A Reactionary Mommy Truth

Well, yesterday was quite the day. My post about letting my 12 month old “cry it out” got pretty much nothing but support over here, but it is STILL a bitch fest over on my Facebook page about it all (and many other FB pages, I’m sure, where I’ve been called a selfish bitch and accused of “checking out” after 5 pm).

Meh. I’m not upset. In fact, I totally expected each and every one of those reactions. I’ve been a part of this mommies-on-the-internet thing way too long not to. I grew up on the tough streets of TheKnot/Nest/Bump. I have seen me some kuh-razy when it comes to internet judgement.

Last night I remembered a post I wrote nearly 3 years ago about My Take On Mommy Wars. I’m happy to say my views on the whole thing still haven’t changed, and the biggest takeaway from it I think we all need to remember and BELIEVE is this:

I’ve never hidden that I have a past history of harsh judgement of mothers. Those attitudes actually set me up to fail and feel like shit when I became a mother, and I’m not the judgemental bitch I used to be. Everyone can stand a little growing and reflection at some point, and anyone can change.

If you want to be a part of the movement of mothers online who are fed up with all the “mommy wars” and maternal internet bullying, I encourage you to head to my friend Elizabeth’s amazing website The Mom Pledge, and take the pledge. Those of us who have moved beyond judging (or never did to begin with) need to start speaking up and being louder than those who will belittle us for our choices and tear us down instead of helping us stand up and build a stronger community of mothers.

Because, ladies, we don’t deserve this shit. None of us. Not even the ones doing the judging. Motherhood is a lonely, hard, cold road when traveled alone, and many mothers only have the internet to turn to for support. Let’s make it as warm and inviting as a cozy home that smells of freshly baked cookies (or at least NOT like the piss your kid leaves behind when he misses the mark), ready for a friendly playdate. Your playdate can even involve wine. Just try to be a good hostess, kay? Even to the people who are different from you. (And seriously, if your playdate involves wine, I better be invited.)

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  1. Elizabeth Flora Ross on

    You just made me cry. You are awesome, and I love you! Don’t ever stop being you. And don’t ever let them put you down. Stand talk and proud my friend. And I tend to only drink wine when I eat, so let’s add some food to this par-ray! Muah!

  2. Very well said!!! There has to be a wat for people to speak their mind, share ideas, even disagree and still be respectful. And ya know what? Sometimes it;s not the parents fault if the kid dosen’t turn out to be that respectful individual we are all hoping for. 🙂

  3. My friends and I have a “happy hour playdate” once a month or so. Friday afternoon/evening, all of us, our ten million kids, the husbands/partners, an easy dinner for the kids (usually hot dogs or mac and cheese) and a real dinner for all of us after the kids have eaten and are in front of a movie. Best. Idea. Ever. (I can’t take credit for the idea, but I happily take part)

    But more on topic, you are all class in your reaction to this. Piss smell references included.

  4. Pingback: Where are the grownups in the mommy world? | Born Just Right

  5. So true! I am so grateful that a woman who gets so much traffic amongst fellow moms posted such a wake up call. And cheers to fewer assholes in the future 🙂

  6. I love that Mommy truth.

    I’m much less judgmental than I used to be. It’s a work in progress. CIO with a newborn? I’ll judge the shit out of you. CIO with a one year old? You gotta do what you gotta do.

    I held out for 14 months before we tried CIO. Then we did it, and within a week she was sleeping through the night. I don’t regret exhausting other options and I don’t regret CIO, either.

  7. But then if everyone is supportive I can’t call people bitches.

    Gah, fine. It IS more important for women to back each other up than tear each other down. Especially when it comes to parenting. There are much tougher times ahead as our babies/toddlers/preschoolers turn into teens and young adults. I am much more afraid of how I am going to make sure my kid survives to be my age than how anyone raises their kids.

  8. Jill, I’ve followed you from the knot… you have always said what I was thinking. Just so happens that you are brave enough to say it out loud. 😉 thank you!

  9. I think there are two parties at fault in the mommy wars. There are the overly judgmental moms and the overly sensitive victims. Everyone has the right to an opinion on different parenting approaches (good, bad, indifferent) and the right to express that opinion respectfully. I understand people getting upset when others directly attack them for their parenting choices, but there are way too many people out there (not you, Jill) who cry “don’t judge me” every time someone expresses a different viewpoint.

    It amazes me that people will Google “is cry it out bad” and then get pissed off at anyone who happened to write an article saying that it is. If they didn’t want to see different opinions, perhaps they shouldn’t have Googled it to begin with.

    Funnily enough, it is often the same moms who say “don’t judge me” over their own choices that then line up to criticize the Tiger Mom, the Toddlers and Tiaras Moms and so on. I think they need to decide — either it is open season on judging or it isn’t.

    • I agree. I think a big part of “fixing” this is encouraging moms to have enough confidence to own their choices and not feel the need to have everyone on their side. Though I do think we all have the right to not feel personally attacked. Tell me you don’t believe in CIO because xyz? Cool. Tell me I’m a selfish, neglectful, abusive bitch? Not cool. But I know you and I at least agree on that 🙂 thx for chiming in!

  10. I could not agree more. So often as moms we feel inadequate enough without someone juding us. Thank you & Amen sister!

  11. Thanks so much for this! A friend recommended the Bump to me because my husband and I live in South Korea (he is teaching) and we are not military so we don’t have access to may things in the English speaking variety. I am one of those people who has pretty much nowhere to turn to but the internet when I need information and support and sometimes it is shocking how hostile that environment can be. I was criticized for sharing my ultrasound on the internet because it apparently exposes my unborn child to perverts trolling the internet for ultrasound porn?? Its crazy. But thank you for standing up to it because I think if we spent less time telling each other why the other is wrong, we would end up being way happier and more encouraged.

    • Ultrasound porn?

      You’ve got to be kididng me.

      Sometimes I think the women on The Bump are so bored that they make that kind of shit up. (says a woman who used to spend hours on The Bump due to boredom)

  12. I couldn’t agree more. Motherhood is so hard on its own, add in very vocal judgment from other mothers, and it’s amazing we keep on having kids. It would be nice if people just respected your parenting choices but the reality is that once you put those choices out there, people find that as opportunity to judge and critique.

  13. I’m still on the Nest/Bump and some days I really question why. I got into a heated debated on Friday after someone called for a woman to be fixed (the poster’s exact word) because she put a picture up on her Facebook that showed her child not correctly buckled into his car seat. The first things that popped into my brain were the time I failed to buckle my daughter into the car seat properly and the story you shared where you and Scott did the same thing. It’s scary that people jump from “mistake” to “child abuse” faster than I can type out a reply.

    The internet mommy community can be a great source of information and support but there’s also a darker side to it. People get into that mob-mentality very quickly, especially when a popular poster is leading the way, and things spiral out of control. People need to put themselves in the other person’s shoes before throwing around the idea of child abuse or sub-par parenting.

  14. Gah! Mommy wars!!!! Hate hate hate them! I seriously wonder why some of these women don’t have an ounce of humility and speak their minds so freely. I’m a mom of two and STILL don’t know what the heck I’m doing most of the time. I can’t fathom judging others.

    I didn’t comment on your last post because you seemed to have received a good amount of support but I’m here to tell you, Bravo! You are a GOOD mother and letting your one year old cry at night IS. NOT. THE. END. OF. THE. WORLD.

  15. Like I said on the FB wall, if people are REALLY passionate about child welfare & neglect, I beg them to focus their energy on sending relief to the starving children in the horn of Africa.

    I don’t normally get all SAVE THE WORLD! on the internet, but another mother’s baby is DYING of starvation & someone decides they’d rather be an asshole on the internet about a first world problem?

    That’s called “fucked up priorities.”

  16. Thank you for this. Motherhood can be so isolating, I think it’s easy for people to forget that it’s not a competition about who “does it right”. CIO may or may not work for your family, but I think people need to keep in mind that having happy, healthy, SANE parents is important to their kids too. The goal is for our babies to grow into well adjusted adults, how do we expect them to do that if all we’re modeling is big balls of crazy?

  17. Yes, raise fewer assholes! I fear we’re losing the battle though. (I mean, not you & me personally, but society at large.) I too will pin it. 🙂
    Thank you also for confessing to being a former judger. I feel bad for my former judgey ways, but in some ways it makes me more understanding (if not exactly forgiving) of any judgement I get now. I totally think it has to do with a lack of confidence on the judger’s side. I’m glad I found my confidence … at long last! 🙂

  18. LOVE this post. THANK YOU!!

    My #1 advice to my new mom friends is to always, ALWAYS, do what feels right to you & to do what works for YOU and your baby. You will get much unsolicited advice and even some nasty comments. But as long as you’re confident in your decisions as a mother, it’s all that matters.

    I always say that being a mother is hard enough w/o worrying that you’re doing it wrong.

  19. Love it!! I also loved your post on letting Leyna CIO. We struggled with the same thing with Lauren. I finally weaned her at 16 months, made her sleep in her room, and we are all much happier. I felt like a new person the first night I was able to get a full nights sleep. That hadn’t happened since I was 6 months pregnant.

  20. Honestly, when you posted that CIA post, I really thought you were exaggerating the “people are going to get mad about this” for effect. But HOLY GOODNESS people are just so stupid. I can’t believe the drama. Makes me never want to have kids. Never want to be associated with that group.

    Then again, other Christians do that to me sometimes too, and when it comes down to it all the extremist judgemental crap (from ANY group) shouldn’t change our focus on WHY we do it. So, yeah, you’re doing the right thing, but jeez.

    People suck. That is all.

  21. Too true. From one mother who has “checked out” of martyrdom and into reality with a lively 3 year old in tow, to another, I say too true!

  22. Jill- Get out of my head! Thank you so much for your frankness! So true… someday women will learn there is enough in the world to fight- fighting each other for stupid reasons just accomplishes NOTHING! I’d look you up on Facebook just to add Thumbs up and tell all the nay-Sayers they need a reality check- fast!

  23. Funnily, yesterday I wrote a post about the “mommy wars” (hate that phrase) without even knowing about Anderson Cooper and his working moms vs SAHM BS, or about the blow up on your FB page (I just read all 300+ comments, and wowzaa!) – and I just want to say this. Bravo to you Jill, for writing your truth.

    Yes, YOUR truth. And for that, I’m following, subscribing, stalking your blog/ FB/ Twitter. So don’t you stop now, ya hear? 🙂

  24. I *always* have wine at playdates; no one ever checks what is actually IN my water bottle.

    I’ve just discovered this blog, and I’ll be coming back. I think that I need to be your neighbor.

  25. Thanks so much for posting this. I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote. I’m new to blogging and new to mommyhood. One of my posts (about my C-Section Remorse) was featured on BlogHer on Friday and I was not prepared for all the judgmental, condescending, and just plain rude responses people posted on FB and BlogHer. Luckily, I have thick skin so it didn’t bother me, but it was still quite surprising to me that the mommy community could be so harsh and unsupportive.

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