Much has been written about the phenomenon of The Mummy Wars. I think it’s safe to say that were it not for social media, such a bizarre phenomenon would never have existed, or at least not have developed to the point that it has. I was inspired to write an article for Mum’s Lounge a couple of months ago that dealt with the sub-set Mummy War of breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding following my disgust at reading some of the comments on a well-known Facebook parenting page which I am deliberately not mentioning here because I don’t believe in feeding the dragon! Even Mum’s Lounge founder Emma Marks needed to remind mums that it was not appropriate to pass judgement on other mums, but instead we should be supporting each other through life’s toughest job – motherhood!
There has always been a degree of competitiveness, even rivalry between mothers – probably since time immemorial! That’s human nature. Who hasn’t been along to a Mums and Bubs group and had to work very hard not to strangle the mother who bleats on endlessly about how advanced and amazing her little darling is?
But that’s very different to the kind of bullying tactics that some women believe is acceptable to use – often with total strangers – in the online world. Whether it is about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, stay at home mothers vs. mums who work, attachment parenting styles vs. more traditional parenting styles – there is bound to be someone out there with a pretty strong (and often nasty) opinion and who are ready to espouse why their approach is the right approach and be damned everyone else.
Anyone who has children knows one thing (and surely we can ALL agree on this!) Parenting is hard work. Really hard work sometimes. Yes, it’s joyous, fulfilling, and sometimes downright entertaining – but we also know that it can be exhausting, relentless and at times heartbreaking. We also parent our children according to a unique set of values that develop in us as a result of so many factors; our own upbringing, our cultural and religious traditions. Even our socio-economic situation plays a role. I also think it is fair to say that most of us can put our hands on our hearts and say that we try really hard to be the best parents we can be (and I am not talking about the times when we fly off the handle, yell at our kids or let them go for three days without a bath…)
Finally, it looks like the tide is starting to turn and mothers around the world are saying; “enough bitching and enough bullying”. Let’s just support one another and accept we are different and that the way we choose to parent is as unique as we and our children are. And that’s okay.
A group of mums in the U.S. have done just this and their fabulous story was just reported in The Huffington Post. I love their inspiring message of support, compassion and sisterhood and hope that us Aussie mums can send our own positive message to all the mums out there that we are here for one another. I’m in. How about you?
Tanya Strusberg is a childbirth educator and a regular contributor to Mum’s Lounge. She is the only Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) in Australia and teaches prenatal education to pregnant women and their partners in Melbourne. She and her husband Doron have two beautiful children, Liev and Amalia. She is definitely guilty of going three nights without giving her kids a bath and serving them cereal and toast for dinner on occasion.
To learn more visit www.birthwellbirthright.com