The End of the “Mommy Wars”?

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?

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4 Responses

  1. On http://www.stlworkingmom.com there was recently a mommy wars flare up — it still exists — this time, it was sparked by one mom offering an unwanted opinion to a working mom (slow down, essentially) and another working mom saying she’d go nuts if she had to stay home all the time. I was astounded at how fired up the moms became. I’ve just read Mommy Wars, as a result, and found it to be a refreshing collection of essays with many different points of view.
    My point, btw, with the post that set off the battle of the moms, was that we should support one another, no matter what we decide to do. Sigh.

  2. So much judging and feeling judged. I think there’s so much pressure on moms now to do everything right. I just saw a story this morning in the Daily Progress about how plastic baby bottles might be harmful. Our parents rejoiced in plastic bottles! The pressure today carries over into every little decision.

    Stay-at-home (especially homeschooling) moms hear that comment “I’d go crazy if I had to be with my kids all day” a lot. And they do feel crazy sometimes, just like working moms feel crazy when the boss wants them to work overtime and the kids want help with their homework and hubby wants a foot massage — all at the same time. But the answer to the craziness is for moms to take care of themselves and speak up for themselves, not pick on each other.

  3. What I really want, now that my kids are grown and out of the house, is to be a stay-at-home-mom. Best of both worlds, I think.

  4. Being a stay-at-home mom is wasted on the kids!

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