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As eager parents hook themselves to its endless drip of contradictory advice, the Internet has managed to create a breeding ground for competitive parenting. It whispers to us about these so-called Mommy Wars, a concept some of us have bought into and perpetuated. Interpretations of the truthy tidbits found online are as abundant as the people who use them to point their advice lasers at the billions of other mothers just trying to make it from one day to the next.
Why do they want to masquerade differences as conflict and point out all the many ways you could be ruining your kid’s life? If you’re thinking it could be for personal gain when they provide you with “solutions” or as an attempt to validate their own decisions, you’d be as wrong as adding Red #40 to your toddler’s diet. At least that’s what they want you to think while they’re telling you how to be the happiest, most successful mom on the block.
Let’s assume parenthood is a game with defined rules and a clear-cut path to the winner’s circle. No pressure! Just consult this list I’ve compiled from the many online experts and the judgmental parents who mindlessly exalt them. Let’s call it How to Win at Motherhood – 2015 edition:
Improve your body image!
Lose that baby weight. Then tell all your friends how much you’re embracing your post-baby body. Be sure to let them know you’ve simultaneously been spending more time at the gym and more time with your kids. Share pics to show off your fitness progress without making anyone else feel fat. Make sure your daughters know that being “fat” is unhealthy and unacceptable to discuss but becomes a source of pride if we call it “having curves.”
Be a Tigercopterphant Mom!
Respect your kids’ space at the playground by discreetly and silently surrounding them with your outstretched hands. Let your kids fall so they can learn, but don’t have kids who fall or they may develop anxiety issues that will be your fault. Make sure all activities are both structured and educational while also being imagination-based and open-ended. Learning technology is critical, and educational apps can be fantastic learning tools if you don’t want to take the time to teach them things yourself and don’t mind socially stunted offspring. Mediate playgroup disagreements by inserting yourself into the situation and letting the kids know they must work it out themselves. Then tell them how to do it and walk away so you can not-watch from a safe distance. Hope the other kid’s mom sees your passive-aggressive social media update about snotty kids and the moms who don’t pay attention because they’re always on social media during playdates.
Nourish your family!
Breast is best! But only for a few months, and don’t let anyone see you doing it because it’s gross. Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your kids, but be sure to provide 100 percent organic, homemade meals for them every day. Don’t be afraid to send picky eaters to bed hungry, because you aren’t a short-order cook; just fill cupcake tins and compartmentalized plates with 40 healthy options for them to choose from every two hours. Nutrients are best absorbed when they’ve been eaten off Pinterest-inspired presentations, but if you have time for Pinterest you aren’t paying enough attention to your kids. When all the food ends up on the floor, discipline them in a non-disciplinarian way and scrub immediately with nontoxic cleansers, but spend no time cleaning because CARPE DIEM.
Make time for yourself — WITHIN REASON.
If you don’t have a hobby, you will become a shadow of a human being and a terrible role model to your kids, so find a hobby that fits your lifestyle of driving other people around and spending hours getting babies to sleep using the attached-cry-it-out method. Make sure it doesn’t impede on your kids’ strictly adhered non-schedule or you will be robbing them of critical learning experiences. Note that hobbies outside the home will make you a better mom unless you spend too much time on them, as defined by the amount of time it takes for any member of your household to ask, “Where’s Mom?” If you have a job, you’re already taking way too much time for yourself, so just skip to the next segment.
Define your work aspirations!
Get a job outside the home so you can fulfill your selfish ambitions and not feel at all guilty about leaving your kids to hit all their adorable milestones with someone else. Quit your job so you can lounge with your kids all day and explain to them that they can’t go to college because you’re still paying off your own student debt for your worthless degree. Work from home so you can have the best of both worlds: sitting at a computer with your kids hanging on your neck and your boob in a baby’s mouth while you pretend that crunching numbers and sending emails from inside Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is easy. Regardless of which route you choose, belittle every woman you meet who picks a different one, but make sure she knows you back her decision because WE ALL HAVE IT SO HARD, ya know?
Support all the other mamas out there!
Except for the ones who let their kids eat McDonald’s, or the ones who make their kids eat kale, or the ones who wear yoga pants that are tight but in a weird way, or the ones who wear blazers to play dates, or the ones who are selfish enough to get regular manicures, or the ones who don’t even take care of themselves enough to get manicures, or the ones who use formula, or the ones who breastfeed giant babies without a cover, or the ones who drink too much or too little, or the ones who go out too much or don’t get out enough, or the ones who drink coffee, or the weirdos who avoid caffeine altogether, or the ones who always need help, or the ones who never ask for help, or the ones who have obnoxious kids, or the ones whose kids are always so well behaved you’re sure they only exist to make you feel like a failure. Everyone else is cool.
Motherhood is easy as long as you follow all the advice and play by all the rules. Winners are rewarded with perfect children and are typically the most eager to coach the next round of players.
May the discipline/sleep/feeding trends be ever in your favor![/nextpage]