So this morning my eyes popped open at 6:20 and my head was full of my post from yesterday. My very tongue-in-cheek-yet-extremely-emotionally-charged post. All I could think of was the conversation I had with Chase last night about this whole mess. My comment to him was that I think the biggest problem with what Hillary Rosen said (and I still think what she said was wrong - I've seen all the tape, and I've seen her rebuttals, and I get that she was pointing out Ann Romney's richness and therefore her inability to understand what the working poor are going through, and yes I actually have feelings about that argument as well but that's not what this post is about), is that one woman's attack on another woman was going to explode into LOTS of women attacking LOTS of other women. At the gym this morning CNN was playing a segment called (and I hate this term more than I hate most things in life) "The Mommy Wars."
So let me step back for a minute and say that yesterday I felt defensive. I'm an educated woman living in 2012 who made a choice to get married young, start a family almost immediately and then to stay home with that family. I have worked at different times during my mothering career. Some in the house, some outside of the house. I am currently working at home and can attest to the fact that, on the days I have students, my whole day is oriented around those working hours. It's a juggle to get kids and house taken care of, homework done, meals prepared, kids babysat and then home again to meet my students. And I do all of this not because it's good for my children, or because I need a small amount of extra income (though I'm enjoying it, I assure you). I do it because it was time for Mommy to become Anna again, if only for 4.5 hours a week. It's the same reason I recently started running a community food co-op a couple times a month.
I have friends who work outside of the home full-time and part-time. I have friends who run daycare in their home. I have friends who struggle to be stay-at-home-moms because their husband's salary is enough, but not a lot. Each of these women is different in amazing ways, and I've learned from all of them. And most of what I've learned is that there is no ONE right way to be a mom. And we ALL want to be the best mother and person we can be.
Unfortunately, something happens in public discourse that can be frustrating and hard to correct. Often, when someone gets up and says that they believe in something, or claims that something is good, that comment can be misconstrued to mean that something else is bad. Yesterday I wanted to stand up and say, "Being a stay-at-home mom is good! I choose this because it's good. And it's work! HARD work!" But that is all I was saying. There was no implication that not staying at home isn't hard work, or that there aren't other hard things out there. I wasn't rattling off a list of jobs I do to show that my life is harder than yours.
I think if you sat down with a group of moms who work outside the home and moms who stay home full-time you'd find that there are pros and cons to both. I have it good in SO MANY WAYS and I know it. And there are days I wish with every fiber of my being that I could put on a smart suit and pick up my briefcase and head off to work and do something that feels more productive or exciting than making peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches.
So, I hope we can make peace. And I hope that this idea of "Mommy Wars" goes away. It doesn't get anyone anywhere and is completely pointless. The only assumption we should ever make about anyone else is that they're doing what is best for themselves and their family.