Becoming a mother is like walking into a high school cafeteria. The cool moms, women who manage to get dressed and brush their teeth on a daily basis, sit at their own table. The moms who breast feed sit together, while the formula moms sit elsewhere. The sleep trainers swap stories at their table. The co-sleepers eat their lunches alone, so they can finally stretch out. The attachment parents wear their babies at the corner table. And everyone waits for a new mom to drop her lunch tray, so they can gasp and point fingers and roll their eyes at her missteps.
Well, this is the picture perpetuated by the Mommy War mentality, an archaic notion that reduces grown women to catty school girls. This analogy falls flat for too many reasons to count. We’re all moms, so we haven’t been served a meal in years, and we don’t know when we’ve eaten food that’s still warm. And given an opportunity to complete a sentence, most of us wouldn’t waste it on passing judgement especially on new moms.
The us vs. them mind set is the exception not the rule. When an “experienced” mom sees a “newbie,” the look in her eye as fruit loops cascade from the open van door is not judgement; it’s nostalgia and camaraderie. We’ve been there, and if a child didn’t need our attention “now, Mommy! Please, Mommy, please! Mooooooooomeeeee!” we’d say…
1. It’s totally normal that the car you used to get detailed religiously looks like the place Goldfish crackers go to die. Just yesterday we found the remains of a hot dog beneath our seats.
2. We’re truly impressed you prepare healthful, organic meals everyday from scratch, but don’t beat yourself up if when you lay in bed reviewing what your child actually ate, you discover his calories came from pickles and Nerds. It happens.
3. We agree that the hands-down best high (no matter what you did in college) is the one you get from your baby laying heavy in a heap on your chest. Thank you, oxytocin. And no judgment here if you forgo a night out to cash in on the opportunity to cuddle up.
4. Don’t worry if you consider purchasing a taxi cab because you heard the plastic partitions can be made in soundproof material. We already looked into that.
5. There is nothing wrong with you at all if while cleaning the nursery in a few months, you tear up throwing away the nasal aspirators because your big girl can blow her nose all by herself. These milestones come out of nowhere.
6. Don’t you dare think less of yourself if you do the sniff test to your clothes before you consider washing them. A little spit up on the shoulder? If you can scratch it off, it’s perfect for running errands. We applaud you for “Going Green”!
7. We get it if when you decide to return to the gym, you do it under the guise of getting your body back but know deep down it’s for the childcare room. We’ve seen them sanitize the baby swing. No harm. No foul.
8. We applaud your homemade cleaning products. Vinegar is magical! We didn’t notice at all that you turned to Clorox and Lysol when your little one got his first stomach virus. We thought “projectile” was hyperbole, too.
9. Don’t question your strength just because you can’t take the lollipop your precious little one has been licking for 45 minutes. There is nothing stronger than a baby holding candy. Nothing.
10. No judgement here if you consider asking your husband to celebrate your birthday or his birthday or next Tuesday with a vasectomy.
11. Please don’t underestimate your parenting prowess when your little one embraces Time Out as an opportunity to play quietly and use his imagination instead of reflecting on his bad behavior. Enjoy the minute of silence.
12. We still think you’re fashion forward after you spent the entire day with Cheerios tucked into the folds of your scarf and a chocolate kiss mark on your cheek.
13. We admire any answer you can muster (as long as it doesn’t include details about grooming shapes and vajazzling) when your cherub asks about pubic hair while you’re both squeezed into a public restroom stall.
14. It’s not lying to tell your babe that Caillou went on vacation with his Mommy and Daddy and won’t be back for a long time. We call it self preservation.
15. You’re still wearing a nursing bra but haven’t breastfed in months? There’s no statute of limitations on those things. We can’t blame you for avoiding a bra fitting. One change at a time.
We could go on and on because motherhood is the great equalizer, and we’re all just doing the best we can. Instead of passing judgement, we’re looking for strength in numbers. However, if you happen to come in contact with Judgey McJudginstuff herself, we fully support you thanking her for her insight while patting her shoulder with a hand that may or may not have poop under the fingernails.
Welcome to the club.