I was reading a lovely post by a lovely blogger (mrs. darcy) and since I recently had an article published about Mommy Wars, it got me thinking about ANOTHER Mommy War:
SAHMs (that's Stay At Home Mom for you people living under a rock. Or men)
Yes, yes, I know all mothers are working mothers. That's not what this is about, silly.
The pendulum that swings on this is wide, loud, heavy, and will smack you in the face if you get too close. But let's do it anyway...
(And if you are comfortably in the middle, or even on the far side of one or the other, but not judgmentally in anyone's faces, then you can leave right now and go eat some cookies).
The two extremes are these:
1. SAHMs who are smug and self righteous, while secretly hating tiny parts of their lives
2. Working mothers who are smug and self righteous, while secretly hating tiny parts of their lives.
Since it's no secret that SAHMs have felt looked down on by the ultra feminist movement, who thinks they (the SAHMs) are setting them back about a century with their love of bread baking, sewing, homeschooling, and apron wearing, we're gonna explore the other side. I know, surprising, huh? You didn't think I'd take the other side, didja?! Ha! The Blogging Ninja struck again...
The other side is this:
The way super conservative SAHMs make Working Mothers feel. Since I've been one, I feel like I can talk. And of course this doesn't apply to everybody - that goes without saying. But I said it anyway. So don't leave me nasty comments. Just pretend I'm talking to my bad self, not you.
For the very conservative, typically religious, SAHMs (of whom I have been one), here are some things you should know about SOME Working Mothers:
1. While you are making it work on your husband's income, not everybody can. Yes, I can hear you saying, give up your car payment, downsize your house, don't take vacations, shop used, put back the organic fruit, etc. But you know what? Some have done all that, and their husband's income still doesn't pay the bills. Jobs do not grow on trees in this economy, and sometimes we take what we can get. Sometimes this means your college educated man takes a job with less per hour than he made right out of high school. I know you THINK everyone can do it, but that's just not the case. Is it the case in MOST cases? Yes, you're probably right. But it's not the case in my case, and it's not the case in other's cases. We literally could not make the budget if I didn't work. And guess what? We don't have any debt. We don't have car payments, we never vacation, we don't wear new clothes, we get our hair cut at the beauty college, we rent a small house. We are simply under-employed.
2. Some don't have the fairy tale marriage you have (or claim you have on FB. Haha! Joking). Not every man is the Picture of Respectability. There are things you don't know about women's marriages, and they could be one of the reasons why she isn't staying at home. For instance: if there's threat of divorce, how long will the dream of staying home last? Or maybe he's just not into this SAHM point of view.
3. Some women genuinely feel that they are better moms for working. I know. This is a tough one for moms who spring on fairy wings through their houses, dusting, planting kisses on their well behaved offspring, and never having a bad day. But for some, those bad days aren't very few and far between. Do I think women should think long and hard about having children and dropping them off at daycare? Yep, and yep, and GOOD HEAVENS YEP. I knew a gal who would take her kids to daycare on the days she DIDN'T work. This was so sad to me. I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now. But it doesn't mean the Working Mother loves her kids less than you do. I repeat: it doesn't mean she loves her kids less than you do. I know it feels like it to you, but it's simply not true. What if they love with a fierce, exhausted, passionate, busier kind of love than you feel? It isn't less than your coloring book, read aloud, SAHM kind of love. It's just different. Maybe they're scared of who they are when the walls of home are closing in on them. Maybe they feel like they neglect their kids when they're right in front of them, and do better when they get a chance to miss them a bit (I've felt this. Is it right? Probably not. But I think it's a common struggle. Did you know homeschooling SAHMs can neglect their children? They can).
Am I saying everyone should be a working mother? No. Do I think Moms should want/desire/TRY their best to stay home with their children? Yes. But is it helping to look down our noses at one another? Aren't we wasting our children's childhoods with patronizing judging when we could be meeting each other at the park, coffee in one hand, toddler's hand in the other? Whether it's in between naps, or in between meetings at the office, we all need it.
If every mom stayed home around the clock, where would you take Little Sue when she needed ballet classes? Who would show Annie that women can be fire fighters, too? Who would read aloud to Jake if library story hour went away?
This is the most feminist I've ever sounded...and I haven't been a feminist since third grade. Ironically enough, I don't have time to read over this and decide if it's worth publishing...because I have to go to work! HA! How's that for funny?
Have you ever felt like you perched on one side of the pendulum? Can there be a balance? Have you felt hit in the head by someone on the other side of the debate?