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Thursday, July 24, 2014

I participated in the Mommy Wars (and I am ashamed)

I was at dinner with friends the other night.  As always work came up as a topic and they were talking about schedules.  My husband was jokingly saying he has a really hard schedule this summer- working 2 hours a day at summer school.  Others were talking about how long their days were.  And then I did it, the thing I hate. 

I said "Well I work 24/7."

Now to be honest I was half joking in saying that.  But still...

I hate the part of me that feels the need to make those comments, even jokingly.  Because parents work 24/7. Working(out of the home) moms work their day job and then come home and work their mom job.  Stay at home moms work their mom job day and then night again.  Dads are the same, whether working out of the house or staying at home.  All parents work 24/7.

But still I felt the need to point out my 24/7 job.  And I know why.  Because a small part of me(that part I really dislike) felt the need for validation.  I work hard dammit, notice it!  But why?  Why should anyone notice how hard I work?  I do it because I want to, because I love my kids.  And because it works for MY life. 

And then yesterday I was reading a friend's Facebook post about having a rough morning.  The kids were bickering and just generally giving her a hard time.  And to top if off, while dealing with them her coffee got cold.  She posted on Facebook and others responded with sympathy and some empathy because many of us have been there (more often then we'd like I think).  Well someone felt the need to point out it could be worse because she could be heading out to work too.  This friend (with the rough morning)is a fellow stay at home mom.  She likes being home with her kids.  She can be home with her kids.  This kind of comment gets to me because its like looking at a person complaining about having a rough day at work and saying "It could be worse, you could be unemployed for months on end."  We all KNOW it could be worse.  But sometimes we need to complain a little anyway.  I don't know the person who made the comment, it is a friend of my friend.  She could have been a work out of the house mom who wanted to be a stay at home mom.  She could have simply been trying (and most likely was trying) to make my friend feel better as we all were.  But I read it as a not-so-helpful comment.  Because of that small place inside of me.

I participated in the mommy wars and then I judged someone who I saw as doing the same.  I often feel like I need to justify what I do and why I do it.  Not to those who are close to me, they have all been supportive of the life choices Jon and I have made.  But to society as a whole.  To those who make small comments about my being a stay at home mom.  And I don't know why.  I don't know why I care what others think, I wish I didn't.  But at times (when I made my comment or read that of another) I participate in the mommy wars.  And I dislike it.  It isn't often, in fact it probably comes down to rarely.  But I wish I could say I never did it.  Because in the end I am doing what is right for my family.  I work hard all day and at night as well.  My work out of the house peers work hard during the day and at night as well too.   But no matter how often we day things like that, the mommy wars still exist. 

And I need to stop participating in them.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

I feel the need to point it out, the 24/7 job of a SAHM, too. I think the lack of validity that the majority of people give being an at home mama makes us crave it. We see others' accomplishments at their outside-of-the-home workplace and that is palpable...But at home, we are just seen as being moms. When yes, we are moms..but a mom is EVERYTHING. We literally do it all. Even if some of it isn't done well, our kids--the proverbial trophies/accomplishments--think of us as THE best thing since all things, ever.
It is hard to sit back and almost feel attacked by not being acknowledged as everyone else. I feel this post so hard.