Thursday, April 5, 2007

Mommy Wars Over Convictions

March Madness recently came to an end, and one team rose above all the others because of all the battles fought. Sometimes the games were close, sometimes it was a no-brainer, but each time, we got a little closer to knowing who would be the last team standing.
Now imagine that each mom you know has gone through a process like March Madness, not to see who's the best team- but to see who she is. Just like you and I, she has "fought" all the mini-battles (or will soon enough) to come to her own set of convictions about mommyhood.

The battles begin with small potato issues during pregnancy:
caffeine vs. decaf
find out the gender vs. wait & see
count by weeks vs. count by months

Things get more fierce when discussing labor & delivery:
hospital vs. birthing center vs. home
induced vs. going into labor naturally
natural vs. epidural
birthing plan vs. doctor's plan
vaginal vs. cesarean section

Then the gloves come off once the baby comes out:
breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding
If breastfeeding, how long?
schedule/routine vs. attachment parenting
medicine vs. no meds
vaccines vs. vaccine-free
"My" discipline method vs. every other method
day care vs. stay-at-home
occasional day care/babysitting vs. kids-never-leave-my-side
child-centered vs. parent-centered home
(shouldn't a Christian home be God-centered anyway?)

Then when you start talking about family planning:
birth control (b.c.) vs. quiver full
If b.c., pill/IUD vs. non-abortifacients vs. NFP
Short term vs. permanent b.c. options

And then once these babies become kids:
Barbie vs. Bratz vs. baby dolls
Harry Potter vs. Narnia vs. no fantasy books
family devotions + church vs. occasional church attenders
organic vs. non-organic
How will they dress?
When to have "the talk"?
Make up at what age?
Dating at what age?

etc., etc., etc.

We do this for so many reasons... I don't believe it's because we want to be at war with other women. We want to find common ground with friends. We want to feel "normal". We want our choices to be validated. We want to see women (and their children) further ahead of us on the road we're choosing to walk. On some things, we believe there is a biblical reason to do it one way over another. On other things, we just have a natural inclination, perhaps due to our own childhood, perhaps due to our personality or the personality of our child, or some other reason.

The truth is that with each choice we make as a mommy, we carve our own little "niche" part of the world. We become a breastfeeding, organic, attachment parenting mommy who uses an IUD and doesn't spank. Or a bottle-feeding working mom who spanks, allows Harry Potter, but not Bratz. Or a quiverfull-minded woman who vaccinates, uses locally-grown produce, and allows Bratz, but only if they're given as gifts. Do you see what I mean? Each of us is our own type of woman, so that even though we like to have a sense of comraderie with other moms, it can only go so far. At some point, we will disagree with every mom we encounter on something.

There is such a natural pull to be a part of something bigger- to connect with other moms that are doing things the same way we ourselves are, so that we can identify and learn with one another. But this same natural pull that can connect us with other women can be divisive. We've each fought so many "mini-battles" in our attempt to become who God wants us to be. We (and I am definitely speaking to myself on this one) must be so careful to remember to separate what is a personal conviction from what is written in the Word.

Thoughts? Stories? Anything you'd like to share about this idea of mommy convictions?

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