The Mommy Wars are Bullshit

Sometimes the most eloquent thing I can say about a subject is “I call bullshit”.

Look, I work. I’m a mom. One of my best friends in the entire world is a stay at home mom. And you know what that makes us? Both moms.

We respect each other’s choices. I will never, ever denigrate her decision to stay at home and raise her children. She wants to have four kids. My uterus clenches at the thought (I love my kids, I hate being pregnant). Her faith teaches that it is her duty to raise her children. Mine, well, I’m a bad Catholic so we’ll just go with I ignore my beliefs. My desire to work is more practical. I want a better life for my kids than I could provide otherwise. Military life is a tough one for moms, but it’s a good one, too.

My friend and I have talked about feminism and the impact working has on kids. We’ve talked about raising moral and upright kids in a world that wants our daughters on the stripper pole before they’re in 2nd grade. We’ve talked about the role of faith in our lives. We shared baby books and diaper rash treatments and the latest episode of one of our kids yanking all the toilet paper off the wall (ok in my house that was a cat but still).

We’re both moms. We both have days that end with “if I hear the word mommy one more time, I’m going to snap”. We both have days where the diaper changes are endless. When our kids are sick, we worry. I don’t worry less because I work and she doesn’t worry more because she’s at home. We both need help raising our kids. She needs a break from all mommy all the time. So do I.

We both love our kids. I don’t love mine any less because I work. She doesn’t love hers more because she stays at home (note that I did not say she didn’t work. You stay at home with the kids all day every day then tell me it’s not work).

The problem with the so called mommy wars, painting working moms as somehow super moms who do it all or stay at home moms as somehow righteous saints sacrificing for their children is that it allows the conversation to be redirected away from policies that actually make our world better for families. All families. Single mom families, single dad families, conventional families and everything in between. When we argue about working moms making a choice to work, we’re ignoring the reality that many many women are like me: we have a defunct Martha Stewart gene. I am completely envious of my friend’s creative abilities.

All kidding aside, maybe the workplace should be more family friendly because then maybe when mom and dad get home at night, they’re not stressed the hell out about the job all day and they have some emotional energy left for the kids. Maybe our society should focus less on punishing people for their so called choices and working to make the society better for all of us.

Look, I’m a shitty housewife. My cooking is borderline criminal. But I’m a pretty good mom. And I’m a pretty good soldier. And it pisses me off that we feel the need to somehow differentiate between the two.

The mommy wars are made up bullshit designed to keep us at each others throats instead of banding together and making the world better for our kids. Not the kids of stay at home moms. Not the kids of working moms. Kids. All of them.

So I call bullshit on the latest flare up in the mommy wars pitting Ann Romney against Michelle Obama or whatever. The point is we’re all moms. Polices that are good for moms are good for kids. What’s good for the kids is good for the community.

Isn’t that really how we make our nation stronger?

So put aside the pseudo mommy wars and let’s get back on message. Let’s keep the focus where it belongs: on the legislation of our uteruses.

7 comments for “The Mommy Wars are Bullshit

  1. April 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Amen! I stayed home for 12 years when my kids were little. And now that they're older there aren't *less* problems that arise, but now I have a full-time job that I love. What does that have to do with anything?!?! We all do what is best for our kids. And the stinking legislature needs to stay out of the decisions I make about my body.

  2. Just Al
    April 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Since I am a man, i've never been a mom but all my experience tells me that you have hit the nail on the head here. And done it in your usual direct, to the point, hammer upside yo' head style. :)

  3. Jamie
    April 13, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Well put, Jessica. This same 'argument' has been popping up for 30+ years, and it always seemed dumb to me. In the vast majority of cases, moms (or dads) make the best decisions they can for their kids. Sometimes that means being a stay-at-home parent. Sometimes that means being work-outside-the-home parents. Like you, I've seen both and the ultimate truth is that it's just plain hard to be a parent. If you stay home, there's often a financial sacrifice, but if you work outside the home, there are extra costs of childcare, etc. And even if you know that working outside the home makes you a happier person (and therefore, presumably a better parent), there's a sacrifice of time spent with your children.

  4. April 13, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Very well said, Jessica! Retweeted and shared on Facebook too!

  5. April 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    As long as women are fighting among themselves, we won't notice all the crap that is going on in the male-lead legislatures around this country, trampling on our rights. We need to stop attacking each other for our choices and start SUPPORTING each other. I agree–this whole debate is a red herring.

  6. April 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    You nailed it, Jessica! I was a stay-at-home mom for three years, and I've been the editor-in-chief of a newsroom. Both jobs were hard. I don't think women who work are busier or work harder than moms who stay at home and care for their children; and I don't think that women who stay at home are better mothers or somehow more loving mothers than those of us who work. Women have no business picking on other women for their life choices, whether they choose to have kids, adopt or choose not to raise children at all. We need to support one another. That's what citizens of free countries do — they respect the choices and free will of others.

  7. JanetLee
    April 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I'd say amen, but I'm not the type. So I'll just say f-ing A. Stay at home/work. It is just one of the many false divisions that we women allow ourselves to be pulled into. Right/left. Feminist/traditionalist. Thin/fat. Pretty/Plain. Nice girl/slut.

    I work in the medical field and would love to see women close ranks to support and protect each other the way doctors do.

    There would be no talk of limiting our freedom if all the women in America came together to support each other in spite of, or even more hopefully, because of our differences.

    P.S. Thank you for your service from a forever grateful Air Force Brat

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