As someone who is pretty involved in various parenting communities, I have noticed a surge in a new kind of Mommy Wars. Typically, from my understanding, the traditional Mommy War was between working moms and stay-at-home moms. Even now I do see this debate in a lot of places, but it’s been primarily replaced with a new brand of parenting friction that I, for one, cannot wrap my head around.
The new debate seems to be an evolved version of the traditional one, but masks itself with new names and virtues. Whereas the traditional Mommy War primarily focused on the role of the mother as she functioned in her children’s lives, this new war zeros in on the overall lifestyle of the family unit. Words like “crunchy,” “scrunchy,” and “silky” are thrown around frequently, and mothers defend their parenting/household/family styles and values with aggression.
These “new” parenting styles have become a badge of honor and tribal marker. I genuinely believe that the debate over these parenting styles came from a larger conversation regarding vaccines in general and just snowballed into something bigger. I have literally seen parenting forums and groups that are anti-silky parenting, or anti-crunchy parenting, pro-gentle-parenting-only, etc. These groups seem to be parenting cliques that circulate a lot of hateful misinformation and stereotypes about anyone they disagree with on a variety of different subjects.
From what I see, this tension between parenting styles seems to only be getting worse and the contemporary battlefield is social media, which plays a huge role in our lives. In many ways, social media outlets have replaced the natural tribal-family setting that humans were accustomed to living in for generations. That whole “it-takes-a-village” mentality was not imagined in a vacuum. (Jennifer Fulwiler has excellent videos on this subject!)
Frankly, I think this debate over parenting styles is madness and I, for one, do not care about your parenting style.
Without being satirical or sarcastic, I literally had a fellow parent at a birthday party recently angrily question my decision to have my son in a hospital instead of at home or at a birthing center. We were originally joking about not eating sushi while pregnant and how that was one of the first foods I was excited to have after birthing my son in the hospital, and that is when the trouble started.
If you’re reading this and do not have kids, you probably think I sound insane. However, if you are a parent and reading this, I would bet that somewhere (either in person or online, etc.) you’ve had a similar conversation at some point. I see arguments about medicine versus homeopathic remedies, organic versus non-organic foods, breast-feeding versus formula-feeding, etc.
If you only feed your family Goldfish and hot dogs, good work. If you only feed your kids grass-fed animal liver and kombucha, good work. If you sent your kid to a chicken pox party, cool beans. If you only use peppermint essential oils to treat headaches, awesome sauce. If you believe formula-feeding is the way to go, good work. If you believe breast milk is the nectar of the Gods and make homemade bath bombs with the milk, awesome.
I literally could not care less about any of these decisions you’re making. I hope your family is happy, healthy, and thriving. The only time anyone should be stepping in and voicing their concerns to a parent (or to any other authority outlet) about the treatment or handling of children is when a child’s safety and health are at risk.
Parenting is very difficult. Sure, parenthood is a beautiful and rewarding vocation, but it is often met with little sleep, confusion, and aggravation. We should avoid adding isolation to the list because we box ourselves into these parenting groups that prevent us from seeking and gaining optimal amounts of support.