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.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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I almost didn't create this post this week.

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