Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why We Have The "Mommy Wars"

A local morning television show posted the following on their facebook wall this morning:

"Actress Elizabeth Banks recently told a magazine reporter that moms of one child aren't "really moms". How do you feel about this comment?"

Aside from the fact that this was a snippet of a conversation (and thus taken out of context, and in fact not even what she said at all), it was posted for no other reason that to stir up a response.
Of course it was.  When you are trying to drum up comments and interaction, there is no other reason to post anything than to garner response.  It is the way of social media.

What followed was of course a lot of response.

What was amazing was the response it brought.  Within minutes I watched the thread fill up with comment after comment.  I watched women come together in support of motherhood.  Dozens of comments about how the number of children doesn't make you a mother, that you are a mother whether you have one child or many, on and on along those lines.
Yes!  Mothers supporting each other!  Love and encouragement!

And then this comment.
 "BS! We're better moms because we can give the child all they need in life without splitting the time amongst several other kids."

 Oh yeah.  That helps the cause.
Come on.  Can't we all just get along?

You just had a bunch of people supporting you choosing to have one child, no matter how many they have themselves and this is how you reply?

There were other comments that, while well-intentioned, missed the mark and reminded me why we have these issues in the first place.
A few people mentioned that anyone who carried a child inside them for nine months is a mother.
Well, yes, but my friends who have adopted children are just as much mothers as those who carried their children inside them.
A few people made comments about how breastfeeding their one child throughout the night for months made them very much a mother even though they only have one child.
Well, yes again, but I also know plenty of people who didn't breastfeed their children who are very much mothers.

I also know women who do not have any of their own children, but fill the role of "mother".

The original comment from Elizabeth Banks was as follows:

 “Two is very different from one. When you have one kid, you feel like you can jet set around and you can throw him on the hip and you get your life done,” the actress told People. “You don’t realize how easy one is until you have two. Now I’m really a mom. Oh, I am a mom now! This is for serious — I am responsible for two people now.”

Yeah.  The nerve of reflecting on her own personal experience! (please read my sarcasm)

Reflecting on my personal experience, I would have to agree.  You don't understand the complexities of multiple children until/unless you have multiple children.  But that's true of anything in life.  You don't truly understand what something is unless you have experienced it yourself.  And even if you have, you only understand your experience with it.  I have had children who were more work by themselves than two or three of my other children put together!  
Wait, did I just say that?
One child could be more difficult than two or three?
Yup.  I did.

And even with a pretty chill kid, there are challenges that come with having only one child that you don't have when you have multiple children.  I remember when Malia was 4 years old and I was expecting Jacob (#4) and I had a friend with just one child the same age as Malia.  She told me how lucky I was to have 3 kids so close together because they had each other.  She told me how difficult it was to ever get anything done because her one child always wanted her attention, always wanted her to play with him, never had anyone to play with besides her unless she arranged for a play date-and we lived in an area with very few children.  That had never even crossed my mind!  All I saw was how she had the convenience of only having to take one child to the store, to run errands, to clean up after...  It was a nice dose of perspective.

So does it matter that that one chick (who deleted her comment after a while!) thinks she's a better mom than me?  No.  Because I know that I am the best mom for these crazy kids.  And it's not because I popped them out of my body or because I breastfed them or any of those other things that so many people want to put of the checklist of what makes a "good" mom.  It's because I love them.

Love your kids.  And play nice with other mommies.  Be the supportive voice for good.



Wendy said...

So well written! Thank you!

May your day be as wonderful as what you wrote, or just what you need it to be!


-Mom to one sweet 7-wk old

Shilo said...

Thank you sooo much!
I wish a certain someone I know would read this.
I love the way you put this and it's something I so needed to hear as of late.

XLMIC said...

Right on.

~LL~ said...

AGREED! Anything that is different is subject to criticism.....sad, huh?

I do agree with her comment (and yours.) I felt like my world was knocked off its axis when I popped out #2. I was just learning how to get out of the house (on time) with two?

Once you get past 3.... just count. Make sure you leave with as many noses as you walked in with....and bonus if they all belong to you!

LOVE YA, FRIEND! Come *see* me....I'm trying to come back. ;-)