When Mommies Lay Down Their Spears

Will Solidarity Replace the Sniping Over 'Parenting Styles'

Parent Power: Will mommies decide to join forces rather than bicker?
Kurt Hoffman
Parent Power: Will mommies decide to join forces rather than bicker?

By Jordana Horn

Published January 04, 2013, issue of January 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

If you want to generate a spike in traffic to your website, to sell more copies of your paper or magazine, or to get more ”likes” on Facebook, you should write a screed taking down the way particular people parent their children.

“Mommy wars” trigger media feeding frenzies whenever one of them rears its soft-spotted head. Time magazine published a cover photo of a mother breastfeeding her 4-year-old, and the talk shows erupted in a blaze of static. Various experts, both self-appointed and not, were interviewed, as well as celebrities and random pedestrians who believe they have the know-how to opine on the parenting of others.

The Wall Street Journal published a book excerpt with the headline “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” and in so doing, netted Tiger Mom Amy Chua thousands of dollars in appearance fees while setting off an avalanche of blog posts (never mind that within months, the paper would publish another piece, “Why French Parents Are Superior”).

I’m a mother of four children. With each birth, I found myself more and more bewildered by why parents honestly care what anyone else thinks of their “parenting style.” (a misappellation if I ever heard one: When someone barely has time to brush his or her teeth, it’s not a “style” so much as an “accident.”)

Personally, I’m a reformed mommy warrior. I used to readily engage in the back-and-forth of happily, if not outright snarkily, judging other people’s parenting. As a new parent, this kind of activity is a self-fulfilling prophecy of insecurity: You doubt what you’re doing as a parent. In defense, you point out the flaws in what other people are doing.

You suspect that other people are pointing out the flaws in what you’re doing, and so you keep your ear to the ground to hear more. What other people say makes you doubt what you’re doing as a parent. Repeat ad infinitum, through the day and sleepless nights.

I suspect that I judged others’ parenting in part out of insecurity and in part so as to avoid focusing on my own parenting decisions. Parenting is a long, tough road that, ideally, you tread for the rest of your life once the kid is born. There’s nothing easy about this journey: I understand the need to look for signposts, for maps, for directions.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.