It looks like the ugly Mommy Wars have reared their ugly head again.
For those of you blissfully out of the loop, this essay seems to have gotten everything going:
In it, a woman quite eloquently recounts leaving her children to pursue her career. She’s still an active mother to her kids, but she did break the cultural norm and she’s apparently not the custodial parent (leaving her children destroyed her marriage, so you have to factor a divorce into the mix, too).
Now could I do what she did? No. I really don’t think I could. Even if I did, I don’t know that I’d write a book about it for the whole world to read. But do I think she did something wrong? I personally don’t. This woman should not be the primary caregiver for her children, and I applaud her for knowing this.
Unfortunately, though, this little essay has caused a firestorm on at least one web forum I frequent, and I suspect the same discussion is happening other places. I get the difference of opinion about this woman’s choices– they are extreme. That specific discussion has unfortunately morphed into mudslinging at working mothers, with one poster on the aforementioned web forum even saying working mothers shouldn’t be mothers– they should just get cats. Ouch!
I thought the Mommy Wars had died down. There was a big brouhaha in the media in the late 1990s and early 2000s about the Mommy Wars, and it turned out most of it was a media creation. Most of the ugliness died down, though that might have more to do with the recession than anything else.
Sadly, though, there are still SAHMs who judge working mothers as unfit and uncaring, and working mothers who judge SAHMs as weak and as setting bad examples for their kids, especially daughters. These judgments, of course, are crap. What’s right for one family is not right for another, and there are perfectly happy children being raised by both working mothers and SAHMs.
Interestingly enough, the judgment normally comes from women. You don’t see men typically criticizing mothering choices– that seems to be the exclusive province of other mothers.
Mothers of the world– we have more in common than we have dividing us. There’s so much that needs to be done to make the world a better place for our kids. Do we really need to turn on each other?
So, Boo You! Mommy Wars.