The working mom vs. the stay-at-home mom war and the use of words as weapons are still going strong. There’s a new war brewing in motherhood, and it’s full of the same unfair judgements and name calling. This new Mommy War uses words like “helicopter” and “free-range” parenting. Personally, I think these labels are useless because each mother uses both parenting styles. Different scenarios and your child’s personality will usually determine how you will decide to parent at any given time. Motherhood is hard, we are all trying to do our very best and we are all imperfect. When our children become adults they will then critique us and become the new experts. These adult children of ours will tell us that they will do it so much better. Just smile and nod ladies, just smile and nod.
I have been called a helicopter mom. Many sensitive women are more “hands on.” I will admit that the day I had my first child, a piece of my heart was taken and I could no longer balance. Then came child number two and three and I was done for. I have stumbled and crawled through motherhood, making many mistakes along the way, but name calling doesn’t really help me. Constructive criticism and alternate suggestions on ways to do things does. Sometimes I will listen to you and sometimes I won’t.
There was an article recently about a group of moms who created a free-range parenting group in Chicago. In this group they encourage their kids to go out alone and play and take active steps towards encouraging independence. They are not convinced that there are too many dangers in society to prevent letting their children roam. In my opinion, technology has given us too much information and our kids have suffered because we have an increasing fear for their safety. I admire these women and, more importantly, I learn from their example. Would I let my child walk a dog in the city? Probably not, but not because I’m a helicopter mom. My first two children couldn’t even play a soccer game without chasing a grasshopper. They would be hard pressed to walk a dog in a city. My third child could easily handle it. Each child has a different personality and I adjust accordingly.
The same goes for the financial situation of all kinds of moms. On my blog I’ve received comments stating that I’m an over privileged stay-at-home mom. At first I let those comments bother me, especially because my first child and I struggled quite a bit after my divorce. I worked hard, very hard, to get to where I am today. “You don’t know me!” I want to scream. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. But regardless of our parenting styles, my mother taught me not to attack you and judge you based on your lifestyle, financial situation or culture. Sometimes that’s more important that ensuring that your child makes his bed every single day.
The only person you can control is yourself. It doesn’t help to attack another mother or perpetuate the labels the media wants to place on us. We are mothers, we are strong, and are fighting to raise adults of the future. It’s time to be stronger in our hearts and with each other. Put down your weapons. Instead, let’s sit down and share our struggles and learn from each other. I’ll make the coffee.