Since becoming a mom almost three years ago, I've always felt the whole mommy wars was blown out of proportion. At least, whenever people would tell me they felt judged for formula feeding, I always had a hard time believing it. Truly, I've received so many rude comments and statements from co-workers and family members about breastfeeding (especially about nursing past a year) that I felt like I got more rudeness for NOT bottle feeding, plus you always hear about people being so rude to moms who nurse in public (although I've thankfully never felt this). At the very least, I knew that I'd never said anything to anyone about how they feed their kid, because hey, it's just important that babies are being fed, right? Granted, I'm guilty of thinking my way is the best simply because it works so well for me, but who isn't guilty of that at times? Sometimes I can be a total Judge-y McJudgerson, but I like to remember the adage that if you can't say something nice to someone, then maybe don't say anything at all.
Saturday night, Shane and I went out to dinner with Tommy, while Luke stayed home with Grandma. I ordered a caramel appletini because I'd just fed Tommy and knew that I was going to eat SO MUCH food that I wouldn't feel the alcohol, and Tommy certainly wouldn't. After I ordered, the waitress looked at me, looked at Tommy, and icily said, "So, you're obviously not breastfeeding, then" in the same tone of voice that one would say, "So, you're obviously the worst mother ever, then." Shane and I looked at each other and I had to collect my wits for a second before I said, "No, I am. My midwife said one drink is fine, thanks." And then it was like someone flipped a switch, and she happily chatted to me about how she heard that red wine and dark beers are good for nursing and how her sister is a home birth midwife and so on.
But really, what if I wasn't breastfeeding because I was on a medication that could be passed to the baby? Or what if I'd tried really hard and it didn't work out? Or what if I just didn't want to do it? How would she have made me feel, then? She made me feel judged, and I WAS breastfeeding. In a society where we're given so many mixed messages, is it so hard for women to just support each other? We're told that we need to be happy and glowing during pregnancy and that the second the baby is born, we must jump right back into our old jeans and have a perfect body. And if we don't, well, that's what plastic surgery is for. We're told that strong, independent women work outside of the home so if you choose to stay home, you're letting women everywhere down, yet we're also made to feel that if we work outside of the home, we're letting someone else raise our children and we're failing as a mom.
There are so many mixed messages that come at women, that come at moms, that it's not easy. The least we can do for each other is smile at another mom, tell her her baby is beautiful, and that she's doing a great job. Don't worry about if she's going back to work or if she's giving her baby breast or bottle, just let her know that she's doing the best job possible, because you know what? She probably is, but she probably doesn't think it, and even if she doesn't believe you... you'll probably make her day.
And in the meantime? Just let me drink my martini in peace!