I finally started blocking the Similac ads, hoping Facebook would get the picture that I’m not interested in buying formula–and I’m especially not interested in seeing anymore from their silly “End the Mommy Wars” campaign.
The company boasts “Welcome to the Sisterhood of Motherhood,” which (apparently) sounds beautiful and empowering enough that Similac has been milking their #SisterhoodUnite hashtage for weeks now.
(Ha! Milking! Get it?)
But all slogans are designed to sound good on the surface, until you really try to unpack what they mean… So, what does this “Sisterhood of Motherhood” DO?
Well, according to Similac’s Website, “Moms get encouragement; not judgement.”
Ah, a super, awesome, totally-Judgement-Free Zone! (I’ve written about that before!)
Thankfully, many of us are waking up and realizing that “Don’t Judge Me” is really just a code phrase for very insecure people who don’t want to be confronted with different opinions.
But there’s still this inexplicable appeal to being a victim and sharing stories of all the “Judgement” we’re facing on a daily basis…
Whether we’re complaining about being judged at the gym or about being judged at church for living with a boyfriend, or any other claim of being “hated,” what a woman really means by “Don’t Judge” is to say: “Pointing out where I need improvement makes me feel bad!”
And–I’m sorry–but maybe we mothers need to learn how to handle judgement rather than trying to force our “sisters” to stick to a script of talking points…
For example, here are some bullets of phrases which typically are acceptable/unacceptable in a mother’s group:
- “Trust your instincts!”
- “You’re doing great, Mama!”
- “If you feel it’s right, then it’s right! Don’t listen to anyone else!”
- “Breastfeeding is the perfect balance of every nutrient a baby needs.”
- “Sometimes babies suffocate in bed with their parents.”
- “Working outside the home means someone else is doing the parenting while you’re gone.”
Basically, “support” means making someone else feel good, even if you have to down-play (or even completely toss out) the uncomfortable facts.
And I don’t think sisters should have to plaster a smile on their faces and lie to each other, just to prove they’re nice and supportive.
That seems kind of…well…fake, to me.
Okay, maybe I should take the tone down a couple notches and explain I don’t think that ALL women who like the idea of unity are fakey-fake mean girls who can’t handle criticism.
Yes, it’s good to be reminded that all of us are human and all of us genuinely want to do what’s best for our kids…
I understand the appeal to the Similac commercials, if that’s all we mean by “End the Mommy Wars.”
But, since I’ve been told many times that I come across as hateful and antagonistic and unsupportive, that line between being nice and being fake is something I’ve thought about a lot.
I’ve done tons and tons of self-reflection, trying honestly to decide if I there’s something wrong with me for being grossed out by the “Sisterhood” talk…
…but, instead, I keep coming back to the conclusion that different types of support are just a preference thing.
I think some mothers really enjoy being told “LOVE YA!” by strangers via a hashtag campaign, and others (like me) just don’t.
In fact, not only do I not need this type of support from social media moms…but I really don’t like it.
No matter how sincerely a fellow “Sister” is trying to build me up, it just feels like she’s kissing my butt and telling me whatever she thinks I want to hear–so that I don’t accuse her of judging.
That doesn’t seem like a good, supportive relationship to me, and it’s certainly not how I treat my best friends and sisters.
Sisters ought to be real and honest with each other.
Sisters should be able to say, “I think you’re making a mistake, and here’s why a different choice would be better…” without worrying whether the other person will completely freak out and accuse you of “attacking” or “starting a war.”
My title for this post was admittedly misleading, because I DO want my sisters to be “nice” in the traditional sense. I want my sister to treat me as I try to treat her: with respect.
But I don’t want “nice” when it means “no judgement.” The truth needs to be the most important thing, even when it doesn’t lead to good feelings…
We all want to be the best mothers we can be–but, to accomplish that, we actually need to experience some criticism.
I’ll need to fail and to have those failures brought to my attention, if I want to grow and improve.
It’s not fun being judged, but I know there are women out there who are open to it, because they’ve been some of the best friends I’ve had in my life. And even though I believe you’re being honest if you say, “I really don’t like being around people as negative as you, Amanda!”–I also hope you’ll try to understand my perspective as well.
I hope you see that I’m being honest when I say:
“I don’t want to stand in a circle repeating ‘you’re awesome’ with a bunch of extra-nice strangers, either.”
P.S. I liked this article on how “the Mommy Wars” relates just as much to sensitivity as to anything other mothers are doing. (Plus, this author’s tone is much “nicer” than mine, too.)
(Bonus Info: if you’re the type who craves support for literally ANY suggestion, please join the Facebook group I created about a year ago: A Support Group for the 21st Century. Seriously, you can ask any question, and the members will have your back!
You can say, “My mom wants me to stop showing up at her house naked, but I feel more comfortable without clothes…what do you think?” And we’ll encouragingly say, “DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT!”
Why? Because taking the modern definition of “unity” and “support” to its logical conclusion is really, really funny, that’s why.) 😉