You Have Already Won The Mommy Wars

You may not like me for saying this.

In my 17+ years of parenting I have had the privilege of experiencing almost every parenting situation possible except being a father. Though, I have been a single mother so I did sort of have to fill that role, as well. I’ve worked outside the home. I was a student. I was married. I was divorced. I was dating. I’ve been a stay at home mom and that is my role of choice but I do love what I’m doing now. I am a work at home mother.

It’s the hardest role I have taken on  and I used to work in a nursing home so I hope you appreciate how hard that is. It also has the best perks, which is saying a lot because I used to do online promotions for a live music venue that paid me half in cash and half in free drinks. Being at home with my kids and watching them grow is amazing and I would not trade it for anything.

Generally when people start the SAHM v. Working Mom debate it starts out defensive. “This is why what I’m doing is right, don’t judge me.”  Then it becomes offensive. “This is why your way is wrong. I’m judging you.” Then it snowballs into insults and personal attacks. “You think your car is more important than your kids,” and, “You sit on your butt all day and watch YouTube videos.” Somewhere in the midst of the cat fight the whining starts. “I have to work all day and then come home and cook and clean,” and, “I never get a sick day. I never get vacations.”

Here’s the thing, you’re all wrong. Well, okay, not all of you. Some parents really do choose a fancy car over being at home with their kids but it is a very small percentage of a minority of assholes. Some moms really are sitting on the couch with a bag of M&Ms and a laptop, watching 16 and Pregnant on TV and surfing Facebook on the computer. Again, a small sampling of the laziest of lazies. (When I was a SAHM these images and ideas annoyed the hell out of me because I worked with my kids all day, very much the same way I did as a preschool teacher and as I do now as a childcare provider, and the notion that SAHMs are not working can be blamed entirely on these candy popping fatties that I am so jealous of some days.)

The rest of you, though, are wrong. When you weighed the options between staying at home and going to work in the end you made the decision that was best for your family. It may have been a hard decision. You may have had a lot of reasons to make another choice but you had to do what worked for you as a family, not just for you. Almost every single parent you encounter, online and in the real world, faced that same dilemma and had to make a very hard choice.  Are you so naive or egotistical as to think that you were the only one who wrestled with the pros and cons of your choices? Do you not realize that the person across the table or across the country that you are insulting and complaining to also wrestled with those very same choices and came to the conclusion that was best for her family? Nothing you can say is new to this parent.

While you are reflecting on this I want you to consider one other important question. Why do you care? Why do you care if I stay home with my children or work my way to the glass ceiling in the corporate world? What effect does it have on you? (That is not merely a rhetorical question, feel free to answer in a comment.)

The two most common, yet unspoken, effects on each of us are also the driving force behind this battle of The Mommy Wars. They may even be the catalyst of all Mommy Wars. Guilt and envy. When you hear or read statements from another parent about their choice your own emotions bubble up inside of you. Maybe you wanted to stay home and it wasn’t feasible with your current situation or maybe you left a career you loved and realize now you miss it. Maybe the sacrifices you make to stay at home start to wear you down or the time you miss with your children while you are at work is eating away at you. Maybe you wonder what if you worked and had more money for your family or what if you stayed at home and had more time.

That is when you need to step back from the play group  or computer and remember- you made this decision. You examined the rewards  and benefits of each choice and in the end you did what was best for your family. There is no need to tear another parent down for making a different choice. It won’t change the reality of what is best for your family. You don’t have to defend yourself. You don’t have to explain your family situation. It is likely the other parent feels very much the same. Just step back , lay down your gun and choose not to fight this battle anymore. By doing what is best for your family you have already won.









1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. stephanieisme
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 01:34:02

    Oh!! Who did/said what on BBC? I missed something and want a llama


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