So I have been a stay-at-home mom for 18 years now and every few years some numb-skull says something to unintentionally insult stay-at-home moms and the press just picks it up and RACES away with it turning it into cover stories and blog fodder and yaddah yaddah yaddah.
And each time I have to sort of mull it over and wonder how I feel about this supposed "war" in which I am in.
This most recent skirmish got me thinking again and I have come to several conclusions that I thought I might share for those of you who are in this "battle" or merely observing it from afar.
Here's what I have learned in 18 years of "fighting".
There is no mommy-war.
It's completely made up by the press for something to talk about and maybe a handful of mommies who really are conflicted about their own choice.
For the rest of us, it does not exist. In 18 years I have literally never heard a stay-at-home mom bash a working mom for that decision. Never. Sometimes I hear a stay-at-home comment that it looks like it would be awfully hard to work full-time but that is about it. When I worked, I never heard a working mom disparage a stay-at-home. Sometimes I heard a working-mom say staying at home looked boring but that was about it.
Let me organize my thoughts even more with a few bullet-points--because I love bullet-points.
1. The issue of stay-at-home vs. working is not an economic issue (though that topic gets muddled into the debate frequently)--what I mean is if you are talking about the value of a woman staying home raising kids versus the value of her working outside the home while raising kids you are by definition taking the need to work out of the equation.
No this is not nice for women who have to work--they have no choice--but it is not the issue at hand--if you have to work you have to work there is no debate about your decision to do so.
It is like trying to have a conversation about anorexia and having someone point out that there are starving people in the world. Yes, there certainly are and that fact does put the issue in perspective--but it does not address the issue at hand.
2. Here, where there are boots on the ground, there is not much animosity between these two groups (despite all media hype to the contrary including TV and movies): Because our best friends, sisters, and neighbors (or even we have been working moms), we are not really into hating on each other. I seldom hear these terms even come up.
As for the working moms bashing on us...well the worst thing I read in the last go-around was that sometimes we are called "LuLuLemon Moms" because we wear yoga clothes all day. Really? This is the meanest thing you can say about us? Yes, it's true we do wear our yoga clothes but you wear nice work suits! So na-na-na-na-boo-boo!
3. Everyone hates their job and envies someone else's job sometimes--this does not constitute a war: My husband, a successful corner-office-clawed-his-way-to-the-top business guy sometimes (okay a lot of time) wishes he played lead guitar in a rock band. But he does not go around bashing all men who chose to pursue a music career. He might envy them, but he doesn't try to tell them they should "get a day job". We stay-at-home/working moms are no different. Sometimes we regret what we chose, usually we are happy, we try not to be envious.
4. Bottom line is we all do what we can and what we have to do to make the best life for family and ourselves. If you find yourself getting very worked up over this topic, perhaps it is yourself you are struggling with. As has been suggested before by many wiser than I, it might just be that the mommy-war is an internal struggle.
As for the rest of us, we can always meet up at the end of a work day (wherever that may take place) and discuss our common lives (being mommies) over a glass of wine.
That doesn't look like a war to me.