Finally, the other day I sent a ramble email to a friend about an article I had read on the topic in More magazine asking her what she thought. She also has been a SAHM for years and is now pursuing a career in counseling. Her comment was to basically say she had never experienced it and so didn’t ever really think about it. And in that moment I knew why I couldn’t write the article, I had never really experienced the mommy wars in my life. Had read about, heard of and seen it played out in movies and tv shows but not personally.
Yes, over the years I have met SAHM’s who can be a bit judgemental toward the working mom and their children. And I have heard plenty of subtle comments questioning my ambition and intellegence as a homemaker. But for the most part I ignore them because I am not insecure. I was not bored or dumb when I was at home and I am still present and engaged with my family as a working mom.
I have always had a few working mom friends, I guess I just saw them as other moms. They worked but their hearts were in their families. All my working mom friends are great moms who are totally committed to their families. Our schedules may have been vastly different but at the core we are the same. Staying home with my children was right for me, working was right for them. My big conflict was wishing they were more available for me to spend more time with.
I think when I started working I felt a little more conflict. I wanted to be home and was afraid of becoming the sterotype of the working mom. Not a fear of what I had seen or experienced but of what is perpetuated in legend. My struggle in transitioning to working mom was ultimately about learning to manage my schedule and define my priorities, once that happened the conflict began to drop. It has been hard to transition, hard to let go of things I once found important but now that they are gone I don’t miss them because they were never real priorities. And the couple things I do miss I will eventually be able to add back into my life. Those things will look different but will return.
So I am wondering where this whole Mommy Wars myth came from. Or maybe more importantly, why do we contiue to perpetuate it? Reading the survey in More magazine my conclusion is that the women who feel most insecure about their choices are the ones who tend to experience it the most.
I think we fear there is a “right” choice here. That working mom’s are better or SAHM’s are better. The truth is they are just different, not unlike how all our children are different. There are dozens of parenting techniques, all have value on some level but you have to find the one that is right for your child. Same with working, lots of ways to work or not work but, what is right for you and your family?
Bottom line, we are all mommys doing the best we can to raise our children to be the best they can be. And parenting is HARD, so we need to be supporting and encouraging each other every step of the way rather than worrying about who is the better parent or who is the most fulfilled woman.
As I said in a previous post, you can’t have it all. There is no super woman married to a super man with perfect super children. We have to make choices and we have to believe that for us, for our family and for who God made us to be we are on the right path.
So I hereby declare the mommy wars to be over. May peace rein for many generations.
For further reading check out this great article here about why it is time to stop fighting the mommy wars.