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Have you seen the new "advermentary" calling for an end to
the mommy wars? I thought I had just
coined that term, by the way, but it turns out it is fairly common now. Advermentary describes advertising that looks like a mini-documentary. Popular formula producer Similac has just
released a 7 and a half-minute video that more than a
few women have been posting on social media.
On the surface, you see a collection of attractively groomed young
women, all new moms, who confess to the camera their sins of judgment. "I judge women who bottle feed," reports
one. "I judge working moms," says another. "I judge women who don't put
their babies in overtly gendered clothing," (Really? This is a thing?) says the gal who sits with
a designer to map out a nursery plan.
Meanwhile, the mom who wants to raise a gender-neutral child judges mothers who spend any amount of time or money planning a nursery.
Come on, ladies! Do we really have this little to think about
that we have time to feel anger and resentment towards families who paint and
decorate differently than we do? Of course not. Which is what makes this kind of advertising diminishing to all women.
Here is the truth: People judge, all of us. We just
do. Men judge, women judge. Spend five minutes on a playground or in a
retirement community and you will find children and old folks who judge, too. It is the human condition that, somehow in
our modern times, has become a mortal sin.
The mommy wars are built on it, suggesting that moms have
the corner on this whole judgment market.
Let me start a trend and openly acknowledge that I judge. There, I said it. My guess is you do, too, because if you are reading this you are human, and, as already established, humans judge. Our species is a judgmental one.
There is a difference, though, between having a judgmental
thought and acting on it. Go ahead and
think all your thinky thoughts. It's
OK. Honestly, it is. We all do it. What we don't all do is act on those thoughts.
If you find yourself typing away about moms who enjoy a
glass of wine in their last trimester of pregnancy, stop. If you are giving the side-eye to a mom on
the playground who is checking her email while her kid is running around,
stop. If you find yourself sharing an
article on a "kind parenting" page about how crying-it-out is tantamount to
child abuse, stop. If you sniff at the
cheap umbrella stroller at the zoo while you pop your own stroller that cost the
same as a mortgage payment into the back of your mini-van, stop.
Let's all take a deep breath. Think all the thoughts you want, but draw the
line at those thoughts seeping into any of your actions, large or small. You can do it. You can! The divisiveness that new mothers are exposed to is epidemic these days, and it is hurting all of us. When large
corporations start to profit off of that judgment, or invest large sums of
money to make advermentaries about it, it has gone too far.
This current generation of mothers is raising their children
in this trumped up environment of the "mommy wars," where everything is up for
debate, and someone is always doing it better than you and will be happy to
point out each and every one of your mistakes. That compass that should exist, the one that guides us as new mothers,
that sense of faith and camaraderie, is hidden—if not totally missing. It can be brutal out there, yes, but has it
gotten so bad that we need a corporate entity to point that out to us?
I mean, seriously, not to be all socialist (don't judge
me!), but when corporations become the voice of reason and empathy, well, we
have a problem. Just as there is more
than one way to skin a cat (bad analogy—don't judge me! I love cats!), there is more than
one way to raise a child. We are better
than this, ladies.
Trust your ability to make your own decisions. Trust your neighbor's and sister's and cousin's
and friend's and fellow classroom mom's ability to make her own decisions,
too. What you shouldn't trust is the warm
fuzzies you feel after being suckered into watching a 7-minute commercial
about how awful women can be to one another. There are some pretty savvy marketing executives somewhere betting on
you not being able to do better.
But my bet
is on you. Because while I may judge you, I believe in you, too.