Alma loves Dumbo. She loves the baby animals in the beginning, and she loves the train.
I was doing something in the same room while she was watching it. The scene where Jumbo gets her new baby (finally… ummm… that part of her waiting while all the other mamas got their babies was so incredibly heartbreaking and true and horrible) and all her elephant friends are so excited and think her baby is just the cutest and darlingest and cunningest and achoo his ears fly out.
“Is it possible?” “Isn’t there some mistake?” “Just look at those E-A-R-S.” “After all, who cares about her precious little Jumbo?” “Jumbo, you mean Dumbo!”
Uggg. The Mommy Wars. This movie was made long before blogs, and podcasts, and Facebook, and Instagram.
This is the basis for The (so-called) Mommy Wars. This is a representation of moms not supporting each other. Jumbo loves her baby and does anything to protect him. That’s what any and all of us are doing, right?
What is right for our kids? Breastfeeding, formula, co-sleeping, sleep training, baby carriers, strollers, cloth diapers, disposable, screen time, music lessons, daycare, nannies, stay at home parents, preschool, home school, public school, private school, daily baths, weekly baths, spicy food, ice cream, time outs, time ins, rear facing, front facing?
I have done (or will do) almost all the things on this list. I don’t feel bad about any of it. I don’t think you’re a bad mom if you’ve done any of it, or none of it.
We are in this together. We are all trying to raise and civilize little human beings.
All that being said, it’s so hard not to feel like I am the best mom ever. When I think of the choices we have made as parents, I am confident. I know that my choices are right. But here’s the catch: my choices are right for me, my family, and most importantly, my kids.
I have to constantly remind myself that what has worked for me and my kids won’t necessarily work for other kids. When I forget this, that’s when the Mommy War starts to rear its ugly head into my world.
There are things that are important to me that I have to understand just aren’t that important to other families. For example, it’s important to me that my kids have good table manners. This means saying please and thank you. This means using nice words, even when they don’t like the food. This means trying everything. This means asking to be excused and putting away their own plates. This means staying at the table throughout dinner, especially at restaurants. I have to remind myself that this isn’t universally important. I also have to remind myself that it is completely a work in progress, and kids – even mine (haha… especially mine) – don’t get it right away. When I find myself judging parents for the way their kids behave in restaurants, I know that I should give them the benefit of the doubt – maybe they try as hard as they possibly can to instill the same values that I have, but the kids are having a bad day. Maybe this is their first time ever in a restaurant or their family never gets the chance to sit together for a meal. Maybe it’s not such a big deal and I should chill out. I need to remind myself that it doesn’t help anyone, least of all myself or my family, to have a feeling of superiority.
Because in the next moment, my kid will do something awful, or something that other peoples’ children would never ever ever ever do. Or maybe something I don’t think is that big of a deal.
So, what I’m trying to say is that we should end these wars. Let’s pull out of the state of constant comparison and competition. Let’s all just rock our babies to sleep with our trunks, no matter how big their ears are, or how long they can sit at a table, or anything else.
Who’s with me? And, ummm… how do we start?