“I guess I can’t see the harm in working and being a Momma” – Britney Spears
Do you know what I love most about this space here? This Liberating Working Moms space? That on a grand majority of our posts, the comments are a mixture of stay-at-homers and work-outside-the-homers. That there is a sense of “me-too!” that transcends the Mommy Wars and inspires me to think that all this hype over this vs that and who is more right is just precisely that: hype.
Because, crazy as she is (um seriously, who shaves their head and forgets panties on the regular?), Ms. Spears has a point here- I really can’t see the harm in working and being a mother. I don’t feel the friction in my life between my choice to work and my choice to have kids. They are both so naturally occurring to me that I couldn’t imagine another way making more sense. This must be the way SAHMs feel about their ultimate choice to stay home and spend the day with their children. It is what makes sense to them. So why the fight?
Why do we have to be right all the time? Why are so many moms stomping around, shouting from their rooftop or their sky scraper office, saying WE ARE DOING THIS BETTER THAN YOU! No you are not. You couldn’t possibly.
My sister in law has five kids. Yes, on purpose. FIVE KIDS! And she has stayed at home to raise them for going on 10 years now. For a while I thought I should do that too. And then I tried it. And I sucked at it. Hard. So I got a job. And I was a much better mother. Stephanie has never once looked down her nose at me for strapping on my heels, kissing my kids goodbye and seeing them 8 hours later. We have had many a conversation over the years, some arguments, some disagreements, some laughs- and never once has this been brought up.
I can’t see myself doing her job, she can’t see herself doing mine. End of discussion. And yet, I see some things she does better than me, and after I curse her out loud in my head, I try to incorporate them into my own life. Maybe I don’t do tomato canning with my kids (seriously, five kids and she cans her own vegetables. I die.) but I garden with mine instead. No, I don’t pick up my kids from school in my van, but I take the occasional day off and surprise them at their school assembly. Maybe there are some things about her life that I envy, maybe there’s some things about mine she wishes she could have. But it’s a non-issue, the fact that I work at an office 5 days a week.
We can all learn from each other. I think this community shows that. Instead of rolling your eyes at that Mom in sweatpants AGAIN at the park, stop for a minute and think to yourself: she’s a Mom. I’m a Mom. She has kids. I have kids. We’re not all that different. How I contribute to my family’s bottom line makes no difference to my daughters as they play next to her sons.
I fail to see why the Mommy Wars even matter. I don’t know if Bill Gates’ mom stayed home with him, I don’t know if Russell Brand’s mom worked 60 hours a week. (I’m making the comparison there…I think Russell Brand is way sketchy and constantly teetering on a colossal breakdown, while Bill Gates may be an uber geek but he seems to have his act mostly together. Carry on.) What I do know is that if you are reading this blog? Thank you. If you’re commenting, sharing your insight, giving a high five, respectfully contributing a dissenting opinion? Thank you. You are making me a better mother. I chose my own working mom path, I’m confident in it. Maybe you came here looking for help, and I hope I can help. Maybe you came here looking for a fight, move along. I want to hear your story, whatever it is because I’m willing to bet I learn something from it.
So Britney, I’m with you. I mean…not that whole chewing-gum-conservatorship-belly-bearing stuff…the part about the working momma. Fistbumps to all moms, I’m in awe of each of you.