Thursday, October 17, 2013

You're Damned if you Do and You're Damned if you Don't

This blog post has been making the rounds on Facebook over the past few days and it’s brought up an issue that has been weighing heavy on my heart. Its not so much the blog post that bothers me as it is the vitriolic, one sided comments that follow. Over 10,000 since the last time I checked.

To save you from falling down the hole that I did, I’ll summarize. Man writes a post defending his wife and all other Stay-At-Home-Moms (SAHM) from the questions “What do you do all day”. Comments explode. 

SAHMs praised the post, talk about how their job is thankless, bitch that they work harder than anyone else, discuss how society (especially Working Moms) look down at them and say that Working Moms are messing up their children by working.

Working Moms say nasty things about the post, talk about how their job is thankless, bitch that they work harder than anyone else, discuss how society (especially SAHM) look down at them and say that SAHMs are messing up their children by not working.

I’ve been a Working Mom and a Stay-at-Home Mom and I found one consistency through both:

You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

When I worked, even part time, I ALWAYS felt judged about leaving Max behind. There was always some guilt that working made me a bad mom and that I was choosing my wellbeing over his.  Now that I don’t work I ALWAYS feel judged that I’m “just a Mom” who, because I stay at home, has no aspirations and sits around on her ass all day.

Neither side is very fun. I’m working hard to stop caring about how other people view my choices. So, in order to do that, I need to make the following two statements.

1) If you judge a mom for working- get over yourself

2) If you judge a mom for staying at home- get over yourself

(My first draft used much stronger language than “get over yourself”. Then I thought better.)
Neither situation is easy or ideal. When I worked, I had days where I wanted to tell all my co-workers where they could shove it and quit on the spot to stay at home. Now, there are days I would love to be in a quiet office where I only had to metaphorically wipe asses instead of actually wipe asses.

I’m also VERY aware that I’m lucky I have the choice to stay home. The majority of families require two incomes to survive and the fact one parent wants to stay home with the kids can’t even enter into the equation. Single moms get even less of a break. I would never begrudge anyone for being a working parent whether it be because they have to or because they want to.

As far as I’m concerned, if your children are loved unconditionally and they are being taught kindness and compassion you are doing a good job. 

Women need to stop tearing each other down for their choices. These Mommy Wars are pointless and ugly. Everyone is just trying to survive and do what is best for her family. What works for you may not work for me. And vice versa. Screaming about how you have it so tough and everyone doing it the other way is wrong doesn’t help anything.

I’m not perfect.  I’ve judged too. It’s human nature to do so.  However, I only feel shitty when I do it.  So next time I start to question a parenting decision, or roll my eyes when I hear about a different perspective on discipline that I think is alarmist, I’m going to stop at do the following.

1.    Take a deep breath
2.    Thank the universe for all I’ve been given
3.    Remind myself only I know what is best for my family
4.    Remind myself I don’t know what is best for your family
5.    Remember that everyone has their struggles, even if I can’t see them
6.    Move on

Hopefully, this will help me when I find myself getting upset at the blistering comments and opinions that can make the internet (and less often, real life) suck. Instead of falling down the hole reading anonymous folks spew hatred about how everyone sucks at parenting, I can instead walk away. 

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Unknown said...


Christine said...

Couldn't have said better myself! Thank you Laura for your honesty!

Jenna said...

I saw a post of a SAHM getting mad at him for having the nerve to be a man and defend SAHMs because they can do it themselves or something. I mean, for pete's sake. Let's all just not be judgy assholes, how hard is that to do?

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