Friday, May 4, 2012

Fire In The Hole! Latest Salvo Fired In The "Mommy Wars"

Apparently both sides in the Mommy Wars have been a little too quite lately. Naturally, someone had to lob a grenade into the opposite camp.

The truce in the Mommy Wars--if there ever really is one--was broken last week when Democratic Strategist Hilary Rosen criticized Ann Romney by saying she has never worked a day in her life. Ouch.

First of all, I believe that any women who raises children and manages to hold on to her sanity deserves a medal. Any woman who raises five boys should be an automatic candidate for sainthood.

However, I get what Hilary Rosen was trying to say, albeit badly: As a woman of means, Ann Romney cannot really identify with the everyday challenges of a working or stay-at-home mom because she always had resources such as housekeepers, nannies and gardeners at her disposal. How many of us can lay claim to that?

The question remains, however, if that statement should have been made at all. When women continually lob jabs at each other for the choices we make, it makes us look petty, catty and quite frankly, bitchy. We play perfectly into the stereotypes that many have of us when we continually criticize each other's roles in society.

Why is it so difficult to accept that we all make the choices that work best for ourselves and our families? The notion that working mothers are selfish and stay-at-home moms are lazy and stupid should have gone the way of shoulder pads and big hair. Still, someone manages to throw those very stereotypes in our faces every few years.

I think the problem arises because many women are uncomfortable with the choices they make. A mother working outside the home often feels guilty because it is not possible to be there with her children at all times. A stay-at-home mom may worry that she has wasted the thousands of dollars she put into her education and lament the fact that her family may have to make financial sacrifices. The easiest way to ease that guilt is to throw barbs at someone who has chosen opposite her situation.

Until we recognize that neither choice is easy and that very few of us live a charmed life, the Mommy Wars will continue to make headlines. The time has come to stop pointing fingers and start supporting each other for the decisions we make. After all, no one should criticize a woman until they have walked a mile in her pumps, or her Keds.

No comments: