5 Ways to End the Mommy Wars Once & for All

Hilary hayley duff today parenting teamBeing a mom is no easy task -- especially when you know your every move is being scrutinized. (We're not just talking about your mother-in-law and her eye-rolling either.) Whether it's bottle versus breastfeeding, staying home with kids or working, many moms feel they're constantly being judged by their peers. So how do we end the mommy wars? A panel of experts, who just happen to be real moms, offer solutions.  

The Today Parenting Team, in partnership with Similac and its Sisterhood of Motherhood, and celebrity sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff, addressed what seems to be a growing epidemic: mom-on-mom bullying. Rather than tearing each other down, we should be welcoming to all moms, but as we all know too well, it's not always the case.
Moderator Sheinelle Jones, news anchor for Weekend Today, said she asked moms to list some of the things they feel most judged about -- and many women had criticisms rolling in as early as pregnancy! Answers included: selecting a baby name, requiring a C-section, getting an epidural, breastfeeding in public, allowing children to cry in public, allowing kids to stay up past 7:30 p.m., allowing kids to sleep past 8 a.m. The list goes on ... and on ... leaving moms asking how they can break the cycle? 
The following are 5 ways these savvy moms say we can end the "mommy wars" once and for all: 
1. Be Kinder to Yourself. Rebecca Dube, Today Parenting Team editor, says moms need to cut themselves some slack. "Don't be so critical," says the mother of two boys. "I need to be kinder to myself and that will give me such a base of strength to be kinder to others."  
2. Recognize No One Is Doing It Perfectly. Jenna Wolfe, Today correspondent and mom to two girls, says we're all works in progress and we need to acknowledge that we're all doing the best we can. "No one has all the right answers," she says. "If you can go to sleep at night knowing you did the best you can and loved your child with all your heart, regardless of what any other human ever says, writes, or thinks about you, guess what, you're doing it right and who cares what anyone else thinks!"
3. Focus On Your Child, Not the Noise Around You. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsabary PhD, mom to a 12-year-old daughter, says it's vital that we "acknowledge our ordinariness and our own imperfections" and drop out of the "constant competition" to focus on the real prize: our kids. "Realize that the only moments that matter to your children are the ones where you are fully engaged with them," she says.
4. Be Responsible for the Message You're Sending. New mom Haylie Duff, who welcomed baby girl Ryan Ava in May, says while she might not be able to keep judgments from entering her mind, she will think twice before she shares them with the world. "I'm going to leave here today taking responsibility for what I put out into the world, what comes out of my mouth, and the way that I judge people," she said.
5. Be Patient & Self-Fulfilled. Haylie's sister Hilary, mom to Luca, 3, says it's important to remember your passion for motherhood and the joy you can derive from spending time with your child. She also advocates for patience, not just with your child, but with your own reactions. "Be self-fulfilled," she says, "so you're not projecting onto anyone else."
Great advice from moms on the front lines! Here's to sharing their wisdom and making moms' worlds a little less judgy.
Image via Liz Alterman
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