Mommy Island. You know, that place you wake up on after having kids and can’t figure out how you got there?
That place where you are so tired you can’t remember anything for more than 15 seconds and you wonder…why did I think this was such a good idea? Sure – it’s got it’s good points. But it’s a lonely place. At least, until you find out you’re not alone. There are other castaways. They are just as tired as you are, and just as incapable of seeing beyond the dirty laundry, diapers, and dishes. One would think that we castaways would automatically band together, support one-another, live in commonality and harmony! Heck no – after I landed here, I soon realized a war was going on. At times subtle, at others viscous. Sadly, I discovered we have turned on our own and are chewing off our proverbial noses to spite our proverbial faces.
Leslie Morgan Steiner wrote this in 1998 (you’d think we would have made progress since then.)
“…the Mommy Wars, my shorthand for the cultural and emotional battle zone we land in the minute we become mothers. It is a war fought inside your head, on soccer fields or in PTAs in the wary undercurrent between working and stay-at-home moms, in the car when you leave your child for another long day at day care, at play groups, at work and in your own bedroom in those lights-out talks with your spouse. It involves many different social and moral and financial issues, yet it often boils down to a personal question: How does this child fit into my life, or should my life now fit around this child?”
This is a topic on which I spend a lot of personal energy – it has kept me awake ‘o nights, it has inhibited my friendships and it has made me question my decision to become a parent.
In short, The Mommy Wars have robbed a great deal of my joy in being a mom.
Considering that Mommy Island is, at times, it’s own Hall of Terrors, how sad that when we find other castaways we immediately put up our dukes?
It’s a little bit Lord of the Flies, isn’t it? I’ve got a few scars from the drive-bys that have been hurled in my direction. Sometimes intentional. Sometimes not. My worst ever was the sweet, good-natured, kindly friend of the family who, upon meeting me in the parking lot of my son’s preschool/daycare, mentioned that she used to work in a daycare herself. “I always felt so sorry for those poor, motherless children.”
I walked away from the conversation in a daze, to pick up my poor, motherless child.
Why is it that, instead of banding together to support each other through truly, one of the hardest tasks of all humankind, mothers instead criticize, lash out, and accuse when others’ choices differ from their own? And it’s not just about our choice to work (or not). I got zinged just recently over how I chose to discipline my son. She was so offended by my choice that she no longer speaks to me. How is that helpful, I beg to know?
Have you been a victim of the Mommy Wars? Have you engaged in battle or hidden in the trenches, hoping to avoid any conflict?
(Photo: Family Christmas Photo FAIL)