Mom vs. Mom: The Latest Competitive Sport

I’m a fan of snarky ecards as much as the next person. Like this one, for example:

Great.

In my Facebook voyeurism, however, I stumbled upon this one.

Not so great.

In fact, it made me sad. What made me sadder was all the women who liked it and all the others who commented, with things like “That’s what I’m talking about” or “Amen, sister!” or “Hallelujah!” and on and on.

I acknowledge that I’m particularly sensitive to this issue having recently resigned from my career – the career I imagined myself finishing up as a hip 65 year-old English teacher with abs of steel and wisdom to boot.

I tried to understand why, when I stepped away from my computer, I had an overwhelming urge to dissolve into tears or write an angry letter to the SomeEcards company or a poignant response to my Facebook friend. And I guess it comes down to this: I wasn’t aware, until I found myself on the other side of the stay-at-home vs. working mom debate that there was a debate at all. I labored under the delusion that we were all in this together.

Having seen this Ecard, I imagined myself sitting down with my insightful, dedicated working mom friends, gushing about a particularly difficult battle with my 5 year-old or a silly struggle with my 3 year-old or a concern with my 9 month-old and having this Ecard response reeling in their minds. Sadly, this Ecard seemed to resonate with working moms out there. But I was just a working mom (and I still am with different working conditions)! Never once had this Ecard sentiment occurred to me. I thought statements like these had passed with the 1950s era gentleman who walks home, hangs up his coat and hat and asks: “What’s for dinner?” while simultaneously wondering what his wife did all day (despite seeing the clean home, fed children, prepared dinner, purchased groceries, finished homework piles, folded laundry, completed PTO paperwork and all the other things neatly in their places.)

I love having the opportunity to be home with my children during the day. I will never say that it is the hardest job on the planet because, let’s be honest, jobs like President of the United States or sewage pipe maintenance worker or crash test dummy exist, but there are hard moments. Many, many wonderful ones but hard moments, too. And I truly hope I can confide in a fellow mom–working out of the home or not without the horrible thought she may not think I have any room to vent because I don’t also have a full-time job outside of my home.

I can assure you, a day like this never happens. Ever.:
-A leisurely start to the day at 9ish having slept through the night.
-Children prepare their breakfasts and are happy to see one another right from the start.
-Children put away their dishes and begin to teach themselves to read and write while I sip coffee and watch my stories.
-Children then play outside by themselves. I get a massage.
-Children get hungry and make themselves a healthful lunch. I read my most recent Nook download.
– I check Facebook. The children do a science experiment by themselves.
-My husband comes home. I hand over the children and retire to the bathroom for a bubble bath.
-I paint my nails and do a load of laundry. Whew!

And I promise I have never heard a single stay-at-home mom say: “That mom is working. She must not love her children.” Or “I guess she just doesn’t care enough to forego that paycheck.” Or “Life must be easier because she gets to go to work.”

So rather than making motherhood an us vs. them situation or a competitive sport (and I like a good competition as much as the next), let’s agree to support one another and dismiss the very suggestion that we are playing for different sides. It’s destructive and demeaning.

I think it’s a dangerous turn we’re taking by allowing any media outlet, whether it’s Time magazine or a local newspaper or an ecard company, to perpetuate the notion that mothers should be pitted against one another based on the choices we make for the good of our families—working outside the home or not, breastmilk or formula, co-sleeping or sleep training, organic or not. Perhaps people fear the power we’d possess if we all united because let’s be honest—moms are practically super human.

Hands in, ladies! Go Moms!

Now this is an ecard we can all relate to:

3 comments for “Mom vs. Mom: The Latest Competitive Sport

  1. July 30, 2012 at 1:08 am

    When I was a non-mom, I actually felt more supported by fellow non-moms than I do now by my fellow moms. How sad is that?

    I recently posted to some mommy friends on Facebook about how bad “mom society” made me feel because my son was not gaining wait and I had to supplement formula. I wrote that when looking online for help, I instead found articles that put me down. Almost everyone on FB spoke out openly about how I was a good mom and needed to do what I needed to do.

    But then I got three private messages about how “there’s no reason anyone ever needs to supplement. You must be doing something wrong. Have you tried X, Y and Z?” Now, in addition to feeling like my body had let me down but not helping my son grow, I felt angry and doubted myself more than ever– even though I HAD tried X, Y and Z.

    I’m not sure why the Mom Community needs to go after each other like this. You’re a good mom because you’re staying home. I’m a good mom because I’m going to work.

    Ugh. Sorry I vented, but I completely get your post!!!!

  2. July 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Thank you so much for responding. And I am glad you responded as a mom who is going to work because this post was not written to take sides, and you get that. Thank you. I am so sorry that you didn’t receive the support you needed regarding supplementing for your little one. I’m not sure why moms are so judgmental. If there is one thing I’ve learned as a mom is that I am no more an expert on parenting having three children than I was when I started! It is all trial and error with the best intentions. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Cathy
    July 30, 2012 at 11:23 am

    It is very telling that this issue is still being debated. When I was in college, more than 40 years ago, the women’s movement was going strong. Were these sides set up back then? And have we not learned in all those years that each woman is entitled to make her own choices? We, as women, should celebrate those choices, not just accept them. As Rose so eloquently wrote, we are the sum of those choices, and that is who we are. Let’s join Emily in celebrating the power of being a woman!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *