I recently came across a phenomenon called, "The Mommy Wars." Essentially, this is the idea that women are in constant competition with each other as to who does motherhood the best.
Common hot topics associated with the Mommy Wars are stay-at-home moms vs working moms, breastfeeding moms vs formula feeding moms, single moms vs married moms, different parenting styles, and so on.
During my exploration of the Mommy Wars, it got me wondering - are there Daddy Wars?
Do dads feel this raging desire to spout all sorts of opinions about how to best take care of their children?
Do dads compare themselves to other dads?
Do dads give disapproving frowns when they see another dad letting their child run around with a saggy diaper or spanking their misbehaving tot? Do dads judge other dads for staying at home tending to children while their wives go out to work?
The point I'm getting at is, do dads in general care what their peers think of them as much as mothers seem to? Is there a subculture of dads out there secretly judging each other at the park, restaurants, or at school events?
There may indeed be many "deadbeat" dads who are not involved in their children's lives, but I see more dads than ever being passionately involved with their kids. There are single dads, stepdads, stay-at-home dads, dads who work from home - and they all take care of their responsibilities.
In fact, according to recent statistics, there are actually more "deadbeat" moms out there than ever in the aftermath of parents splitting up. Custodial dads are picking up the slack more frequently while not even receiving child support.
It's just the popular theme of our culture that women are the ones who appear to be more conscientious about parenting.
Are women themselves to blame for this? There's certainly a lot of media on the internet about the concept of being a good mother. There are memes, videos, and a constant stream of "mother quotes" on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Have mothers always been so critical of other mothers? Perhaps it's just the insidious online culture of comparing that's causing women feel more insecure in the modern world.
When a mom gossips about how another mom doesn't work or hates to cook, it seems reminiscent of high school. But that's where it usually starts with girls comparing each other as to who is the "best" of the bunch. Actually, it may start much earlier than that. It may start when children hear the way in which women and mothers speak about each other.
The Mommy Wars also extend to breastfeeding, which is something I struggled with. The debate over who is the better mother based on whether you breastfeed or not - or for how long - is very real. It may be more prevalent in some circles or cultures, but it is there. It almost seems to be a competition of physical endurance and dedication.
The implication seems to be that you don't care about your child as much if you didn't try to breastfeed. Of course no one really says that out loud, but that's the underlying insinuation. Every woman reading this knows very well why she did or didn't breastfeed and for most women, it's very personal decision.
I don't see or hear this intense need in fathers to prove how capable of a parent they are. I don't even hear many dads chiming in on the whole breastfeeding issue. They are silent. Maybe they are wise in that decision, since they know they are not the ones doing it themselves.
I wonder if most fathers even see this so-called war going on between the moms around them? How could they not? What is a dad's opinion of moms who compete and gossip about each other?
It's that judgmental inclination we all have that creeps into the picture when we start feeling insecure over our own abilities as parents. It's probably because being a parent is such a terrifying challenge. When we're frightened, sometimes we falter and judge where we have no basis to.
We take out our anxiety on other parents. Women appear to do this more than men, but that may only be because they are more vocal about parenting issues.
Women who are mothers seem much more likely to demand that other mothers pull themselves up to certain standards. I'm not quite sure where these standards originated from, but the whole concept of the Mommy Wars is not only disturbing, but non-productive.
Misery loves company, and maybe that's the key.
Maybe dads just don't want to be miserable together.
By Michelle Zunter
More from Michelle: "Breastfeeding: The History of Mother's Milk And The Controversy it Feeds" http://hubpages.com/family/For-the-Mouths-of-Babes
Originally a Vancouver Island native, Michelle now resides in California. Besides writing and blogging, Michelle is a mom, stepmom, and wife.
Michelle's writing and blogs discuss a wide variety of topics including domestic abuse, adultery, relationships, parenting, step-parenting, beauty & health.
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