|My granny is the little girl on the right|
Part of The Mom Pledge reads, "I want to see moms work together to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can be used as weapons. I will not engage in that behavior."
Words like "Mommy Wars," words combined into 140 characters that set whole presidential campaigns against each other.
I'd like to address this, if I may.
The thing about life is that no matter what you're doing, you want to have somebody tell you how impressed they are with what you do.
You want to have somebody who made a different choice than you say, "Wow, I could not do what you do. You work so hard. You impress me so much. You must be exhausted. You must feel amazing about yourself."
Or, you know, some sort of paraphrased version of that.
So today it's been hard for me to get away from the back and forth over the comments that Hilary Rosen made about Ann Romney.
What she said was, “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we — why we worry about their future.”
Now, these are two entirely different statements. If Hilary Rosen had left off that first sentence, this wouldn't have ever turned into an issue. Of course the left believes that the Romneys are out of touch with the majority of Americans. Let's face it, they are. But that isn't what the argument is about.
This has been made into yet another occasion for people to accuse each other of accusing each other of being lazy.
I know that sounds like nonsense. That's because it is nonsense.
Do stay at home moms think that working moms are worse parents? Do working moms think that stay at home parents are worse parents?
No. Nobody actually cares. This only matters when somebody feels that they are being accused of being less than the best parent they can be for their children.
Being a working mom is hard. But a lot of women in this country don't see it as a choice. They see it as a necessity. If they're the only parent, or if their spouse is in a low wage job, they may not have an option. And then they see stay-at-home parents as having the luxury not to "work."
But they know that staying at home with kids is work. It's just work that our society doesn't seem to value very much. The United States is one of only a tiny handful of countries in the world that doesn't require employers to pay maternity leave. In many countries, that pay can go to either parent. In either case, a parent can stay home, if they choose, with their child.
Not so here.
So now in this country, we have a situation where some women CAN choose to go to work, or to stay home. You have many families, like mine, where the choice comes down to whether or not the cost of childcare exceeds the benefits of a second income.
So the so-called Mommy Wars have grown around the ability women have to work, the frustration of being torn in one's desire to both contribute financially and their desire to contribute in the many intangible ways of being a constant and positive figure in their children's lives, and the frustration of people who make different choices being happy.
Because, you see, their happiness is an affront to anyone who has made a different choice. If your life is willfully different than mine, and you are happier than I am at this moment, your happiness is an indictment of my choices.
...this is crazy talk. But we all do this. We all see somebody else being happy and we think that because we're exhausted or sick or overworked or somebody three feet tall has peed on our favorite chair twice that morning, they must have made a better choice.
And we can't stand that. But we've made it up ourselves.
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