While issues around being a working mom aren’t what Geek Girls Guide was created for, they are related. And today I read a something that I cannot let go unanswered.
A prominent mommy blogger (who I’ll refer to as MB) appeared on a national talk show on 10/14. I refuse to say who she is, or what the show is, because I don’t want to give them any more attention. Mainly because I think both parties are guilty of sensationalizing the working vs. stay-at-home moms issue for their own personal gain.
Here’s the gist of MB’s argument (as quoted in Huffington Post on October 14th), “I wouldn’t outsource loving my husband, why would I outsource loving my kids?”
I have big, stankin’ problems with this statement, and with the way in which it was presented. Let’s begin the rant, shall we?
- MB’s statement reduces the role of women (whether they work, or stay at home) to nurturing their children and servicing their husband. While I embrace both roles, I’d like to think that women have more to contribute to the world than that.
- The argument makes no mention of the role of fathers in nurturing, raising and loving children. She claims that she stated that fathers can stay home with kids, but that was edited out. Even so, why do moms who choose to work suffer her ire? Why is that any worse than fathers who “choose” to work?
- She points out that her arguments are directed at moms who choose to work, not at those who have to. I fail to see how or why that disclaimer makes her argument okay. So, it’s okay if you work, as long as you don’t like it. What?!
My two cents is this: in general, people who find it necessary to criticize the decisions made by other people are doing it because they are insecure. In the case of moms, perhaps because they’re worried they made the wrong choice, whether that choice was working or staying home. Either way, it’s wrong: what’s right for my family may not be right for yours. Additionally, it’s foolish to assume that not working makes you a good mom, or that working makes you a bad one. This is akin to arguments I’ve seen assuming that breastfeeding makes you a good mom and using formula makes you a bad mom. Nonsense! Mind your own business, I say. (And, by the way, I nursed my daughter ’til she was 22 months and am still nursing my 13-month-old son. So, I’m a “bad mom” for working but a “good mom” for nursing. I guess I break even?)
I chose to have two children, and I chose to keep working. I’m comfortable with that choice, and I feel no need to disparage anyone who chose differently.
While getting ready to go back to work after having my first child, a dear friend told me, “In the first week or two, you’ll know. Your gut will either tell you that you need to stay home, or that it’s okay to stay at work.” She was right. The truth is, my gut told me that I love working. After having my second child, I helped institute a Babies @ Work program at my office, which I took advantage of until my son was 6 months old. He now spends days with his sister at a small home-based daycare near our home. Thanks to a husband who shares the parenting load, I feel great about going to work. I am lucky to work for a for a forward-thinking company that supports working parents, to have found a daycare provider that I trust, and to have a partner that shares in the parenting duties. Because of all that I can say, with confidence, that I am a good mom.
Here’s a link to a longer blog post I wrote about being a working mom in 2008.
Let’s Do Something
Working moms, at-home moms, working dads, at-home dads, employers and anyone else who cares: let’s have a positive show of force against this kind of small-minded, sexist thinking and not reward those who choose to perpetuate it with undue attention.
It’s so unproductive to reduce this argument to mom vs. mom, and I want to respond to this with something positive. I want this judgment between working and at-home moms to cease.
If you agree, take action:
- If you use Twitter, tweet about it this the hashtag #endmommywars — I don’t care if you mention me, or link to this blog post — maybe just tweet why you love working, or love staying at home and tag it. Let’s raise our voices in support of each other.
- If you have a Flickr account, post a picture of you with your kids and tag it with endmommywars (or send it to me and I’ll post it for you).
- If you have a blog, please post your own story: why you work, or why you stay at home, and why that’s the right decision for you. Post a link here in the comments, or tweet it with the hashtag. I will try to read every one.
- Or, add your thoughts to the comments here. These are just the thoughts of one pissed off working mom. I welcome thoughts and analysis from anyone else who wants to chime in.
- I’m going to try to pull together some video responses, too. If you have the time and the technology, please record a video with your thoughts on this.
Let’s stop this silliness, everyone!
Thanks for listening.