Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

On Mommy Wars and The High Price of Being Self Righteous

In hindsight, I’m not convinced that I completely understood what pregnancy meant. I mean, obviously, I knew that it came with worry and fear and cravings and doubt. I didn’t realize that I’d be concerned about whether eating lunch meat was actually okay or not, and I didn’t understand how hard and beautiful and surreal living with a newborn would be.

Through loss, both from my own and others’, I did know that being pregnant wasn’t a guarantee that I’d come home with a baby at the end of 40 weeks. I knew, the hard way, that things could go wrong. That life rarely plays out the way that it does in our dreams.

I didn’t know about mommy wars. While I was determined to breastfeed because I’d read that formula babies have more allergies, I based that opinion on what I’d read and on the fact that I have terrible allergies myself. I cannot be in a room with a cat. I am allergic to Bounce dryer sheets and rabbits and mold and so many of this world’s amazing fuzzy creatures. I thought that if there was a chance that breastfeeding may help my own little baby to not have to ask a friend whether he has a cat before going to a sleepover would be worth it.

Truth be told, for me, breastfeeding was horrible for three days and then it was perfect until my son weaned himself. I also understand that your situation may have been very different from mine.

But sure, I have opinions.

I have opinions about breastfeeding and babywearing and whether or not the “cry-it-out” method is cruel or a life saver. Whether being a working mom, a stay-at-home-mom, or something between the two is best. I know for me. And I only know for me.

I have my opinions on all of it. And they are that. My opinions. My ideals, shaped by my own life and beliefs and experiences and dreams.

My opinions differing from yours doesn’t mean anything really. Maybe, we’re both right. Or maybe we’re both wrong. Most likely, we’re both somewhere between.

We all have our own stories and values.

You have your beliefs and I have mine. While I think that we can learn from one another and that we continue human growth by putting ourselves into shoes whose sizes are unreadable because our alphabets are different, I also will always believe and promote that our shoes are more similar than different.

That we are, too.

When I was pregnant, I didn’t know about mommy wars. About judgement and cliques and fads and disagreements.

I did know a little bit about the cost of self righteousness though. I’ve suffered from that before. From both sides.

When I was pregnant, I didn’t really understand the cost of being victim to shame for a mommying choice. I didn’t understand that having an opinion came with a price.

Lying in my bed at night, replaying a conversation I had with my sister-in-law about breastfeeding, five years later.

The cost of that, for both of us.

I look at my past and see self righteousness.

Mine. Other people’s.

And while at times, the conversations and debates we’ve had have been inspiring and fun, mostly, they feel yucky and costly. That part of us pays a toll to listen to how we’re doing it wrong or doing it right which means somebody else is doing it wrong just feels, well, wrong. Costly.

There’s a cost to self righteousness. One that I’m not sure I’m willing to pay when it comes to my own opinions or yours.

Sometimes, we’re wrong and sometimes we’re right and really it doesn’t matter anyway. Having an opinion on anybody’s “doing it right” when they feel like they truly are? Is just wrong. Who are we? Who are we to say who is doing it wrong?

Because really isn’t all of this life about figuring out what we’re doing wrong and doing right and finding the between?

It comes with a cost, this okayness with our parenting and ourselves. A high cost.

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday Post.
When I talked to this week’s sentence thinker-upper, Allie about her prompt, I had such a different post in mind. One about how Gucci watches mean less to me now than they used to, actually. But Julie of Next Life, No Kids had talked to me about this amazing movement she has on stopping the mommy wars and this idea felt better. I’m joining her in #Mommitment. A movement to stop mommy wars. To realize that we’re so so so much more alike than different.

mommitment to stop the mommy wars

Finish the Sentence Friday ROCKS and here you go for hosts:
moi (findingninee)

And your awesomesauce co-hosts:
Allie of Latchkeymom
Kerri of Undiagnosed
Anna of Fitfunner

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  • Allie - Oh chica, we did it again!!!! Love this post and I agree about the cost of self righteousness. Ugh. I hate it in others, but I especially abhor it in myself! #nomoremommywars!February 26, 2015 – 10:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerri - I screwed up the link-up, again. Go figure. BUT I love this post. Serious love to you and the putting it out there that self-righteousness is too costly. Because it bites us in the ass every freaking time!February 26, 2015 – 10:12 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It so bites us in the ass every time Kerri and sorry about the linkie code. One of these days, I’ll get it to you sooner so there’s more time for you to play with it.February 27, 2015 – 6:41 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Yup. Exactly.

    You have your story and I have mine.February 26, 2015 – 10:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly L McKenzie - You know I just wish someone had said this to me when I had my first child 21 years ago. And then when I had my second 19 years ago. Honestly, looking back it really isn’t important whether they were breast fed for 2 months or 22 months. But man was it ever important then.February 26, 2015 – 10:25 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I remember counting the hours of sleep and freaking out about it Kelly. I wish I knew then that an hour or two doesn’t really matter but yeah, it really felt huge then.February 27, 2015 – 7:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Roshni - I wish people would just go back to the days of ‘if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything’! Parents need support and understanding; they don’t need judgment and unsolicited advice.February 27, 2015 – 12:05 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I so agree Roshni – parents – especially new parents – so need support and understanding. It’s hard enough without somebody telling you that you’re doing it wrong. xoFebruary 27, 2015 – 7:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Nicki - Love this #Mommitment to end mom wars! Let’s be in it together, help one another, not criticize, judge, turn away from each other. Thank you for getting straight to it with your hugest heart and amazing words.

    And I’m allergic to cats too! 🙂February 27, 2015 – 12:53 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yes, Nicki! Let’s be in it together. Help each other. Let’s help and heal and promote and not tear down.February 27, 2015 – 7:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Kristi, I very much agree that we moms are more alike then we are different in one huge essential way and that is that we absolutely love and adore our kids no matter what. And whatever choices we do make from the beginning and years to come, too is out of that love. So, beautifully said and couldn’t agree more!February 27, 2015 – 2:52 amReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - Beautiful perspective, as ALWAYS right here. Kristi Rieger Campbell brings it once again…February 27, 2015 – 3:01 amReplyCancel

  • Mike - Obviously I have never been a participant nor “combatant” in mommy wars. But, I HAVE observed it from the sidelines working with females all of my life. And wowee have I learned a ton. On a bit of digression I often just make sure to stay as neutral as possible though still supporting my mommy friends. Remember, this is from a guy’s standpoint. Anyhooooo, that said, you really nailed it with this Kristi – “Being self righteous comes with a price”. Often a very high price. I haven’t walked a mile in anyone else’s shoes but my own. I’m applying that to mommy wars. I’m not being a jerk but women can sometimes be very catty. If that gets a boo-hiss, tomato throwing at me on the fence it was not meant to offend anyone. And in the end…when we/you/me/they are laying in that final bed before saying goodbye…all of that self-righteousness didn’t mean a gosh darn thing. More than likely it only brought on suffering to the self-righteous one. I hope this all came out right. FANTASTIC post or you wouldn’t have had this long response from me. Btw…I’m HIGHLY allergic to cats. And get this…dogs too. Yep! Love you dearest…always 🙂February 27, 2015 – 4:24 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Women can be horribly catty and you’re not being a jerk by saying that. At all. And sweets, it all came out just perfectly. Yikes to you being allergic to cats and DOGS! (me too a little bit but cats are worse)
      Thanks too for the reminder that when we’re laying in that final bed… sigh. Yes. You. Love you back times a kajillion.February 27, 2015 – 10:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Kim - I so wish that we could end the Mommy Wars – so silly!!! When I had our fist son and got involved in a moms group I was blown away by the opinions of so many and the fact that they felt justified in “sharing” them with everyone.
    Even with my sister and sis-in-law I keep my opinions on babies and kids to myself unless they specifically ask for my advice/opinion about something.February 27, 2015 – 6:41 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I so vividly remember one of the early days mommy groups I joined. It was HORRIBLE. I mean seriously awful… People talking about things that should just be a mom’s decision. Like breastfeeding. I have an opinion and it’s strong but it’s based on my life ya know?February 27, 2015 – 10:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - My dear, we ALL have these stupid judgy moments, and they never turn out well. Sometimes all we can do is learn from them.February 27, 2015 – 7:25 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - GIRL!!!!! You rocked finishing this sentence. This post was the BOMB? We are both off the same generation so I can say bomb right? I don’t know what the new word is. Anyway seriously this was a great post. The breastfeeding training nurses weren’t what I’d call very friendly about my lack of success. I wish I could go back and listen to my mommy intuition that breast feeding didn’t seem to be working for me. Christopher ended up back in the hospital dehydrated. I had no idea he wasn’t getting anything. Poor thing. But they allowed me to stay in the hospital with them to continue to breastfeed him and the supplemented him with a bottle every other time. Long story short he wasn’t getting anything from me. When I went to a check up with him and he had lost some weight only ounces off of 10 lbs but it seem drastic at the time, the nurse asked me how breastfeeding was going. I told her that I quit. No one told me to quit but I knew nothing was happening. But she acted like I should have gotten permission first and that it was so disappointing that I didn’t try harder. Oh I felt SO bad. I know you whole post wasn’t about this but just in general collectively we need to be more sensitive to one another about how we parent. I’m guilty too and you’ve opened my eyes. Maybe that nurse wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings and maybe I was overly sensitive but I wouldn’t ever want to make someone feel that way about anything.

    Speaking of bounce sheets – I couldn’t go down that aisle when I was pregnant. It took me years to be able to use them again without connecting them to the feeling of nausea.February 27, 2015 – 7:37 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kenya!!! Really? For real? I felt like I was I dunno… like should have spent more time but your “GIRL!!!!” gave me gigantic grins and happies and um, wait, there’s a new word for BOMB?? Um, ok but I don’t know what it is and since you don’t either, I agree that our votes mean that BOMB is still the word for now and ever. Seriously though I’m so sorry you had those same jerks of the breastfeeding nurses. Between them and my own husband telling me maybe it was too big for the baby’s mouth (OMG because it did seem like it) and all of that??? Horrible!!! Tucker also went back to the hospital at 2 days because he’d lost weight. It did end up working out for us but it wasn’t as natural or whatever that I thought it would be.
      And that sucks about that nurse. For you and for all the new moms who have no clue!!! UGh to that. And bounce sheets are stinky. Here’s to us being nice(ish) because OMG to our son’s wives when they do everything wrong because they WILL 😉February 27, 2015 – 11:03 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - “”self righteousness people”

    One of my greatest pet peeves.

    My suggestion: take a long look in the mirror. You may find a many things you do not like.

    Have I told you lately that you are one of my favorite bloggers?

    Well.

    You. Are.

    xxx Kiss and Happy Weekend. Savor.February 27, 2015 – 7:48 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - YES to taking a look in the mirror. Also is it weird that I talk to myself in the mirror, like a lot???
      And oh you. Really for real? Me being one of your favorites brings me gigantic joy as I feel the exact same way. xxooFebruary 27, 2015 – 10:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - Mommy wars are pointless, just like any other war. Who could the winner possibly be? Certainly not the children who are the reason we are mothers in the first place.

    I’d like to think I’m becoming less self- righteous as I get older. I’m trying, anyway.February 27, 2015 – 8:16 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - There is so no winner ever in the wars. Mommy wars. People wars. Any of them.February 27, 2015 – 11:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Ripped Jeans & Bifocals - This is something I so struggle with, internally. It is so much easier to focus on what someone is doing wrong versus what they are doing right…and to get wrapped up in how someone else is doing things when it really isn’t any of our business. Beautiful words and a beautiful reminder to go forward on this Friday and try to be a little kinder. Big hugs to you!February 27, 2015 – 11:47 amReplyCancel

  • Deb - Truth. xoFebruary 27, 2015 – 2:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - Sooooo true! My sister-in-law and I got along fine for years until we had kids. She was a workaholic and I was a stay-at-home mom. She thought breast feeding was disgusting and I breast fed all four of my kids. Needless to say, I really got tired of bring judged by her. We haven’t spoken to each other in three years because even though we both have grown children now, she was STILL judging my choices in parenting. I decided I didn’t need her negativity in my life.February 27, 2015 – 4:18 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw Marcia, I’m so sorry that you and your sister in law had such a disagreement about breast feeding. Such a fundamental part of parenting – the feeding of our kids. How we do it? It’s just up to us. Our lives. Our boobs. Our kids. Sigh. It sounds like you made the right choice to cut her out of your life although I’m sure that was horribly painful… i had to cut somebody out who was mean about Tucker not developing at the same pace as her own kid.February 27, 2015 – 11:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - I understand the eerie voices within you since we all wanna be the BEST parents but nah! we are not perfect, and our kids will not be.
    As we continue to learn and make mistakes, we can’t really say that this is the perfect solution to bringing up kids…since we all are different, and in a way that makes us all unique 🙂

    hugs!
    xoxoFebruary 27, 2015 – 5:51 pmReplyCancel

  • A. J. Goode - I love this! I remember being so sure about breastfeeding with my first baby and then caving in and using formula because I just couldn’t bear to listen to all of the people who kept telling me I was starving my baby. I got tired of defending myself and gave up.

    When I think back on those first few months of motherhood (tinged with a wee bit of PPD) I still feel so sad; all the pregnancy and “what to expect” books in the world can’t prepare a new mother for the mommy wars. And I don’t think any of those other mommies meant to be cruel. They all just thought they were right. I can only hope that, going forward, we can all remember to be a little more patient, a little more accepting of the fact sometimes different ways work for different people. We mommies need to build a support network, not a war zone.February 28, 2015 – 12:03 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - Yeah. Mommy Wars. I’ve always had problems with this. I’ve felt the aftershocks of the Mommy Wars, and they aren’t pretty. It would be wonderful to eliminate the nastiness that can arise in a community of Moms. I have to admit that I’m not sanguine about being able to completely eliminate it. Not sure why the dismissiveness can seem so pervasive, and not sure why we keep it going generation after generation. Kristi, I’m hoping that you’ll find an answer and be able to explain it to me…..

    (feeling reflective tonight…usually I just blow past these feelings, but not tonight)February 28, 2015 – 3:49 amReplyCancel

  • Bev - Beautiful response to the prompt. I sadly had heard lots about the mommy wars before I even became pregnant. Since I worked with families with young children before having children of my own, I came to understand how hard parenting is. Every day you are faced with a million choices and every day this little person’s (or people’s) life depends on what decisions you make. You will never know what is the “right” decision, but you do know what works for you and your family. Instead of tearing each other down and judging and criticizing, we should be recognizing how hard we all work every day to raise the best children we can. Thank you for sharing!February 28, 2015 – 7:32 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I so agree Bev that we should be recognizing how hard each of us works to raise the best kids that we can. Thank you!February 28, 2015 – 2:34 pmReplyCancel

  • Scott - I’ve never understood the mentality of women who attack other women for simply making different parenting choices. It just doesn’t make any sense.February 28, 2015 – 9:09 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It totally doesn’t make sense. It’s dumb. And mean. And just all around crappy.February 28, 2015 – 2:41 pmReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - Well said! I heard the other day the word “sanctimommy” and it seems like such a great word. It is sad that so many put that fear and doubt into sanctimonious behavior instead of just owning they are scared and not sure what to do.February 28, 2015 – 8:44 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OOOH I love the word “scantimommy!” So fitting. And yeah, I completely agree that it sucks that people prefer to make us afraid or feel dumb when we’re just trying to do what we do…February 28, 2015 – 10:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - It’s all so bewildering, isn’t it?
    Since Scarlet was a. happy surprise.. I thought I still had years before pregnancy and child-rearing. I knew nothing, and how much can you learn in nine months anyway? You learn all of everything from DOING it, and.. it’s still so exhausting and I know nothing. And I want to bean Cassidy, Des and Scarlet are sick, and oh god. Take me away!March 1, 2015 – 11:16 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It is SO bewildering! I can relate to wanting to be taken away! Sorry they’re all sick though and so hope they’re feeling better!!March 5, 2015 – 6:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Katia - That feeling that you get when someone else had just expressed everything you were thinking and didn’t know you were and everything you would like to say in the most perfect way and better than you ever could. I love this SO much. The shoe size analogy with the numbers written in different languages was great. And before I even read the post I LOVED where you took this prompt. This was perfect, perfect, perfect. And amen.March 2, 2015 – 7:48 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thank you! You always leave the best comments. I so appreciate them and you!! Thanks too for liking the shoe size thing – that was my favorite part!!March 5, 2015 – 6:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Jhanis - You know, what’s funny to me is that I never knew about the “mommy wars” when I was pregnant with my son up until I started reading blogs and became active in social media. I was out of the loop and perhaps that was better? Now, I think a lot if I’m parenting the right/wrong way. Messes me up! LOLMarch 4, 2015 – 8:05 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I do think you’re lucky to have missed all the mommy wars while you were pregnant, Jhanis! And yeah, doubting ourselves just sucks. Here: You’re doing it right!! 🙂March 5, 2015 – 7:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Tarana Khan Siddiqi - Wish I’d heard about this movement sooner. Things rarely go as planned as far as being a mother is concerned, and nobody should be made to feel bad about the choices they made based on the support and resources they had.March 4, 2015 – 7:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Thank You Honey - It is so funny looking back at how crazy you can become. I was a freak up till my son was 1 or 2 years old. Too funny.March 5, 2015 – 10:07 amReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Smith Sprenger - How did I miss this amazing post? Holy shit. That was really incredible. You are such an inspiration.March 5, 2015 – 10:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Yvonne - Yes to everything you’ve said here Kristi.
    What you write about here is kinda my obsession right now. I seem to keep writing about variations on the theme of “us and them.” (Even did a review of a book by that name this week!) It’s so ingrained in our culture that it can be hard to even notice it, and it’s not confined to parenting. In the UK, with an election coming up soon, it is utterly rife. To be honest, I don’t think it will end until we are willing to face our own darker side, and you are doing just that here by owning your own self-righteousness and by pointing out that what is right for you might not be for someone else.March 15, 2015 – 3:34 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Yvonne. Your comments are always so well thought out and spot on. I agree that we do need to face our darker sides in order to be less “us and them.” I have to wonder if it’s cultural or human -did cave people do the same??March 16, 2015 – 4:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Whitney Hsu - This is wonderfully written! Amen!!April 14, 2015 – 2:22 pmReplyCancel

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