The Mommy Wars. It’s a term that’s been tossed around for a few decades now. It reemerges from time to time in the news, social media, and in the blogosphere and all the old conflicts and arguments reemerge as well. What are the “mommy wars?” They are conflicts between women over aspects of parenting: breast feeding vs. bottle feeding, co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping, stay at home moms vs. working moms, etc. Moms take sides on these issues and stand their ground against other moms. There’s finger pointing, judgment, and criticism.
Criticizing Other Moms
Scroll through social media and there are bound to be statements made on one side or other of the mommy wars. A friend might post an article about why breast feeding is best for babies. You might notice another mom friend pin a number of posts related to co-sleeping. Or you might see a friend comment on someone’s social media post, declaring their belief about some aspect of parenting. In all of it, you have some kind of emotional response. You might find yourself judging your friend for what they posted. Or you might feel guilty because you do something different.
As moms, we are quick to critique and criticize other mom’s choices in their mothering. We look down on those who don’t do what we think is right. We get frustrated with people who don’t work hard enough in their mothering. We have little patience for those who don’t bother to do their research and understand all the issues.
We put people in boxes. Just one look at a mom and we know right away whether she is permissive or strict, uses television as a babysitter or not, or whether she nurses on demand or sticks to a schedule. We look at moms who parent differently than we and decide they just aren’t people we want to be associated with. If we learn that a friend believes differently than we do on a matter of parenting, we see her in a new light and it’s not flattering. At the grocery store, when we see a toddler having a tantrum, we watch to see how the mother responds. We automatically label her in our mind, depending on what she does.
We Need Each Other
These so called “mommy wars” are aptly named. War causes separation and division. It is one side against another and the battle wages on until a winner is declared.
The criticism we have for each other separates us. Rather than being a help and support to one another in our parenting, moms become competitors. We treat each other like we are on different teams, as though there is some prize out there and only one of us can get it. Instead of encouraging and building one another up, we tear each other down with our gossip and belittling comments. It leaves us isolated and alone just when we need the help and encouragement from others the most.
The truth is, moms, we need each other. We were made to depend and rely upon one another, not fight until we are the last one standing. God created us to be in community with others. He made us to be dependent upon him and mutually dependent upon each other. As believers, we are part of the Body of Christ with Christ as our head and we the members (Romans 12:5). Each one of us is important to the functioning of the body and we need each part to function. Not only that but each one of us is loved and cherished by our Father in heaven. We are part of the family of God, making other believing women our sisters in the Lord.
The Bible calls us to live in light of our union with Christ and with one another. Because God loves us in Christ, we also ought to love one another. Because we are sisters in the Lord, we ought to rejoice together over God’s goodness in our lives (Romans 12:15). We are also called to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), help one another (Galatians 6:2), and exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13). God uses us in each others lives to strengthen and build us up. He comforts and encourages us through each other. He uses us to help one another forward in the life of faith.
That’s why the “mommy wars” have no place in the church. It divides what Christ died to create. When we criticize and critique each other for our parenting choices, we are not living as those who have been redeemed by Christ. When we take sides and whisper behind each other’s backs, we harm the body of Christ. And because we are united to one another, we ultimately harm ourselves.
The next time you feel tempted to take sides against another mom, remember Whose you are. Remember your unity with Christ and with one another. As moms, let us all strive by the grace of Christ to “love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:10).