Here we go again.
Just when I thought the Mummy Wars had quietened down for a bit, one of the combatants has gone and released some propaganda.
The Mummy Wars. It’s like the Hunger Games for childbearing women. But instead of brandishing machetes and crossbows, our players arm themselves with designer strollers, modern cloth nappies, home made organic baby food purée and rigid indignation. Oh, and Internet memes, of course.
I don’t think I have to tell you how completely OVER these Mummy Wars I am. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a big proponent of women making choices that are right for them. What’s right for one woman and her family isn’t necessarily going to be right for any other family. And that’s OK! Because we’re all different. And that’s OK too!
I know we love to fit into our tribes, and that’s cool – I love tribes, I think they’re amazing sources of support, information and a sense of belonging.
But that doesn’t mean we have to adopt a tribe mentality. Our amazing little brains have evolved quite a bit in the last 100,000 years. So we’re now perfectly capable of empathy, compassion, understanding and acceptance. Oh yes, we’re totally capable of this. But if you viewed these Mummy Wars as an outsider, I’m sure you’d bring to question our capacity for these things.
When did we, as a collective group of women, become so very judgemental of each other? Particularly those of us who are mothers?
Why is it that so many of us are so intent on proving ourselves right, that we have to make anyone who doesn’t think like us wrong? Why?
What does it achieve? Now I know as a “Mummy Blogger” myself, many people will presume I’m in the business of “Motherhood Advice”. But I’m actually not. I like to think of my blog as “Motherhood Support”. This blog is a natural extension of my clinical practice, where I support Mums to adjust to the physical and emotional demands of motherhood.
As an Occupational Therapist, my whole wellbeing philosophy is around meaningful occupations. Which basically means that my job is to support women to make choices and take action in a way that is meaningful for them, that feels right and fits perfectly with their own values, needs and wants.
Does this mean that the women I work with make decisions about motherhood that I, personally, wouldn’t make? Yes. Absolutely. All the time.
Is that okay?
Yes. Because it’s not my life. It’s not my family. It’s not my decision.
My role is to facilitate women to work through the issues, gather information and understanding, and then make informed decisions.
Who am I to say that a mother’s decision, made with intent, compassion and love, is wrong?
I’m fortunate that in my time working for myself I’ve never come across a woman whose decision I felt would harm their child. Because when this happens I do have legal obligations around this. But again, this doesn’t come down to my personal opinion, it’s about an educated observation and legal requirements. I’ve been in this position previously in my former work, and it’s not a nice place to be. For any party involved.
Acceptance isn’t always easy. Judgement is actually so much simpler. Because judgement doesn’t challenge us personally. Judgement simply reinforces our own beliefs, our own assumptions and our own assertions that we are always right and always will be.
Acceptance takes so much more from us. It takes effort and empathy. And quite often it also takes introspection. Because when we choose to accept another person’s point of view (as THEIR point of view), it forces us to re-evaluate our own point of view. This is challenging and it requires us to create a sense of expansion within ourselves. We have to make room within our hearts and minds to say, “this is an acceptable point of view, it’s not what I choose to believe myself, but it’s okay for another person to feel this way”.
So no, it’s not easy. But if we can become more accepting. If we can be less judgemental. It enables us to grow, it makes us a better person.
And you know what? It can actually make us MORE committed to our principles, because it means we’ve put them to the test more than once.
So here’s my challenge to you, beautiful readers. Today. And every day….
Do away with judgement.