In light of the recent media hype surrounding the latest issue of TIME magazine and its provocative cover photo, I have been involved in many an online discussion. While I often have a hard time taking the ‘high-road’ and just letting things go that I read online, I am actually very different in real life. Which made me think: are there really mommy wars amongst mothers?
I spend way too much time on the Internet. My iPhone has been part of my demise and I have a serious addiction to social networking sites. If I’m not on FB, I’m checking out Twitter or finding something new and fun on Pinterest. This ‘social time’ I spend on various sites is now a big part of my life. I have really good friends that I know a lot about, but have never actually met in person.
After some reflection I have come to realize that I behave very differently online than I do in person. I am actually rather non-confrontational in real life- my husband and I rarely argue and I can count the number of times I have had a fight with any of my friends on two hands. However, when it comes to the Internet, I am involved in fights daily. If it’s not about parenting, it’s about politics, or religion, or anything, really. I am a very opinionated person and my opinions are often rather extreme, so I disagree with a lot of common view points.
The thing is, the arguments I have online actually weigh heavily on me as well. I am not able to just not care about certain things that people say (unlike my husband, who couldn’t care less…) This realization made me see that my life was a lot more peaceful before I spent all this time on social networking sites. It also brought me to the issue of mommy wars.
I have had one argument with a mother about a parenting choice that has resulted in us no longer being friends. Other than that, I am not aware that these mommy wars really exist. Of course we have disagreements and differing opinions, but most mothers I know would never stop being friends because their parenting styles are different.
In the mom-groups I have been a member of, I don’t recall there ever being a ‘mommy war’. Sure, there were ladies who didn’t get along, but that had nothing specifically to do with their parenting. Not everyone gets along. Not everyone has to be friends. That applies to mothers as well as any other human being.
And so I have come to the conclusion that mommy wars actually are something the media has made up. We may quarrel online with strangers and judge them, but in real life we widely manage to get along, regardless of whether we breastfeed or formula feed, work or stay at home, cosleep or sleep separately, etc. The women I knew before I had children are still my friends, even though their parenting styles are a lot different than my own.
Have you ever experienced mommy wars?