The Real Mommy Wars

I’ve never really experienced the so-called Mommy Wars between stay-at-home moms and working moms. Maybe because the whole idea of the Mommy Wars is more of a media construct than reality. Maybe because I straddle both worlds so am both equally accepted and equally an outsider in both. More and more women that I meet are doing some kind of part-time work so aren’t really on one side or the other anyway. We’re all in this together, right? Right.

But then there are the REAL Mommy Wars.

Vaccination vs. Not.
Cloth Diapers vs. Convenience vs. Elimination Communication (look it up).
Cry It Out vs. Co-Sleeping.
Breast vs. Bottle.
Homeschool vs. Public School.
Time-Outs vs. Spanking.
Snacks at Sporting Practice vs. No Snacks Ever (Trust me this is a much bigger hot issue than you can ever imagine if you don’t have kids.)

I have my own positions on these issues. (A, B, B, A, A, A, A if you want to know.) I’ve met people who are passionate about one or more of these to the point of it being difficult to be around them if you fall on the other side of the issue. Lots of us however are either moderates or can agree to disagree.

I think however, that more than any of these issues I may have found the issue that for me is a shibboleth dividing those who are “my tribe” from those who are not.

Do you let your kids climb UP the slide?

On the slide issue, there are no moderates. I’m firmly in the Yes camp on this one. It’s not that dangerous, it’s fun, it burns energy, and sometimes it might just give me the time to read a bit more of the book I’m trying to finish. I find that in general, I’m in the minority on this one. I don’t let the kids do it if there are littler kids around or kids with  parents who are obviously firmly in the NO camp. It’s good to have fun but it’s also good to learn to respect others. But if we’re alone on the playground or no one else is sliding….go for it.

A few years ago I went to a playground with John. There were two other boys and the three of them were climbing up the slide and then sliding down together in a heap at the bottom. They all thought it was hilarious and having a great time. The other Mom and I kind of eyed each other and made sort of “be careful” noises and then we realized that we were both of the same tribe and kind of smiled and let them have fun.I never talked to the Mom (finishing my book) but I’m pretty sure we could go out and have a cup of coffee together and we’d get along great.

Recently, on Ruth’s first birthday we went to a small park near our house. She went down the slide for the first time and then promptly wanted to climb it and go down over and over on her own. She loved it, I was right beside her watching her and we were virtually alone at the park. No problem, right?  The one other family there was swinging while we were on the slide. When it was time for us to go, I saw them heading over to the play-structure and their toddler heading for the bottom of the slide to climb up. The Dad began to say over and over again “WE don’t climb up the slide. WE slide down the slide. NOT up, down. WE slide DOWN the slide.”  Message received. Now, he might be a perfectly nice man but he’s not my tribe.

I’m not trying to drive a wedge between those of us in the UP is OK camp and those in the DOWN ONLY camp. We can tolerate each other. Play on the same playground. Perhaps even be friends. But I’m not sure we’ll ever truly understand the other side’s position.

So what say you? Which tribe are you in?

10 thoughts on “The Real Mommy Wars

  1. I’m reading through some of the blogs I’ve popped in my “favorites” folder and here was yours. I had to scratch my brain trying to remember the connection, then saw the book review you did last week that I liked so much. That to say I hope you don’t mine a bookish stranger who keeps popping in to comment.

    All that to say…. I’m an up the slide mama too. I never knew there were tribes associated with it though. Oh and I do have one comment on your other “Mommy Wars” lists (if I may)… “Homeschool vs Public school vs private school”

    • Hey, Deb. So glad you stopped by again.

      You are very right about the private school addition to my list. I think that I didn’t think of it since most of our friends who are in private school are pretty accepting of homeschooling. I find that when I meet people who have kids in public school they often seem defensive, as if they think I’m judging their choice. Or they are more likely to think homeschooling is just weird. The private schoolers that I’ve met tend to be less defensive. That’s a huge generalization but it’s been my experience.

  2. Yes and no. On the preschool playground after school, I am adamantly a down-the-slide mom (will even correct other people’s kids sometimes) for several reasons. First, it is a school rule. Also, the slide and playground are generally swarming with kids when we’re there, so it’s a practicality and safety thing–not to mention fairness, for the sake of the poor kids who went up the ladder and are sitting there waiting their turn while other kids turn around and head right back up as soon as they’ve slid to the bottom. On other playgrounds, though, if other kids aren’t around and mine want to go up the slide–absolutely, why not? Or if there are just a couple of kids and they are playing together that way? Sure!

    • Oh, see, that’s because you were one of my “before I had kids and only knew the textbook way of doing things” patients. I always say I need to call people up and apologize for what I told them back then. Sorry about that. 🙂

      • LOL!!! No need to apologize…I remember how my triage did a 180 after I had kids…no more eye rolling while talking on the phone, but true empathy!

  3. Pingback: 9 out of 10 pediatricians approve this message. « Supratentorial

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