Getting Closer to Free from the Mommy Wars?

Kimberly is always a star!

I had lunch with one of my favorite people in the universe last week.  Kimberly Seals Allers and I went to “our place” – the cozy and always delicious Black Market Bistro in Kensigton,  Maryland. She came beautiful and brainy – as always. Her chic black ensemble was at once simple and stunning. And per usual,  her smile and spirt made my day. That is what good  friends are for, and certainly explains why  the ritual of a long, lingering ladies’ lunch is so essential for surivial.

Since then I have been chewing on our conversation and the questions that Kimberly asked for her upcoming (oh, get yourselves ready) book. The bulk of the conversation and her inquiry  had do to with the ways in which women support or derail each other in their role as mother. We talked about evolution and the state of the Mommy Wars  - we did so with an eye on history ( thinking a bit about Rosie the Riveter – she was supporting a war not battling one with other mothers, no?!?!)  but mainly with a deep desire for positive change.

I came to a very disheartening conclusion about how our daughters might experience their motherhood when I looked up and said (with great sadness) – that despite all our extraordinary efforts and the energy around advancing this critical dialog – our daughters would likely not have a very different experience…and I sighed….

Kimberly knows my POV – likely you do do. Success is a highly individualized state, it is based on a deeply personal, internal marker. This is truest in parenting sandbox where there seems to be so little fair play.  And in specific, it is true when evaluating  breastfeeding success, which I believe is found is in how a woman chooses to define it. It his hers alone to gauge. There is no clear answer, standard or finish line. This is a CHOICE

Riddle me this…why are we pro-choice in mixed company but full of judgement among out own?

Funny how we rally around the powerful notion of choice when a male dominated, institutional, governmental “threat” appears…we are good at that!

Just weeks ago there was an election where we clearly stood up for our rights, as women, to CHOOSE.

Still, when we are left among our own – you know with lactating breasts and ready wombs-we go harsh, unyielding and highly judgmental. Where is the sisterhood you wonder? Well so do I.

Two articles this week are well worth reading as you consider why we continue to fail to simply support other mothers. Why and how we have the audacity to support programs that are for the elite among us and that perpetuate the idea of a singular definition of success in parenting? And while our bodies, the very ones which we say we must protect via our right to choose  - become a fertile battle ground among our own…

Take a moment to listen to Suzanne Barston discuss her new book Bottled Up on Take -Two…I neither know Suzanne nor have the read the book in its entirety – though I intend to change both those things! Her points are valid and well stated. Her questions important…

And then please give some focus the the brilliant way in which Alissa Quart and New York Magazine tackle the Milk Culture issues, especially the social-economic question (divide) of  breastfeeding and regulatatory disconnect which is quickly becoming the new standard and very popular stance.

Having spent the week deep in the after-glow of my time with Kimberly (which means a great deal of thinking) and following along in the press, here is where I land:

We need to please stop and consider our actions not just our intentions. And find our way to caring enough as women, for women – to accept that we are not uniform because our parts are the same. We need to care enough to recognize and accept the full range of circumstances in which women live and strive to help to support each woman’s right to choose how to define her success as a mother. It is not asking a lot, but the outcome could be staggering. And, that might find us closer to free…