Shauna Stewart Douglas runs a website called Moms Uniting Moms, dedicated to moms supporting each other.

Basically, she's all in favor of the exact opposite of the Mommy Wars. The website states what they're about in no uncertain terms:

“Sometimes we share tough information and views we might not [all] agree with, but our discussions are free of shaming - no mud slinging here!"

To further their goal of ending judgment about different styles of parenting, some of the women who are part of Moms Uniting Moms got together for a photo shoot.

They showcased some of the many things moms are scrutinized for ... and for which we sometimes scrutinize each other.


The point isn't that we all need to agree on how to raise our kids. That's just silly. The point is that we can have constructive (and helpful!) conversations without tearing each other down.

These photos represent our ability to live our lives differently but without judgment.

The problem is that for moms, it seems that nothing is off-limits:

1. Where and how we work.

All photos taken by Vivian Kereki Photography. They belong to Moms Uniting Moms and are shared here with permission.

2. The struggles we have (or don't have) that are beyond our control.

3. Whether we became moms unintentionally — or with much effort.

4. What kind of moms we are.

6. When we became moms.

7. How we became moms.


8. How we name our kids.

9. How we feed our kids.

10. Where we feed our kids.

11. The ways we get our kids to sleep.

12. Where our kids sleep.

13. Who takes care of us while we're pregnant.

14. And how our kids come into the world.

15. Little things — like what we use (or don't use) to comfort our babies.

16. Even the choices we make for diapers.

17. And the way we transport our babies.

18. But here's the bottom line: If we're doing our best to care for our kids, we're good moms.

19. We're great moms!

20. Because when we're trying, growing, and learning when it comes to parenting, we're doing what we need to do.

21. So we should support each other while we're doing it.

Remember that supporting doesn't mean agreeing! We can do things differently without tearing each other down.

Douglas told me in a phone interview that the point isn't just to positively affect the way moms regard each other; it's to help us raise a generation of amazing humans:

"When women and moms are educated, they teach their children. When we get access to any kind of info, we transfer it to our kids. Moms are such a pinnacle, such a force. I really feel like as we create more discussion, understanding, learning around how to have a constructive conversation … it's going to have a huge ripple effect."

Heck. Yeah.

Douglas also noted that we're never going to agree on everything, nor should we strive for that:

"I don't want to be surrounded by a bunch of yes people. There's absolutely no way I'm going to be right all of the time. The only way we're going to get to a better knowledge or understanding is if I bring what I know to the conversation and you bring what you know to the conversation, because you know all kinds of things that I don't. The only way I'm going to be able to hear all the things you know and be able to learn from you is if you say, 'I'm not going to tear you down when presenting this information.' And I'm going to listen. I'm going to hear you. I'm going to receive. I may not agree, but that's how I learn."
Can I get an amen?

And if you're thinking: "What Mommy Wars?" Know this: They are real.

Sometimes, I hear from people who say the Mommy Wars don't actually exist. It's true that they may be fueled to keep our attention off of issues that truly matter — like affordable childcare and wage equality, for example.

But the pervasive judgment moms face? That's all too real.

Sure, it's easy to say, "Just ignore it!" But as Douglas says, parenting issues are always going to be close to our hearts because they relate to our kids. And because raising our kids is one of the most important things for many of us, that judgment has an impact.

We're not talking about turning a blind eye to dangerous parenting here, like leaving a kid outside with an ungated pool. We're talking about the many different ways of raising kids safely. We're talking about sharing information so we can all learn and grow as moms — and ultimately decide what we feel is best for our kids when we have that information. There are many great ways of doing things. And what works for one family might not work for another.

What if we could do away with the Mommy Wars?

"We would be further down the path," Douglas said, if we adopted a "be curious, don't be judgmental" attitude. "If we approached any situation with curiosity as opposed to defensiveness — wow, can you imagine?!" she exclaimed. I can. And I'd like that very much.

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Those of us who grew up in the Alanis Morissette angst era and followed her through her transformation into a more enlightened version of herself may be thrilled to know she has a new album out. Such Pretty Forks in the Road is her first album in eight years—and the first since two of her three children were born.

Anyone who's been working from home with kids knows that we're all in the same frequently interrupted boat. Such is the pandemic life. But we've also seen how those very human moments when kids insert themselves into life are some of the most real and precious. And that reality comes shining through in Morissette's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon performance of her new song, "Ablaze," which is, not so ironically, a song about her children. As she sings, it's clear that she's still got the chops that made her famous. It's also clear that her 4-year-old daughter, Onyx, just sees her mommy as mommy and not as the iconic pop star that she is. The performance is lovely and sweet, and hearing Onyx's little voice and seeing her put her hand over her mom's mouth as she sings is just too adorably real.

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True

The United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary at a time of great challenge, including the worst global health crisis in its history. Will it bring the world closer together? Or will it lead to greater divides and mistrust?

Share your vision for shaping the future: take this 1-minute survey. Your responses to this survey will inform global priorities now and going forward.

"Think about the honor of the opportunity," B.A. Sheppard says in his viral video, which is the perfect way to think about things during this pandemic. His son is mowing the lawn and he seized the moment to remind us all of the importance of individuality and doing things not necessarily the "right way," but the way that feels right for you.

"This young man coming toward me in this lawn mower, thats my son," Sheppard says, smiling into the camera. "He's cutting the grass and zig zagging all over the place. And you know what? Its perfectly fine. While I might have cut in a certain pattern, he's doing his thing in the way that he wants to do it. And it's totally okay. He is getting the grass cut. It may not be dad's way, but he's getting it done. And therein is the honor of the opportunity."



Sheppard continues by saying that being able to give his son space where he can figure out how he wants to get things done is a great privilege. "As a young man, I don't need him doing things exactly the way I did it," he says. "Right now, it seems like he's just cutting grass. But in my mind, because I know my son wants to be an engineer, I see his mind at work and I know that what he is producing now… it's going to help him in the future."

I walk to the beat of a different drummer, so Sheppard's words are very personal to me. When I was fifteen, I started playing guitar and writing music. I knew I wanted to be a musician and there was no way anyone was going to talk me out of it. Learning that your son wants to make music for a living isn't exactly what every parent wants to hear. But my parents always supported me. Always. The path I chose was not an easy one, but I knew it. I cannot imagine what it would have been like if my parents shamed me into working in an office or becoming a lawyer or doctor because that is what they wanted for me. I would have constantly been looking out the metaphorical window wondering what could have been. That is no way to live life.

My mother Ellie, 79, and my father Peter, who will be turning 81 years old this month, had the wisdom, patience and the compassion to stand behind me every step of the way. It's the same way that this father sees his son. Sheppard concludes by giving us all a beautiful task. He challenges us to look for the honor in the opportunity of relationships that you have. I'm grateful to my parents for always supporting me and allowing me to march to that beat the way I wanted to. It allowed me to be the man I am today. For all the children out there, this video is an inspiration and reminder to find your path and not to live in the shadows of what others think you should do or be. Always, be yourself.

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We all know that we're in a global pandemic, and that every country has been impacted by the virus in varying degrees. But the U.S. is in a league of our own when it comes to our national response to the outbreak, leading the world in cases. In fact, we account for nearly a quarter of the world's cases and a quarter of the world's deaths, despite only being about 5% of the world's population. So much winning!

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