Every parenting decision in 2015 has turned into a front of the mommy wars.
If someone writes a piece on the medical dangers of unnecessary C-sections, a platoon of combatants will deem it an attack on mothers who have had one (necessary or not). If an article makes the rounds questioning the benefits of breastfeeding, it’s a taken as an attack on nursing moms, and so on. Parents make choices they feel are best for themselves and their children, but others interpret these choices as moral judgments in a holy war.
Why are parents suddenly so sensitive about their choices? It’s likely thanks to two modern liberal phenomena: feminism and a sensitivity so tender it requires trigger warnings before encountering contrary information.
Feminism Lies to Women, and that Hurts Us
Young girls are taught they’re just as capable and just as smart as their male classmates. It’s true, they are. They’re also, unfortunately, told they aren’t any different. As any woman who has endured the pain of labor and breastfeeding can tell you, the distribution of parenting responsibilities is anything but fair.
I’ve birthed and nursed two babies. I would love for my husband to push out the next one, for it to be him who wakes up at 1 and 4 a.m. to nurse our colicky son. But biology doesn’t bend to the subjective whims of social-justice warriors.
Despite this clear and undeniable biological difference, young girls and women are told they can “have it all.” That they can juggle a full-time career, maintain a household, and raise children all at the same time. As any mother can tell you, it’s just not possible. Every day at least one ball is dropped. Show me a mother who claims to have it all together, and I’ll show you someone who is either lying or has hired help.
The stress weighs heavily on every mother, especially those in the workforce. Since they were schoolgirls they were told they could have all the cake in the world and eat it, too. When they grow up and find out they can’t, many feel like a failure.
Why Moms Snap
Imagine a middle-class mother who returned to work six weeks after giving birth. She has split her lunch breaks into 20-minute pumping sessions in a closet, and watches videos of her baby crying to trigger her milk release. Eventually, the schedule becomes too difficult to maintain, leading to formula supplementation, which negatively affects her breast milk production. Soon, the formula goes from a supplement to the primary source of nutrition for her now six-month-old.
While other women can maintain the pumping schedule at work, no two women are alike. For any number of reasons—all understandable—the pumping stops and the formula takes over. Now picture this mother when she’s told of the scientific research on the benefits of breast milk. What’s her instinctive response? How about the fifth time she’s told? The fiftieth?
She’s doing her best. Of course she wants her baby to have only the best. But she was told she could give her baby the best while keeping her own life totally unchanged. And she believed it.
That’s how the cult of have-it-all-ism destroys the self-worth of so many mothers. By the time they learn that the Gimme Generation has scammed them with easy lies about superwomanhood, it’s too late to take a different path. So regret sets in. And shame. And frustration. And guilt.
On Top of That, Young Parents Lack Resiliency
Unfortunately, this mother is ill-equipped to just shrug off others’ motherhood “suggestions” like she should. She belongs to a generation that has not been bred with the resiliency previous generations were.
The issue has been discussed ad nauseum of late: Students require “trigger warnings” on just about everything. Colleges are forced to expand their counseling programs to put up with the increased demand of students gripped with anxiety. Students who grew up receiving special snowflake participation trophies in after-school sports programs that stopped keeping score go onto college and require parent assistance dealing with everything from roommate disputes to low grades in organic chemistry.
At the University of Missouri and at Yale, adults are demanding protection from ideas. Worse, they are actually getting it; the president of University of Missouri stepped down over the most non-scandal of scandals. These students’ parents protested at Kent State, their grandparents stormed the beaches of Normandy, and millennials are unable to cope with individuals on campus having different opinions.
No longer are college students demanding “trigger warnings”—they’re out for blood from anyone who dares to not bend to politically correct whims of the week. While these same parents and grandparents were able to shrug off invasive parenting advice and scientific studies on birth, breastfeeding, and more, millennials are unable to cope with any information that doesn’t validate the parenting method they have chosen for themselves.
When these special snowflakes go into the world and have children of their own, they’re unable to deal with criticism, real (a poor job performance review) or bogus (a nosy woman next to you at the grocery story dutifully informing you that “breast is best”). Mothers take to Facebook and mommy blogs to rant against a woman who should be ignored or told off on the spot and promptly forgotten.
The “mommy wars” are largely creations of a bored clickbait-driven media. With the prevalence of articles and blog posts about the wars, a good number of women have bought in, shaming and, in turn, feeling shamed by their fellow mothers.
Unfortunately for this generation of mothers, listening to one of their musical icons and shaking it off is out of the question. Because this isn’t a web forum; it’s a war. Or so they’ve been told.