When I first became a Mum I was a little surprised about how divisive the whole parenting gig could be, but I soon found myself falling into step with the gig and contributing to the ‘Mummy Wars’ in my own small way.
I tried not to be outwardly rude or mean, but inside I was making judgements. I judged people I didn’t know, and people I thought I knew. I judged them on what I thought were the choices they made for their children.
She’s not like me – I do this with my kids I would never do that!
I’m not like her – I am not over the top about that or slack about this!
She’s not like me, I’m not like her – I make different choices… better choices.
Somewhere among those sleep deprived first months of parenting I had fallen into the trap of believing that different always meant better or worse, right or wrong. I let my own insecurities and defensiveness spill over into judging others.
But these days, while I am still sleep deprived, I am also wiser.
I have learned from the hard days, and the wonderful days.
I have learned from the moments of joy when I finally feel like I am on top of things and the dark despair when I am pretty sure I have screwed up big time.
I have learned from the tears, and the guilt, and the heartbreak, and the pride, and the quiet moments of contentment.
I have learned that I don’t need to measure myself or my parenting against others. I have learned that I don’t need to be ‘right’ or ‘better’.
I have learned that I am not at all like her, and exactly like her.
I am not like her, because I am me. I am doing the best I can in my situation, with my knowledge, in my moments. I am doing what is right for me, for my family, for my children.
And I am just like her because she is doing that too.
We are both mothers, doing the very best we can for our own families given our own circumstances. That is not better or worse, it is not right or wrong and while it is not the same, it is also not different.