Can we put down our weapons and move on to other things already?!? Like world peace. Isn't it time to shake things up and do things differently? No more competition, ladies.
A few months ago I was at a Girl's Night Out shopping event where I was selling my novel, The Jennifers. At the end of the night, my teenage daughter and I ran into a lady I'd met at a t-ball game a few years ago. We chatted about the evening and the conversation led to juggling mommy duties. The woman and her friend said something about not baking treats for their kid's class party. The woman's friend said, "What do stay-at-home moms do anyway?" What? Are we still doing this sh*t? I told her I was a stay-at-home mom and she said no, I wasn't, I was a writer. Not the first time I'd encountered the battlefield as an unwilling participant in the mommy wars.
Really, do we have to keep doing this undermining other woman for making different choices than us? I've heard judgement on the other side too. That working moms make the choice to work and not sacrifice, or whatever, for their kids by staying home with them. Baloney. Some moms have to work. It's not a choice for them.
Knock it off, ladies! It's hard enough to be a mom without having to defend or explain your choices or lack thereof. You don't know their story and it's none of your beeswax. I can see pros and cons on both sides and know the mommy guilt spans both sides of that divide. Some moms who work feel they miss out on things and some moms that don't work outside the home wish they could take their kids on expensive vacations. My mom wanted to work and I found it refreshing to hear her say she had too much ambition to stay at home with me and my sister. She wanted us to be able to afford certain things also. Did I wish she was at home with us? Yes, but I also thought she was a rockstar in her '80s power suit and big earrings, climbing the corporate ladder. Her office seemed like a world of possibility. She taught me I could be that or anything I wanted to when I grew up.
I became a young mom at 20 and didn't start a real career until my thirties. In the 16-plus years of my life as mother, I have encountered judgment from other mothers over many differences that really don't mean anything to me. I was a young mom and didn't live in a fancy house. My education played into it, who my husband was, what he did for a living and whether I did or didn't work at the time. I'm so sick of this crap where women judge each other and compete. We could be changing the world if we took our energy off defending and judging. I'm too busy living my own life to worry or care about what other woman are doing. I love having choices. I am a believer in letting each woman do what is best for her family and staying the hell out of it. I think kids want a happy mom more than anything else. The rest are just details. I've had a home birth, a four hospital births, breastfed four kids, formula fed one, I homeschooled my first child for kindergarten, but all the kids are in public school now. We're vegetarians and I buy organic, but I'm not going to beat you with mom shame if you eat fast food. No one path is right for everyone. How boring would life be then? It would be like the movie The Stepford Wives.
Women, let's let the drama go. This is not the Real Housewives vs. Working Mothers. ho's better? Who has it harder... or better? Work on yourself! Be an example for your kids. Cultivate a good relationship with your kids. That is what matters. What do you think being a gossipy, condescending, judgmental mom is going to teach the next generation? In my author's talks, I've talked about being miserable when my older kids were younger. Until I started writing seriously, often life was like the movie Groundhog's Day -- same thing every day. It wasn't enough for me. So I preach that I think every mom should have a hobby, a passion, something just for herself that gives her personal fulfillment. It could be knitting or exercise. It doesn't matter what it is. If you don't have one, and you're blissfully happy to just focus on being a mom, awesome for you. I say, do what works for you until it doesn't and then do something different.
We are sisters of this world raising a collective group of youth that we all want to have happy lives. The best foundation we can give them is to be loving towards others. How can we expect to not raise bullies if we are secretly being chatty, judgmental, superficial people? We are better than that. Let others live their life and just rock yours the best you can.
P.S. This same woman also thought stay-at-home moms have nothing better to do than to bake. What makes a mother a good mom is not how she bakes, or what she makes, it's her love. Much love to all. Let go of judgement and see how much better you feel. This includes self judgement. You are good enough. Focus on what you're doing right.
P.P.S. Never in my life in the mommyhood has my floor ever been clean enough to eat off of. Fact.
P.P.P.S I'm asked if all five of my kids are from the same dad. They are from the same father, but what if they weren't. My new answer is, "No they're from six different dads." I can only imagine the grief single moms get from some people.