Mommy wars...very much in the news.
I have never really dwelled much on the external and internal ‘mommy wars’ that most of us moms experience daily.
Though lately, these ongoing cold wars have been hard to ignore.
In the past couple of weeks SAHM(stay at home moms) were criticized when Mitt Romney‘s wife came under fire for being a SAH privileged mother who could not relate to working moms, who were in the workforce because they had bills which they could not pay if they did not work.
SAHM are accused of not working…or at least not balancing a job outside the home. Working mothers are seen as more fiscally aware. It is women against women in this seemingly never ending battle.
This is not the only ongoing ‘mommy war’.
There are several other mommy wars being waged… the breastfeeding moms vs. the formula feeding moms…the attached moms vs. the not so attached moms…the cry it out sleep training moms v.s the co-sleeping moms …women against women.
If these wars aren’t enough, now there is a book on the real and virtual shelves examining another woman’s war.
It is the internal war that moms face in the age of too much information and the pressure bombarded upon themselves from all that information.
It seems moms are warring with each other trying to be ”natural” mothers …cloth diapers, elimination communication, breast-feeding until their child is in school and so on. These moms seem to be warring within themselves as well… the natural mom vs. the feminist mom.
” If we absorb a message that to breastfeed on demand, to protect one’s children from all dubious chemical exposures, and to take on full responsibility for their physical and psychological health at all times are crucial to our children’s well-being, then does that message also push women away from the work force, and back into the realm of home and family?
It is the war to end all wars, the one ‘to have everything and do everything not just well but perfectly well’.
Elisabeth Badinter’s book, “The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women,” is guaranteed to feed that fire. Not only does she believe that the best course of action for any woman, no matter what her maternal status, is to stay in the work force, but she also argues that the women who have chosen to do otherwise have essentially been sold a bill of goods.Influenced and deceived by the modern natural-parenting movement — with its labor-intensive breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and requirement that infants be properly stimulated and nurtured at all times — mothers “choose” to stay home because if they do not, they cannot meet the standards of this new ideal.
One of the worst failures of feminism has been its tendency to alienate men. Ms. Badinter sees men as the victors and women as the victims of this trend, but women are the perpetrators and both mothers and fathers are losers.
Are we mothers and women so conflicted about our roles that we are victims of our own internal war?
Are we being undermined by Modern Motherhood?
I am one of those women who tried to have it all…I thought as a nurse I would be able to accomplish this because I would always be employable. For numerous reasons that was the case … due to relocating three times, caring for my own family…caring for my elderly mother, and caring for my own health needs. Reasons beyond my control took me out of the workforce on and off for the last thirty years.
I was also not a warrior feminist. I fully supported women’s rights but not to the point of alienating men.
I worked primarily with physicians, who were mostly men in the early 70′s. In fact I married one, whom I met in the workplace. It was a different world at that time in NYC.
Fortunately, back in my day…in the NYC academic hospital settings nurses and doctors were encouraged to work in a collegial atmosphere so it was not necessary, at least in my eyes, to draw territorial lines and assert myself as a feminist. It was simple…I needed to be the best professional nurse I could be and respect in the workplace followed.
Now I know this was not the case for most other women in the workplace at that time…I did not have to look far to find women who were suffering. My mother was a single parent and never experienced equality in the workplace…which was one of the deciding factors in my decision to become a Bachelor’s degree prepared nurse at a time when they were few and far between.
I was very young…our country was at war (Vietnam) and there were anti-war protests everywhere…it was a time when you had to pick your battles.
Today the ‘mommy wars’ disturb me immensely because I see women fighting among themselves and thus weakening what could be a very strong alliance. I guess I am older and hopefully somewhat wiser.
Can we not as women accept other women’s choices and focus on the real issues at hand?
Wouldn’t a change in attitude serve our children just as well and enable us all to be ‘natural moms’ and feminists in one way or another?
Just some thoughts…