Mommy Wars: You Win, We All Lose

Yesterday I posted an e-card that another Facebook page had created.  I was surprised by the vitriol it generated, but wasn't familiar with the page, and assumed it was the crowd that hung out over in that neck of the Facebook woods.  I shared it on my own page with the caption, "I've seen this on a few walls today. It generates a lot of whining about who has it worse -- SAHMs or working moms. Sheesh. Can't we all just get along?"  I am grateful for the community of readers that follows Mary Tyler Mom on Facebook.  The 90+ comments on my thread were, for the most part, positive or neutral.  That, my friends, is like an oasis on the Internet, the Holy Grail of social media.

Working Mom ecard

(Graphic courtesy of Mommy Needs a Beer)

The other pages were very different from the Fairy Forest that I work hard to cultivate over at Mary Tyler Mom (think about an internet version of Snow White with the forest animals trailing after her, "tweeting" birds flying above, blue skies and flowering trees.  Yeah, that is exactly what my Facebook page is like.).

There was hate and jealousy and meanness and ugly, ugly comments on many of those other pages.  Sigh.  The Mommy Wars are boring, yes, but they do exist and they are real.  Would that it were not so, but, alas, it is.

The thing that gets to me is that at the crux of the Mommy Wars are two factions of women trying their very best to win at the competition of having it the hardest.  Seriously?  I mean, who wants to have it the hardest?  I don't.  No siree, Bob, not me.  I want to win the competition where I have it the easiest.  Wouldn't that be sweet?

Ugh.  I find it so disheartening, discouraging.  I was raised in the 1970s.  My idols were all feminists -- Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Jane Bryne.  My favorite Charlie's Angel was Kate Jackson.  Jiminy Crickets, I named my blog after a 1970s feminist icon -- Mary Tyler Moore.  She was my ideal woman -- strong, smart, funny, sexy, single.  She was gonna make it after all, you know?  My point is that feminism is about choice.  Choice, people.

In this new millenium, some of us are lucky enough to have choice; it is a luxury these days.  When we exercise that choice, though, those of us who have it, we are excoriated no matter what we choose.  SAHMs are lazy and boring.  Working moms get off easy and don't have to deal with the house or family.  Poor WAHMs just get lost in the shuffle.

Give me a freaking break.  Mothering is mothering.  It is a full time gig.  You don't stop being a mother in the hours you work outside the home.  And you definitely are working inside the home if you are a SAHM.  Why the need to identify ourselves as having it worse than someone else?  You know who my favorite moms are?  The ones who are too busy to care what the other moms are doing; they are satisfied with their life and support the other moms around them.

Can you imagine if each of us mothers saw our kids engage in the animus that we engage in on a regular basis in social media?  The pelting with words is horrible.  We are so divisive.  I breast feed my three year old.  You freak!  I opt for disposable diapers.  Why do you hate Mother Earth?!  My car seat got left at the mechanics and I needed to get to the airport, so my son had to ride with only a seat belt for a few miles.  You are a terrible human being and I hope your son dies so you learn your lesson!

Honestly, as a mom, would any of us condone this behavior in our homes?  Not a chance.  Somehow, we have made the opposite of what we teach our children acceptable when it occurs on a keyboard.

Shame on us.

trophy

For those of us who require the demeaning of another to feel better about ourselves, this trophy is for you.  It is hereby decreed the YOU WIN trophy.  YOU WIN at having it the hardest.  YOU WIN at making others feel less than because of choices they make that have nothing to do with you.  YOU WIN at tearing down your sisters.  Hooray!

You lose at life, but who cares what I have to say?  I'm probably just jealous of you anyway.

Hey!  If you liked this, vote for me in the Circle of Moms 25 Best Family Blogs contest.  It takes two seconds and I will give you your very own trophy!  Voting open through 11.29.12.

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  • Amen.

  • In reply to Kim Z Dale:

    Amen, Sister! A pleasure, as always, Kim. MTM.

  • In reply to Kim Z Dale:

    my best friend's half-sister makes $76/hr on the internet. She has been without work for 6 months but last month her check was $15690 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web site FLY38.ℂOℳ

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    Love it! So true!

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    why is the mommy war thing the ONE area of lifestyle competition where smugly bragging about how good you have it doesn't apply? Its like the opposite of the world's most disingenuous first world problem. "sigh, our maid put all the stuff away and now i cant find it" = 'haha effers! i'm lucky and awesome and have a maaaaaid!" Whereas talking about staying at home with your kids vs working outside of the home as a mom, you WANT to be the loser? I always thought the goal was to make people think you have it better off than you really do so people are jealous. I clearly failed psychology.

  • In reply to Kathie John:

    Super interesting points, Kathie John. I don't get it, and I was a psychology major. Thanks for your comment. Keep reading, sister. MTM.

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    In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    I'd like to take a stab at it.
    We, as women, are discouraged from knowing our own worth. And we are "bitch" slapped by society if we dare speak of it.
    I know I'm smart, so I'm an uppity bitch. I know I'm pretty, so I'm a conceited bitch. I know I'm in charge, so I'm a bitchy bitch.
    Give birth and stay home? "Lazy bitch". Give birth and go to work? "Cold bitch". Don't give birth? "What is wrong with that bitch?"
    Realize we can't win because the game is rigged against us, so we start to change the rules? "Feminazi bitch."
    Great job at calling us out for participating in such soul-sucking nonsense, MTM. And superduper job of drawing a community of women who see through it all.

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    WORD!!

  • A-woman!

  • In reply to Hillary Lake:

    Nice. I saw what you did there. MTM.

  • Oh, yes. Yes and yes. Yessity yes yes.

  • "The ones who are too busy to care what the other moms are doing; they are satisfied with their life and support the other moms around them." Best. Line. Ever.

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    In reply to KimStrickland:

    I loved that line too! :)

    Well put, MTM - you, m'dear, rock. ;)

  • I'm reading a really interesting book ("Bringing Up Bebe") about an American woman raising her kids in Paris. Not only is the philosophy about parenting very different, but France also has high quality, affordable daycare that pretty much everyone (working or not) takes advantage of. That, in turn, has a big impact on the attitudes of and toward working moms. I'd recommend the book- at the very least it is eye opening as far as another culture's attitude toward parenting.

  • I <3 you! Thank you for saying so much of that is a jumbled mess of words inside of me!! AND thank you for pointing out how crappy I am being when I decide to have my own pity party by doing exactly what you've described above! Thank you for being an anchor!!
    You are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to jkrings:

    When you call me an anchor, you really, really humble me. Anchors are an ancient symbol of hope. Thanks for reading, folks! MTM.

  • In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    You are a modern symbol of hope!!! Your words echo through my mind so often. "I choose hope."

  • Obviously, I am not a mother, though I have been called a "mother" by some Chicagonow posters who disagree with my less than progressive point of view.

    That said, I never have witnessed any great "sisterhood" of feminism, and I work in a woman dominated industry. In fact, the sniping of the "mommy wars" carries over into other aspects of life as well. It must be exhausting to be so negative.

    Unfortunately, the dark side of human nature leads to some wanting to not only seem to want to appear to have it worse, but to actually secretly wish that others had it worse than them.

    Just learn from the guys: There is no "daddy wars", or "guy wars", because other guys really don't care what other guys think, and certainly don't want to admit that they are schlubs that have it worse than the other guy in any way. Most guys figure, "Why waste energy?". Just ignore, delete and move on, and, oh yes, "screw them anyway. Who gives a you-know-what?"

    There is no "brotherhood of man" and there ain't no sisterhood, neither, I'm afraid. Never was amongst the population of real women, leaving only actors and authors and a stray rock star to keep the fiction going.

    Once the idea of the "great sisterhood" goes away, so will the angst of wishing it to be so. It was a mirage. Keep the trophy and use it for Hershey Kisses.

  • As far as the Mommy Wars go, I'm Switzerland, i.e. neutral.

    I'm not going to cheer for either side, but will sell spanx to anyone who wants some.

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    I LOVED THIS, MTM! When the economy tanked I made the decision to help my husband out and I went back to full time work. And I have REALLY enjoyed it. I like working with other people that complain about working. On the other hand, I have some friends that have the means to stay home and not work (even when their kids are in school all day until 4:30) and I sometimes feel envy of their clean houses and getting to grocery shop at 1:00 in the afternoon on a weekday. But I don't want my FRIENDS and SAHMs to feel bad about the choices I've made. I want my husband to. Given ~ I have one hard-working-blue-collar-husband and he is one hell of a dad. He's sexy too. But I have actually secretly had flashes of contempt toward him because I can't do yoga at 9:30 am before I go play tennis down at the center. And I don't play tennis or do yoga. May I have the trophy to pull out and place on the shelf once in a blue for him to see when he gets home from work at 9:00 at night?

  • Great post. Although I'd never claim to have it the hardest. My brain cannot wrap around how women with full time jobs get it all done and see their kids enough. Maybe they do, but I suspect they are a little unhappy. I know I have it made in the shade with no "right" to complain.

    What the stay-at-home-mom crowd is trying to say in the mommy wars isn't "I have it the hardest," it's more "I'm a person with problems too." Look, I have an amazing life by any standard, but I'm an educated woman with goals who happens to be home these few years and every time I try to get out of that box, oh, "you're just a mommy blogger". No, it's not the same as sitting in a cubicle worrying if my child is catching the flu at daycare, but we're all human beings and no one's life is perfect.

    Just my half a cent!

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    In reply to Jenna Karvunidis:

    For me the issue is one of choice and degree. Do I see my kids enough? HELL NO. Do I have a choice? NO! The problem is you're comparing apples to oranges. The SAHM's "I don't get any adult interaction" is not even close to "There aren't enough hours in the day to get my kid to school, daycare, grocery shop, and get dinner on the table AND put them to bed at a reasonable time and never mind actually PLAY with them." Or "My boss won't let me take the day off for my daughter's first school play." So yeah, you might have problems too, but let's call a spade a spade. When you have to take a job you don't want to make sure your kids have what they need (not even what they WANT - just what they need) then whine to me about being called a mommy blogger. I'm' sorry, the level of "out of touch" reflected here is astounding.

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    In reply to Kimberley Petz:

    Well said. I've never been a SAHM, but I can assure you they don't go through anything as completely heartbreaking as seeing their toddler scream and reach out for them every day as they go off to work. They don't have to hope they can keep their promise to be home before their child has to go to bed. The panic I feel as my son runs a high fever and I know I have to call work to tell them I can't come in is awful. I know I'm getting eye-rolling on the other end of the line. One co-worker (childless, of course) said I must enjoy it when I work late and don't have to deal with my son when I get home because he's already in bed. Um, no. Not at all. I don't work because I want to. I work because I have to. I'm the primary income in our family. And my job is amazingly demanding with long hours and a rough commute. I realize I do need a different job, but there just aren't enough hours in the day as it is without adding jobhunting into the mix.

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    And this is why you are my all time favorite blogger.......

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