Posts Tagged ‘ mommy wars ’

Letter from a Work-From-Home Mom: We’re All in the Same Boat

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Odds are, your Facebook feed has been inundated with a set of letters one blogger wrote — kind, gentle “I get you” notes from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom, and vice versa. Basically, one blogger’s attempt to stop the imaginary “mommy wars” with imaginary love notes. And maybe you’ve also seen the blog posts shredding apart these letters as retro drivel that doesn’t do any good for anyone, disrespects moms who work (or don’t) because they have no other choice, and basically read like they’re written by someone who doesn’t know any better.

So here’s the letter you didn’t get—from the work-from-home mom, the hybrid mom who kinda understands both the SAHMs and the working moms. The one who shushes her kids for work calls and feels guilty when she’s revising a report on her smartphone during the school concert. The one who blocks off her calendar to read stories to the first grade class and folds laundry on conference calls. The one who will be letting her kids spend their sixth snow day of the year tomorrow playing Disney Infinity ad infinitum, so she can attend to a series of meetings and must-dos.

But the truth is, there’s no one perfect way to be a mom—we’re all just doing what works best for our families (and hopefully, ourselves) at the moment. Whether we work or stay at home or work from home, we’re all stretched too thin, we’re all losing patience with our partners and our kids, and we’re all doing something that would lead to lots of snickering and eye rolling from other moms. We’re all soldiering on with too little sleep and too little time. And we’ve all internalized too many blogs and Pinterest posts and media stories that make us feel like we’re not measuring up if we don’t have a clean house, fancy handcrafted valentines treats, a C-level executive job and a hot date with our spouse on Saturday night.

We need to Just. Make. It. Stop. We need to throw our fellow moms a lifeline, instead of a snarky comment. We need to keep our mouths shut about others’ parenting choices (unless it’s something that’s truly, absolutely dangerous—like a toddler in a high wire act). We need to mind our own business, keep our eyes on our own papers, and vow not to be the catty commenter or the queen bee mom who looks down our nose at our friends’ baby name choices or vaccination regimen. Don’t rock the boat—we’re all on it.

And while we’re cutting other moms a break, we need to cut ourselves one, too. Because if you’re anything like me, you probably beat yourself up on a daily basis for at least half-a-dozen things you think you did wrong, the countless ways you don’t measure up to an arbitrary ideal that no single supermom could ever become. You are worried that you’re ruining your kids by letting them watch too much TV, or yelling when you’re 10 minutes late for school (again), or picking up a birthday cake from the supermarket instead of handcrafting a Pinterest masterpiece. But that worry—that’s exactly what we’re all doing wrong. Because in the end, it won’t really matter if you feed them sugary cereal or fresh-made organic granola, if you work a crazy-hours job or homeschool them, if you cart them around to 20 different extracurriculars, or don’t sign them up for a single one. The key isn’t doing this whole crazy mom thing “right.” The key is making sure that your kids know they’re loved. And if you’ve accomplished that, you’re golden.

What kind of parent are you? Take our parenting style quiz to find out!

Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care

Image: Working Mom by Pim/Shutterstock.com

 

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“The Childfree Life”: Is It Selfish Not To Have Kids?

Friday, August 9th, 2013

TIME Magazine cover August 12, 2013This week, TIME magazine’s cover story reported the growing trend of women choosing “The Childfree Life.” The article reveals that childlessness—the term used to describe the ‘condition’ of a woman who is not a mother—is at an all-time high and the United States birthrate is at an all-time low.

Jonathan V. Last, author of What to Expect When No One’s Expecting, is one voice among the chatter that accuses childless women of acting selfishly. He claims that by opting out of procreation childless women contribute to a future economic downfall as with less children there will be less adults to grow up and pay taxes and purchase goods in our consumerist economy. Still others are simply baffled by the choice: “What do you mean you don’t want to have kids?”

The facts may be surprising, but the number of childfree women ages 40-44 doubled from 1976 to 2010. As the battle between stay-at-home moms and working moms—known as the Mommy Wars—ebbs and flows, it may soon be overshadowed by the latest central conflict in American culture: Women Wars. I’m not talking about the “War on Women” and all of the pro-choice/pro-life discussions that accompany that term. I’m talking about a struggle between women who have children and women who do not.

Yet, in this battle, the criticism seems to be remarkably one-sided. While mothers dish out insults to women  without the Mommy moniker, non-mothers don’t seem to fault women with children for their lifestyle choices. American culture tells women who forego motherhood that they are selfish (for the economic reasons Last argued and otherwise). According to a 2009 Pew Research study, 38% of American say the childless trend is bad for society (up from 9% in 2007). Yet, there seems to be an absence of criticism for a woman that may five children she cannot afford who then must rely on government aid or food stamps. Why does our culture consider it more selfish to opt out of these parental situations?

At the same time, paradoxically, we may be scaring women out of becoming moms. As sociologist Julie McQuillen said in the TIME piece, “If we make motherhood unrealistic, why would we want to do the job?” From my friends who are parents, I personally hear less about the joy of pregnancy and beauty of motherhood and more about the sleepless nights and the loss of a social life. Is it any wonder that more women are opting out?

It seems that women are in constant competition with each other over which female archetype is the ideal: the working mom, the stay-at-home mom, and now the non-mom. TIME touted that this childfree life is the new way of “having it all.” We all seem to want to prove that we are the best, and the best seems to be judged upon how many plates each of us can keep spinning without going insane. We all want to be in the group that “has it all.”

By current definition, the struggle to “have it all” is a woman’s battle to balance motherhood, a profession, a life of her own, and a successful relationship with her partner. While the Mommy Warriors debate over whether or not “profession” needs to be on that list, the latest archetype of woman declares that “motherhood” does not need to be included, either.

The real problem here is the singular definition of “it all,” which causes women to constantly compete against each other, rather than support each other. We need to allow for flexibility in each other’s choices without a barrage of judgment because truly one size does not fit all.

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