Mommy wars. If you are a parent of a young child, you’ve heard the phrase. You’ve witnessed it in action. Moms can be real “mean girls”, judging each other’s parenting choices that are different from their own.
I’ve experienced it firsthand. On my personal blog, I wrote an extremely popular post on tips for those going through a 4-month sleep regression. I get 2,000-plus visits to this particular post every month from zombie-eyed parents across the globe whose 4-month old babies are suddenly awake every hour of the night. In my post, I offer suggestions for how to get through it and things a desperate-for-sleep parent might try. One of those many suggestions is to let your baby cry it out—a difficult decision to come to for many parents, but one that might help. (For my son, it took 2 bad 20-minute cry sessions, and he has slept amazingly since, so it’s a method that worked for me.)
Every few months I get an angry troll commenting about how “disgusting” and “unresearched” and “pre-Victorian” my suggestion is. That crying it out scars children for life and that they can’t believe I would mention it. I delete the nonsense (Disgusting? So is falling asleep while trying to function during the day. Unresearched? Case studies are a form of research, and so I have researched this crying stuff twice. Pre-Victorian? So is Shakespeare, and I rather like him.) I delete it because these people clearly have never been so desperate that they’d try anything (which is what waking up every 40 minutes for a month and a half will do to a person).
Also because it’s nonsense and a waste of their time to worry about parenting decisions I make. They are forgetting that motherhood is like anything else in life—every person gets to decide for themselves how to do things (as long as those choices don’t give my kids the measles). They can choose to rock their kids to fill their evenings until they are 16 years old, and I can choose to have my son cry twice for 20 minutes and spend the next 16 years watching Friends marathons every evening. Because we are in this together. We are raising tiny humans into big humans, and it’s hard.
This is why I love the new campaign from Similac. If any topic leads the Mommy Wars issues, it’s breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding. Similac knows this. I’ve seen formula-feeding moms wracked by guilt for their decision to not breastfeed, even though in every case I’ve seen it’s the best, most obvious, and only choice. And rather than trying to bash the Breast Is Best police, here, Similac invites all moms into peace. This “Sisterhood of Motherhood” video takes all the idiotic mommy wars nonsense, puts it on the playground to show how petty it all is, and reminds parents that we all have the same ultimate goal—to raise these tiny humans, who we love fiercely. I laugh and then I cry. (Also, how can you not enjoy a story where a breastfeeding mom gestures threateningly with her boobs, bottle feeding moms spray their bottles like fire-guns, and someone yells “Nipple up!”).
It’s an incredible, highly shareable campaign. Moms who choose to formula feed can share it with each other if they feel guilty. And moms who chose to breastfeed can share it with their formula feeding friends as a gesture of solidarity. It’s been viewed over 7 million times to date, so they have clearly hit the right note with the beautiful, universal message.
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