I feel like I have read a lot lately about the so-called “Mommy Wars,” which references the one-upping and harsh judgments that occur between mothers. I don’t lose much sleep about it. I assume people are judging my parenting because I am judging theirs. We are human beings – it is what we do. We observe, assess, repeat. I like to think that I do not judge others unfairly and that others do not judge me unfairly. But I am aware that unfair judgments occur. Even so – I am not worried. Mom Karma will win in the end.
What is Mom Karma, you may ask? It is a mom/parent-specific version of regular old karma, in which, funnily enough, I am not sure I believe. If run-of-the-mill karma can be boiled down to the principle of “what comes around, goes around,” then I am not on board. Just off the top of my head, I can think of tons of people who never “got theirs.” Mom Karma, however, seems to me to apply universally.
Women without children and women with children can sometimes be natural enemies. Those without children can be shockingly unsympathetic to those with and vice versa. And here’s where the Mom Karma comes in. Although it is cliché, one of the best examples is the baby-crying-on-the-airplane scenario. Step one, baby cries on airplane, thus terrorizing passengers throughout the cabin. Step two, mom is subjected to eye-rolling and perhaps verbal assault, all-the-while rigorously bouncing said infant on her lap in a vain attempt to soothe. Social media has made it worse. I have read so many Facebook and Twitter diatribes about the women whose crying babies ruined flights. Without fail, all such diatribes end with the age-old, sage wisdom of “CONTROL YOUR BABY.” Because infants and discipline are natural companions, like peanut butter and jelly, but only if peanut butter has no idea what the heck the point of jelly is and finds it rage-inducing. I used to read posts like that and feel sadness for the maligned mothers, having been that woman myself and knowing that I could be that woman on any given day, even now that my children are of a more controllable age. But now, I just shake my head, smile, and think “Mom Karma.”
Mom Karma is the simple and true principle that whatever the “crime” for which you judge another mom – it will 100% happen to you. If life were truly fair, it would even be a little bit worse when it happens to you. Whoever amongst you has railed against the mom on a plane, I feel strongly that someday you will find yourself in a public place with a screaming baby who has rejected her pacifier, finds your soothing pats infuriating, and receives your swaddle attempts as insults. It’s not that I want it to happen to you (but I kind of do), it’s just that it will happen to you.
I, myself, am not immune to the Mom Karma. When my oldest daughter was a toddler, another kid intentionally smacked her in the face during a play-date. I was agog. Outwardly, I assured the other mom that it was fine, but inwardly I was pursing my lips, shaking my head, and thinking how those parents must be fostering an atmosphere of violence. Yes, violence. My inner-self is quite dramatic. I had no context because Avery was the gentlest, most orderly child to softly and carefully walk the earth. At the time, I absolutely attributed that gentility to my deliberate and thoughtful parenting. Don’t worry – Mom Karma straightened me out. The Mom Karma gave me a little life lesson named Claire. Our second child, surprisingly raised in the identical deliberate and thoughtful environment, hit her sister before she shook a rattle. Her first act when she gained control of her chubby hands was to smack Avery across the face and laugh heartily. Obviously because we as parents are fostering an atmosphere of violence. Mom Karma.
Do not fret, ladies, Mom Karma is not gender specific. I have a co-worker who scoffed about how stay-at-home moms complain about being so busy. Same guy, one-year later was reduced to tears by his toddler daughter during one day alone with her. Mom Karma pulled out all the stops that day. We are talking poop on the couch, macaroni thrown at the wall, Blackberry taken out with the trash, necktie used as a glue-spreader: Mom Karma. It might take a while for the Mom Karma to come full-circle, but it is only because she’s planning something really good. Or bad, if it was your necktie being used as a glue-spreader.
Others might assert that the phenomenon to which I am referring is not part of some cosmic plan, but is instead part of the typical human experience. We grow, we change, we become empathetic with people with whom we previously lacked common ground. We learn to not judge others so harshly because someday our own road might mirror theirs. This all seems highly sensible. Believe it if you want to, but I remain a dedicated believer in . . .
Mom Karma, it’s a . . . well, you know.