Thursday, November 3, 2016

No More Mommy War Bullshit

I am a mother who has a large age gap between kids. I have two adult children, one teenager, and a first grader. When my older children were small, I was a stay-at-home mom for a short period of time. It made sense for my family. When they were old enough for school, I returned to work. By the time my youngest came along, I had more than just a job. I had a full-blown career that I had nurtured and built from the ground up. I was proud of my accomplishments. I wasn't willing or able to give it up to stay home with another baby.

As the time to deliver the baby drew closer, I knew I would have to enroll my newborn in daycare. This was something I had never done before. I was lucky enough to stay home with my infants and raise them to toddlers. I didn't have to worry about taking time off work because they were sick or worry about missing their first steps. I was struggling to come to terms with these things in regards to my new baby. The constant judgment of the wives of my husband's co-workers didn't help much.

"When do you plan to quit your job?" they asked.

"I'm not quitting my job," I told them.

"Oh," they replied with that look, "You're one of those moms."

It was the very first time I had ever been a victim of the Mommy Wars, and that remark was only the warning shot. Over the years, I heard a lot more of the same.

"Why did you have children if you were just going to pay someone else to raise them?"

"You must not be a very good mother. That's why you work."

It takes everything I have not to react to that bullshit. I have never questioned a stay-at-home mom's intelligence because she stays home with her kids. Not only is that grossly untrue; it is unkind. Women judge each other so harshly. We hold each other to unreasonable standards that we probably fall short of ourselves. We label each other and snub our noses at those who don't belong to the club - Granola Mom, Hot Mess Mom, and Helicopter Mom.

Don't get me wrong. Once I started my career I made mistakes. I was the mom who forgot to send money for the pumpkin patch and the mom who was late for a parent/teacher conference because my work meeting ran over time. It's called work/life balance and it took me a while to get it right. My career is important to me, but so is my family. The scale tips occasionally, and I have to travel out of town for work and say goodnight to my little one via Skype. Dad has to take the kids in for shots because I have a meeting I can't reschedule. But, I also stay home when they are sick because sometimes only Momma's hugs and kisses make them all better.

We have created the Mommy Wars ourselves. We must stop pointing fingers and judging each other for how we tip the work/life scale. Embrace differences. Be open to new ideas. Accept that everyone has a path and it looks nothing like ours.

We love our stay-at-home moms who work long hours, never get a sick day, and sometimes feel unappreciated. We love our working moms who pump breastmilk in the bathroom between meetings and read bedtime stories over the phone. We love our Granola Moms, our Hot Mess Moms, our Helicopter Moms, and countless other kinds of moms out there. We love you all because we are you and we are all doing the best we can.

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