A few years ago the media was awash with stories about the “mummy wars”. It was cartoonish and one dimensional. The indulgent stay at home mothers pitted against the ball-breaking super women who worked full-time. I am not sure if such a war ever existed. I think pitting mothers against each other is nothing but click and comment bait.
This is what I see when I look around at the mothers I know: Some work full-time, others part-time, some work from home, some are self-employed, some work within family businesses, some are studying, some give an extraordinary amount of time to school governance, some do not do any paid work, some volunteer. All of them are fantastic mothers. All of them have good days and bad days. All of them are busy. All of them are trying to figure out how to do their best. All of them love their children dearly and would do anything for them. And we all need a bit of support from each other.
So, in the spirit of supporting each other in the school yard (which seemed to be the original battlefield), this is my Motherhood Peace Treaty.
- Let’s not judge each other – every family has to make their own decisions about what’s best for them. Every family is different and every kid is unique. If we all did everything the same, life would be boring and bland and vanilla and our children wouldn’t learn about tolerance and diversity.
- Let’s not be jealous of each other – everyone else’s life can look pretty good when you aren’t actually living it. There are high points, low points, stress and joy no matter what you have chosen.
- When school social events are being arranged, make sure that a good number are scheduled at times that working parents can attend. And at those events, why not chat to the mum you don’t know that well?
- Don’t just arrange play dates at pick-up time. Also arrange via email if you can, so that kids who aren’t picked up by their parents after school are included.
- Have a support team – the group of mums that will look out for your kid if you are running late for whatever reason and vice versa. In younger grades, let the teacher know about that support team.
- Recognise that time is a valuable commodity for all of us. Some may have more flexibility in how they use it, but we are all given the same amount of hours in a day. Time is important to everyone.
- Say thank you to those parents that are always involved – in reading, tuck-shop, literacy groups, fund-raising, all of it. Those people makes a school’s heart beat and sometimes it goes unnoticed.
- If you are at a school event that you know another parent couldn’t make (for whatever reason), look out for their child. Be a friend to the kid that doesn’t have their Nanny there on grandparents day. Offer kindness rather than judgement.
- It can be really hard to keep on top of all the school stuff. It can be harder when you aren’t “on the ground” at drop off and pick up. Keep full-time working families in the loop with a quick email or text. Sometimes I think us mums need “buddies” much more than the prep kids!
- Ask another mother how her kids are doing. Be interested in life outside your own children. It can mean a lot.
This list can easily be adjusted to apply to those that haven’t quite made it to school yet.
We are all in this together. We are all just figuring it out, day by day. And we could all use a little support. The days for fighting are over. Let’s just help each other instead.