Can we level with each other for a minute? I’m tired. You’re tired. And we’re both up to our eyeballs in goldfish cracker crumbs, cheap plastic toys, and a mountain of guilt, so let’s just cut the bullshit for a minute.
Mothers just can’t seem to catch a break. Whatever we do, every decision we make, there seems to be someone standing at the ready, with pitchfork in hand, ready to tell us all the ways we’re not doing this parenting thing “right.” Every day there seems to be some new battle to fight, another “Mommy War” we’re drafted into, one more debate waging on the internet. Why won’t they just stop picking on us and leave us mothers alone?! I want to scream almost every damn day. We’re doing our best!
But we mothers are often our own worst critics. We pick at each other. We blame ourselves. We load up on guilt in the hope that it might elevate us to our unrealistically high ideals. Every day we are told in about a million different ways that we are falling behind, that we aren’t good enough, that the way we are parenting is not the way it “should be done.”
And you know what? My voice is starting to get a little hoarse from telling those voices to fuck off so many times.
I need your help. Because I know you’re whispering “fuck off” to all that bullshit too, and maybe if we scream it together we can really make some progress.
Motherhood is hard enough as it is, so why don’t we call a truce on all the made-up Mommy Wars and one-upmanship and comparisons? Can we just agree to disagree and call it a day? Can we stop all the picking and the judging and the criticizing?
And for fuck’s sake, can we just stop all the madness?
We both want what’s best for our children and our family. We’re both tired. And whether we want to admit it or not, we’re too damn old for this shit.
So here’s what I propose:
Let’s just stop with all the comparing and bitching and judging.
While we’re at it, let’s ban the word “versus” from our motherhood lingo. Enough with the breast versus bottle, sleep training versus family bed, helicopter parenting versus free-range parenting. Parenting isn’t a competition so we don’t need all the “versus” debates. There is no “right” way to parent, but a million good ways to parent.
Let’s remember that we don’t know what is best for someone else’s family. And let’s remind ourselves that what works for our family might not work for another family. We’re both full up on guilt and “shoulds” these days so how about we cut each other and ourselves some slack? We’re both doing the best we can, and even if we’re not doing our “best,” we’re doing good enough. And good enough is good enough.
Can we get off this treadmill of More-Bigger-Better. Because, honestly, it’s exhausting.
Look, I’m not one to wax on about how great we had it “back in my day,” but honestly, “keeping up with the Joneses” is out of control lately. There are favor bags for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, winter break, the end of the school year, and basically every freaking reason — each one more elaborate and Pinterest-worthy than the next. And don’t even get me started on birthday parties!
What is the point of all of this over-the-top, more-bigger-better craziness? Neither one of us needs another favor bag filled with crappy plastic toys that our kids will fight over. We don’t need to spend hours scrolling through Pinterest, we don’t need the extra chores — running to Party City for the umpteenth time — and we certainly don’t need to run up our credit card bill for a party that our kids will have forgotten about before the last balloon pops. Maybe you’re the type of person who loves to scrolling through Pinterest and gets a little tingly at the thought of planning anything with a theme. That’s great. You do you.
But let’s be honest with ourselves — we’re doing this for ourselves, not our kids because they don’t give a shit if the sugar rush comes from a cake that looks like Elsa or lopsided cupcakes. And for the rest of us out there, let’s stop going for broke (figuratively and literally!) so that we can keep up with or outdo each other. It was never a competition.
Can we stop all the stupid small talk about what sport your kid is playing and whether they are in advanced math and how much screen time they get?
Because, to be honest, I don’t give a shit whether your son is in advanced math, and you don’t care whether my son is playing soccer or baseball. And we’re both feeling guilty about too much screen time already so let’s not add to that guilt-fueled fire, m’kay?
I would much rather spend this time getting to know you. How are you doing? How are you really doing? And instead of the fake “I’m fine,” let’s answer that question with a little honesty. Because we both know that the world needs a little less fake and a little more honestly.
Let’s be No-Drama Mamas.
Not just when it comes to our own drama, but our kids’ drama too. Of course our kids need to know we’ve got their back, and we will get all Mama Bear when bullying is involved. But I’m talking about that stupid drama about whether Susie said your daughter’s hair looked a little messy and whether Danny called your son a butthole. Let that shit go. A phone call to run intervention is not required. Our kids will have forgotten about it in about two minutes, and we should too.
And this mommy martyr business? Nope, just NOPE.
No one is going to give you an award or medal for trying to do everything and be everything. Do you know what happens when you don’t do it all and let some of that shit slide? Do you know what happens if the dishes sit in your sink overnight or you send store-bought cupcakes to school or you say “no” to the PTA’s request for volunteers? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The world keeps spinning. Your kids are still happy. You are happy — albeit with a few more dishes sitting in the sink.
Instead of getting caught up in all this crap, let’s assume good intentions, lift each up, and rock this parenting thing.
We all know parenting is hard — really freaking hard sometimes — but it’s also pretty amazing too. And our kids, as much as they drive us mad sometimes, are also pretty amazing. So let’s cut this bullshit, call a truce on these so-called Mommy Wars (if there really even is such a thing) and put down the pitchforks.
Let’s quit the competitive parenting and abandon our quests for perfection. Instead, let’s lift each other up and help each other out. Let’s pat each other on the back for surviving another day of motherhood. Let’s congratulate each other on making the best decisions for our family, even if those decisions look different than our own. Let’s celebrate each other and the amazingness of motherhood.
Because we are seriously rocking this parenting thing.