Moms Need to Support Moms

I know from time to time I have talked about the Mommy Wars and how they can affect mothers.  Here is another post about how we as mothers need to support each other more.  We really don’t know the other side of it.  As much as we want to think we have been through it, we really don’t know.  We only know what people want us to know.

Influences for motherhood are all around, from the store, to our home and even with people we have never met. With technology being so readily available it leaves mothers open to get a lot of opinions about the “correct” way to parent. Instead of supporting each other’s opinions, ways and ideas, we have created more ways for mothers to bully other mothers.

Between community websites like TheBump, Facebook, Blogs and many other social media avenues, women are bombarded with a vast amount of information on the “right” way to parent. Before the technology craze, mothers would gather face to face for play dates, where respect and courtesy would be more appropriate. With technology mothers sit behind a computer and state their opinion without any regards to who is on the other side of the conversation. Mothers fighting with each other on the “best” way to parent, are called the mommy wars. The fights range anywhere from vaginal birth vs. C-section, to homeschool vs. institutional school. “According to a Parents poll of more than 500 mothers nationwide by Quester, a research company in Des Moines, 63 percent of mothers believe that a mommy war exists.” (O’Connor) This is something that new mothers, or mothers dealing with postpartum depression, PPD, have a hard time with. Mother’s that may be insecure with their parenting styles can be very influenced by these mothers.

A new mother maybe having a hard time learning to breast feed her child, she has been told by many people, including nurses and doctors that breast is best, so she continues to try to breast feed her child. All the while she knows that it is causing her baby blues to get worse and turn into full blown PPD. During a very hard time, about ready to quit, she turns to her internet friends for support in her decision. What she gets instead are comments like “It’s a fact that formula is poisoning babies, researching it instead of being so ignorant” (Personal Communication, August 24, 2014), or “I do have a problem with mums who choose straight off the bat, 2 formula feed without trying breastfeeding first or giving it up 2 easily because they want 2 b able 2 drink or have their partners feed baby 2 give them a break ect. That annoys me.” (Personal Communication, August 24, 2014). These are just a few comments out of the hundreds that were written. Yes there were some supportive comments, but the majority of the comments were either demeaning to the original mother, or demeaning to the mothers of the mean comments.

These arguments and judgments are centered on the “right” way to raise children and do nothing to support or encourage one another. “Waging full on attacks against each other, mothers verbally assault other mothers for their parenting going for each other’s throats in this made up crusade nobody can ever win. “ (Martin Weber, 2014) These types of accusations and judgments given by other mothers can send one desperate mother’s over the edge without even trying. Instead of chastising other mothers or fathers for how they parent, it would be better to give a supportive opinion even if you disagree. All parents understand how hard it is and the struggles that parents face. It truly goes back to what adults are taught as a child, if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.

 

 

References

Martin Weber, J. (2014, May 5). Huffington Post. Retrieved August 24, 2014, from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-martinweber/the-real-mommy-wars-excha_b_5318536.html

O’Connor, G. (n.d.). Parents. Retrieved August 27, 2014, from Parents Magazine: http://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/do-mommy-wars-exist/

Unknown. (2014, August 24). Working Parent- Wikipedia. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_parent

DIY Halloween Costumes

As a parent, I do not like spending money on cheap things for myself or for my family.  I think that overall it is a waste of money.  I would rather save and buy something that costs a little more, but is better quality.  This is really true when it comes to Halloween costumes.  Last year was the first year that my children kind of understood that they had to dress up and walk around to get candy.  So off we went to the stores to find the costumes that they wanted to wear.  My son wanted to be Jake from Jake and the Never land Pirates, my daughter it didn’t really matter.  After checking out a few stores, I was shocked at the poor quality of the costumes.

I really didn’t want to spend the money on those cheap costumes.  I proceeded to call my mom and ask her if we ever bought our costumes and if so, were they always that cheap.  She informed me that we always made our costumes.  She explained that it was cheaper and better quality to make our own, it may have not been exactly the same, but we didn’t know the difference.

So off to the fabric store I went with a picture of Jake in my hands.  We were able to create my son’s costume with a pair of sweatpants, a white t-shirt and some fabric.  Was it exactly like Jake?  No, but my son thought it was great.  So what is going to happen this year?  This year my son is going to be Batman, and my daughter is going to be a flapper.

Here is how we are going to do it and not buy a specific costume.  My son is batman, which really includes an all black outfit, a belt, cape, mask and a batman logo on his chest.  So he will have a black shirt, black pants, I have already made him a cape, the belt and logo I will be making using a pattern online.  The only thing that I didn’t really want to make was the mask, so my wonderful husband picked up a perfect better quality mask for $5.  He will have the whole outfit for less than $15.  The best part is that he will be able to wear the shirt and pants many times over.

My daughter is going to be a flapper, which is really a fun dress with fringe on it.  We picked up a pink one at a consignment event for only $12.  It is a little big, but she can wear it more than once.  The best part is it is a Children’s Place dress.  All I need to make or buy is the headpiece.  So for less than $15 she will be a flapper.  The best part is that she will be able to wear it again and again.

So how can you make your child’s Halloween costume this year?

Mothers and Social Media

In this generation, social media is in most parent’s everyday lives.  Whether it is through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest more and more parents, especially mothers are bombarded with the way that they should parent, creating picture perfect ideas of parenting.  These ideas are both unnatural and unrealistic for the average mom to achieve on a daily basis.

 

With one click of a button a mother can open up an app that have hundreds and thousands of different ideas and ways to be the coolest, craftiest, best cook, cleanest, calmest, and any other best way to be a mother.  With all this information at their fingertips there tends to a pressure to keep up with all that is seen. According to TODAY mom survey pressure that mothers put on themselves to be perfect is the top cause of stress. (Dube, 2013)

 

The pressure is already there to achieve above and beyond the call of duty and be the best mother, but social media has taken it to another level.  We are always shown the best of motherhood, which makes us want to mimic what we see.  No one will show you the hair pulling out, mess on the floor, with the children half dress because that would show the world that you are a bad mother.

 

We enjoy seeing all the pictures and reading all the blogs or Facebook posts about how wonderful life is, painting this picture that life is perfect, even when it isn’t.  We as mothers get this false sense that those pictures, blogs and posts should be how life is all the time and when it is not, failure is what comes to mind.  This failure can lead mothers to having depression and anxiety.  Both of which can be even worse on new mothers going through the changes and needs with a new baby.  The feeling of never being able to live up to what is being portrayed on these social media avenues.  There have even been some companies that joke on the matter of what is being portrayed.

 

There is a commercial by Valspar Paint, where the mother is away and the father has the children, they are talking via the computer.  All the mother could see was a clean green background, at the end of the commercial you can see the whole picture where the kitchen is a complete mess. (Valspar, 2014)  Social media has that same affect, where we only what the person wants us to see and why would we want to show the world the bad?

 

These feelings of inadequateness can lead to depression and anxiety disorders. We all have this idea of mother we want to be and it is exacerbated by what we see other mothers do and share through social media.   Not only do we see what others mothers are doing right, we also have access for other mothers to judge us on what we do and what we say.

 

Not only are these websites a place to gather information from, but they are also a place to participate, ask questions, and give answers. Sometimes vulnerable mothers get on these websites looking for validation that what they are doing or going through is right.  They want to feel supported and instead of turning to people around them they go to complete strangers to validate what they are doing.  These other mothers are not always being truthful and always portray their best foot forward.  This inaccurate picture that is being portrayed may cause an increase in anxiety and depression because they are not living up to what the other mothers are doing.

 

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we want to achieve self- actualization where we understand and accept our potential and strive for it. It is a mothers desire to be the best and understanding what our own individual potential is the key to being the best that we can be.

 

My mother was the typical stay at home, she was the ideal mother.  She was always there, did crafts, set up parades, help us set up lemonade stands, she would cook us home cook meals.  She was a very hands on type of mother.  Growing up I always wanted to be type of mother my mom was to me.  Fast forward a few years and now I have children, but as much as I wanted to be like my mother growing up that is not who I am.  This is something that has caused me great anxiety and sadness as I am not the type of mother I thought I would be.  Not to say that I am a bad mother, I am just a different mother.  Having the added influence of the social media did not help with the idea of the perfect mother.  It made me feel even worse because I thought to myself, if they can do it, so can I.  Which I know is not accurate because my life is completely different than theirs, but still made me feel inadequate.

With our lives on display, we sometimes are able to capture a perfect moment.  A moment that is perfect, but doesn’t give an accurate representation of how life is. A mother looking in on this perfect moment may not see that it is just a moment.  She may think that this is how life is all the time, which can cause her to put more pressure to be that perfect mom. This pressure can cause anxiety and depression when they don’t live up to the expectation.

 

 

References

Dube, R. (2013, May 9). Today Parents. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from Today: http://www.today.com/parents/pinterest-stress-afflicts-nearly-half-moms-survey-says-1C9850275

Sunstrum, K. (2014, March 14). World of Psych. Retrieved from Psych Central: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/14/how-social-media-affects-our-self-perception/

Unknown. (2013, May 11). Huff Post Parents. Retrieved from Huff Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/pinterest-stress-moms-social-media_n_3253475.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Valspar. (2014, April 29). YouTube. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/kHw0-QaGYVs