Monday, July 26, 2010

Stay-At-Home vs. Working Moms - Is a Cold War Brewing?

I received an interesting comment on Thursday's post "Dear Mattress Firm: A Note From All the Mamas"  Here it is for your reading pleasure:

Anonymous said... Are you serious? How loud is your tv? instead of boycotting a store, why don't you try putting the dog outside during nap time, fast forwarding through the commercials, muting your tv before the commercials start or perhaps you really need to turn off the tv and take a nap. I'm a single mom that works full-time, I also have 2 labrador retrievers and I'm sick and tired of hearing woe is me stories about how lazy some people are. don't blame Mattress Firm, blame yourself for being too lazy to do something that requires effort like - turn the tv off. Seriously! I bet if the doorbell rang on The View every day, you wouldn't be contacting Whoopi to boycott the show.

My first reaction..."What the fuzzball?!" It's the first piece of hate mail I've received since starting my blog one year ago. So I read it again. And my second reaction was still, "What the fuzzball?!" and then, "Wow, this woman has some serious resentment towards stay-at-home moms!" How did my sarcastic rant about a commercial turn into "you are lazy"? I really thought the Cold War between stay-at-home moms and working moms was a thing of the past. I feel like it's a personal choice we each make, and neither is the "right" or "wrong" decision. As mamas, we've gotta do what we've gotta do sometimes. But here is the question: Am I not allowed to take a breather/zone out while my daughter takes a nap because I stay at home? Truth be told, I work my buns off during the day!  I don't think there is anything wrong with actually ENJOYING being home, watching The View, or maybe even eating bon bons (just kidding about the bon bons BTW). We all do what we can to be the best mamas possible. If that means working outside the home, then that's fine! I wouldn't dream of judging someone's decision. Or call them "lazy" becasue of it. I really hope Miss Ananymous is a one-off, angry woman and not the norm.

I found an interesting article in New York Magazine: Mom vs. Mom. Here are a few thought provoking tidbits I pulled out...

  • Motherhood, for all its well-documented joys, has become a flash point for envy, resentment, and guilt. "Everybody struggles, and everybody envies what the other has," says the stay-at-home mother of a 9- and a 14-year-old. "The working mom wishes she had more free time to be available to her child, and maybe have coffee after drop-off. And the nonworking woman would maybe like to have something that's a reflection of her as an individual -- a label that says she's a capable, creative person who knows about more than just baby formula or after-school programs."

  • The working mother's plight is further exacerbated by the fact that they're no longer celebrated as the heroines of feminism they were back in the seventies and the eighties. Who cares about Having It All? Working has become deeply ordinary. "There's status to not working," observes the novelist Dani Shapiro. "In the last generation, there was status to working."
  • While their own mothers, who serve as their role models (whether positive or negative makes little difference), were hailed for staying home and raising their kids, their daughters were educated to help run the world. Those who have chosen to make a career of motherhood wonder whether the brilliant life that was dangled as their birthright is passing them by. Conversely, many of those who are running the world worry they're sacrificing their families on the altar of their own ambition.
  • If the working moms detect an annoying level of smugness and a lack of self-examination among some of their nonworking sisters, perhaps it's because most stay-at-home mothers don't think of themselves as unemployed. Many have part-time jobs in careers such as real estate, public relations, and interior decorating. Besides, rare is the New York woman these days who didn't once have a job, and probably a rather stressful, responsible job, before she decided to make motherhood her career. In her mind, she's simply on extended sabbatical from the 9-to-5 world.
 After reading the article I came to a very simple conclusion: moms are paranoid. Working moms this stay-at-home moms are judging them, and vice versa! I have a good idea - We are all women! And moms! So why don't we just support each other, no matter what our personal decisions may be?

Amen. : )