suppose I should start by clearing the air: I am not a mom who spanks. In fact,
I'm hardly a mom who yells. My child ran out into the street once and a voice
rose out of me that I didn't even recognize—a fierce and commanding mommy
voice that immediately captured her attention. Two friends were with us at the
time, and they both looked at me and said, "I didn't know you had that in you."
truth was, neither did I. But I didn't tell them that.
recent Yahoo Parenting survey found that 53 percent of all moms feel shamed when
it comes to their disciplinary decisions. Count me in that group. If we were
being honest, I would have to admit that it is the one area of parenting where
I feel the most out of my element. Discipline does not come naturally to me.
Neither does yelling. I know it is sometimes necessary, but I am mostly passive
in demeanor. I'm the mom who would rather sit down and talk calmly about the
natural consequences of bad behavior over instituting time outs and remaining
firm on disciplinary threats.
I have a toddler. She's not quite ready for heavy heart-to-hearts yet, and
caving on the consequences only makes her behavior worse. So I have to buck up
and hold strong, especially as a single mother; there is no one else around to
play bad cop. But spanking? It's not for me.
are a lot of reasons I feel this way, and most of them come back to that
passive nature of mine. There is just no part of me that could ever really feel
comfortable with physical punishment, and I'm not even sure I would do it right if I tried. So I don't.
It's off the table for us.
that same Yahoo survey claims that for 50 percent of mothers, it's not. Spanking
is seen as an appropriate disciplinary tool.
you know what? I say all power to them.
can already see the eye rolls happening behind your computer screens as you
read that. The anti-spankers are getting ready to fiercely cite studies about
brain trauma to spankees and the psychological damage done to children of
spanking. The pro-spankers are getting their hackles up as they write viciously
about how they don't need my blessing to spank, and maybe if I would grow the
balls to smack my child on the bum every once in a while, she wouldn't be such
Feeling strongly about something is not an excuse to tear another mother apart for making her own decisions regarding what is right for her and her family.
is one of those parenting topics that gets people all hot and bothered,
convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Parents are out for blood as they
fight to prove their point.
And that's in direct opposition of the original goal of the Yahoo survey, which is to usher forth an
era of #NoShameParenting.
That's right. A survey that published personal feelings on something as contentious as spanking came about as a way of highlighting the mommy judgment we all face in an attempt to argue for an end to that shame. It seems ironic at first, right? But what if that's the point? What if the only way to address the judgment is for us to openly discuss these issues and face the statistics that make it clear there is no one right answer to anything when it comes to parenting?
results of the study? The fact that the shaming begins during pregnancy and
peaks during toddlerhood. And by race demographics, 90 percent of white moms
have felt judged, while only 76 percent of black moms have felt the same.
is what we are doing to each other, ladies. It was recently argued to me that
the mommy wars aren't a real thing. But with 91 percent of women admitting to
judging other moms (out of them 20 percent admit to having done so openly and in person and 45 percent say they feel most judged
by their own friends), does that argument really hold any weight at all?
mommy wars most certainly exist, and we are absolutely guilty of perpetuating
this hate against each other.
look at the comments on this article. I can almost guarantee that especially on
social media, there will be those who completely miss the point about
#NoShameParenting (many who may not even read the article at all),
automatically jumping in to comment on the headline with cases for or against
spanking. These are arguments that will completely ignore the feelings of those
on the other side of that battle, aiming only to "win." To be right. To be
deemed the superior parent.
What would the world of motherhood look like if we all tried a little harder to give our fellow mothers the benefit of the doubt?
get it. You feel strongly. But here's the thing: There are parents who feel
just as strongly (or more so) about breastfeeding. And car seats. About
circumcision and staying home. And chances are, you've been on the other side
of their judgment a time or two. Feeling strongly about something is not an
excuse to tear another mother apart for making her own decisions regarding what
is right for her and her family.
is not an excuse to be an asshole.
that's probably the biggest thing to remember: We are all different—our
personalities, our backgrounds, even our children. I don't spank because it's
not right for me. It's not right for my child. But who am I to presume I know
what is best for another family or another child? Who am I to stand up and say
I'm right, while the 50 percent of moms who feel differently are wrong?
only thing I know for sure is that I'm right for me. For my family.
And that in most cases, I choose to believe other moms are right for them and
It's a powerful concept, isn't it? What would the world of motherhood look like
if we all tried a little harder to give our fellow mothers the benefit of the
doubt? And to remind ourselves daily, hourly if necessary, that most women are
simply doing the best they can, working within the confines of what they know
to be right for them and their children.
don't do each other any favors by maintaining the ongoing sense of
self-righteousness that accompanies these mommy wars. And no one wins when
we're all feeling judged, belittled and diminished.
the most telling aspect of the study? While 91 percent of mothers admit to
judging, only 63 percent claim they are usually
confident in their own parenting skills. So all this judging? It's stemming
from women who are perhaps a bit unsure themselves—they project and
tear other mothers down in order to feed their own weak egos.
has to stop.
do you. I'll do me. And lets meet in the middle for a glass of wine.