Forget Mommy Wars, What About the Parents v. NonParents Battles?


So a lot of people have heard of the “mommy wars.” You know, they are the various philosophical battles women who are parents have with other women over which personal decision on pregnancy and child rearing is best.

You have the Breastfeeding moms versus formula feeders. The moms who make you feel guilty if you choose to send your baby off to the nursery after delivering versus keep the baby with you in your room and “Room in”.

There “Attachment parenting” versus “free-range parenting” and Cry-it-out sleep method of getting a baby to put themselves to sleep  versus the cry interventionist method.

There are those moms (like I was) who looked down on women who used baby carriers versus wear slings which I think are better for a baby’s spine. Helicopter parents battle  Montessori like parents. Work-at-home tackle Stay-At-Home who take on Working moms.

And so on and so on….

But even as moms battle amongst themselves, they are united in dealing with critics and pushback from the non-parents out there, many who are are resentful of parents for getting scores of child and child care tax breaks that non-parents cannot take, getting to call off from work for a variety of child-related causes, leaving non-parents to pick up the slack, and generally over the fact that society is centered around parents, and is most supportive of the needs of the parenting community.

In return, there are some parents, on the other hand, who feel non-parents have little empathy or patience for the sacrifices they make raising the next generation of humans.

They also feel there is a lack of understanding or willingness to take into consideration that our choices are different than there’s.

Equally, they are resentful of the “population controllers” who argue that the world is already overpopulated.

It’s easy to get caught up on our individual causes and beliefs and to lose sight of how sanctimonious, disconnected and generally, “douchey” we can sound to the other side when presenting our arguments.This week, a friend shared on Facebook a HuffPo Parenting article from last year, “6 Reasons My Husband and I Probably Won’t Make It to Your Event (Don’t Take It Personally)by blogger Patrice Robinson who essentially explains in an overly flippant and dismissive toned essay the reasons she and her husband have for not  attending an event they have previously RSVPed to attend.

Their answers are reasonable enough:

  • We are tired.
  • We don’t have a baby sitter.
  • If one cannot attend, then we all cannot attend.
  • We do have other family financial obligations and priorities that do not include spending money on too many social activities.
  • We just don’t want to go.

But after reading it, I decided the piece could be off-putting as she came actress quite holier-than-thou and a bit rude.

On not attending an event because they had not childcare, Robinson wrote:

There is NO outing important enough for us to hound somebody to watch our children, or sacrifice their safety just to say we attended the hottest night out of the year. Fail! That’s why we both went to college and had a whole lot of fun and got that all out of our systems. We don’t feel guilty or as if we’re missing out on anything. Sorry, but we’re not sorry.

Okay. I get it but did she have to put it that way? Maybe not.

On preferring to skip an event, she states:

The very few times we actually get to be alone, we just want to enjoy each other! We still DO enjoy each other, and we aren’t going to apologize for that. Sometimes we even just want to be left alone as a family, with our boys, to relax.

Yikes! So self-important and I actually felt the need to apologize to non-parents on my friend’s feed for even having to read such a condescending diatribe.

With all Robinson’s caveats asking for indulgence and for her friends (and readers) to not take the slights and jabs in her column too personal, she could easily have stated her case without all the excess zingers and put-downs of the non-parents out there.

It may not have been the intent but you cannot control how others receive your well-intentioned message.

A lot of the confusion and negative feelings between different social groups could be avoided if we all simply paused  before communicating and tried to imaging life or things from the other side’s perspective.

Really. Try it.

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