27 May 2014

Mother Ducks Unite!

The other day on our way into school, Miss Fab and I got to witness something rather special.
Our school is located on a very busy road. Traffic zooms by nose-to-tail in rush hour and anyone attempting to cross really needs to do it at the pedestrian crossing.
Of course if you're a Mother Duck with a gaggle of ducklings waddling in your wake, you are probably completely unaware that such a thing exists. So if you find yourself on the wrong side of the road in morning rush hour traffic, you really are taking your life in your hands if you attempt to make it to the other side.

Such was the plight of this Mother Duck. She wandered up and down the curb, darting out into the road in an attempt to cross over, then turning back as the cars sped towards her, oblivious to her and her stranded ducklings.

As the drama unfolded, Miss Fab and I stopped to watch, with our hearts in our mouths. Hoping Mother Duck would either give up and wait for quieter traffic, or would achieve safe passage by some miracle. (My camera was in my bag and I whipped it out and started snapping, as you do).

A bunch of mums coming down the footpath with their human ducklings in tow, also spotted Mother Duck's dilemma, and in solidarity for a fellow mother in trouble, they swooped in to action.

These mums stepped out into the road, held up their hands and the river of traffic halted. While a couple of them played traffic cop the rest of the mums herded Mother Duck and her ducklings safely across the road.

It was a beautiful thing.

Mums united, stopping traffic, helping a little mother to safety. Mother Ducks United.
I'm so glad I had my camera.

Of course I knew I would share the pictures with you here on the blog, and as I thought about what I'd seen that morning, it got me thinking.

There is such strength in the Sisterhood of Mothers. We fellow-mothers are all on the same journey, facing variations of the same challenges. We all worry about the same things and doubt ourselves in the same ways. We all want the best for our kids, we all lie in bed at night worrying over the child that is struggling. We're in this together, really.

And yet if you go onto Facebook or Twitter on any given day, you will find mothers attacking each other, pouring scorn and judgement on each other and being anything but supportive Mother-Sisters.

I've been shocked and sickened over some of the things I've read mothers say to one another.
Too many people are quick to judge, quick to condemn and stick the knife in.
Too many have forgotten that we are actually all in the same boat, that we all want the same things: to shepherd our little ducks safely from one side of childhood to the other.

I read a brilliant article once (which I have lost and so sadly can't link to) in which the writer had a theory as to why Mothers are so quick to leap to the attack. The writer suggested that the reason we are so quick to attack others is because we are actually insecure about how good a job we are doing ourselves. She said if we see anyone doing things differently to how we do them we feel threatened and defensively go on the attack.

It rang true. It made sense.
How often do I doubt and second-guess the job I'm doing as a mother? I don't know many (if any) mothers who don't doubt themselves on a regular basis. Do you?
I guess if we were all a little more secure, and believed in ourselves a little more, perhaps we would be less inclined to feel threatened by someone who is doing things differently.
Different is not wrong. Different is OK.
There is plenty of room in this parenting arena for different ways of doing things.
What works for one kid won't work for another. What works for one family won't work for another.

And that's OK.
In fact it's great, because we can learn from each other. Take what is useful from what someone else does and leave the bits that don't fit, instead of feeling threatened.

These days we've got baby-wearers judging disposable-nappy mums (and viceversa); breastfeeders judging bottle-feeders (and viceversa); homeschoolers judging schoolies (and viceversa)... the list goes on. Really, there's no need for it. Bottom line: we all love our kids and want the best for them, but we all go about achieving that in different ways, based on our different values, priorities and circumstances.

Hopefully we can have enough confidence and big-heartedness to not be threatened by another's different methods or priorities. If we see someone struggling, maybe we can be like those mums who stopped traffic for the little Mother Duck; we can stand together, and see each other as allies.
Social media (and the world) would be a much nicer place without the vitriol of Mother Wars. Wouldn't it?

After all my mother-sister friends, we are all in this together, herding our little ducks safely through childhood. And sometimes we need the help of fellow mothers who will stand with us and help stop traffic.

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