NY Times: Mommy Wars, Who Cares?
In a May 27 New York Times Opinion piece, Dartmouth professor Amy Allen makes a very strong intellectual case for why the “Mommy Wars” are a false conflict. If you are interested in that sort of thing–you know book learnin’ and philosophy and theory and all that–you should read it.
But I can tell you in my own terms why this Mommy War is a bunch of baloney…No one Cares! Seriously. No One. As moms and women and well, people, we have enough to deal with and juggle and manage in our own lives. We don’t really care what Sally is doing. Unless she is a total bitch who doesn’t remember meeting us even after six introductions by mutual friends at soccer practice, and then we just hate her whether she works outside the house or not.
Someone thinks we should care. But we don’t. Not really. If you stay home and can get your kids to Tee-ball practice on time at 4:00 in the afternoon–I say “good for you!” And can you drive mine too? I’ll be there as soon as I can but it’ll probably be closer to say, oh, 6:00. So in that case, can you drive them home and feed them dinner, too?
And if I travel for business, I know you feel bad when I have to miss Field Day. But I also know you’re just a little bit jealous. Three hours on a plane by myself with a Diet Coke delivered right to my seat(!) and reading More magazine without interruption really is as great as it sounds. But, by the time the plane lands I’m usually ready to be home with the boys again–not just starting off on a three day hiatus from hugs. And then, it is my turn to be jealous of you cuddled up on the couch watching Calliou.
I don’t hate you. Or feel superior to you. It’s not about you and your choices–or what you think of mine.
This whole blog is based on the premise that there is always something to feel guilty about. At least in my world. And the admission that we/I do it to ourselves/myself. Susan who stays home and makes a kick-ass chicken casserole is not the one who is making me feel bad about working 13 hour days and passing off hot dogs as dinner. I don’t know any women who are personally battling this so-called “Mommy War” against others. The only Mommy War I witness every day is the one we all battle with ourselves. The cute little devil on the shoulder whispering the shoulds, coulds, woulds in our ears.
You want to breastfeed your kid until he goes to college? Awesome!
You want to pop the kid out behind a podium while giving a keynote address and meet your best friend for lunch? Fantastic!
You want to pre-chew your baby’s food and feed him mouth to mouth? Um…how terrific…for you!
Let’s just put this ridiculous war to rest right now. Raise the white flag and refuse to engage. We are all just doing the best we can and making the decisions that seem right, for us and for our families. And for those of us who do not have a choice, who may want to do one thing but have to do another, this false mommy war is especially hurtful and harmful. And just downright infuriating, too.
So forget the studies that say SAHMs are more depressed than WOHMs. Or that dads are happier than moms. Or that moms are happier than non-moms. Ugh.
You know who is happiest of all? People who don’t read the studies, who don’t compare their post-baby bodies with photo-shopped celebrity pictures, who don’t read friends’ Facebook updates as indictments of their own lives. People who refuse to fabricate reasons to feel guilty (or superior, for that matter).
So I think we need to create a new war for the media to use in order to replace this one. I think we can do something with the latest study that people who eat organic are mean. Who’s with me?