KENSINGTON, MD, January 17, 2011 - So here’s the thing: it’s time to stop letting the media revive the Mommy Wars.
I have never been a subscriber to the notion that moms who are employed outside the house and moms who don’t draw a paycheck for momming have anything against each other.
It’s possible that I live in an idyllic bubble where women treat each other with respect and keep their opinions to themselves or it may be that the Mommy Wars are something someone made up for ratings.
In my four years as a mom, my first thought upon meeting another mom is never “What does she do all day? Is she as good as me? Better? Worse? FOR WHAT CAN I JUDGE HER? WHAT? WHAT FLAW DOES SHE HAVE??????”.
No, usually I’m thinking “Her kid is cute. I wonder if he’s willing to eat anything other than grilled cheese and cantaloupe like my kid. If he is, I should find out her secret because I’m afraid my child is going to turn into a cantaloupe soon.”
I also usually wonder if she watches the Kardashians but I don’t ever want to be the first to bring them up because, well, obviously.
Lately, there seems to have been an upsurge in so-called Mommy on Mommy Hostility because Anderson Cooper (who has a daytime show now – I did not know that) was going to cover the subject of what working moms and stay at home moms think of each other.
Makes you wonder if Cooper is going for a Springer kind of thing with mom-on-mom fights on stage instead of his usual serious journalism. And if he is, why?
The response I’ve seen to Anderson’s attempt to stoke the fires was more of a backlash against him than an opportunity for moms to factionalize and start marching in protest of one another. Probably because no one likes to be criticized, even by a silver fox like Anderson Cooper. And probably because most moms don’t have the time to think too hard about what other moms are doing.
I feel entirely qualified to speak to both sides of the working-mom-stay-at-home-mom equation because I have done both things, recently. I worked for the first three years of my son’s life and left work this summer to take things in a different direction for our family. And I am here to tell you neither option is easy. Being a mother is hard work. Caring for a home is hard work. Commuting to a job is hard work. Owing much of your time to an employer is hard work. Entertaining a toddler every waking hour is hard work. Networking for social outlets among other parents is hard work. Networking for professional opportunity is hard work.
Getting kids to eat more than cantaloupe is hard work.
Most mothers instinctively know that every other mother is working as hard as they are no matter what fills their hours (the Real Housewives might be notable exceptions). Most mothers are focused on the task – or tasks, because there are always a million of them – at hand. Most mothers are kind to other mothers. The ones that aren’t are douchebags and the rest of us avoid them.
The thing is, Anderson Cooper and the rest of the ratings grubbers should leave moms alone because we’re busy. We don’t want to have to defend our choices to anyone. We just want to care for our families using whatever formula works for each of us.
Rebekah is a DC-area mom with an over-developed sense of irreverence, socialist tendencies, ADD, and a blog. She recently quit her non-profit sector job to pursue her dream of not working. She now spends her time answering her 4-year-old son’s questions and ranting at her blog Mom-in-a-Million, talking about life as a DC Mom at The DC Moms and sharing her political views at The Broad Side. You can find her on Twitter at MomIn_AMillion.
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