Monday, May 17, 2010

The Great Divide: Part 1

Since Miles was born, and more specifically since I began reading parenting blogs and participating in parenting forums, I have come to discover The Great Divide. No, I'm not talking about a piece of geography you probably don't remember from middle school social studies. I'm referring to the divide between Working Moms and Stay-at-Home Moms.

I've seen this referred to regularly as the "Mommy Wars". Moms who work contend that they are "actually contributing" to their household income. Moms who stay at home will often counter by saying that they contribute by making the household run more smoothly. Working moms accuse those who stay at home of being lazy, watching television all day while their kids run amok. Stay at home moms accuse working moms of "paying someone to raise their children for them." And the argument devolves from there in a hurry.

Here's the thing: they're all wrong. And, by the same token, they're all absolutely right.

Working moms do provide for their family financially, as well as in all the other ways that moms provide for their families. And moms who choose to stay at home often do keep the household running like a well-oiled machine. But, I know working moms whose homes run incredibly smoothly. And I know stay at home moms who manage to pull in money after the kids are in bed. On the flip side, I've seen stay at home moms who are the definition of lazy - their children running in and out of the house, flinging food and toys in their wake, while the mom watches the television. And I've worked in daycare enough to have seen working moms who only see their children for an hour a night before bed. Regardless of whether a mom works or not, some are wonderful, and some could definitely use some improvement. But regardless, all moms love their children. And I truly believe that most moms are doing the best they can, given their situation.

Why, then, do we attack each other? Why do we judge one another? Why do we insist on making our fellow mothers feel guilty about their parenting choices? None of us has all the answers. And until we start coming together, accepting one another's choices even when we disagree, the Mommy Wars will continue.

And that, to me, is incredibly sad.

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