Friday, February 13, 2015

The Great “Mom” Divide (Let’s Just Close It Already, Eh?)

I’ve perused my fair share of Mommy Blogs, witnessed the Facebook debates, and read a good number of Huffington Post articles alluding to The Great Mom Divide: moms, dads, and non-parentals alike, vehemently arguing the pros and cons associated with being either a “Stay-at-Home Mom” or a “Working Mom” (I have actually paused in my typing to make air quotes as I mumble those terms—more on that later). I know this subject has been beaten to death more than Lord Voldemort (the dude had to die SEVEN times), so I don’t want to simply sit here and reiterate the usual “can’t-we-all-just-get-along” spiel. Nor do I want to go the overly dramatic, “Oh, for Heaven’s sake, think of the children!” route.

The Simpsons already have that one covered.

I’m sure (read: hope) most parents already appreciate how important it is that we all respect each other, and that we can’t know what another mom’s life is like until we've taken a walk in her shoes, or—in my case—super comfy house slippers (that’s right, I embrace the stereotype). But! Even though there are probably millions of articles already out there, I feel that, as a proud, happy, blessed, and still often-frustrated SAHM blogger, it is kind of my duty to share some of my own brief thoughts on the topic.

Wait, did you say brief? So now you wanna revive The Great Underwear Debate of the 90’s, too? 
You must thrive on stirring up controversy.

Here’s the thing. We are all moms. We are all “Working Moms,” because, as I’m sure any mom can attest, “work” is an inherent part of the job description. We are all “Stay-at-Home Moms,” because, even when we’re elsewhere—at work; in meetings; in our own heads, playing out badass scenarios in which we must protect our offspring from some evil Sith Lord by engaging him in a heated lightsaber duel (surely that’s not just me)—a part of us is at “home” with our children. Pieces of us have found permanent residence in the hearts of our kids: pieces of our own hearts, pieces of our consciences, literally pieces of our DNA. We live in our children, and they in us (for literal proof, check this out; so cool!). They are our “home.” I mean, E.E. Cummings seemed to get it, and that was all the way back in 1952:

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling).

Admittedly, I’m fairly certain he was writing about a lover, not a child, but the underlying sentiment definitely applies to motherhood as well. Love is love; it’s universal, and it’s binding. And it’s what turns “mothers” into “Moms,” whether they spend the majority of their time physically at home, in an office, on the road, cruising the aisles of Target, or honing their lightsaber skills (again, not just me, right?).

I don't understand the purpose of continually arguing who "has it harder." Parenting is not a contest, and it's not a segue to self-perceived martyrdom (mamadom?). At least, it shouldn't be. The more we talk about “the struggles of a Stay-at-Home Mom” and “the struggles of a Working Mom,” we are feeding the fire (when most of us should be feeding our kids, or—more likely—ourselves, since we tend to put our kids’ needs before ours). How about “the struggles of being a Mom,” no further clarification needed? Because it isn’t needed. Being a Mom is hard. Being a Dad is hard.  Raising. A. Child. Is. Hard. Parenting comes with its own set of doubts, guilt, and second-guesses.  Let’s not add more by engaging in the shame game with each other. You shouldn’t need validation from random strangers and internet articles when you know in your heart that what you’re doing is the best thing for your family. Is tearing other Moms down really the sort of example we want to set for our kids?

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that MOM is an acronym for Mind Over Matter. For starters, if you’re going to squeeze another human being out of your hoo-ha, or have it (or them) cut out of you (talking from personal experience here), you’ve got to be pretty mentally tough. But even beyond enduring the physical requirements, motherhood requires a certain state of mind. Being a MOM is an attitude, a belief that your children are precious (not in the creepy Gollum way), and that you’ll do whatever is necessary in order to protect them (like fighting off malevolent Sith Lords). So let’s not allow one another’s financial circumstances, opinions, silly labels, or “job” descriptions make us forget what our primary career is: Loving our children. 

Don’t mess with my kid. Or insult my mothering.

[All videos courtesy of]