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I have a theory about why the Mommy Wars come up over and over again.
It’s because we compare every other woman to ourselves.
First of all, we don’t generally get openly combative about why men do what they do. In our minds – whether we admit it or not – men are somehow different or even inferior to us. They cannot experience what we experience. They can have no understanding of PMS or child birth or a particularly awful menstrual period. Now if a man says he understands, that is an open invitation for us to kick him in the balls and express to him again that “NO” he does NOT know. So men, if you’re reading, don’t express sympathy verbally – just bring chocolate and nobody gets hurt.
No, every woman compares every other woman to herself whether intentional or not. We all want Kim Kardashian’s ass or Katy Perry’s boobs or Miley Cyrus’ legs. And we all compare every other woman’s choices critically to our own. WE would never leave our children with a nanny. We would never go on government assistance. We would keep completely tidy homes. We would… and on and on and on.
Every woman I know, when you enter their home, the first thing out of their mouth is some excuse as to why their home doesn’t look like something out of Southern Living. “We’re remodeling.” “We just got back from vacation and haven’t been able to clean.” Meanwhile their home is at least reasonably tidy or usually, so clean that you could eat out of the cat bowl.
So when a mom says things like “I stay home with my children and I feel sorry for women who have to work” the working moms jump to defend their decision to work. The working mom may work outside the home because of financial reasons (health insurance costs, education costs, you don’t know so stop guessing), or because the thought of spending more than a few hours with their kids makes them want to crawl inside a hole (not everyone likes to hang out with their kids all day – get over it). They may have built a career they love or it may be so hard to keep their accreditation or other professional requirements that leaving the workforce for stay-at-home-motherhood would mean they could NEVER return to the workforce in their capacity.
So Working Mom makes sacrifices too. She gives up being with her kids. She gives up the freedom to attend every school function. She gives up a part of her soul so that she can continue in something that she WANTS or NEEDS to do.
Stay at home mom, I’m not done with you. I understand. You’ve given up a lot too. You’ve had to cut back on vacations (if you get one at all), there’s no after work cocktail parties, no new outfits just because. Sometimes, you cut back on entertainment, fancy coffee drinks, and cute shoes. You give it up but you give up a little of your soul too. The independent part of yourself that used to be free to do all those things and never mind the cost. You know, like me, that if you ever go back into the workplace, you’ll have to start over.
If we would stop and look and see that we, as mothers and women, ALL make sacrifices so that we can each live our best life in what ever way that looks like. ALL women are doing the best they can. Yes, some women are going down the wrong path. Some women are trapped in bad relationships, bad situations, bad places.
If would we stop pointing fingers at each other and just notice that yeah, everyone makes a sacrifice for their children, then I think the Mommy Wars would never be fought again. If we’ll give each other and ourselves a little bit of GRACE, we’ll all be able to see through the eyes of love.