Advocacy vs Attacking

I just read this amazing blog entry by Wild and Wisdom The Virgin Gut. How Important Is Gut Flora In Babies. It was full of wonderful information about the importance of waiting to start solids. I made the mistake of listening to our doctor and began shoveling rice cereal into Lucy’s mouth too early and she unfortunately suffered some pretty serious side effects.
But even after her experience, I have been hesitant to share information like this out of the fear that I’m just going to be shamed and labeled as one of the nazi moms who thinks everything she does is ‘sooooo perfect’.
But I’m finding more and more that if a mother is in support of anything she is immediately corrected. Example : If I say “yay for nursing in public!” I will inevitably be commented something along the lines of “hey! not everyone can nurse! there’s nothing wrong formula”. As if just by being an advocate for normalizing nursing means I’m a breastfeeding snob who judges mothers who use formula. Which isn’t the case at all. My mother was an amazing mom and she formula fed me. At least half of my mom-friends bottle fed. And Lucy was bottle fed after 6 months.
But I cant even post up safety information about chest clip placement without getting the sense that there are massive eye rolls from half of my friends thinking “oh here goes the mommy police again!” And I’ve seen many of my friends get the same reaction when they post up any information about vaccinations or circumcision.
The problem is that only with motherhood is knowledge sharing shamed as much as it is. If someone posts up the dangers of smoking. Or consuming GMO foods. Or some meme about drinking and driving they are not met with the same judgement. Or if someone posts up a friendly reminder to not leave their dog in a parked car in the hot months they are heros. Yet, when a mother wants to help spread the word on safe babywearing its like “Oh get off your soap box already lady!”
That’s not to say I haven’t experienced my own share of parents who treat mothering like a pissing contest (please excuse my french). I had a friend brag online about going up to a mother who was smoking and shaming her publicly (and I’m assuming in front of her children) about how awful it is that she is a MOTHER who SMOKES!!! And yet that sort of behavior was met with applause and how she is an advocate for children. Where as I see that as bullying.
The problem is that the line between advocacy and attacking is blurry. We should look to our peer for the latest information and not be offended when they give us friendly little reminders to clip our little ones into their high chair (something I forget to do often) and not mock them when they want to share with us an article they read or a new study that is out. More times then not it comes from a place of just wanting to look out for the best interest of the little ones. Of course every mother should do what feels right to them and works for their family, but we are often misguided by large corporations, the media and out dated literature. Our peers should be our most reliable resource and sharing knowledge should be celebrated not shamed.

13 thoughts on “Advocacy vs Attacking

  1. Oh my gosh, I get so many eye rolls and blank stares when I try and ‘share’ information with friends! I have learned so much from others, I just wish I could share that information with friends without them thinking I am a total snob. It’s about the kids…surely. Keep spreading your message!!

  2. I don’t agree with smoking near your children, but it’s none if my business and how rude to publicly shame someone for THEIR choices, especially in front of the children.

    Other people make me hesitant to be a mother because I am not one to take unwanted advice/opinions etc lightly. Especially when it’s uncalled for and by a stranger.

    I’m sure I will get so much hate on my feelings of breast feeding (I’m all about breast milk but having someone on my boob makes me feel really, really uncomfortable and I want to bottle feed but pump)

    • There are lots of moms who exclusively pump 🙂 and it’s amazing how after watching your body grow and change for 9 months then pushing a baby out of your vagina in front of 4+ people your view of your own body totally changes. Hahah!

  3. Unfortunately, when you decide to advocate/voice your opinion/ do things differently/etc. it’s likely you will be met with some negative reaction.
    I think most of it comes from feelings of inadequacy. Being a mom is hard, and keeping up with all of the recalls, studies, and contradicting opinions is even harder. It’s easy these days to start to feel like you are failing at some sort of sport.
    So the eye rolling feeling is less about you and more about them. You know? Just do your thing!
    Personally, I enjoy how different all my mom friends are. I learn from and appreciate them as woman and mothers in very different and special ways. In the same breath, I disagree with them on certain opinions or did things differently than they did.
    It’s all good either way!

  4. Parenting advice is like talking politics or religion. Something I learned early into V’s life not to bring up in mixed company. My goal is to well versed in my sources for my choices in raising V. That way if someone wants to ask for my help I can point them to the right sources. If the conversation is that of a negative one, I like to have my sources and knowledge handy to shut it down.

    • It’s true! Parenting philosophies and opinions are best shared with close friends and families or it’s about to get heated or you might hurt someone’s feelings. Which really is the other side of this, I’m not in the “feeling hurting business” and I think is some of my hesitation comes from not wanting to offended others. Thinking about this topic all day I’m changing my stance to:
      Bravo to awesome moms with the moxie to spread the word and educate us all! I’m still going to choose my words carefully though cause I have lots of mommy friends with lots of varied opinions and I’d like to keep it that way 🙂

  5. I agree with Morgan’s comment, the negative reactions are due to their insecurities. I’m 25, and a first time mum who’s doing things differently to all the mums around her, friends and family, (breastfeeding, babywearing, no dummy just to name a few!) but coz I am confident in my choices and know in my heart it’s best I don’t mind what people tell me, I listen, am respectful and don’t feel the need to be defensive about my own choices. It’s sad how much a lack of self esteem and respect for yourself can effect your entire life! Even as an adult. Self esteem and respect are just unbelievably important, in all areas of life, one of my main priorities in raising Ché Phoenix.

  6. Very well said. I couldn’t agree more.
    I think, unfortunately, that it is women that are the hardest on other women, and mothers who are the hardest on other mothers. We need to stop competing/judging/comparing and be more supportive of each other. Every baby, every, mother, and every family is different. There are a million ways to be, a million ways to live you life, and a million ways to raise your children.

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