Mommy Wars: You Win, We All Lose

Yesterday I posted an e-card that another Facebook page had created.  I was surprised by the vitriol it generated, but wasn’t familiar with the page, and assumed it was the crowd that hung out over in that neck of the Facebook woods.  I shared it on my own page with the caption, “I’ve seen this on a few walls today. It generates a lot of whining about who has it worse — SAHMs or working moms. Sheesh. Can’t we all just get along?”  I am grateful for the community of readers that follows Mary Tyler Mom on Facebook.  The 90+ comments on my thread were, for the most part, positive or neutral.  That, my friends, is like an oasis on the Internet, the Holy Grail of social media.

Working Mom ecard

(Graphic courtesy of Mommy Needs a Beer)

The other pages were very different from the Fairy Forest that I work hard to cultivate over at Mary Tyler Mom (think about an internet version of Snow White with the forest animals trailing after her, “tweeting” birds flying above, blue skies and flowering trees.  Yeah, that is exactly what my Facebook page is like.).

There was hate and jealousy and meanness and ugly, ugly comments on many of those other pages.  Sigh.  The Mommy Wars are boring, yes, but they do exist and they are real.  Would that it were not so, but, alas, it is.

The thing that gets to me is that at the crux of the Mommy Wars are two factions of women trying their very best to win at the competition of having it the hardest.  Seriously?  I mean, who wants to have it the hardest?  I don’t.  No siree, Bob, not me.  I want to win the competition where I have it the easiest.  Wouldn’t that be sweet?

Ugh.  I find it so disheartening, discouraging.  I was raised in the 1970s.  My idols were all feminists — Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Jane Bryne.  My favorite Charlie’s Angel was Kate Jackson.  Jiminy Crickets, I named my blog after a 1970s feminist icon — Mary Tyler Moore.  She was my ideal woman — strong, smart, funny, sexy, single.  She was gonna make it after all, you know?  My point is that feminism is about choice.  Choice, people.

In this new millenium, some of us are lucky enough to have choice; it is a luxury these days.  When we exercise that choice, though, those of us who have it, we are excoriated no matter what we choose.  SAHMs are lazy and boring.  Working moms get off easy and don’t have to deal with the house or family.  Poor WAHMs just get lost in the shuffle.

Give me a freaking break.  Mothering is mothering.  It is a full time gig.  You don’t stop being a mother in the hours you work outside the home.  And you definitely are working inside the home if you are a SAHM.  Why the need to identify ourselves as having it worse than someone else?  You know who my favorite moms are?  The ones who are too busy to care what the other moms are doing; they are satisfied with their life and support the other moms around them.

Can you imagine if each of us mothers saw our kids engage in the animus that we engage in on a regular basis in social media?  The pelting with words is horrible.  We are so divisive.  I breast feed my three year old.  You freak!  I opt for disposable diapers.  Why do you hate Mother Earth?!  My car seat got left at the mechanics and I needed to get to the airport, so my son had to ride with only a seat belt for a few miles.  You are a terrible human being and I hope your son dies so you learn your lesson!

Honestly, as a mom, would any of us condone this behavior in our homes?  Not a chance.  Somehow, we have made the opposite of what we teach our children acceptable when it occurs on a keyboard.

Shame on us.

trophy

For those of us who require the demeaning of another to feel better about ourselves, this trophy is for you.  It is hereby decreed the YOU WIN trophy.  YOU WIN at having it the hardest.  YOU WIN at making others feel less than because of choices they make that have nothing to do with you.  YOU WIN at tearing down your sisters.  Hooray!

You lose at life, but who cares what I have to say?  I’m probably just jealous of you anyway.

Hey!  If you liked this, vote for me in the Circle of Moms 25 Best Family Blogs contest.  It takes two seconds and I will give you your very own trophy!  Voting open through 11.29.12.

Part-time vs. Full-time: Game On

I met a new gal recently who, when she learned I worked part-time, said, “Oh, isn’t that cute?”  What the what?  Oh no she didn’t.  Oh yes, she did.  Words rarely fail me, but in that moment, they did.  My recollection is that I smiled on the outside and seethed on the inside.  I’ve been seething ever since.

You see, it’s not cute that I work part-time.  It’s a choice.  One I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to make.  It’s a choice that works for me and doesn’t affect the gal who made the comment or anyone else other than my family.  So back off, with your dimunitive comments.  Working part-time doesn’t mean I am less able, less serious, less committed to my work.  It means I am able, serious and committed for fewer hours.  Period. 

And I get that I can’t have it all.  I learned that a few years ago when I scaled back to help care for my Mom.  I harbor no illusions that I can do it all, have it all.  Some gals can, but not me.  Nope.  I suck at it.  I know my limitations and I respect them. 

I also know that those limitations come with some conseqences.  Part-time workers are less likely to be perceived as serious or valuable to the employer.  I won’t be fast tracked, despite the fact that I can work rings around most of the working mothers I know.  That is what it is.  With choice comes responsibility and accountability.  More time with my family now means less time with my career, and less time with my career means less opportunities.  I get it.  I’m okay with it. 

Part-time moms are in a bit of a no-moms land, if you will — we’re not SAHMs and we’re not full-time working moms, obviously.  For me, it is perfection, as I have a little from column A and a little from column B.  I love that.  I love that on Monday evening, just as Mary Tyler Son is starting to work on my last nerve, I switch gears a bit and anticipate my work self and her needs for a few days.  On Thursday evenings, I sigh and stretch, and look gratefully to a quiet Friday morning of pancakes and Wiggleworms with my boy.  Yep, perfection. 

My Dad, my Archie Bunker dad, God love him, said it best when I switched to a part-time schedule after my daughter was born, “You’re away from her just enough to appreciate her more when you’re with her.”  So if my cranky, old-fashioned, 78 year old father can get it, why is it so hard for other mothers to get it? 

 

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