Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Being a Pacifist in The Midst of The Mommy Wars

What's up?
I know it's been a long time. I shouldn't have left you. Without a dope beat to step to. Step to.

I don't know what song that's from. I could Google it, but what's the fun in that? First comment on this blog to correctly identify the song this is from will win your portrait, hand-drawn by my son. If you include a link to the Youtube video of whatever song this from I will also draw your portrait and send it to you. For real!

Now to blog...

Lately I've been hearing rumblings about the so called “Mommy Wars”. I'm pretty sure it's always been on and has a number of different fronts (Breast Vs. Formula, Circumcision Vs. Foreskin, Family Bed Vs. Crib Down the Hall, etc), but it's come to some weird kind of head thanks to the craziness surrounding current US politics. In this new skirmish one lady politician said some other lady, a wife of a politician, who happens to have been a stay at home mom (SAHM) “never worked a day in her life” and it caused Twitter and CNN and other social and regular media outlets to explode in rage and craziness. Good times if you like that kind of thing.

Then today I saw this and it kind of irked me and made me want to write something.

What exactly makes a house a home?
Is a house a home if it's clean? If it's full of babies and the the wife wears heels while she vacuums? A house is a “home” because of the love, togetherness, and memories within. I'm not an expert or anything, but the way I see it a house is a “home” whether eight people live in it or one person (maybe a man?) and a cat live in it. I think when we quantify the word “home” we make more trouble for ourselves and women.

Why does it seem, from this sign/quote-thingy like the woman is the only one in charge of making the house a “home”?
Why isn't the man of the home, if there is one, at least semi-responsible to make the house a “home”? Why is that solely the responsibility of the woman? That's because it isn't!! It should not be the woman's responsibility alone to make a house a “home”. I'm lucky to have a husband that helps around the house and with parenting, but lots of women aren't and that is not cool or fair. Even a SAHM needs help so that she can refresh and take time for herself, whether it's taking out the trash, maintaining the yard or changing the baby. Throw us a bone gentlemen and not the one you're thinking of, I'm being metaphorical.

What's with the comparison?
Women have enough guilt to deal with. I'm not an executive or commanding general or anything but I'm a working mother. I went back to work when my son was almost 10 months old. I work out of necessity, but I also really enjoy my job. Being a mother is the hardest thing I've ever done. Now, add to that the guilt I feel because I've left my child in the hands of someone else.

When I went back to work I missed important firsts like Jacob's first steps and some of his first words. Worst of all, he has never cried when I've left because for as long as he's been able to remember mommy leaves for work. Even as young as two (maybe three?) he would tell me I needed to go to work to “make bills and pay money”. I haven't even mentioned the issues of trying to cook meals, keep the house clean, stay on top of laundry, stay connected with my husband, be a productive member of my community or doing anything for myself. I'm sleepy just writing about it!

Now that Jacob is in school, the guilt isn't so overwhelming, but if he's sick it comes roaring back. I should be with my baby, not sitting behind a desk. I should be the one administering antibiotics or Pedialyte or Benadryl or whatever. I am his mother! So it makes me furious when people, especially men make statements like this. Women are more than homemakers, more than mothers, more than wives, we are individuals. We each possess different talents, goals and dreams. So, a woman might be a fantastic SAHM or she might be an awesome CEO or she might be a fantastic mother AND CEO (see what I did there?). Why does choosing one skill set over the other make a woman's contribution to society anything less than impressive? Why do women beat themselves and each other up with crap like this? Quotes like this do nothing but perpetuate the cycle of guilt, shame and inadequacy that women struggle with daily. We need to stop this kind of garbage and support each other, not tear each other down. We need to essentially be pacifists in the Mommy Wars and stop contributing to this kind of stuff. 

If the Mommy Wars are on then crap like this is a WMD.

Nb. This quote is attributed to Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of the LDS Church, an organization known for their very conservative views on women and their role in the family, faith and the world. Quel surprise?


  1. Good post Sara. Women certainly perpetuate the thinking that one type of mommy is better than another. If no one else is going to be kind to us, we at least need to be kind to each other. Thanks for writing this :)

    1. Thanks! Kindness has the potential to change the world and give mom's amazing piece of mind. :)

  2. The person being told she never worked also happens to be a Latter Day Saint and her work was to raise 5 boys...I'm not sure how someone could possibly imagine that raising 5 boys wasn't work. BUT I don't think people who do not work outside the home should say they're any better. It's a choice either way.

    I don't think the mom in question has responded to the fray but the initial insult was when some female commentator in politics was trying to say the candidate and his wife were not good representatives of the average working American because "Mrs. Romney has never worked a day in her life."

    1. I'm pretty sure that anyone raising 5 boys deserves some kind of medal, something close to a Purple Heart or a Victoria Cross or something.

      Also, I'm not entirely familiar with the Romney's but I'm pretty sure that there were probably 5 different things that that commentator could have used to demonstrate how they're not representative of the average American, but she latched on to the fact that Ann Romney was a SAHM. It's an easy target for a woman to shoot for and it smacks of insecurity on the commentator's part. I also don't believe that a male commentator would have brought that issue up. So, once again we see women, because of guilt, insecurity, whatever, trying to lob the ball of shame over at another woman. It shouldn't even be an issue.
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Yay, you are back, great post!
    and also...
    Aaliyah And Timbaland - Try Again

    1. Azu!! Thanks for encouraging me to write again. And...you're the winner!!! Expect your 2 hand-drawn portaraits in the mail soon. LOL!

  4. Well, knew that answer, but I was still in bed when the post went up. Hey, I'm working nights this week. And yes, our politics are crazy. I'll be so glad when November is over. The political ads are driving me nuts!

    1. Aw Steph. I can have Jacob draw you a picture if you really want, he likes to draw so it's no biggie. :)

      Your politics are really scaring me this year. There's something about some of the Republican candidates and some of the current trends in US politics that just freak my freak. I'm usually all "different strokes for different folks" but this year things just seem to be leaning to far over on the crazy side. You should move up here. :P