There is almost nothing that gets a group of mothers more heated than issues surrounding our children. One feels breast is best, the other hearts formula and there goes the friendship.
Women are always our own worst enemies, but never is this more evident than on Mommy listserves and in the blogosphere.
This week it has been particularly evident as one mother on my listserve took another to task for her thoughts on a current film. Elsewhere I got into a heated discussion with another blogger on taking our kids to playgroup when they are recovering from an illness.
My discussion with the blogger was civilized and respectful. We disagreed, but we were able to talk about our differences and see one another’s points (for the record, I am pretty laid back about illness. I certainly keep my kids fever free for 24 hours before having them around other kids, but beyond that, I think kids get sick. That’s life.) Sadly, the listserve discussion did not remain as respectful.
The hardest task any man or woman ever undertakes is becoming a parent. So why are we so hard on one another? I have wondered this ever since my daughter was born two years ago. This week, I answered my own question.
We are considering sleep training our son more diligently (I know, I know, we “started this” weeks ago, but it never took) using the “cry it out “ method. Highly controversial, it’s mere mention has garnered dozens of unsolicited advice about lifelong “emotional scars” and “trauma.”
I got mad. Really, really mad. Because I am all for keeping my child’s developing sense of self strong, but Mama needs sleep and I am not about to let some voodoo science tell me that what I am doing will harm my child. It is the first time since becoming a mom that I honestly have not wanted to hear the other side.
My reaction tells me that I have to hear the other side. The more sensitive the topic, the more it needs to be explored. I need to be comfortable enough with my own decision not to get angry. It is what I have been touting since Sam’s birth.
So I am open. I am listening. And I hope other moms will do the same.
Sasha Brown-Worsham is a freelance writer whose monthly column runs online at The Family Groove. Her work has appeared in Pregnancy, Runner’s World, Self and many other publications. She lives in Boston with her husband, daughter, son (and a cat and dog).