It happened again. You threw your two cents into an online conversation and next thing you know you’ve started another Mommy War. But, you say, it seemed like such a reasonable thing to say at the time!
Remember that old adage “Avoid politics and religion at the dinner table”? Well, the same thing goes for getting yourself too deep into certain topics within the mommasphere. So unless you’re prepared to drop the gloves and take a few punches, you may consider avoiding the following Mommy War-sparking conversations all together…
11. Attachment Parenting. Ever see a mom wearing a toddler? Or breastfeeding one? There’s more to attachment parenting (a philosophy that suggests that a child can form a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong positive consequences) than breastfeeding until preschool and co-sleeping, but you wouldn’t know it. This topic has definitely been known to spark some controversy – mainly from people who have a very limited understanding of what it is or isn’t.
10. Crying it Out. Having trouble getting your little one to sleep through the night? Perhaps some helpful tips from other moms who are going through similar challenges is what you need. Or not. This is one of those mom challenges that can be addressed by a variety of methods. Should you stay or should you go? With sleep training and attachment parenting philosophies on the rise and embraced by equal numbers of moms, it’s no shocker why this topic almost always tends to spin out of control.
9. Food Allergies. With an estimated 15 million Americans living with food allergies and over 17 million Europeans (hospital admissions for severe reactions in children have risen seven-fold over the past decade), the food allergy epidemic/phenomenon is quickly becoming the buzz of the decade. And as with any other rising issue, along with it comes controversy and (of course) mommy wars. For every parent with a severely allergic child – striving for awareness and pushing for stricter regulations, you may very well find the mom who pushes back so that her child can go to school with peanut butter crackers. And let’s not forget the crowd who believes food allergies are an exaggerated hype. This is a hot issue that isn’t going away anytime soon.
8. Co-Sleeping. Safety vs. attachment parenting. Data vs. signs that data is flawed. Data vs. exhausted breastfeeding mama. Correlation? Causation? The more co-sleeping is studied the more muddy the water seems to get when it comes to its potential to help or hurt. That doesn’t stop mamas from taking sides, though! Expect to hear that you’re in danger of killing your baby if you cosleep. Or that you’re neglecting him if you don’t. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
7. Spanking. Your grandma did it, your own mom did it, and you definitely plan on doing it. If that’s the case and you’re brave enough to share, prepare to be cyber spanked! Spanking is not what it used to be in the mommy space. With the “gentle parenting” movement gaining ground and plenty of pushback from moms who were spanked as children, this mode of discipline is no longer the norm. Expect your pro-spanking stance to be met with a lot of of pushback from moms who believe your actions will cause significant long-term damage (including anxiety, physical abuse and alcoholism).
6. Organic Food. Pepperidge Farm goldfish vs Annie’s bunnies. It doesn’t matter which brand you pick, both sides of the organic food debate are going to get loud. If you want to add your voice to the fray, best read up on genes, GMOs, Monsanto, pesticides and ‘monoculture.’ While you’re at it, pull in some studies on autism, food allergies and cancer. But just remember that no matter what you do you’ll never impress the homesteading mamas. They would never feed their toddlers a cheddar cracker that wasn’t homemade.
5. ‘Helicopter’ Parenting. Somewhere between monitoring a kid’s bowel movements when he’s twelve and giving kids every possible freedom, there is a middle ground. You will never find this middle ground in discussions about helicopter parenting. The term is often used with much derision to describe parents who take a ‘hyper-present’ approach to parenting. It’s also used to criticize normal parenting by people on both sides of the war, so being a middle of the road mom won’t save you.
4. Birthing Preference. Does getting an epidural mean you chickened out? What’s so great about experiencing every twinge of labor, anyway? Are you less of a woman because you had a c-section? What about when the alternative was dying? If you’ve ever wondered these things you can find out just why your birth experience was terrible and makes you an awful mom just by sharing it in a moms’ group. My advice: Whatever your preference, whatever your plan, think twice about announcing it to the world or popping your head into someone elses birth canal.
3. Breastfeeding (Or Not). It seems like an appropriate enough topic for a group of moms to chat about, so let’s go ahead and drop it in a forum to see what happens. Ask a question like “What formula is best” and suddenly people are accusing you of feeding your baby poison. Talk about breastfeeding only to the year mark and you’ll be hotly criticized for stopping much too soon. Or ask about breastfeeding longer – if you want to find out how disgusting people think you are. If you really want to get things going, drop a photo of you or a fellow mama breastfeeding a child over the age of 16 months.
2. Stay-at-Home Vs. Working Moms. “Who has it harder?” is a question about as loaded as “Do I look fat in this?” As long as there have been moms, the Stay-at-Home vs. Working Mom debate has been raging. And be extra careful because this one can creep up on you. You think you’re dropping a compliment but it gets taken as a smackdown. Are you ready to rumble? There is no right way to walk into this one so do yourself a favor and avoid it like the plague.
1. Vaccinations. And last but obviously not least, we have the Time Magazine-worthy topic of the decade… vaccines. Bringing this up, my friends, will ABSOLUTELY guarantee a Mommy War right there in the coffee shop. Want in? Be prepared to hold your own in discussions that touch on mercury levels, pharmaceutical hierarchy, medical studies, autism, Jenny McCarthy, government conspiracy, and human rights. And expect to encounter plenty of self proclaimed experts (on both sides of the debate) who think googling is the same as research.
Can’t we all just get along?
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