Monday, 3 February 2014

Screw the Mom Wars

I am sooo tired of reading all these posts every bloody time I turn on the computer: stay-at-home moms are better moms, working moms are better role models, stay-at-home moms make more sacrifices, working moms do so much more.

What the hell, ladies? Since when did child-rearing become a competition?

The thing is, every other mom I know says the same thing. So I have to wonder: does anyone actually believe this competitive crap? Are there any real moms out there actually saying and believing that one is better than the other, that what they do is more significant or more challenging than what someone else does?

I don't think so, to be honest. This "war" is manufactured: by the writers, the bloggers, the social media manipulators who post these comments to incense the rest of us and provoke a reaction - in the form of hits, shares, views and comments - and, eventually, revenue.

I see red over someone writing that "women who have children will never be successful" (Why? Why? That doesn't even make sense. And what's your measure of success?) or that working moms "do everything stay-at-home-moms do PLUS work all day" (Yes...except for the eight to ten hours of child-rearing which you are in fact paying someone else to do...that's like saying I do everything a teacher does because I help my kids with their homework for an hour or two) or that breastfeeding will make your child dependent or that picking up your baby when he cries will keep him from learning to do things on his own. And I know that those with differing parenting methods to mine have the exact same reaction when they read that stay-at-home-moms are doing better for their kids than working moms, that feeding your infant formula will stunt his development, that sleep training your baby is cruel.

Here's the thing: I don't think anyone actually thinks those things.

These posts are out there to create controversy, to create "Mommy wars."

When I write that I would never work outside the home and send my kids to daycare if I could possibly help it, when I say that I would feel like I was missing their childhood and that I was paying someone else to raise them, I mean just that. That's how I would feel, and that's the choice I am making as a result. It has nothing to do with anyone else. I want to be home to raise my kids, so I have found a job that lets me do just that while still earning a second income. It's not a judgement against a mom who makes the choice to return to work or who doesn't have a choice in the matter and is forced to return to work. It's not a commentary on any other mom at all. It's a statement of my own feelings and values and choices. And that's all it is.

I think that this online culture of sharing information and opinions on parenting, while it's given us access to a world of support we wouldn't otherwise have, has also created a world where we all feel we have to defend the choices we make to one another.

I feel as though I am constantly defending my decision to be an at-home mom, and I know that's in response to statements by working moms that they could never give up their job, their identity, their sense of self in order to "just" be a stay-at-home mom; I also know that they are likely not criticizing my decision but justifying their own, and my defensive reaction is just that - me being defensive.

In the same way that a working mom making that statement is probably referring only to herself and not implying that I am a useless failure as a human being because I do stay home with my kids, when I say I don't want to put my kids in daycare I'm referring to my own needs rather than making a statement against a mom who does choose to work outside the home. No judgement on either side.

Every mom makes the decision that's right for them. I decided to stay at home with my kids. I have my reasons for that decision, and they have nothing to do with anyone else. A working mom makes the decision to return to the workplace, she has her reasons for that decision, and they have nothing to do with anyone else. Somehow, though, as we all try to defend the decisions we've made we all end up feeling judged for them.

Maybe none of us are actually being judged.

Maybe it's something we're putting on ourselves.

Mom guilt - it's a killer. But I don't think it's cause to start a Mom War.


You might also like...
Stay-at-Home vs. Working Moms
The Big Breastfeeding Controversy
Childhood Vaccinations: Why the Debate?
Living on Less - How to Prioritize

6 comments:

  1. Interesting idea. But I think you're wrong. I think some moms ARE being judgemental.

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  2. I agree with the last comment, I feel like working moms look down on me for staying at home with my kids & I don't think it's just me.

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  3. But people ARE judging. I'm an at home mom. Working moms are constantly making comments about how they do everything I do and still work too, and what do I do all day, and how they couldn't just sit around at home all day they need to feel useful, all that kind of thing. You can't say there's no competition because there is. Working moms all think their better than us.

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  4. LOL. The wars will never end. That's the way it is.

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  5. I am a working mom and it is definitely the other way around from your other commenters. It's stay-at-home-moms who feel like they're better moms just because they're with their kids all day and look down on those of us that go out to work to earn an income for our families. I work hard and am proud of what I do. I'm also a good mom. But I get criticized for sending my son to daycare.

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  6. Yup. Arguments for both sides, I suppose, but I doubt it'll ever get resolved.

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