But back to my point. Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, with me now working part time, when I finally got it. I finally understood the whole "Mommy Wars" debate and why it brings such passion into the hearts of moms. While aimlessly searching a variety of social media outlets (productive, I know) I came across a post in which a mom wrote something along the lines of "I could NEVER, EVER send my kids to preschool OR even regular school when they are older because I just LOVE my BABIES TOO MUCH!!" It was followed by about twenty comments with fellow moms who also just "love their babies too much" to ever work or send their babies to school, ever. One stated how she couldn't understand how any mom would ever even let anyone watch her baby for a night and that her and her husband won't even go on dates because they LOVE their baby! There were a few ugly jabs at those who work mixed in with the comments but portrayed as "I couldn't imagine how bad I would feel if I worked" comments. Reading the comments really got me fired up. It was if they were saying they loved their babies more than "normal" and the vibe was, any mom who works or sends her kids to school, or I guess even goes on a date with her husband, just doesn't love their babies as much as they do!
It shouldn't have bothered me. It was a post from people I really don't even know but for some reason it really struck me. I started a steady stream of thoughts all of which weren't very positive. "How could anyone doubt my love for Addison because I began working again?!" "There isn't a mother on Earth who loves their baby more than I love mine!!" My thoughts went on and on and I got angry the more I thought about it. My feelings and thoughts weren't very nice and I am not proud of that. Mind you, this post was not in any way directed at me and yet I felt personally affected and offended by it. How could a post that was not meant for me cause me to feel such emotion? Well, simply because I was now a part time working mom. I was on the other side of the argument and I now felt those defensive feelings because I felt my choices as a mother were being questioned, even though really no one was questioning me personally. It was a terrible feeling when it hit me. The realization that there will be people who judge my choice to work and who will look down on me as a mother because I am no longer at home full time. Will they think I am working because I am selfish? Will they think I don't love my daughter as much? It was a yucky feeling that stuck around for a few days, and something that affected me enough to garner a post from me today.
However, I had to shake it. After all, I had never before felt the need to judge another moms choices on working or staying home, schooling or homeschooling, etc. and I decided I wasn't going to start now. Even though the realization of this "war" was now real for me, I couldn't let feelings of anger consume me because ultimately I know the choices I have made have been the best for my family. What works for another family is their choice and truly not mine to worry about (of course if there is abuse or neglect that's another story...). I know the time I stayed home full time benefited my daughter immensely and I also know that now that I am bringing in a bit of income that is also benefiting my daughter's future. My parenting choices are just that... mine (and my husbands of course). Vaccination wars, breast vs bottle, co-sleeping vs crib, working vs. staying home..There are so many mommy battles out there! In some ways it's like high school all over again. Except this time with strollers. I know where I stand on these issues but that doesn't mean I think other moms are bad moms if they feel differently. I have mommy friends parenting in all kinds of ways and they are all amazing moms in their own right.
I could now go on for days about my feelings on the topic of working vs. staying home. I am on both sides and I see both perspectives. I could also go on for days about all the amazing things I taught my daughter while home every day with her. I could then go on about the amazing new things she has learned since entering her school. But really what would be the point? If someone is going to judge they will do so no matter what. Sharing about the beautiful sides of both choices will never interest someone who is dead set in only seeing one perspective.
Mommy wars certainly aren't anything new and they are not something that will be ending any time soon I suppose. The only hope I have is that most of us women can realize how silly it is to judge each other so harshly. We should try to understand each other's choices before we decide to judge them. Just because someone else parents differently doesn't always make them wrong. They just make different choices that they feel are best for their family. And really, we all make different choices on a daily basis don't we?
Us women should try to stop looking at this as an "us vs. them" debate. We are all mother's after all. And us mothers are a unique group of some pretty fierce women. We know what it's like to give birth, or go through a long adoption process, we know what it feels like to have our hearts walking outside of our chests because our hearts are now within our children. We think about our little ones a million times a day and before we think of ourselves. Ask any mother what the word sacrifice means and I am sure she can give you a list a mile long and she wouldn't change it for anything. We love our children deeply and without question. We are all mothers and that in itself is a special kind of sisterhood. If we could stop for a second and realize that we can support each other through our unique journeys in this wild ride called parenthood, I think it would make us even better moms, working or not.
All My Best,