My personal experience of the “mommy wars” — that all-out state of conflict that supposedly exists between moms who work and moms who stay at home — has been MIA. In my maternal history I’ve worked part-time, full-time, I’ve been unemployed, I’ve gone to graduate school, I’ve freelanced, I’ve volunteered, I’ve homeschooled. I can’t get interested in fighting with anybody about their choices because I’m not sure which team I’m on.
In fact, if it weren’t for publishers, I wouldn’t even know there was a war on. E. J. Graff has nice piece on the subject in the Post:
But the conflict may be nearing its expiration date. In 2006, several prominent books on the subject were published — and sold abysmally, according to figures from Nielsen BookScan. Only 9,000 copies sold of Caitlin Flanagan’s widely reviewed “To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife,” in which a woman wealthy enough to stay home and have a nanny insisted that mothering from home was the only right way. Only 4,000 copies sold of Linda Hirshman’s “Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World,” which argued the opposite position: that elite women were wasting an entire generation’s human capital unless they stayed in ambitious jobs. Could it be that women don’t want to shell out $25 to be told they’re living in a war zone?
The On Balance Blog provides some further commentary on the article. A lot of the commenters seem to think the biggest battles are raging inside ourselves, over our own choices for our families. Like many of the commenters, I just can’t be bothered to care what someone else thinks about how I live my life. Not to mention that just the phrase “mommy wars” infantilizes and trivializes women’s experiences, and who needs that?