I can see it in the Summer line up! Lifetime? Fox? TLC? It has to be in development on some network. Mommy Wars! Teams of women compete with each other in a mommy version of Wipeout crossed with a Tough Mudder course, all the while yelling insults at the other team about every parenting decision they may have ever made since their child was a fetus.
Formula vs breast milk, go to work vs stay at home, cloth vs disposable diapers, cry it out vs attachment parenting. What will moms NOT argue about? Every moms group online or in person I’ve ever attended have all began with the required 20 questions dance, where each mom is identified and categorized by her parenting choices. There are then 3 possible outcomes for that new mom. 1. She fits with the group and the equilibrium is maintained since she won’t rock the boat with any opinions or activities that are not in line with the group’s approach. 2. The group is large enough that she is labeled as part of a sub-group where she fits in, but while on the surface the two groups are cordial, in private conversations both groups side-eye the other and snarkily comment on how ignorant the other is. 3. The mom is rejected and leaves feeling that she is quite possibly a horrible mom who will never have friends and her child is likely to be screwed up for the rest of his or her life.
It starts before birth actually with the lovely little question “Are you going for the epi, or are you going natural?” No matter what your plan is, it will be wrong. Once you have given birth it will quickly roll into “Are you breast feeding or formula feeding?”, “Are you putting the baby in a crib or keeping them in your room?”, “When are you starting foods?”. I am now at the stage with my oldest daughter that the question I am asked every time someone (friend, family or stranger) sees us is “Is she in pre-school?” No matter what I may answer I know I will be told why that decision is all sorts of wrong UNLESS it is the same decision made by the questioner.
It is really so sad that with as many types of families, parenting styles and work/home balance options that exist today, everyone feels less empowered and more judged no matter what choice they made, even if they didn’t have a choice. Stay at home dads are side eyed on the playground and asked if they are “babysitting” their own kids. Heck, it seems weird when a Dad happens to be home and “pops” into the inner sanctum of the stay at home mommies play date! Working mom’s feel judged for not having the time to bake gourmet red velvet cupcakes for their child’s preschool bake sale. Stay at home moms feel judged for “giving up” their education and dumbing down by staying home with their children all day. It is so hard being a parent. You question yourself constantly. You internally cringe when you do or say something you think you shouldn’t have. You tally up all your mistakes at the end of the day and hope you didn’t screw your kid up for forever. No wonder parenting and baby books are a multi-million dollar industry!
If you are lucky, and I mean REALLY lucky, you will find a couple reasonable parents with kids close in age to yours who will listen to you, give you the low down on their experience, and be ok if you don’t parent exactly alike. It makes running through this real life obstacle course called Parenthood, a little more manageable.