End The Mommy Wars [Special Photo Edition]

Jun 11, 2013 by

It’s hard to believe that this month marks the one-year anniversary of our post-baby body photo-shoot – I mean where did the time go? In true CTWM’s fashion, we decided that we wanted to do something to commemorate this important anniversary so we chose to tackle a topic that makes our skin crawl – the mommy wars. Last year’s photo shoot was about embracing our bodies and this year’s shoot was about embracing our different parenting choices. Cause seriously people, the world needs more love and less judgment.

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Personally I think the mommy wars were created by the media as a way to pit women against each other and gain ratings and I just don’t want to be a part of that. I am soooo over it. Who cares if some moms choose to homeschool vs. use public schools or if some moms breastfeed and others don’t or if some moms let their kids watch more TV than others? The only choices we have control over are our own. What another mom chooses is her decision – who are we to judge that? And when you really think about it – what’s the point? It feels so much better to treat people kindly with loving intentions than to go straight to a place of judgment. We should be supporting women’s decisions instead of critiquing them and making snap judgments based off our limited knowledge of other people’s situations.

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That’s exactly the message we hope to spread with these beautiful photos taken by Jean at I View Photography. We took on a lot of the issues the media uses to pit mom against mom and reclaimed them with a sense of sisterhood. You make the choices best for you, I’ll make the choices best for me, and while our choices will often times differ, let’s choose to love one another instead of critique. Can you imagine how beautiful the world would be if we all adopted this compassionate attitude?

Let’s end the mommy wars, once and for all, by tapping into our compassion and letting go of our judgments.

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To see all of our powerful photos click here.

Many of my bloggers also felt the need to sound off in the “confessional” we had at the photo shoot. We put together a very powerful video that is worth the watch. Enjoy it and share our message widely.

 

A very, very special thank you to our sponsors. First and foremost to the incredible Jean Molodetz from I View Photography who joined us once again to help make our idea a reality. Additionally, many thanks to The Silver Dahlia, the CT Chapter of NOW, the CT Women’s Education & Legal Fund and my own mom, Beverly Noehren, for their incredible support of our efforts.

Important note: republication of these photos is expressly prohibited without consent from CTWorkingMoms.com. To use our photos please email [email protected]

 

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Michelle

Michelle is the founder & manager of CTWorkingMoms.com. She lives in Hartford County with her husband Dan and toddler Lillian. She believes in equality, kindness and compassion and tries to let those beliefs guide her daily life.

95 Comments

  1. jilchrest

    Fabulous!

  2. Vivian

    I.LOVE.THIS! You ladies are so adorable, beautiful, sexy, sassy. This is such a neat way to commemorate that anniversary! The pics turned out beautifully (LOVE the bare feet!!!) and it seems like it was such a wonderful event.

  3. caitlynne

    Hooray!

  4. Cora

    I love this, I loved being a part of it, and I love being a part of such an amazing group of women.

  5. This is awesome!!

  6. Tara

    Awesome idea! I love this!

  7. Lisa W

    Awesome!

  8. esperillo

    They should make you watch this before you leave the hospital…or meet with your midwife or doula…or just at some point in the youth of your mommy life :) awesome job ctworkingmoms!

  9. Kate

    Awesome – and a great reminder to be more loving and accepting of all the mama’s out there.

  10. susan woodson

    The general population could benefit from CTWM’s philosophy! Awesome women and and terrific photos!

  11. Amen! Time to start the acceptance, and appreciate our momma soul sisters.

  12. AnnQ

    LOVE! The photos are beautiful and send a powerful and honest message of personal choice, acceptance, and most of all, love!

  13. Kara O'Neill

    I LOVE this! I hope lots of people read it and really take it to heart! Once again, you guys have reaffirmed so much of what I feel, thank you!

    • Michelle

      Thank you Kara! I’m so happy you loved it enough to leave this wonderful comment :-)

  14. All you ladies are AMAZING!!! Keep rocking on and changing the world. =)

  15. Bev

    Looks great everyone! Nice job Michelle!

  16. i love this, thanks!

  17. Kate Street

    Yay!!! Great write-up, Michelle to go with such a powerful photo-shoot! (I LOVE the photo of you and me laughing at the front door!) Reading the comments here is making me teary. I’m so proud to be a part of this wonderful community!!! ♥♥♥

  18. Veronica L.

    WOW wow wow!!! This was great! What an awesome photoshoot! I need to share this article with my friends! AMAZING work ladies and THANK YOU! You ladies are an inspiration to many! :)

    • Michelle

      So glad you loved it!

      • Lauren

        I think the idea of acceptance is great. I was just wondering about the lack of diversity among the moms and about the location that reflects a very wealthy environment. Where are the single moms, African American moms, Muslim moms, Asian moms?

        • Michelle

          Lauren I appreciate your comment. The photo shoot was just for the bloggers here at CTWM’s so we were limited in that sense to the representation we currently have. We choose the location because it was a beautiful backdrop for the photos and was also the same place we did our post-baby body photo shoot last year (except last year we were outside!). I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and please know diversity is very important to us.

        • I thought the same thing. Also, many moms don’t have choice, for the more superficial things like organic food or being forced to use the tv as a babysitter, OR for the really impactful factors like being a single parent or zip code or schooling. With that said I don’t begrudge these families their privilege, and agree the mom bashing needs to stop :-)

  19. Carly

    Such a powerful message! So honored to be a part of this!!!

  20. Such an important message for all moms! Thank you all for supporting my parenting choices!

  21. So thrilled to have been a part of this photo shoot and of course part of this community of amazing women!

  22. SO proud of all of you and to have been a part of something so beautiful.

  23. Heather S.

    Thank you Ladies!!! So grateful that you have been here for a mom who sometimes struggled with her decisions and sometimes wonders if she is doing the right thing. Just a reminder that the “right thing” depends on what is right for me and my family and what works for us might not work for anyone else. So happy that I found a community that believes that just being a mom or a mom to be is enough. I say throw out the labels and parent your children to be happy, healthy and the best people they can be. I am definately sharing this with my Mommy friends!!! Great Job Ladies!!!

    • Michelle

      Heather I LOVE your comment so, so much! Thank you and share away!!

    • teresa

      So true!! I feel the same way… struggling with making the “right” decision in such an opinionated world (and one where opinions can get shoved into your face from every angle). I loved this reminder that the right thing for my family is what works for my family. It may not work for yours and thats ok. I shared it with a primarily ap mommy board and got a negative comment about the cio pic right away… made me so sad that she kinda missed the point. Anyway, great job on a powerful message :)

  24. I love it all! So sad I missed it

  25. Alison

    I ADORE this! I’ve shared it with friends and on my facebook wall. Before I became a mom I thought I knew what was ‘right’ and ‘wrong’….little did I know I would be humbled to realize there is no right or wrong, just different ways. I love that this is being embraced in a loving way. I am so proud of you ladies!!

    • bernhardsonbunch

      Oh I couldn’t have said that better myself! I was SO sure I had all the answers before I had two kids. Love it.

  26. MommyOfOne

    Wow, these photos brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!!!

  27. I’m honored to be a part of something so important!

  28. Carolyn

    Very powerful. And a good reminder for me to not fall into the easy trap of judging myself and others. You women ROCK!

  29. LOVE the concept, love the photos, love the smiles. There are infinite good ways to be in this world.

  30. Renee

    This is such a nice illustration of the fact that there is a huge range of “normal” in the world so of course there will be a huge range of perfectly “normal” parenting. I hope this goes some way to making people realise that just because our “normals” don’t fall exactly the same place on the normal parenting curve doesn’t necessarily mean someone is doing it wrong. Diversity is what makes the world interesting!

    • marie

      Well said Renee. I couldn’t agree with you more!
      Moms in the Photo shoot, (you are all unique and awesome) and we should all learn to appreciate those so called differences…LOVE the sisterhood!

  31. I absolutely adore what you did here. I’ve shared on my FB page and my G+ community. Kudos to you guys!

  32. Lynn

    I love this! I’m not even a mom yet!

  33. Rebecca

    So happy to see something like this! Us Mommies should stick together to raise all kinds of healthy happy kids. Thank you!

  34. This was an excellent post! I’m blogging about your article in my own blog! Check it out soon! Proseandcompany.blogspot.com

    Great job ladies!!

  35. Jackie

    THANK YOU!!!! Love this!

  36. Totally agree with you that society makes us second guess ourselves and each other in a negative way. Not only that, but they also tell our children that all of their problems come from us and how we raised them! I have to laugh at that one because I am now old enough (and my children are also old enough) to realize that my Mother was trying her darnedest as well as I am and that is okay!

  37. Raven

    Perfect love this!! I hope it goes viral!

  38. This is a great idea. The judging of mothers needs to stop. The photo that I appreciated the most was the one with the breastfeeding. My mother chose not to breastfeed me and said that the nurses in the hospital looked at her like there was something wrong with her. She knew she had to return to work eventually and the company she worked for was tough. She didn’t have the time nor the opportunity to pump at work. As soon as she came home from work she fed me and took care of me before even making dinner for herself. She is the most caring and unselfish person I know. And I turned out great!

    • bernhardsonbunch

      How sweet! Loved, loved reading this, and I agree with you 100%. Mothers all do things differently. My mother formula fed, and I’m fine. I breast fed, and my kids are fine. You do what keeps you happy and sane!! :)

  39. Tania

    Most amazing Campaign i have ever seen!!! love the fact that it shows everyone raises thier children differently and everyone is right. Im crying right now writing this! But i’ve learned alot since having my son and ive learned that im not like every other mom on my instagram group but we all have one thing in common that we love and would do anythign at all for our children!!! Thank you for sharing these positive vibes and encouarging words that maybe everyone can accept everyone else Someday!

  40. Sarah

    I love this! Congratulations on reminding all of us the most important things about being a mom….teaching and practicing respect and love for others! Great initiative!

  41. Margaret Allen

    I wish they’d shown the choice of whether or not to circumcisize.

    • Kate Street

      I have 3 boys and didn’t circumcise ~ also didn’t vaccinate (2 other good topics!)

  42. Alissa

    This is such a great series, and thank you for infusing it with a sense of humor!

  43. Thank you again and again. This is an uphill battle…but together we can show the world there is a better way- the one that lives outside of judgment and within a supportive and encouraging journey through motherhood.

  44. Mary S.

    Perfect! I’ve been fighting the “stop fighting” battle for over 25 years. As I said in a published letter to the editor about this subject: “To the embattled mother on both sides of this argument: what are you teaching your children?”

  45. Christine

    This is amazing! Thank you so much. I backed out of the mommy wars a long time ago and it makes me profoundly sad when women feel the need to judge rather than to support. In so many areas of life we are asked to take a side, and this feeds the notion that if we’re doing things differently, one must necessarily be right and one wrong. The need to attack and defend is so erosive to all of us, and it’s perpetuated in so many insidious ways. The vast majority of parents are working toward a common goal; raising well-adjusted children that will grow up to be responsible adults. Obviously love and security and all of those marvelous things fall into the mix, and I believe that supporting one another as we work toward that common goal goes farther than insisting there’s a right way and a wrong way. In the end, best intentions and love are always the right thing.

  46. Dorie

    I think that perhaps the judgment is based on the not being absolutely positive that you are making the best choice for your child. There is so much uncertainty about parenting and you never really know if you’re doing the best for your child until you see more of the outcome, which is a waiting game. We are all just making our way through and trying to do the best we can with the information we have on any given day. Removing a layer of judgment and adding a layer of support and understanding will make us all better parents. Thank you for this.

  47. Great Job Ladies!!! Keep up the great Job!!

  48. Katie H

    This is awesome. One comparison missing that I’d love to see though would be,”My kids get their vaccines on schedule from the day they’re born / I choose not to vaccinate my kids.” I stopped my son’s vaccines after a year old when he kept having reactions to all of them. It wasn’t really something I went out of my way to tell anyone about until a friend posted quite a judgemental pro-vaccine post on FB. After telling her that my kid won’t continue his vaccine regime, she proceeded to tell me that now she’s nervous for him to be around her kids. The only thing that changed is her perception. My son is not a carrier pigeon and doesn’t deserve to be ostracized because she can’t get past being judgemental. It’s definitely one of the more emotionally charged debates in the mommy wars.

    • Hi Katie! I agree that is another hot topic among the “mommy wars!” I have a different vantage point – one of my children has Cystic Fibrosis. I think perhaps if I had NOT had a CF child – and she is my first – I would have delayed the vaccinations or skipped some / all. I did spread them out and delay some, but I was much more nervous of what could happen to her if I DIDN’T vaccinate than if I did. Your FB friend that handled your comment like that was extreme, but it is a valid point. If many children don’t vaccinate, and there is another outbreak of some diseases that have NOT been eradicated, my child could get very sick and die. Most children would just get sick – or like chicken pox, it would be a nuisance but not much more. Chicken pox could be severe in a child like mine, as a complication for those with weakened immune systems is pneumonia, which could kill a CFer. But you have a valid reason for not vaccinating your child! I think the key here is COMMUNICATION – all mommies have different reasons and feelings and if we just loved and empathized with each other, we could close some of these gaps!

  49. Jacqulyn

    I absolutely love this photo shoot! I have had a lot of people judge the way that I am raising my children since I have adopted them. This article hit me hard because I believe as moms we should respect the decisions that other moms make. We all are looking out for our children and trying to protect them the best we know how!

  50. I love this! I know I definitely wondered if people were judging me on my choices and its true that alot of it had to do with the media. This is an awesome shoot!

  51. Chris

    This was fascinating to me because even as I read it, I could clearly tell what the “right” answer was–and I DON’T EVEN HAVE CHILDREN. I have been so taught what moms are “supposed” to do that the idea that I could mess up my kids’ lives by feeding them fast food or not limiting TV time or doing something else “wrong” scares me almost more than the idea of having kids in the first place.

  52. wow, I am new to your site…what a great way to read a first post. As a mother of 4 older kids (eldest in college and youngest in middle school), this totally rocks!! Nicely done and nice effort!

  53. nilu

    The most refreshing campaign I have seen in years! Congratulations

  54. Jessica

    A Virginia mom sending you guys BIG LOVE for a great campaign, a well done pictorial, and a message I just adore! Good for you guys!

  55. Love this! Can I post one of the pictures with the link to your blog on my website? We are launching the site within the week and would love to have this on there! So true!!! Let me know. Thanks! I hope this spreads far and wide!

  56. Love this! There are so many different big choices to make as a family and innumerable little choices each parent makes every day. It’s great to see people supporting each other. Kudos ctworkingmoms!

  57. Love it, the idea and all of you. All the best from my home where I work and raise my 11 year old son in Toronto, Canada!

  58. I just wanted to let you know, I featured this on my personal blog. I really truly love this and am so happy you did it! Yeah for respecting differences! Mom love! <3 http://itslikemusic.blogspot.com/2014/01/end-mommy-wars.html

  59. When I read through this, I think of a fabulously insightful reflection on morality that NYU Professor of Psychology Jonathan Haidt makes in his book, “The Happiness Hypothesis.” He argues that if we are 100% fine with diversity on a topic, then the topic isn’t a moral issue for us. For example, if we think incest is morally wrong, we wouldn’t be 100% alright with knowing our neighbor practices this. So, for mothers who argue that unlimited TV watching is equal to a TV free home or breastfeeding is equal to formula feeding, then it just shows that these are not moral issues for the mothers. You can see that the creators of this photo edition didn’t include certain behaviors like “I hit my child” and “I never hit my child” because they are (I presume) moral issues for the creators of the series. Anyway, it was fascinating to look through this and remember Haidt’s apt point.

    • Ellen

      Amy, I think you’re onto something. These mothers are saying that different practices of normal parenting should not be a moral debate. They are patient and supportive of different practices. It’s when people elevate parenting practices to morality arguments that the trouble starts. It’s not immoral to bottle- feed a baby. But when people claim breast feeding is the only moral way, then the trouble starts. These Moms are deliberately lowering the volume and saying, we can live with different parenting practices. We can support each other without turning our differences into huge moral divides. What a breath of fresh air!

  60. lena

    this is a brilliabt idea! And to stop making mothers feel guilty and depressed just becoz they are not doing what the media and plunket want them to do!!! LOVE this idea and fully support it!!!

  61. This is a beautiful post. I grew up in this area of CT and I wish that I was still there so that I could be a part of your (obviously) awesome group of women. I found myself crying while reading the comments. It really is a beautiful testament to the fact that there are MANY choices and though they are all different, it is not as straight forward as “right” and “wrong”. Thank you so much!!

  62. Nice. But most of these have to do with choices. Struggling through infertility is not a choice…like choosing fast food vs organic.

  63. Annie

    Thank you for getting this message out there! I am a new mommy and do my own thing; I don’t rely on books or blogs or other moms, I just use good old fashioned instint, and it works for me. (My daughter is a healthy, beautiful and smart 9 month old.) I don’t judge those that are on the opposite end of the spectrum either – My motto is, “Don’t judge me, because I’m not judging you!” :)

  64. Maria

    Thank you!!

  65. K

    I haven’t quite made it to the working Mum stage, but I really wish we could end the judgement of women who have miscarriages too. So many people think it’s okay, when I tell them/they hear of my loss, that it’s because I work too hard/took a flight/ate the wrong food. Are they really saying that through my attitude/carelessness/lack of research I killed my three babies? If they had made it to birth no-one would find that sort of comment acceptable.

  66. Can you please add a photo about circumcision? I get a lot of flack from mommy friends who keep telling me I harmed by son by choosing to circumcise. I’d love to see mothers treat each other more kindly in this regard. Thanks! :)

  67. Loranda Iverson

    This is awesome….Although i didn’t see. A representation of non – birth mothers I am raising my daughter from my husband since 3 years old and have never given birth to another child and i find I’m in some type of war all the time….my favorite is “you can’t understand you’ve never given birth. Please include this there are many of us….

  68. wow.awesome! I love it ^__^

  69. wonderful article..i strongly disagree with that kind of condition. people have their own right to choose what they believe even for moms..live in peace and love each other…..<3

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