You Aren’t a Better Mom than Me

I was reading a book on elimination communication over the weekend.  While reading, the book spoke about things like how parenting decisions like breastfeeding vs. formula, co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping, working vs. stay at home, and a host of other issues can often spark mommy wars.  When you think about the mommy wars, it’s invariably happening for the same reason: we want to feel validated in our parenting decisions.  We want to feel like our parenting decisions are the things that we can look at and say “I’m a better mom because I do x.”

News flash: you’re not a better mom than me.  But I’m not a better mom than you, either.

You Aren't a Better Mom than Me (Cloth Diaper Addicts)I suspect that every single one of us are on this perpetual quest to be a better mom.  I know that I certainly am.  The question is, a better mom than what?  Or who?

I think I’ve finally figured out the answer.

My quest to be a better mom isn’t a competition.  I’m not out to out-mom anyone else.  You see, there’s a pretty simple reason why I’m not interested: what you do while being a parent has no impact on my own focus on being a parent.  It doesn’t matter if you breastfeed and co-sleep when I don’t.  It doesn’t matter that I formula feed and have my baby sleep in a wonderful nursery when you don’t.  What I do shouldn’t impact you.

I’m not suggesting that all moms are equally good, or that all moms are good at it.  If all moms were even adequate, we wouldn’t have a foster care system at all.  But what I am suggesting is that comparing me to you is like comparing apples to oranges.  Sure, I have my low self-esteem parenting days when I’m convinced that I suck.  In spite of that, I know that the reality is that I am the best mom for my children, largely in part because I am their mom.   Likewise, I’m pretty sure that the reality is that you are the best mom for your children because you are their mother.  We’ve taken the time to get to know our children as they grow.  We know what they like, what they hate, what their quirks are.  Those quirks don’t necessarily transfer to other children.

So you’re not a better mom than me.  I’m not a better mom than you.  We’re different moms, and that’s a very good thing.  (Now let’s just hope I remember this the next time I have a low parenting self-esteem day.)

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. I’ll admit that the title had me a bit nervous as to what the posting would be about. I’m glad that it was instead about diffusing the parenting battle. I agree that we’re all different parents, however, there are many parents that are struggling and I wish that the focus would be placed on helping those parents instead of the endless stream of comparisons.

  2. Love this, Suzi! This perspective is challenging to have sometimes, but so freeing!

  3. J Shallow-Miller says:

    Mommy wars are exhausting. I try to stay away from those people that want to engage in them.

  4. Very true. When I get together with friends and their kids, I really try to avoid any topics that could result in comparisons and disagreement. I just genuinely want to enjoy the company of another parent- not listen to how great and wonderful their child is. Every child is wonderful in his own way.

  5. I completely agree that the desire to “out mom” others comes from an internal insecurity. It makes sense that people get upset so easily, because these are BIG decisions and everyone makes their choices based on their beliefs – they CHOSE not to do the opposite for a reason. I get it. But I also love that you recognize that not all parents are on an equal level. So many “anti mom war” articles try to take the “we’re all perfect moms for our children! Everyone is equal!” but like you said if that were true, foster care wouldn’t exist. There are definitely better parents and worse parents but the difference in a good mom and a bad mom isn’t formula, breastmilk, cloth or spoies – thats for sure!

  6. Well written! It amuses me watching all the mommy war of who’s better than who. I like to watch and learn and then do what’s best for my family / world.

  7. Karen Hewitt says:

    I also think that this works opposite, we beat ourselves up because we assume someone else is doing a better job than we are

    • That’s just it. I do have those “poor self-esteem” parenting days where I’m convinced that I’m a flop. That reminder that other moms aren’t better than me is for my benefit, too.

  8. You bring up some really great points! Different strokes for different folks.

  9. Trista Laborn says:

    Great points and some I totally agree with!

  10. I struggle with this thinking – especially working in health care and seeing the sadder sides of parental neglect. It’s so hard to continue to find grace in other people when all you see is neglect and hardship on babies/kiddos. A hard pill to swallow…

    • It’s why I can’t work in certain fields. It’s very easy to become jaded in education and health care, among others. 🙁 But, by and large, all moms are doing their best. It’s not a “better/worse” thing. It’s a “different” thing. I do acknowledge, though, that there are moms who are not doing it right, otherwise there would be no need for fosters.

      • Yes, absolutely, you’re right about it all being “different” for everyone. Sometimes, like you said, you can become jaded, where the “different” turns into “worse” and you have to check yourself often.

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