. We've seen the Mom in the grocery store obviously having a tough day, wrangling kids that will do anything but cooperate and trying to hurry up and get the heck outta there so she can go be flustered and frustrated without the crowd of eyes watching her every hasty move. We've all watched families on TV and rushed to judgment about the kind of parenting that's going on – even if we are only privy to a fraction of the "real life" that's going in those households. We've watched other kids playing at the park and made mental notes about which ones clearly have manners and which ones have Mamas who haven't been paying much attention…
It's easy. It's easy to raise an eyebrow or shake my head and sigh – and silently reassure myself that at least I've got things under control. At least I'm not – her.
We're all on the same team, right? Why do we forget that sometimes? Why do we spend time and energy networking with other Moms through blogging and social media one minute and the next minute we're pointing the proverbial finger at the Mom down the street who lets her kids stay out WAY too late?
I have this theory that Moms get defensive about their parenting because there's nothing MORE personal than that. Right? People get riled up about personal stuff – religion, politics, money — and their kids. There's nothing more personal than this little human you created. There's nothing more personal than the physical, emotional, financial sacrifices you make EVERY DAY so that your kids are healthy and happy. There's nothing more personal than the time you get to spend with them or the other priorities in your life that sometimes mean you are apart.
So it's no big shock that Moms get a little territorial and a little defensive and – sometimes – that materializes as a not-so-flattering grudge. Bitterness and animosity. We question the choices that other Moms make – cloth diapers or disposables? breastmilk or formula? spanking? pacifier? bedtime? diet? Why do we do this to ourselves?
Moms have a unique opportunity these days – to bond. Sometimes we seize that opportunity. Through the internet we can find people who agree with us and who support us. We find other Moms who help us through the worst times and help us celebrate the milestones – big and small.
And once in a while we stumble upon the Moms who disagree with us, who challenge us and help us grow. The ones who vocalize beliefs and decisions that may contradict what we do in our own lives. Or the ones who appear to have it all figured out – and it kinda makes us sick.
It's ok to disagree. Wait. It's HEALTHY to disagree. But let's use it to learn from each other. Let's recognize our differences as the strengths that they are. And let's make each other better.
Remember, it's just as personal to her as it is to you.
This post has been adapted for Musings of Mother Hood. It was originally posted on Deep South Moms Blog on May 28, 2010.