Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Mommy Wars

"It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself."
  -Joyce Maynard

Have you ever caught yourself questioning other mothers' choices? How could she work all of those long hours when she has kids? How could she give up such a successful career to stay at home with her children? Even I ask these questions and I am here to defend not asking them.

Why do we ask? I think as mothers we intellectually know that everyone needs to make those decisions in the context of her own family....and does...and yet there is a whole culture surrounding whether or not a mother should work or stay at home with the kids or some sort of hybrid of them both. Who is right? Who loves their children more? Who is a stronger woman? Who is more successful in the way that successful means in all aspects of her life? And by the way, what IS the definition of success anyways?

This is so wrong...right?

I have been on both sides. Meaning, I have been a stay at home mom and a working mom...at different points during the lives of my three boys who are currently 9, 7 and 7 months. My husband has also been both, and has also worked part time while I worked full time.We have both worked full time while our child was in daycare. Or home care. We have had our school-aged children in before and after school programs. We have had family help us out. We have struggled with the balance between being comfortable enough financially and spending quality time with our children.

We think about their future and school and all that comes with that and how we want to help them soar to get there and yet know how much post-secondary education costs. Same with competitive hockey. We also wonder if young children are better off socializing more with other kids their age rather than being home with mom (or dad) for more of the time. Quality time. And what IS quality time? Or is quantity time more important? What is the right mix? What can we afford? What do we as adults need in our own lives to be happy, engaging, dynamic individuals and therefore spouses and parents? Some moms want to stay home. Some want to want to stay home or think they should. Some think they should work. Some think they have to work. Some have to have to work. Most of us have a combo-special with fries on the side.

There is a lot to ponder here obviously. And everyone ponders through the ebbs and flows of their own lives. While they are hugging their child or on a plane on the way to a meeting in France. While they are cooking a home-cooked meal from scratch or picking up food on the fly. While they are weeping in their beds trying to sleep because they worry they are not doing the right thing. They could be better parents. They should be doing what "so and so" are doing.

They worry their lives revolve too much around the kids.
They worry their lives revolve too much around themselves.

They worry no matter what.

They're Moms. We're moms. And that's what we do. So enough of the mud slinging gals. We are on the same team, in the same boat, (add your cliched metaphor of choice here). Quiet your egos. Listen to what IS. And let the others do their own listening...and worrying...and doing....and parenting...and surviving...in peace (flowers, violins, love and harmony...la la la).

Smiles (oh yes...don't forget the smiles...),


  1. I couldn't agree more. Everyone has their own needs.

  2. Yes...that's true. I wish everyone would just support each other instead of locking horns. No one totally knows what a family's story is. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)