I have rewritten the start to this post 3 times too many, so here we go, diving right in! I am going to be real for a moment, so bear with me and take no offense, okay? I read a post on Facebook earlier today, shared by my sister, written by a woman whom I have never met. It addressed the hot topic issue of “mom bullying”. She mentioned a fraction of the 1 million choices that we as mothers have to make on a daily basis for our kids and our families. She wrapped up the post by basically saying, “Let’s all just cheer one another on and stop being bullies!”
Let me just be clear before we move any further that I wholeheartedly agree that mom bullies are the worst. Any type of bullying is uncalled for and awful and I think we would be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree with that notion. Let’s just be clear about what bullying is, though:
As defined in the Webster Dictionary, a bully is “one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are smaller, weaker or in some way vulnerable.”
Am I denying that there are true cases of mom bullying out there? I’m not. And if you have been the victim of such a thing, I am truly sorry and hope that you have since found a tribe of mothers who support and challenge you in a healthy way.
Now I would say that as mothers we all fit into the “vulnerable” category mentioned above. And every mom said, “Amen!” And sure, we have been on the receiving end of some unsolicited advice. Heck, I imagine we have all dished out said unsolicited advice. And I believe that THIS is more so the norm of the conversations that take place between moms that get labeled as “mom bullying”.
Is your well-meaning co-worker who shares research info with you about the benefits of breastfeeding vs formula feeding before you become a mom a bully? No. Is the mom at the library who mentions that her child doesn’t watch television a bully? No. Is your sister in law bullying you when she mentions that her views on vaccinations are different from yours? Nope!
We live in a time when others don’t agree with what we do, or simply don’t do the same things that we do, we assume they think we are wrong, or bad. We assume that other moms are judging us. And even if they are judging us, is that bullying?
I think we could all benefit if we stopped labeling these differences as “mommy wars” and stopped thinking that just because your high school best friend homeschools her kids and you can’t wait to send your kids to school, that she thinks you’re horrible and is a big bully.
Let’s all just make INFORMED choices for our families, and see others’ comments and input through the lens of “how might this be helpful to me?” rather than “why is she bullying me?”
Being a mom is HARD WORK. We are responsible for so many things, both material and otherwise. We don’t know it all. We can’t know it all. But we can listen to what others have to say, seek out research and advice and go forward confidently with our decisions (knowing full well that in a month our kiddos will be totally different people, presenting a whole new set of decisions and we will be back at square one. Am I right?!)
Can we all vow not to buy into the divisive nature of labeling and overgeneralizing to the detriment of ourselves and our children? It is likely only one woman’s thoughts on one detail of our lives. We can take it or LEAVE it, it’s up to us!