I have this major dislike for the “Mommy Wars.” I haven’t ever been one to be a “one right way” to live life sort of person. Perhaps it is because I was raised by a Democrat for a father and a Republican for a mother. Perhaps it is because while I went to church each week on my own, the rest of my family usually stayed home while I was a child. I guess I wasn’t raised in a climate where there was a singular correct way to be in life. We were always encouraged to have our own opinions and be our own, individual selves.
So I don’t get the Mommy Wars. I mean, as I think about it, I understand where it stems from. Parenting is something we all basically make up as we go along. Yes, we can get ideas and guidance from others, but each child is an individual and each dynamic between the parent and child is different, so there is no way you can get “one right way” to raise children universally. You can get ideas, but that is about it. But as parents we can feel insecure in our decisions. We seem to think that someone doing something differently means they think we are doing things wrong. We feel defensive about our parenting decisions and think we need to prove others are wrong in order to assure ourselves we are doing things correctly.
We just don’t.
If Suzie feeds her baby with a bottle, it doesn’t mean it is wrong for you to breastfeed. And it doesn’t mean Suzie is wrong, either. If Jane does cloth diapers, it doesn’t mean you are evil.
I mean, chances are Rachel, who lives 2,000 miles away from you, did not make her parenting decisions based on what you are doing. It wasn’t about you. It was about her child.
So let’s stop worrying about what Mrs. Jones is doing and just focus on doing what is best for our own children.
There is no one, singular right way to raise children.
As I have thought about this topic, I have thought about my own close Mommy friends who live close by to me. While I have things in common with each of them, there are also a lot of differences among us. We have different practices and rules. And guess what? They are all nice people with nice little children.
I imagine you are in a similar situation. You probably have friends with very different parenting practices in life. And do you all fight and tell each other how terrible their decisions are? I doubt many do. And yet many of us will do that as mothers when we hide behind the protection of a screen. I wanted to demonstrate how mothers can be close and respect each other even when they are super different.
At our last girls night, I had those who were there fill out what they liked and admired about each other, especially focusing on what they liked that was different from themselves. In this group of women, some believe in CIO, others can’t let a tear fall. Some co-sleep and some have children who don’t even know that is even an option. Some are strict organic eaters with very healthy menus while others have a pantry full of treats available at all times. I have friends who are pro-breastfeeding (one is a lactation consultant at the hospital) on to a friend who has never breastfed ever (“These are for recreational purposes only”). I have working friends and stay at home moms. Some have their children wear the same pair of PJs for a few days straight while others have their kids looking ready for a photo shoot at any minute. We have strict bedtimes and…what’s a bedtime? I could go on. There is a huge variety among us.
|Each shoe is different. Each looks different. Each functions differently. But you can love each shoe.
You can want each shoe. You can find every shoe fantastic.
This post will not cover everyone. I would love to introduce you to all of them some day. These are just the people who were at our last girls night. This isn’t even to speak of my friends who don’t live in my town! The comments are anonymous. They didn’t (and haven’t until now) read any comments of anyone else. I hope as you read them, you can think of your own circle of friends and the things you have in common as well as the things that are different. We can expand our own sisterhood from our close circle of friends into all women everywhere. I love the idea of a “Sisterhood of Motherhood.” Each person who strives for that will make a positive impact. #sisterhoodofmotherhood
Bree is a strong and amazing woman and mother of three. She is a breast cancer survivor. She is a working mom and breastfed her twins through pumping and bottles (seriously, I can’t imagine doing it). She is extremely disciplined in life and works hard at everything she does. She is very smart and really good at researching. She is a hard worker in life. She puts a lot of effort into her children.
“I love how you’re so happy and have a zest for life! I love how you have creative ideas to overcome challenges with children.”
“Bree’s kids are always so cute. She always has them clean and well dressed.”
“Bree is goal-oriented, has great time management, is very dedicated to kids/family, and is a super sweet mommy.”
“Bree works at a job that she loves and doesn’t let that distract or take away from being a good and loving mother. She beat cancer! She is such a strong person!”
“I love Bree’s zest for life. She is always so happy and teaches that to her kids. She enjoys life and her kids. She takes time to show her kids how to enjoy everything.”
“Bree is very nice and is a good friend. She is patient. She is very capable and does a great job managing her children. Her kids are sweet and always look adorable.”
“Being a stay at home mom has always been a #1 priority for me. Bree works but what has always impressed me is that she makes it work with her husband to make them be with either parent as much as possible.”
“You are such a strong person with great perspective. I admire your kindness. I will always love you for coming to see me in the hospital. You didn’t have to do that. You are always offering support.”
Brooke is another woman of great strength. Shortly after I met Brooke, her second child, who was just a bit younger than McKenna, passed away from SIDs. Brooke has since had two more children. It has been amazing to watch her go through the whole process. She is very faithful. Brooke is a very sweet and nice mom.
“She was one of the first people to introduce herself to me when I moved in. She made sure I knew when church was and when activities were held. It helped me stay active here. Her kids are very cute! You can tell she loves being a mom.”
“I love the way Brooke really spends time with her kids and makes that time count. I love that she stays away from social media and just cherishes that time with her kid. She is one of the sweetest people I know. I love watching her interact with her kids.”
“I admire Brooke’s outlook at the big picture. She is amazing that she is so positive. She is also very protective of her kids and watches them so carefully.”
“Brooke has a big heart and is very kind. She is always serving others. She is easy going and lets her children be free-spirited and individuals. She is resilient.”
“Brook is service oriented. She is amazing and can do extremely hard things with grace. She holds the reigns of her household. She is independent and has constant strength. She is always there.”
“I love how you see the good in people. You have a pure love for your children.”
“Not only is Brooke beautiful on the outside, she is gorgeous on the inside. She is always thinking of others and making them feel included, wanted, and valued. She is simply amazing in my eyes.”
“Where do I start? I am so grateful you became my friend. You are the kindest most generous person. You are always putting others first. I have never heard you speak a bad word about anyone. I admire you as a mother because you are always patient and loving. You always put your children first. I love that you are involved and they are your priority. You are the best mom ever.”
I lovingly call Geneva “Piper” because where she goes, children everywhere will follow. Geneva can’t say no. The children all know at park day that Geneva will push them on the swings when no other mom will (including their own). She is super fun and hilarious. She does not get offended about anything. She never takes things personally. Geneva has battled the pains of infertility and has delivered both of her children very early, but she has persevered through it all with a great sense of humor and high spirits.
“She’s loud and outgoing and makes people feel comfortable to open up about things. She spoils her kids-they are her life and she’s okay with the fact that she spoils her kids.”
“Geneva has fun! She is confident in herself and doesn’t care what people think. She really cares lovingly for her children and is a good example to them. She has a great sense of humor but can be serious and responsible when she needs to be. She cherishes her children.”
“Geneva I love how you make people laugh and how you accept people for who they are. You’re very non-judgmental. You are a calm and laid-back mom.”
“She is so much fun! I could listen to her tell stories for hours. She love her kids. She is the neighborhood treat lady and a party lady. She knows what is truly important and focuses her attention there. She is the fun mom.”
“Geneva can’t stop and won’t stop! She is super fun and creative with kids’ activities. She is super sensitive and loving to her kids.”
“I think she is the funnest mom! She is always doing fun activities with her kids. She also spends quality one on one time with each of her boys.”
“The life of the party–that’s Geneva. Somehow she can stand having her children up really late. She must have a lot of patience. You can tell by the way she is with her boys that they are her world. She was another one that intimidated me when I first met her–I thought she was way too cool for me. But she is accepting of everyone and seriously so fun.”
“I love how Geneva lets her kids be themselves. She and her kids love life an love to have fun and laugh. She has let them develop their own personalities. she is the fun mom that all the kids love!”
Jami is very real. I love that about her. You know she won’t say something to you unless she means it. Jami has a masters degree, which is something I greatly admire about her. She has three girls who are the ages of Brayden, McKenna, and Brinley. Jami is highly involved at the school and we work together closely with things there. Jami runs a local museum. She went through a hard time last year when her young mother unexpectedly passed away from brain cancer. Jami handled it well and with honesty.
“I love how dedicated Jami is to her kids. I love how she educates them and also lets them play and enjoy life. She works hard to always enrich her kids lives.”
“I love that she takes time to talk to her kids about pretty much everything. They communicate very well. I try to implement that with my kids–it doesn’t always work, so I appreciate how hard that can be.”
“Jami just all around exudes confidence. I admire that she is down to earth and studies things she is interested in. She is a great story teller and has a great memory.”
“I love how you are always helping people with anything, just chatting or smiling or finding something that will be very beneficial for them. You are so great at giving your children the one on one chatting or time they need.”
“I love that Jami is not only a parent but a friend to her girls. One of my favorite things is that the girls all go on a date with their dad on Valentine’s Day so they will always feel loved on that day and when they are older, they will know they have a date for that day!”
“I think you are so fun. You make me laugh. I appreciate your no nonsense approach. You say it how ti is and you are easy and fun to talk to. I love that you are so cute and loving when you talk about your kids. You never make me feel like I can’t be myself.”
“Jami is goal oriented, has good time management, and does fun activities with her children. She is involved with her kids.”
“Jami is passionate, a gentle mother, a history buff, and independent.”
When Jenni is in the room, I think it is universally known and uncontested that she is the nicest person present. She manages to be kind while not being someone to push around. You know she has her own thoughts and opinions even though she is very quiet about them. She has three little ones with one on the way. Jenni takes what life throws her way in stride.
“Jenni is so soft spoken and quiet, but when it comes to her kids or something she believes in she gets a strong voice and is passionate. I admire that.”
“Jenni I love how you love movies. How you take time to enjoy them. You have patience with your children and you are involved with them in fun activities.”
“I love how much she laughs. She always seems so happy.”
“I don’t know Jenni very well. I do remember a time when she asked for advice about an issue with her kids. It made me feel better about my kids because I’m constantly asking for help and advice. It’s nice that I am not the only one that feels at a loss sometimes!”
“Jenni is sweet with a quiet presence.”
“Jenni is super sweet, even to her kids. She is very fun and super creative.”
“You are such a sweet girl. I love the way you talk to your kids. You are very patient. I have never heard you say anything unkind.”
“Jenni is very sweet and sensitive to others. She has a lot of patience. She says nice things about others. She is a good example to her children of kindness and charity.”
Karli’s discipline methods are among my favorite. She has been known to empty her child’s room and put everything on the front lawn when he wouldn’t clean it. She expects her four children to obey and she makes sure they do so. She is willing to spend her time for her family. She always has her girls’ hair done very cute. She is the one who really inspired me to work on feeding my children real breakfast each day and not just cold cereal–just by her example. She is super responsible and reliable. Karli has a child with celiacs and a child who is lactose intolerant, and she spends a lot of time making meals the entire family can eat together. I can’t imagine the hours she puts in each day just to make meals.
“Karli has a really big heart. Her children are well behaved and always well-groomed and just completely adorable. She is very service oriented. She is willing to try new things and is a good sport. She is a good friend.”
“I love the way Karli teaches her kids to be responsible. I love how when a problem arises, be it doing chores or being fair, she addresses it right then and sticks to it until her kids understand.”
“I love her ‘we have to be fair’ parenting style. I just think it is so awesome! And the time she put her son’s stuff in the yard. She is teaching them life lessons and too many parents just don’t do that anymore. She loves them enough to be tough.”
“Karli is dedicated to her family. She is not afraid to put her foot down when necessary for her kids’ sake. She is fun.”
“I love(!) her parenting style with being fair, room belongings on the front lawn, etc. She has great wisdom.”
“I love Karli’s parenting style and tactics. I mean seriously, counting Cheerios so it is “fair”–genius!”
“I love how strong and loving your are. It is amazing to me of how you love and just keep going no matter what. You expect to be respected by your children and in return you respect them.”
“I love talking with you about nothing. You are always kind and understanding. I love that you are easy to talk to. You are a great mom and always patient.”
Karrie is the most complimentary person I know. She truly sees the best in everyone around her and is not shy at all about letting each person know how much she admires things about them. That is a rare quality. Karrie lost her father when she was young, and she is the one who spoke saying the pain doesn’t lesson, you just get better at handling it. Karrie is always fun and is fully invested in her two little girls. She had dangerous pregnancies and she fills her desire for more children by always watching someones children for them.
“Karrie is very compassionate. She is very conscious of others’ feelings and opinions. She is very dependable. She follows through with directions she gives her children so they respect her and take her seriously. She lets her kids have fun and be individuals.”
“I love your sincere personality, your laugh, and that we can laugh together. You are never critical of our differences. You are warm and open minded. I love you!”
“I love how Karrie balances playing with her kids, letting them explore on their own, and setting boundaries. She takes time to really answer and explain her kids’ questions. You can tell how much she loves and cherishes her children by the way they act together. ”
“Karrie is always so nice to everyone. She makes sure that everyone feels liked and included. She is a fun mom. She lets her kids be kids and have fun. She wants them to explore life to its fullest! She’s always so willing to help anyone that needs it. She’s a very great friend.”
“She is loyal, strong willed, and fun. She is not afraid to stand up for what is right.”
“Karrie rolls with the punches. She understands her kids and their natures. She parents them accordingly. She is the neighborhood babysitter who loves everyone as her own. She is a friend to all and she seeks out the underdog.”
“Karrie and I have similar parenting styles, which I love–chill but firm. Sh is also very non-judgmental and accepting of others. I really, really like her!”
“Kerri is always explaining things to her very curious girls. She will always tell her ‘why’.”
Lacey moved to our town right around a year ago. I was working in our church nursery at the time. I remember her little girl coming in and crying. I gently said to the little one, “You are okay.” She believed me and stopped crying. I knew this was a girl who had a good mother. Lacey is honest and real. She doesn’t mince words.
“I love how Lacey keeps it real. I love how she teaches her kids how to accept everyone around them. She teaches her kids how to love everyone no matter their thoughts/beliefs.”
“Lacey you are my kind of girl. You are not afraid to be yourself. You say it how it is and I love that. You laugh with me and I appreciate that.”
“Lacey is a super fun mom. She is hard working and good at time management.”
“Lacey is a no business attitude. She is honest. She is a spicy momma! She can lay the smack down and yet is vulnerable.”
“I was surprised when Lacey told us she had low self confidence in high school. She comes across as being so self confident, which just goes to show there’s a little bit of fragile in each of us.”
“I love your spice. I love how you just accept life for how it is. You teach age appropriate manners.”
“Lacey is honest and has confidence. She is fun to be around and has a good sense of humor. Her girls always look adorable and are good friends to each other. I like that she is real and says what she is thinking. She isn’t phony.”
“Lacey doesn’t have quantity time with her two girls so she is very good at spending quality time with them.”
Serra is the mom to three children with one on the way. I have every confidence that her children will look back on their childhoods and describe it as “enchanting.” She has been known to let her children do things like fill up a soup pot and add herbs to their hearts content as they “make soup.” Serra is my photographer friend who takes many of the pictures you see on my blog. She is amazing. She is always thinking of ways to help people and just does it for them–she doesn’t just say, “Let me know if you need help”–she thinks of a way to help and just does it.
“Allows kids to be kids. She is laid back and fun-loving. She is a very sweet mom.”
“Serra doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Love abides in her home. She respects her children’s independence. She is a gardening diva and a creator. She is a mother hen who sees the good in all.”
“Serra is very talented. I love all of the pictures that she takes of her kids. Their life is well documented. I feel that she lets them explore their neighborhood but the girls are always together looking out for each other.”
“I love the confidence Serra’s kids have. She really lets them be themselves and explore on their own. I love that she is more laid back with parenting which helps teach me to relax a little bit.”
“I love how you tell about the positive things in situations. I love how you let your children eat Nutella sandwiches.”
“Serra is patient and kind. She enjoys serving others. She lets her kids be individuals and fosters their spirits.”
“I appreciate you for your sense of humor. I love that we can laugh together. I admire your patience with your children. I have never heard you raise your voice. I also love that you are laid back.”
“Serra is a very laid back mom. She is great at letting her kids be kids. She parents so her kids are taught the important things and lets the little things go.”
|in my defense, this was a Halloween party
I feel silly adding myself here, but I was there and so here are the comments my friends had for me.
“Val is great with structure. She is the ‘go-to’ momma to help with problems. She is confident. She is strict but loving. She has control of her household. She is organized and planned.”
“Val has great time management. She is goal-oriented and patient.”
“Val, Val, I love you. Who would have thought you would become one of my favorite people. I love that you are very organized and particular person. But my favorite thing is how much fun you are. You are so willing to have a good time. As a mother, I love how organized you are. You never seem overwhelmed. You can handle anything.”
“I admire her time management and organization skills. Her children are obviously her top priority and she will do anything to see they have all the advantages they can. She is honest or forthright and I trust her. She is dependable.”
“Valerie is the most organized person I know. I love that she has such an awesome schedule and always takes the time to stick to it. From learning time, chore time, to play time. I have much I could learn from Valerie.”
“I love the way Val parents. Her kids know what is expected and what will happen if they misbehave. She loves them by setting boundaries and teaching. She expects her kid to be great giving them the confidence to be great!”
“I love how organized you are. I love the inner strength you hold. I really like how you are so calm with children.”
“I feel Val is very strong and protective. I’ve seen her be the “mama bear”! I love seeing someone who still thinks it is okay to stick up for their kids.”
“I was really intimidated by Valerie when we were first getting to know each other. Now I love Val. My favorite thing of all can be put into words. Val is wise. She things things through and knows her opinion, but is open to others ideas and opinions. She takes everything into consideration without making someone feel lame. But my absolute favorite thing is, although she has a lot of “mommy experience” with the blog she NEVER flaunts or says her way is the “best” and “only” correct way. She knows when to speak and when to keep her mouth shut :).”