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?