Codes of conduct rule many facets of life. They govern our actions and dictate how we behave in a classroom, an office, or most places we will visit in our lifetime. Hopefully these codes make things a little better for everyone involved. As a tribute to my friends and all moms, I’m recommending “The Mom’s Code,” an informal code of conduct we agree to abide by in principle. It starts with us agreeing to have each other’s back. Despite the pronounced cultural differences I faced in Seoul, what became starkly apparent is that the struggles moms face are universal.
I lived in Korea for four years so many of the shared stories are from moms there. Some people assume Korean women are weak because the public culture is so male-dominated, but behind the scenes, women are very strong and, oftentimes, firmly in control when running the house and raising the children. And the moms there face the same pounding competition and image management as we do here.
The Mom’s Code is also a tribute to the mom heroes who make the journey easier for other moms. We should honor “mom crushes”—the great teachers, friends, and other people who lend a hand when we’re struggling—and encourage us to speak up to mom tormentors (just do it nicely) even when we worry it might come back on our child. Every mom has a moment, day or period of time when the perfect storm of issues leaves her drowning. The code honors those friends, mates, and strangers that consciously or unconsciously, save her in that moment, and do it without keeping score. Because when you pull back the curtain, there is always complexity and chaos. The Mom’s Code is for any woman who deals with the constant challenges of being a mom while trying to keep her personal pride, values and dignity intact.
To ask for an end to competition, or ask any mom not to do everything in her power for her child, or, to step too far back, is unrealistic. But every once in a while, we need to hit the pause button and see if we can have groundrules so our lives get simplified just a bit. Gain a little perspective. In some cases—vent, because venting allows us to let things go. In corporations, sexual harassment is over the line—maybe we can agree that some behaviors, like overscheduling a child until he/she is stressed, friendless and sick, might be over the line as well. The Mom’s Code is not about policing or more rules for what ‘good mothers’ should do, it’s an attempt to take a step back and start a real conversation. Because we all know that the greatest chance for peace, hope and positive relationships lies in large part with women. If not us mothers, then who?
So let’s get real and unite with The Mom’s Code!
Mama Drama is like mom bullying. It’s divisive and someone always gets hurt. We should tie our life rafts together and stop this destructive behavior.