Why I Don’t Believe in Mommy Wars

You’re a terrible parent.

You’ve made some awful choices, and your kids are probably not going to turn out well now.

You know who you should act like when you parent, and when you make every decision that will affect your family? Things like whether or not to work, if you breastfeed or use a bottle, how you put your babies to sleep, what friends you let your kids play with and whether you’ll take their homework to school if they forget it?

Me.

Of course.

You should act just like me.

Because I’m always right, and I know how to type.

I’m on social media.

I blog.

I like to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.

And I just like to prove how right I am and make you feel horrible about yourself.

Because I can.

I’m a mom.

I have opinions that everyone needs to hear.

I’m an Internet troll.

And I don’t belong in your head.

Why I Don't Believe in Mommy Wars

Mommy Wars don’t exist.

If I can believe that, I might be able to make it come true for the only person who matters.

Me.

Katie.

The one typing now, not the fictional mommy who opened this post.

I hope you all didn’t believe that was really me. Smile

There are a lot of real people out there who think they are “fighting” about motherhood.

Since 1986, when the term “Mommy Wars” was coined to describe hostile attitudes between working and stay-at-home moms, mothers have been finding ways to make one another feel badly.

Yes, 1986.

When I was in first grade.

This is not a new thing, ladies. It’s just on steroids because the Internet allows us to have sooooo much information about everyone else’s lives.

But it takes two to fight.

A war with guns shooting opinions and bombs made of words is not real.

It can’t actually hurt someone, unless they allow it to get in their heads.

Let’s make it a one-sided war, and it will snuff out as surely as a candle without oxygen.

At least for the person who really matters.

You.

Just unsubscribe, people.

If you don’t like what I have to say, just click the word at the bottom of the email.

It’s easy.

You don’t have to reply with criticism about my feelings and advice for my family.

One reader did anyway this winter, and I had the choice to let her email wiggle its way into my thoughts and ruin my day or realize that my life is impacted in no way by this woman, and delete it from both my screen and my memory.

Here’s the email:

Good morning,

I just wanted to let you know that I am unsubscribing because that was a negative morning newsletter about the most blessed things in your life: children and husband, who runs nonetheless.

 

Putting God first is important, but not at the expense of complaining about what He has given you.

 

Put your Bible in your cookbook stand and make one hearty breakfast for everyone at the same time.

 

Love and blessings for your day.

I won’t lie and say that the words didn’t sting when I read them the first time, or that my jaw didn’t drop at the dripping venom and judgment cloaked in “blessings for my day.”

Believe me, ladies, if my Bible was in my cookbook stand, no one would eat.

That’s not a multitasking activity I can handle.

If you’re wondering what my horrible email said that sparked this response, it was actually my attempt to reach out and connect with tired moms, to empathize with the frazzled feeling I know many have on bumpy mornings:

Daylight savings time, you’d think the kids who don’t have to get up early would sleep until at least 8, right? Bah. Not in this house.

No, the baby who consistently sleeps great from 6-9 in the morning woke up at 7:40, just as I was the only adult in the house about to get the 6yo to school in 20 minutes, because I wisely let her sleep 20 minutes later than usual so the time change didn’t feel as bad, only to be greeted by a tearful raging mess of tiredness anyway. Bah.

As soon as she was out the door, the 3yo woke up before I could finish my devotions for the day, so I got to juggle him and the baby, who did not go right back to sleep like I thought he might after a diaper change and a nurse. Bah. At least they were happy, right?

When my husband got home from his run, he asked the 3yo if he’d eaten breakfast already. “No, but Mommy has!” he announced.

“No she has NOT!” I called, muttering under my breath, “Even though she’s been up for over an hour and is still in her pajamas and hasn’t even started the slow cooker for dinner yet…”

I did get to oil pull before waking the 6yo at least, so that’s one check on my anti-cavity plan list for the day.

I’m just sitting down to work and wanted to dash a quick note to let you know that I get it. I get the day-to-day craziness of life, the amount of time you spend in the kitchen, and the mornings when you make breakfast 4 different times for 5 people.

Was I a casualty in the Mommy Wars?

No way.

Was this interaction a potential battle ground for a Mommy War?

Sure.

But if I play my cards right, it’s over before it starts.

I firmly believe that God designed women with an inherent need to reach out, to relate with others, to feel connected on an emotional level with both our husbands and other women.

It feels good to know that other people are experiencing the same things we are, that our trials and tribulations, no matter how small or how large, are a burden we don’t carry alone.

It’s part of our femininity, and it’s the origin of our compassion, our generosity, and our fierce determination to love and protect our children, no matter what.

That’s a good thing, a healthy habit, something that helps women feel alive and balanced.

It’s beautiful that connections can even be forged across wires with people we don’t even know, that our souls can be buoyed for the work of motherhood even through a screen.

It does, because I get emails and comments all the time from people who just feel good knowing that I have flaws and little troubles to juggle too.

I like to be real in my conversations here at Kitchen Stewardship®, because I know there are others out there who see their own situation in mine and immediately feel a sense of relief, that connection, that knowledge that they’re not alone.

The trouble, on the flipside, is when people who don’t connect with my story feel that somehow my experience diminishes theirs, simply because they are different.

This is just silly. It’s impossible.

Newsflash: My life doesn’t actually affect yours.

kids at the table

If my child wins a reading award, it doesn’t mean that your child is dumb.

If my house is spotless, I’m not passing judgment on your clutter simply by how I keep my own house.

If my husband and I have a good marriage and build it by taking walks together, it doesn’t mean that your marriage is any less because your husband hates to walk with you.

There are many, many ways to achieve the same good goals.

And life is not graded on a bell curve!

I was shocked not too long ago at the response to what I thought was a simple, positive comment on Facebook.

It came up at lunch one day that my 3-year-old had never heard of Spaghettio’s. He had no idea what they were and we had a lot of fun hearing his guesses about what they might be.

It struck me that it was pretty good evidence that we eat a whole foods, unprocessed diet, that he doesn’t even know a classic like Spaghettio’s, something many of us, myself included, grew up with as a staple in the pantry.

Whether it was warranted or not, I felt good about that.

Even though my 3-year-old DOES know what candy, corn chips, and Lucky Charms are, I still felt good about that one small “win,” that little piece of proof that I’ve protected him from some of the processed junk out there (so far).

Was this a defining moment in my life? A tale worthy of a trophy?

Goodness no.

I mostly just thought it was funny.

So I shared on my public Facebook page:

image

I was completely blown away when I hopped back on Facebook later to see 800 “likes” and almost 100 comments in just a few hours. Facebook showed the post to 20,000 people, which is 4-10x more than an average post.

What I thought was a completely innocuous, non-judgmental, mostly humorous and encouraging comment became my introduction to the “Mommy Wars.”

(Yes, I live with my head in the sand quite successfully, as I didn’t even know they were a “thing” before that moment.)

Some of the responses, with dozens of “likes” indicating agreement, included:

My kids have had them. I don’t judge my parenting by those standards. Let’s not fuel the mommy wars.
Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve given your kids spaghettios and don’t have an ounce of mom guilt over it! Whole foods are awesome but enough with the guilt already.
Whether you have or haven’t doesn’t make u any better or worse of a parent. Posts like this tend to start judgmental comments towards each other and fuel “mommy (or daddy) wars”.

My response, which was my best attempt at infusing the situation with both grace and logic, was:

“I’m absolutely not saying “you’re a bad mom if your kid eat anything out of a can.” I am saying that if you’ve dodged that cultural bullet, pat yourself on the back. Can’t anyone rejoice in making one good choice without it becoming an Internet dichotomy of good mom vs. bad mom? If your babies sleep well, good job. Mine don’t. I’m not going to get mad at you if you’re thankful yours do though…see? My older kids have eaten plenty of junk, but it always tickles me when we find something they’ve never seen before. It’s all about 80/20…but that doesn’t mean we can’t be pleased with our choices when we hit the 80% how we want it.”

It didn’t set well with everyone, apparently. One commenter, who said “let’s not fuel the mommy wars,” brought her gasoline can to the party with this one:

I don’t shove my kids out the door 180 days per year to be raised by strangers….I call that a bigger thumbs up. Sorry.

Who is judging now?

My response: “This is not a competition, and no one is keeping score. Please don’t make a fun comment into an argument.”

I cannot fathom how asking people about what their child knows about food and saying that one small thing is GOOD somehow automatically means that:

  1. I’m judging everyone.
  2. If someone doesn’t do exactly this one thing, they are bad parents.
  3. Every other way of parenting is automatically BAD.

The Problem of the Lowest Common Denominator

We see it in schools and sports, where every child must get a small trophy for participating in soccer that season and rewards are heaped on schoolchildren who sit in classrooms and do what is expected of them, rather than trophies and rewards being reserved for those who actually excel athletically or academically.

Our society tends to tell children, “Good job!” for every scribble they’ve ever produced on a piece of scrap paper, “Way to go!” for showing up.

But when everyone gets a reward, the rewards are as meaningless as pouring a spoonful of water on a fish in a pond. When “participation” is the highest goal that can be achieved, no one is inspired to care at all.

The lowest common denominator becomes the only socially acceptable goal when we aren’t allowed to celebrate true achievement for anyone.

How have we degenerated to the point where whatever one person does well (or perceives they do well) is automatically not only a judgment on someone who does it differently but an insult?

Since when did my action result in a sliding scale for your action?

And we risk making everyone Orwellian average if we’re neither allowed to celebrate our successes nor discuss our differences without unintentionally wielding a weapon in the Mommy Wars.

No fair to have a draft into this war without even a draft notice!

I’ll say it again:

What I do well in no way impacts what you do.

If I’m proud of my choice or my kids, I am not inherently (or explicitly) saying that you have done something wrong if you’re not a carbon copy of my life!

The only way to stop fueling the Mommy Wars is to read what other people say with a modicum (or more) of grace and understanding.

Most people are actually nice.

While I was in the middle of writing this post, I found myself once again on the brink of a MW battle.

I shared the controversial fact that we put our babies to sleep on their bellies. I knew folks would be brimful and spilling over with advice, and they were.

What surprises me is how quickly the knee-jerk reaction of everyone in the conversation is to assume people are judging me when they share “safe sleep” advice.

I truly appreciate the gals who jump in to defend me, and it’s sweet that they are looking out for me before I get back to respond. But I truly also appreciate the commenters who are disagreeing with me.

They feel they have some important knowledge that, even in the age of the Internet, I might be lacking. Sometimes it’s clear that the dissenters don’t know much about me, my family, or my real food mission – yet they still want to help.

Unless someone uses truly mean language (and then I usually delete them), I do my best to give the benefit of the doubt.

I believe that most people really want to be helpful.

Women, especially, are designed to give advice.

To share their opinions.

To enter the conversation and to be helpful.

That’s all a good thing, an aspect of our femininity that God has given us to help us connect with the world.

But in the Internet age, all of that advice can get overdone.

I am a fan of conversation, even dissenting opinions. If we can converse as adults, share our opinions and research, and if it comes to it, agree to disagree, I think that’s a positive environment to foster.

I have to agree with Kenda, who calls the Mommy Wars “ridiculous” a dozen times, rightfully so, and pledges to “say no” to them completely.

Are the Mommy Wars real?

I started this post by saying that, in order to protect myself, my own emotions, I have to believe that the Mommy Wars don’t exist.

It turns out that I’m mostly right:

While a majority of stay-at-home moms and working moms believe that “mommy wars” are real, few see them in their own community and even fewer report having been criticized for their choices.

According to a Parents poll of more than 500 mothers nationwide by Quester, a research company in Des Moines, 63 percent of mothers believe that a mommy war exists. Yet as you’ll see in the results that appear throughout this story, when we asked moms whether they saw evidence of such hostility in their own social circle, the number who said yes dropped dramatically — to just 29 percent.

How to explain the disparity between the large number of moms who believe there’s a war “out there” and the smaller number who experience one close to home? We don’t know, but a Google search of “mommy wars” yielded nearly 25 million results. If you read anything enough times, you start to believe it.

The Mommy Wars happen.

Mostly online.

But if I can keep believing the best of people, I can prevent the “wars” from getting from the screen into my head, or into my heart.

And then, for me, they don’t exist.

I can watch them from afar, but they’re not affecting me.

We tell children, “Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.”

We all know that’s harder to put into practice than to say, but if we’re honest with ourselves, it would save a lot of grief if we could make it reality.

In reality, we can’t believe in the Mommy Wars, because if we do, we become part of them.

We start to see others’ innocuous comments as fuel for the fire.

We start to assume that others’ successes pass judgment on our own lives.

We start to behave as though others’ lives can actually impact our own.

We let it get into our heads.

And then it’s real – and it really hurts us.

Faith is believing without seeing.

Don’t put faith in the Mommy Wars.

They’re not worth it.

Words are out there.

Can we have opinions anymore?

Do we know how to disagree like adults without cutting one another down and making each decision, each opinion, the pinnacle defining moment of a person’s entire life and worth?

It’s okay if you think I’m wrong.

It’s okay if I think you’re wrong.

It doesn’t automatically mean either of us is fighting, being mean, or judging one another.

Sure, we can’t stop people from making mean or judgmental comments online.

It will happen.

But like a child who stops believing in Santa Claus, suspending belief in the Mommy Wars will only take away their magic.

Their power over us.

The presents on Christmas morning are no less real for the 10-year-old experiencing his first Christmas with the knowledge that it’s actually Mom and Dad wrapping things at midnight and stuffing stockings.

But the magic is gone.

The words of others online about parenting decisions will continue to appear, but if we believe that most people just want to help, that words cannot truly hurt us, that the really mean ones are just caught up in their own misdirected belief that Mommy Wars are worth participating in, then the magic of the fight is gone, too.

With the small exception of awful situations where real-life people’s opinions DO ruin the lives of good mothers, like these ladies who left children in a vehicle for a few minutes and ended up arrested, the Mommy Wars cannot hurt you or your family, unless you open the doors of your mind and heart and let them in.

Let’s be a team, not a platoon.

I’d ask you to do three things with me to fight the Mommy Wars – not to fight IN the Mommy Wars as soldiers, not to add fuel to the fire, but to fight against them and diffuse the bombs of words that a few are throwing with such venom that it makes this seem like a bigger problem than it is.

1. Don’t believe in them.

Try hard not to behave and react as if the “Mommy Wars” are alive and well.

Give people the benefit of the doubt online.

Realize that hurtful comments can only hurt you if you let them.

If your personality type makes “being a duck” and letting it all roll off your back very difficult, know thyself. You may need to get your head out of social media more often.

Don’t be afraid to use the almighty delete button if people are throwing meanness around on your own Facebook wall, page, or blog.

2. Stop comparing

If you’re going to get through life without feeling horrible all the time, you need to make a few truths a very deep part of your psyche:

  1. Other people’s successes do not mean you are failing.
  2. Other people’s goals should never diminish yours.
  3. Your opinions and others’ opposing viewpoints can co-exist without either of you needing to (a) change or (b) feel awfully about yourself. It’s a big world.

If comparing your life to others makes you feel worse about yourself, your family, your homemaking skills, or your marriage, I beg you to change your perspective and work hard to remind yourself of those three truths.

Plus, God made YOU to be you, and He gave you your children as a precious gift, a loan for this world. Of course you want to do your best for them – and we should set goals and be constantly trying to improve ourselves.

But we don’t have to feel awful (or make others feel so) to make positive change.

3. Inject positivity

When you see a fiery conversation or someone who may very well hurt someone else’s feelings online, be the voice of reason.

Of grace.

Of “we’re all in this together, let’s focus on what’s important here.”

The more we can saturate online conversations with positive language, the faster we’ll calm the waters.

Someone is proud of an accomplishment that you do not share with them? Compliment them.

Another mom’s child achieved a milestone, even though yours hasn’t shared that one? Congratulate them.

You see a house cleaner than yours, food nicer than last night’s dinner, or a wardrobe that costs more than a year’s salary in your house?

Take a deep breath.

It’s okay, ladies.

Lives are going to be different than yours, but it doesn’t make your life anything less to be grateful for.

Count your blessings, whatever they are, even if they feel like crosses today.

You are enough.

And nothing anyone else says can take away God’s grace and love for you.

Looking for more on the perceived “Mommy Wars” and mommyhood? Here are some great posts from other bloggers:

44 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Believe in Mommy Wars”

  1. Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents

    A-MEN. Round of applause. Standing ovation. I’m with you – instead of letting rude comments have their way over me, I’ll just choose to see them like Santa – an imaginary fat man who likes to eat cookies. 🙂
    Oh – and I put my babies to sleep on their bellies too. 😉

  2. Thank you for your honesty and bravery for bringing this issue out in the open. I believe many issues of conflict lies within their own guilt and discontent and they assume everyone else is looking through the same lens they are. But in reality, there are others who are looking through the lens of God’s grace, who are actually joyful and content just trying to glorify God. Knowing you come from the latter, I find your blog very enjoyable.
    I totally agree that it should be a non-issue and that people need to learn how to “agree to disagree” or how to ” take the info you like and leave the rest.” It’s far easier for me to delete a comment or ignore a comment from a faceless name. In person, I find it a little more difficult however.
    I generally don’t share my opinions upfront due to all the judgement in many circles of moms I know in real life who are happy with status quo. I am very “crunchy” by comparison and I just don’t want the “drama” as I call it but essentially it is the Mommy Wars. At the end of the day, I really don’t care if anyone agrees with me or not. I honestly believe that God has brought certain books, blogs, people and experiences in my life at just the right times to guide me to where I am today. I am happy and content with my decisions, not to say I ever quit studying as my thirst for knowledge, under standing and wisdom can’t be quenched. Isn’t there a saying about that? The more I know, the more I realize how much I don’t know & have yet to know or something like that?
    Anyways I love your blog and am so grateful for all your wonderful recipes . Thank you for sharing what you have learned on your journey, for being real, and being the blessing God intended.
    From a homeschooling mama who props her babies on their side ;), there is no judgment only gratefulness.
    Thank you!

    1. Di,
      Thanks for the lovely comment (your closing cracked me up).

      “moms I know in real life who are happy with status quo” << Me too. I try to keep my mouth shut in person as much as possible so I keep my friends and don't scare people. 🙂 Your perspective on all this is very wise. 🙂 Katie

  3. THANK YOU for this post. You have beautifully written the thoughts swarming in my head the past couple weeks, especially after reading the articles about cops being called because of kids left in cars, and another where a blogger was cutting down natural parenting bloggers and online forums because of how they come across as superior mothers.

    I’ve been there, in the mommy wars, up until the birth of my third child. I’ve built myself up in superiority complexes and let myself secretly judge others for their different choices and opinions. Maybe I had my bubble burst enough times on things I thought I was absolutely correct on that finally helped me through it. Or maybe it was the craziness of three kids and a new house with issues?!

    I stopped reading blogs for a long time. I stopped getting on Facebook. I realized the war I was in was with myself. Now, if I find things are starting to get in my head, I step away and try to figure out what’s going on with me.

    I will say, Katie, of the bloggers I follow, you strike a good balance of information, successes, and failures in many facets of parenting and running a household. I find it refreshing and realistic! Not every post is for me. But when something catches my eye, I know I’m in for a good read that I can relate to, or I will get some really useful information, or I will consider something I hadn’t before. You’ve got a great writing style!

    Thanks for putting yourself out there, doing all the work I’m too lazy to do (testing 60 different sunscreens!), and being a sense of reason!

  4. I’m glad to see so many supportive comments here!

    I am not a mom. I don’t know if I ever will be. But I do follow a quite a few “Mommy bloggers” and websites with a lot of parenting info, because they often overlap with the real food/traditional cooking/”crunchy” lifestyle information I’m interested in.
    I can barely begin to imagine how overwhelming and difficult it is to navigate all the decisions that come with the responsibility (and blessing, of course!) of parenthood. Heck, I have enough trouble sorting through all the information and making healthy choices with only myself, a significant other (who is a grown adult and not entirely my responsibility, like a child would be) and a pet bird to worry about! Unfortunately, insecurity about one’s own life, decisions, or shortcomings often leads to hostility and judgement aimed at someone else. It’s the same root as with any kind of bullying, from the kids in the schoolyard to the parents of the kids in the schoolyard!

    This is one of my favorite blogs not just because of the great recipes, information, and research… but because of the honest and graceful attitude you share them with. It really blows my mind how nasty people can be, even in person, but especially on the internet. Good for you for realizing that we (yes, we, because it’s not just “mommies” that engage in this kind of thing) can take away the “magic”, the power that these words and attitudes have on our lives. And thank you for such a well written post to remind the rest of us!

  5. Thanks Katie for sharing your thoughts, wisdom, and encouragement for healthy living with us. You were one of the catalyst’s to help me get more on track in guiding my family to healthier living. I certainly fail everyday, as we all do, but God’s grace is sufficient. We should be encouragers of each other, lifting one another up in love, even if we don’t always agree. I appreciate your posts because you strive to do that, and you are real with your readers about your triumphs and struggles.

  6. Nice post! I thoroughly agree that online communication can make judgment easier to dish out and harder to take. Facebook (which is a very new experience for me) seems particularly harsh, and it doesn’t give you anything like the detailed control you have with a blog to remove certain comments or even ban certain people from commenting again.

    I’ve been online since 1991, when the Internet was all text, mostly students and scientists, and mostly men. Judgment is by no means reserved to mommies!! I once took a hiatus from a discussion board because it had been completely overrun by a very hostile argument over what is “correct” in minute details of one’s personal bathroom habits–but in the same era, I did quite a bit of hostile arguing myself over various issues. I felt that if people were insulting people like me, it made sense to insult them right back and rub their faces in how wrong they were.

    Interestingly, it was when I got into online discussions *for moms* that this began to change. When I started trying to conceive my first child, I joined a Web discussion board for moms, and the overall tone there was one of loving acceptance and trying to understand each other and basically practicing the active listening and gentle guidance that we’re supposed to give our children. It made a big difference in my approach both online and in person.

    That doesn’t mean I never come across as harsh–and I appreciate very much that when I have felt very critical of something you or one of your guest posters or commenters wrote, and I’ve tried to be nice while barraging your comment box with explanation, you haven’t gotten all up in arms over the fact that I’m criticizing but have looked at the facts and sometimes adjusted your opinion.

    Just today, as I posted about my baby’s first traffic safety lesson, I recalled an incident of reining in my mommy-judgment in reaction to feeling judged. I often have to remind myself that not all kids are my kids, and not all families have our lifestyle, and those things make a big difference in what I can and can’t do with my kids.

    My now-10-year-old is acquainted with SpaghettiOs because of his preschool, which provided food…if you can call it that…but was quite accommodating of substitutions brought from home for kids who were allergic or had dietary restrictions. From the beginning he brought a protein when they were serving the GMO-trans-fat-breaded factory-farmed meat nuggets. But when the menu said “spaghetti” we figured that was fine; he likes spaghetti. As we left school that day, the horrified storytelling began: “Mama, their spaghetti is like wet Cheerios soaking in vegetable soup! The sauce is ORANGE and smells terrible and doesn’t have any onions or tomato pieces at ALL!” I immediately recognized what that was–having had exactly the same response to SpaghettiOs the first time they were served to me at a friend’s house–and we had fun laughing about how unlike spaghetti it is and how weird that some people think that’s food!

    Yet a few years later he wanted to try Trader Joe’s brand of canned pasta rings in sauce. He was unmoved by reminders of the preschool “spaghetti”. I bought one can–am I a bad mom?? I don’t think so, because the subsequent times he’s asked for them, I’ve pointed out, “You ate half the can, but then the leftovers went bad because you didn’t feel like eating that. It’s just not that good, remember?”

    1. Wet Cheerios – makes me laugh!! So true, but I’d never thought of them that way. You are such an inspiration in how you speak to your kids, ‘Becca, and someday you and I need to figure out how to be in the same city and meet for lunch – parking lot transit and all! 😉 Katie

  7. I saw the FB video of you laying your baby down on his belly and thought, “Oh, people are going to have something to say about that.” There were only 3 comments at the time and it had begun already. I thought of about 5 different responses, including the rebuke, the factual slam and the defensive response. Ultimately I bit my tongue because I didn’t think any of them would make an ounce of difference, but I did hurt just a little for you. I was sure you were confident in what you were doing, but it still hurts when someone, in effect, says “You’re gonna kill your child doing that.” Ugh. And on another note, kid 4 is my first one that *had to* sleep on his belly if he was going to sleep more than 20 min. straight. It was just his preference, and I weighed the risk (extremely low) and went with it. He, and his siblings, will thrive much better if their mother isn’t sleep deprived. 😉 Anyway, what a great response and perspective on how to handle negativity. Thanks for the example. Lets all go out and diffuse the Mommy Wars bombs!

  8. Katie,

    I have been reading your blog and trying your recipes off an on for about two years now. I like to think that most of the time I can understand your writing tone, and I am so sorry that all of this happened because someone made a decision to judge. Humans are emotional creatures, women especially, I think, and we all too often snap when we think that WE have been judged first. I want to thank you for this post. Lately I have been struggling greatly with mommy guilt and have succumbed to comparing my life with the Joneses’ I read about online. While there is no shame in trying to take steps to making your life better, it is not right to browbeat yourself because of what you aren’t doing well enough. Thank you so much for everything you do on this website, and for your courage and faith to speak up about such a hurtful and harsh topic. Your words mean an awful lot to a momma who is struggling to take those baby steps when everyone else seems to be a league ahead.

    Amanda

    1. Amanda,
      Don’t worry, most of us feel like everyone else is a league ahead, but we can’t all be right! 😉 Just keep celebrating those baby steps! This post was definitely about all of us, not just me – hopefully I didn’t sabotage my own message just by using examples from KS…

      I’m so glad this post spoke to you!
      🙂 Katie

  9. Have you seen the advertisement (I think it was for similac) that starts out with the mommy wars? If not, I recommend it. It puts it all into perspective, IMHO.

    Unfortunately, I’ve found that the natural parenting communities online tend to have a pretty significant tendency toward the mommy wars. Vaxing, circumcision, cloth diapers, organics, homeschooling, etc. I’ve known people who, when they saw that I cloth diaper and babywear, they assumed that I probably am judgemental because that is their experience with that community.

    One thing I love about our current neighborhood is that while it is not crunchy, it is an area where the prevailing opinion is “do what works for you” and “we are all in it together.” I’ve seen people post to the neighborhood Facebook page asking for help finding a 4 year old who wandered out of the house. Within 15 minutes, the child was found, returned home, and nobody mentioned CPS or anything like that. Everyone just focused on finding the child and getting them home safely.

  10. dear Katie,

    From my experience of years being subscribed, (I remember the day I ‘found’ you on the internet!) since then, delighting in the growth of your family AND Kitchen Stewardship… (God has blessed you, and continues… by your fruits (and veggies, haha)
    appreciating your personal authenticity: to me, you are a force of nature in your plain talk enthusiasm, this is what’s happening humanity, plus a great balance in your committed spirituality to your religious choice… You dig deep, go the extra extra miles,
    and provide generous and fun ‘feedings’ for your readers. God Bless you all ways.
    I continue to appreciate… Marsha

  11. I have appreciated your blog now for several years, Katie 🙂 you are intelligent, a woman of faith, with a very sweet family, and you have good intentions for your family. I know God is blessing you for your efforts. I enjoy your information that you present on your blog, and your personal testimonies! But I don’t believe that just because you do it, that I need to feel guilty because I’m not doing it. Not all people are created to be doing the same exact thing at the same time. Or paths might take little different directions, and our convictions may vary. But if we are working toward the same ultimate goal, than we should be content!

    there is so much guilt, insecurity, hurting, and rejection in this world. Even among those who love God. As a culture we have been trained to judge others, and react to those who we believe are judging us. All that is born of insecurity. We all feel those things at some point, but it isn’t edifying or loving to one another to express them! When I feel judgmental or worried about what someone else thinks, I’ve found the best thing is to focus oneself and to discover what is at the root of why you feel that way. If our convictions are firm in God, and we believe we are doing what we have been called to do, then we won’t feel guilty if someone else does something differently from us! And of course, it is easier to say things online that we wouldn’t say to someone face to face.

    Sorry to be so long winded. I have personal experience with the Mommy Wars, though I didn’t have a name for them! I used to be a part of a couple of different parenting forums, but I signed out of them for good. Just wasn’t doing anybody any good, and it’s hard to resist the temptation of saying something you’ll later regret.

    Thanks for keeping it real, Katie, and not being afraid of discussing a sensitive topic with peace and grace.

  12. Doesn’t the very nature of blogging leave one open to others’ criticism and opinions of anything about which the author writes?

    It was a certain level of courtesy that she emailed you instead of commenting directly on your blog, and she was unsubscribing to your newsletter instead continuing to read it and be a nudge in your comment section.

    I like reading some blogs, but I would never want to write my own. I tend to so overthink what people I know and love say to me that I’d never be happy having to daily consider the comments of complete strangers, though I can easily imagine how great it must be when random folks praise your thoughts on a subject.

    1. Yes, bloggers do open themselves up to criticism and disagreement. But it’s one thing to disagree with a blogger’s idea; it’s another thing to imply that they’re ungrateful for their blessings, while ignoring the overall context of the post. I guess it would have been worse if she had done it publicly on the blog, but it would have been better if she had been more charitable, or just unsubscribed without sending a judgmental email. I have disagreed with Katie on several occasions, but I think I have done so charitably. As far as praise from random commenters, I would imagine that most bloggers probably enjoy not so much praise, but the realization that their ideas have helped someone else. I’m sure that Katie and many bloggers also enjoy a friendly exchange of ideas in the comment section, and probably don’t mind a certain level of disagreement as long as it is respectful and charitable.

    2. Parsley,
      Perhaps using examples from my blog veered people off course from the message of the post – not that “people get mean to bloggers” but that moms get MEAN to each other, both on the initiating side sometimes (those who comment negatively) but also those who jump in, always assuming everyone disagreeing has the worst intentions at heart, instead of the best. Mommy Wars are very much not only against, nor restricted to, bloggers. I do take that risk – but I also am ready for it, and most days, it doesn’t get me down. But I hate to see other moms constantly arguing, belittling, or even just putting themSELVES down because of something they read online. It’s not about me – it’s about US.

      Best,
      Katie

  13. Katie, I have read your blog for a couple of years and I have marveled at the information you share for FREE for me to learn from regarding whole foods. I am always impressed.
    At the same time, we don’t share religious views and for that reason, some time ago, I unsubscribed. Then, later, looking for additional whole food info, I found my way back and re-subscribed. You are a font of information that I need and appreciate.

    Thanks for sharing this honest experience with us all. It was good to hear and I’m sorry folks have been unkind to you. No need for that, especially as you are generous to us all with your research and information. But like you said, If you don’t like it, simply unsubscribe.
    Keep up the good work.

  14. Well stated Katie! I appreciate your openness and honesty. Even though you and I are similar in some things yet different in others. I do appreciate what you share. You are someone I trust to go to for advice…not that I take it all. But I do value your opinion and appreciate you for what you do. thank you! And, keep up the great work! Blessings.

  15. Katie, I continue to marvel at all you & Kris have accomplished through this blog and your witness. I loved seeing the.wedding photos earlier this year knowing I was one of your happy attendees who enjoyed the 11 pm buffet and all the dancing, etc. It’s the intensity that put you at the top of the blogosphere that makes you take those comments to heart – you say yourself you read each and every comment. Jesus had dissenters and He was perfect. I am glad you posted this – all moms and women in general need your advice these days in the form of this post! Bless you! Angela who was G, now Z

  16. Let’s continue to encourage 1 another to love and good works, and to build each other up . Thanks, Katie, for being open.

  17. Hey, Katie! I don’t have anything super comforting to say, but just know I’m heaving a heavy sigh and nodding along in solidarity. Do you know how many bloggers I read who I agree with 100% of the time? None. Isn’t it crazy for us to expect to find a person who we agree with COMPLETELY-TOTALLY-ALL-THE-WAY-ALL-THE-TIME? It’s discouraging that we can’t just take away what’s helpful and beneficial from a blog post or podcast or facebook or whatever and skip over the stuff that doesn’t really apply or speak to us or fit our worldview. I’m certainly not perfect at this, but I’m learning that keeping my mouth shut is more often than not the right response. 🙂 Love your blog. Keep doing what you’re doing. And hang in there.

  18. I’ve been told over and over that I should have my own blog. This topic is the main reason I don’t. There are so many people out there who don’t know how to disagree without being hateful. They aren’t necessarily the problem; the problem is I haven’t learned how to not let their comments hurt. Sometimes I read through the comments on your posts and the posts of other bloggers I follow and I actually hurt for you! How silly is that? It’s not even my battle and I get wrapped up in it. If I ever learn to control my own heart and mind, I may venture forth. Until then, kudos to all of you NOT participating in the Mommy wars or any other word war, but still posting great info and real life struggles for the rest of us.

    1. I feel the exact same way, Christi, and that is precisely why I don’t have a blog, even though I would otherwise like to.

    2. Hey Christi,
      Luckily, not all bloggers get mean comments. Mine really really isn’t that bad! I just have to trust that people are simply trying to help…

      But thank you for hurting for me! I’m honored…you sound like my daughter, and I tell her she has such a tender heart that God created to love everyone so much.

      {hugs} Katie

  19. Thank you for the honest post, Katie! I am sorry you’ve been on the receiving end of those nasty shots. I think you are right about women’s natural bent towards giving advice and help, and so I’m throwing in my 2 cents.

    It’s been a long time since the Mommy Wars impacted me (my kids are 24, 21, 15 and 11), but since then I’ve learned this, and I hope it’s useful: nothing that other people do upsets you, unless there is some part of you, which you dislike, that resembles it. The faults we tend to bash when we see them in others are invariably the faults we harbor in ourselves.

    By that I mean, when I get annoyed with a boaster (which happens a lot), I know it’s because boasting is a sin I fall prey to a lot. I’m rarely annoyed with spiteful people, because I’m not very spiteful–I’m not thoughtful enough to be spiteful (maybe one day I will be grown-up enough to be thoughtful without being spiteful; I can dream).

    The bottom line is that we can use these harsh comments, the Mommy War verbal bullets & bayonets, the same way we use physical pain–to identify where the problem is. From there, we find the way out through repentance, (blessed are those who mourn!); for Catholics, confession; and finally, new efforts to work with God in eradicating those sins in ourselves. And this way out not only takes us out of our failings and sins, but also out of our anger and irritation with these other women. It’s a good way to get into a more peaceful life. And I’d love to take credit for the idea, but I can’t, I learned it from a Franciscan Sister. Hope it’s helpful!

    God bless you,
    Adrianne

    1. “Nothing that other people do upsets you, unless there is some part of you, which you dislike, that resembles it. The faults we tend to bash when we see them in others are invariably the faults we harbor in ourselves.” I agree Adrianne… I have heard this before and believe it is often true. We don’t really want to see or admit to those faults, but if we take a long hard look, they’re there.

    2. I have been trying to make better use of the sacrament of confession and help my children realize what a gift God has given us in confession. I am printing this off to share with my children. Thank you!

  20. I am not a parent, but I have worked in childcare for a long time. I think any tendency for moms to judge and feel guilty is just an aspect of the culture of women in our society these days. Often judgement and guilt come most often from ourselves, rather than from others. When we automatically assume that someone’s comment about their own life is some reflection on our life, we are just experiencing our personal insecurities. And you are right to point out that we can choose not to participate in this cycle, with others and with ourselves. It takes practice, but we can choose another way.

    I truly don’t believe you have any intention of judging people, but instead of helping them. If anyone feels you are passing judgement on other moms and doesn’t like it, then they should just unsubscribe. (It boggles the mind that people would send you such scathing comments rather than just opting out.)

    If that is not the case, if we are subscribing because we do believe that you have the best of intentions, and are just trying to show your example of success AND failure at having a whole food life in a junk food world, then let’s make a concerted effort to face our insecurities head on, for what they are — OURS. Let’s ask ourselves why we feel judged, when we know there is no judgement coming from you, and then GIVE OURSELVES A BREAK and tell the little guilt voices in our heads (as we judge ourselves) that we are doing the best we can, and that’s GOOD ENOUGH! Because, really, “the best we can” is the best we can.

    I follow you because I don’t have an example in my life of someone who handles their life this way, and I learn best by example (most people do). I follow you because I want a constant reminder to pay attention and to remember why these choices are important, even when I make decisions that I know are not for the best (just like everyone else). At least they are informed decisions, and I have a right to make them. I appreciate that you are transparent in your battle, because it reminds me that I am not alone in my own personal fight.

    Thank you for continuing on, despite the rudeness you’ve encountered! I appreciate it!

  21. I will just say “AMEN” I agree with Laura and Claire! People are soooo self centered and thinking they are always right, no matter WHAT the subject.

    Keep on doing just what God calls you to do with and for your family! I wish I would have had such help when my children were little (nearly 50 years ago)!

    Your website is great.

    Great-Grandmother April

  22. Thank you for this much-needed post. I’m sorry for the negative comments you have received (especially the one about shoving your kids out the door to be raised by strangers for 180 days/year and the ones about your kids sleeping on their stomachs; those were particularly nasty). I don’t always agree 100% with everything you or your guest posters write, and when I don’t agree, I either keep it to myself or try to post politely. It’s too bad that some people use the anonymity of the internet to be nasty. As far as the mother who unsubscribed because she thought your post was negative, I find your posts to be very encouraging. There are some mommy bloggers who complain endlessly about their husbands and kids. But sharing a struggle in the hope that it will help another mom is a different story, especially when it’s done in the context of a blog that is generally fairly upbeat. Anyway, thanks again for this post.

  23. People can be cruel even those who claim they are of faith.
    I think Mother Teresa said it best,
    People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
    If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
    If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
    If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
    What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
    If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
    The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
    Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
    In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

    —Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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