These mommy wars are pretty crazy. You get to see the front lines of it on the internet. just look for those controversial titles and then scroll down to the comments. Or better yet, find a high profile mom blogger and go check out their Facebook page. Those comments get going like a Bump message board. But I believe that the reason why these topics are so heated, the reason why you can feel that small bit of underlying awkwardness when you discuss how you raise your child with other mothers, is because we all want to be great mommies and do what’s best for our children.
I read a post on a board recently where someone made a wonderful statement, “There are as many ways to mother as there are mothers.” That little phrase blew me away. That is the honest to God truth. No matter how much I have in common with all the mothers I know, I am sure if I really sat down and thought about it there is at least one thing that I would do differently than each of them. It all boils down to doing everything we can to raise wonderful, healthy children, and just like I may feel differently about decisions my friends make in their lives and vice-versa, I am sure we will feel differently about how we raise our children. And you know what? That’s OK!!
I was lucky enough to exclusively breastfeed Noah until he was 6 months old and we dropped his last feeding when he was 9 months. I am very proud to have made it that far, I know what a struggle it is for so many women, and for many it’s not even possible, and I recognize that I was lucky. Now that I am a stay at home mom I hope to make it a full year with this next little bundle of joy we are expecting. I know that if I do that’s just a little bit longer that he will get those antibodies and everything else that my super magical breast milk can provide him. Do I think that if I succeed and my new baby gets more breast milk and bonding time, that Noah is getting gypped? I do, a little. Do I think that this will make any sort of difference in his overall health and the type of person he will become? Absolutely not!
Easter weekend I made the decision to turn Noah’s car seat around. We were about to be in the car for 5 hours and the bigger I get the harder it is for me to turn around in the passenger seat to entertain and tend to him when he is rear facing. I really agonized over this decision. I had read all the literature about how much safer it was to be rear facing until at least 2. I did rationalize that Noah is really tall for his age and it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, I was probably going to have to switch his seat when the new baby comes because otherwise Eric wouldn’t be able to fit in the car! I did switch it for the trip and a few weeks after. Then after having a long conversation with a girlfriend of mine where I told her what I had done and once again tried to convince myself that it was OK, I began to notice all of these articles popping up all over the internet about rear facing car seats. I took my uneasiness and these numerous articles as a sign that I needed to turn him back around. I will admit that car seat safety definitely has a lot less wiggle room, but really if you switch your kids car seat at 24 months, how much more different can 23 months be or 22 for that matter. Is someone a “better mother” because they wait until 25 or 26 months?
**Consequently, that girlfriend that I discussed this with was neither for or against switching Noah, she supported whatever decision I made for my child and I support whatever decision she makes for hers. All we can do is give people all the info that is available and then support their decisions. We owe that to each other.
I knew before Noah was even born that we were going to sleep train him. Man is this a hot topic!! I thankfully was very confident in my decision and we succeeded and Noah is an amazing sleeper. It was one of the hardest things to go through, but I truly believe that it was what was best for us. Call me selfish or whatever, but I need my sleep to function. Now that I’m pregnant again I even take a mid-morning nap when possible. When Noah goes back to sleep in the morning, so do I. I have realized that lots of sleep makes me a better mother. Just like Eric has learned that keeping me well fed makes me a better wife. If I am hungry and tired my boys better watch out! Along the same lines, we also decided that we wouldn’t co-sleep. Now I can tell you that I am still very happy that we didn’t co-sleep, but I will admit that every now and then I am so jealous of all you co-sleepers out there. When Noah wakes up at 6:45 on a Saturday morning, I pull him into bed with us and all but beg him to go to sleep and he will not have it! He has never slept in our bed, so therefore to him our bed is for jumping on and watching cartoons on and climbing off and on, with our assistance of course. Unfortunately, not for sleeping.
And lastly, I had a (gasp!) epidural when Noah was born. The other hot topic. This article, Drug-Free or C-Section: Giving Birth Is the Least Important Thing You’ll Do as a Mom by Leah Marie, is what really sparked this whole thought process in my head. When I first read this article I thought, whoa, just wait and watch this explode….should be interesting! But man, she said something that, to me, was very profound. “it can’t really matter that much to your baby if he or she is born au natural in a birth center, or if you’re opened up for retrieval. I can pretty much guarantee that your baby could care less. The end result for them was the same.” Well ain’t that the truth. The end result is the same. No matter whether you give the breast or the bottle, switch at 23 or 24 months, co-sleep, sleep train, circumcise (we’ll save this topic for another day), or have a med free birth or c-section it all boils down to the same end result. In most of these arguments you will hear a very common thread, “I wasn’t breast fed and I turned out fine,” “They didn’t even have car seats when I was a baby and I survived,” “I slept in my parents bed until I was in 3rd grade and I am a very independent successful adult.” And they are all right! Aside from maybe being a tad on the passionate side, most of these people who comment on the mommy wars are probably (for the most part) healthy, loving, wonderful people. We really all just want what’s best for our babies. And it is our right as mothers (parents) to decide what that is!
Oh and for the record, my mother used Demerol during her delivery with me, I was only breastfed for a short period of time due to doctors orders, and my mom is pretty sure I didn’t have much of a car seat, and I was definitely sleep trained. Hell I was making my own lunch and doing my own laundry at the age of seven and somehow I managed to turn out to be a pretty well adjusted adult who is a kick-ass mom, if I may say so myself. And if you asked me for a list of reasons as to why I think I’m a kick ass mom, I wouldn’t list even one of these things.
So, for the record, can’t we all just get along? 🙂
Sending all my love and support to all you mommies out there!!
-Tracy (21 weeks pregnant and Noah is almost 17 months!!)