You know what I think the silliest thing about the so-called Mommy Wars really is? That both sides seem to assume that the moms on the other have it so damn good. Working moms daydream about all the freedom stay-at-home-moms must have for self actualization and yoga. SAHMs fanaticize about all of the uninterrupted lunches and adult conversations the working moms are enjoying. And moms who work at home with the kids around are looking at the lives of both working mothers and the ones at home with envy in their eyes.
Meanwhile, moms on all sides are scratching their heads wondering where the other mothers got the idea that they were living the dream. Somehow the ideas that being a stay-at-home mom means you’re a lady who lunches or that going into the office is a refreshing break from home and family have become a standard part of the Mommy Wars script.
It’s almost as if the people making this stuff up have never actually talked to working moms or even just one stay-at-home mom. Because anyone who has spent any time with a raging toddler knows that staying at home is not a vacation. Anyone who has ever had a job knows that going to work is not a break. But still think the grass is always greener there on the other side of the mommy divide?
Here’s what some real SAHMs have to say:
“As a stay-at-home mom, absolutely nothing about my day is mine. The focus is always on someone else.”
“When you stay home with your child all day and then you get up with them at night, it feels like a never-ending shift at an exhausting job.”
“Being a SAHM sucks because of the unrealistic expectations that secretly come along with the role.”
And here are some choice words from real working moms:
“I know I’ve not been there to see so many firsts. For many special moments. Hearing the news from the nanny is always hard.”
“There is no pain like the pain of missing your baby or your young child.”
“Being a working mom sucks because I’m still on the hook for everything at home, I just have less time to cram it all in.”
Seriously, nothing about being a mom is easy – especially in this world where no matter what you’re doing there is someone lurking around every corner just waiting to tell you you’re doing it wrong. Like I’ve said before in this post, you are darned if you do and darned if you don’t and so is every other mom you know. We actually have a lot in common: being a mom is a 24/7 job whether you stay home or work, very little in any mom’s day is hers whether she stays home or works, we are all freaking exhausted, we’re all missing something, and moms don’t get sick days.
Luckily there is one thing we can all do to make it a little easier and that’s to stop assuming that everyone around us is prancing effortlessly through life while we’re just barely getting by. There are the days we prance and the days we think we’ll never make it through no matter what is on our plates. Let’s start by admitting that we all struggle sometimes and acknowledging that our mom friends of all stripes do, too. From there the logical next step is cutting each other some slack no matter where our life choices or lack thereof have landed us.
Never forget that the real Mommy Wars aren’t fought by the working moms versus the SAHMs but by all moms, fighting against a culture that still doesn’t value all we contribute. And it’ll only be when we smarten up and all get on the same side that we will ever have a chance of winning.