Early on in my parenting journey, I realized I had to take a stance. I'm not talking about how I felt about a particular hot-button issue or parenting technique. On the contrary, I'm talking about whether or not I wanted to be a part of the "mommy wars."
In case you're not familiar with that term, it basically refers to a standoff between different sides of controversial parenting topics. I learned I was better off being a parenting pacifist. Here’s why:
There's no one right way to parent, but there is a way that's right for you.
I learned that letting go of self-doubt and mom-guilt was the quickest way for me to enjoy my baby, and discover which routines and techniques worked best for my lifestyle, my baby's needs, and my values.
We're all in this together.
It really does take a village, as they say, which is why I loved connecting with fellow parents in a judgment-free zone. I resisted the temptation to say which way is best, and didn’t let anybody else do that to me. Just as you agree to disagree when it comes to politics and religion, you can do the same about parenting styles, too.
Setting a great example for your children.
As they grow, I teach my kids that everyone is different and unique, and every family has their own rules, traditions, and beliefs. Seeing that practiced in my relationships, they understand why it's important to respect the views of others.
Surrounded by positive people.
There will always be those who offer their opinions, and sometimes they are very well intentioned. However, if you meet people who are full of negativity, don't let them bring you down, and if you can, avoid spending too much time in their company. I learned to take advice or comments with a grain of salt, and trusted my own mom-gut that I was doing what’s right for my little one.
The mommy wars can be exhausting and frustrating. Let's make a pledge for parenting peace instead so we can spend our time on what truly matters -- loving and caring for our babies!
Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, women's lifestyle, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in Family Circle, Parents, WomansDay.com, and more. She lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband, two fast-growing boys, and a living room full of toys.