The Mommy Wars and the Non-Reality of The Bump

I have been posting on the message boards on TheKnot, TheNest, and TheBump for the past few years. I enjoy posting there and I have learned a ton and I’ve made some really good friends. But sometimes I need a reminder that these boards are not reality. They’re sort of a bubble – separate from the rest of the world and things get a little…skewed.

When Caelan was sleeping through the night at 2 months old and Bill and I thought we were sitting pretty, I learned from TheBump a little bit about what was to come. The dreaded 4 Month Wakeful period. Everyone on TheBump knows about the 4 Month Wakeful (or 4MW, for short) so I was sure that all parents knew about it. Bill gave me a blank stare when I mentioned it to him but I said confidently, “Ask your friends at work who have kids – they’ll know!”. Well, he asked several friends (with many kids between them) and none of them had ever heard of the so-called 4MW. So I asked my non-Bump friends and learned that they hadn’t heard of it either. A little bit of reading and research told me that there is often a period of regression in sleep habits around 3-5 months of age, coinciding with a significant leap in cognitive development, but the term “4MW” seemed to be a Bump thing.

That was the first time I took a step back and reminded myself that TheBump is not an accurate sampling of real life. Yes, lots of my Bumpie friends went through the 4MW with their kids (and we did with Caelan), but that doesn’t mean everyone does.

Another thing I’ve learned on TheBump is that for every choice Bill and I make for how to raise Caelan, there is someone out there who will judge us for it. Someone out there would never do what we’ve done and thinks that we’ve now “ruined” our child. But we haven’t. Yes, we formula feed and we send Caelan to daycare while we both work. We use disposable diapers and feed him store-bought baby food. We let him sleep on his stomach and we’ve given him juice. He slept in our bed with us on many rough nights and eventually we let him cry it out (CIO) in his crib in his own room.

Someone (in real life and on TheBump) is going to judge us for all of those decisions. These are the Mommy Wars. Millions of moms out there turning their noses up at other moms for making parenting decisions different than their own. Misinformation is spreading like wildfire and is being used to fuel these arguments. It does make for some interesting entertainment on the boards, but I’ve encountered far less hostility over these issues in real life.

Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria of something. “Omg, have we been letting him watch too much tv?? Is his brain rotted already??” Yeah, probably not. We just have to remember that most parents out there are just winging it (like we are) and trying to do what they think is best for their child(ren) and their family. My kid is happy and healthy and we’re doing what’s best for our family. Since that’s all that matters, I’m going to take a pass on those Wars if you don’t mind.

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4 Responses to The Mommy Wars and the Non-Reality of The Bump

  1. Jennifer says:

    Well said!

  2. Kate michaels says:

    Excellent post Sarah. I have always said in parenting you have to do what You feel is the correct thing. Too many opinions and too much advise out there.

  3. Shaunna Machosky says:

    Owen doesn’t take regular naps (or really nap at all some days). Some people are horrified by that. I think that makes life better when we go out and about and he doesn’t *have* to have a 2pm nap. We are terrible parents because we haven’t childproofed every inch of our house. People can’t believe we use cloth diapers — and wash them. Horrible, again. I am lucky enough to still be nursing, but am *really* looking forward to wrapping that up by his 1st birthday (isn’t that selfish?). We let him cry in his crib unless he is uncharacteristically hysterical for a long time. People say I should be feeding him meat. He was eating vegetarian in utero, so i imagine he is fine sans beef now. He’ll be fine eating interesting foods, too (you are really going to feed him Indian food?). He has had all of his vaccines, so he will probably end up being autistic. He isn’t really crawling yet — just scooting (oh, no!). How can I take him outside when it is cold (he’ll catch a cold!)? Why aren’t his feet covered? (He takes off his socks 30 sec. after I put them on. He isn’t bothered by it.)

    Everything you do will be criticized. #@%* advice. Happy & healthy kid = all the proof you need that you are doing a good enough job. You and Bill have done great work!

    • skmac31 says:

      Oh and you know we took our newborns to a huge public event when they were super tiny so some people probably had something to say about that! But they probably would have had something to say if we had left them home too. You can’t win, why bother!!

      Caelan is the same as Owen with naps. One, maybe two per day, lengths and times are totally variable. In some ways, it’s good, but when he only naps 30 mins all day, it’s not fun.

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