In my opinion, us moms are the most hardworking humans on Earth. We live and breathe for our families and our children. We sacrifice our time, our energy, our sanity, and our wellbeing for our kids. We would do anything to alleviate our children's sadness and to bring our children true happiness. Sadly, however, the ways moms are forced to compete with one another by a society that profits off pitting women against one another can make it all too easy to forget just how hard all moms — regardless of how they became moms or how they choose to be moms — are working.
Women are constantly scrutinized for their choices from the moment they are born. Little girls are called "bossy" when they are assertive, and "pushovers" when they are simply agreeable. As teenagers, they are called "promiscuous" if they show "too much" skin, and "prudes" if they cover up. As young adults they are called "hysterical" if they show actual emotions, and "cold" when they hide those emotions out of fear of being labeled hysterical. They are "shrews" when they turn down a man's advances, and are "easy" when they want to accept those advances. So what is the benefit of constantly berating half of the population in our society? Well, it's simple: it's about control. If our society consistently makes women feel unworthy by questioning their every move, they become easily controlled. Companies can now sell to them and market to them by playing upon their insecurities, which happen to be the same insecurities our society created.
Then, when women want and choose to become mothers, our society forces them to compete with one another. Every day new "research" tells mothers the "best" way to feed their babies, to nurture their babies, to discipline their babies. New studies force mothers into an ever-evolving cycle of questioning their choices. New movements erupt into the parenting landscape and mothers feel inadequate and unsure of the next step. The plethora of information at our fingertips is also responsible for constant anxiousness and apprehensiveness.
Dr. Jessica Zucker, a clinical psychologist specializing in women's reproductive and maternal mental health explains that "motherhood seems to stir profound insecurities for women as they traverse the simultaneously joyous, daunting, rewarding, and vulnerable journey that is parenthood. Most people aren’t forthcoming about how anxious they feel, how isolating mothering can be, or how fulfilling it is to love a little person in such an inexplicable way." So then mothers across the globe are yelling at one another, blaming each other for raising "snowflakes" or "bullies" or "sociopaths" or "whatever other noun that shames the mother." No matter what choice a mother makes, no matter how much "research" a mother does, and no matter how much professional advice she seeks, she will still be made to feel as though she's failing. Because instead of placing the blame where it belongs — our society — women tend to blame and shame one another, because that is how our world is set up.
I've read the several comments under parenting articles. I've been part of many mommy groups. I've seen the kind of vile things mothers say to one another. I've also seen true support from some moms. You know, the moms who understand that parenting is difficult enough without the constant judgment from one another. Getting to the point of constant support instead of endless judgment won't be easy, though, but the first step is always recognizing there's a problem. So with that in mind, here's how society at large has successfully encouraged mothers to compete with one another: