Are We in the Trenches of a Mommy War?

Was Time magazine trying to start a fight?

Last week in Moms Talk, shared some information about the increasing problem of children swallowing batteries in Here’s what some people had to say:

Seems like we're unceasingly tech challenged. Call me 'old fashioned' but I believe in keeping the techno toys and devices to the barest minimum or not at all... The kids most at risk are the ones that don't really understand the danger so it puts the adults in hyper vigilant mode for too many things. I'm not for gadget babysitting or sensory overload. Do it the old fashioned way and have them read, play with each other (what a concept), and otherwise be creative and active.

Jennifer, thank you for the warning. If it happens, Safe Kids USA says to go to the emergency room immediately and call the National Battery Ingestion hotline at 202-625-3333 for additional treatment information. And as you have, tell others about this threat and share these steps. 

This week I’m wondering, was “Time” magazine trying to start a fight?

The recent “Time” magazine cover, with the headline “Are you mom enough?” accompanying an article on attachment parenting drew a lot of attention and criticism. The provocative cover and headline insinuated a conflict between parents who choose different parenting styles. Organizations like MomsRising.org accused “Time” of trying to start a “mommy war.”

Do mothers really divide up into factions— liberated strong women on one side and kids-first martyrs on the other? In this corner, wearing hip yoga gear, a fervent Ferberite, and in that corner, in a Dr. Sears Balboa Sling, an attachment parenting aficionado?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think reports of a mommy war have been greatly exaggerated.

Sure, when I had my first baby I learned to keep my opinions and practices on co-sleeping, playpen use, and Baby Mozart-watching to myself, unless directly asked or in close company. But that was just because I had the desire neither to defend myself nor to offend others. And sure, I had medical professionals say “you’re still nursing?” when I called the after-hours hotline when my 18-month-old had the flu. But I chalk that up to genuine curiosity. In general, I’ve found other moms to be so focused on not messing up their own kids that they weren’t ever too worried about (or even interested in) whether I used cloth or disposable diapers.

I’ve found the majority of moms share a bond of understanding and compassion about our collective experience—we all want our children to be healthy and happy, and we do our best to guide them and provide what they need. We’re happy to share tips and caveats, but only to be helpful and supportive, not to be judgmental or superior. When we see a silent mother with a fixed stare trying to ignore her child’s screaming fit in the cereal aisle of the new Safeway, we give her a virtual hug of solidarity that says “You’re doing fine. It will be over soon.” We feel each other’s pain and accept that each of us is muddling along in a way that works for us and our own families.

So if I meet a tiger mom who spanks and humiliates her children to get them to achieve, and that works for her and her kids, I am not going to take issue with her parenting. (Okay, maybe I would take issue with that.)

What about you? Do you cross that line in the sand? Have you found yourself in the trenches of a “mommy war?”

Kim Ratcliff May 23, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Dyan, what a great line…“In this corner, wearing hip yoga gear, a fervent Ferberite, and in that corner, in a Dr. Sears Balboa Sling, an attachment parenting aficionado?” I definitely fall into the former but to each her own! On a superficial note, I tried to engage the Time piece with my husband but we barely got past how HOT the TIME mag cover mom was…
Sheila Sanchez May 24, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Great topic, Dyan. Thank you so much.
Dyan Chan May 24, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Thanks, Sheila. Hey, moms out there--have you felt judged or criticized about your parenting?? (Except by your kids, of course.)
TherapyWorks of Los Gatos May 25, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I feel that each mom and family have to find what works for them. We all know there is not a manual for proper parenting, hence, we all find our way through the way we feel most comfortable.
Squashyo May 27, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Nice one Dyan...it's hard not to let your own perceptions of what is right and wrong in parenting contribute in judging a drama in the supermarket. Sure get's under my skin though when I see things like parents giving their 8 year old kid a 64 ounce Big Gulp if they'd pipe down or stepping into a movie theater with a crying baby or yelling at a daughter for not being aggressive enough on the soccer field after a game or....deep breathe, deep breathe.


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