Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Oops, I Started A Mommy War

I wrote a blog post last weekend that pissed off a stay-at-home mom.

I wasn't surprised. I really did know that I was voicing an unpopular opinion. I said that once kids are in school from 8 am to 3 pm every day, being a stay at home mom doesn't seem that hard to me. Since I have been home the past 15 months, I still do all the stuff I did when I wasn't at work, but I have more hours in which to do it.

Some stay-at-home moms only like a narrative that paints them as people doing the world's most important job. For some reason, the narrative doesn't work for them if you dare to suggest that it isn't just the absolute hardest thing ever.

And yes, raising children is important.

And guess what, parents who work outside the home also raise their children. How about we stop suggesting that they don't? Please ask my children who has raised them since birth? I bet they'd say their selfish bitch of a working mom has.

I'll raise your kid for you, but I won't clean the bathrooms.
Raising children is difficult. That's true for all moms not just the saintly ones who choose to stay home and raise their children while the rest of us choose to work and leave our children home alone to be raised by house cats.

I wasn't suggesting that raising children, whoever you are, isn't difficult. In fact, I said that all of us have difficult lives because life is, in general, difficult.

But I have been at home now for 15 months and, for the most part, no, I do not think it's that hard to be home with school-age children who are at school many hours of the day. Am I missing something? I mean, I have difficulties. Hell yes, I do. But those are related to money troubles and lingering post-traumatic stress and grief plus the typical parenting crap that all moms deal with (working or not).

I do not count having to get kids up and out the door each morning as difficult. I do not count cleaning the house as difficult (OK, I hate cleaning my bathrooms but, still, it's not difficult on the level of say cleaning someone else's bathrooms all day every day). I do not count cooking dinner as difficult. I do not count running errands as difficult. I do not count attending my daughter's plays or picking her up from rehearsal as difficult. I do not count giving my son driving lessons as difficult.

Doesn't everyone have to do that sort of stuff? I mean, what the hell do you think people without kids do? Sleep until noon every day on filthy sheets, roll around in the dirt that has accumulated in their bathtubs, and prepare only cereal for dinner? (OK, some single men might do this.)

So this other mom suggested I am half-assing it.

And isn't it true that the mommy wars just don't work if one mother isn't suggesting to another mother that she is not doing a good enough job? If one mother isn't criticizing other mothers for sitting around during a play date and using it as an excuse to talk to other adults? If one mother isn't criticizing other mothers and looking down on them for admitting that marriage can be difficult, too?

But sure, let's say she's right. I'm half-assing it. I've been half-assing it for years now.

Two years ago, when my children's father died while standing in front of me, I never stopped parenting. I did not crawl into bed and indulge my deep need to never, ever wake up again. I made dinner every night (OK, I did order pizza once a week). I went to school functions. I went to work every day for a year and a half after it happened. I picked my daughter up at 2:45 every afternoon. I did the grocery shopping. I cleaned the house. I did the laundry. I planned birthday parties. I drove the kids to the mall and the skating rink and friends' houses and play rehearsals. I took them on trips. I went to meetings with their teachers. I drove them to orthodontist appointments and doctor appointments and weekly counseling appointments. I drove my daughter to guitar lessons. One afternoon, I made chocolate chip cookies and, for the 7 to 9 minutes that they were baking, I went into my room and closed the door and I allowed myself to cry for 7 to 9 whole minutes until the oven timer went off. Then I went to the kitchen and put on an oven mitt.

I still do all these things except for the work part.

Yep, I am clearly a lazy, half-assing piece of shit.

Oh, and since this other mom thinks breastfeeding is a way to keep score, I also breastfed - my son for nine months and my daughter for six months. With my daughter, I was working full time. How did I pull off this amazing feat? I left work and went to the day care during my lunch hour. Why did I stop breastfeeding her? Because I had surgery during which I almost bled to death and it took me several weeks to recover and I couldn't pick up my daughter for a bit. In other words, because I'm a lazy, half-assing piece of shit.

I said in my post that if you are a member of a certain tax bracket or the 1 percent, if you have healthy children, all things being equal, then no, I don't think staying home with school age children is that hard. This woman talked about how they have to live on a tight budget because of their choice. So she missed one of my points, didn't she? She's not a member of the 1 percent.

 In full-on, point-missing mode, this mother wrote an entire blog post insulting working mothers.

 (Please note that the blog post was subsequently edited to clarify her position on working moms. "I'm the one who wipes away the tears from your child's eyes when you can't show up for something b/c of last-minute work issues. I'm the one who invites your child to sit with us on our blanket b/c you couldn't attend the class picnic & s/he is eating alone.")

Did you know that when you are at work, she is at the school wiping away your child's tears because you are an evil, selfish witch who did not show up for a class event? Did you know while you are at work, she is chaperoning every single class field trip and wiping away your child's tears because you are an evil, selfish witch who did not come on the class field trip? Did you know that while you are at work she is ripping up your checks and shoving them down your child's throat and then wiping away your child's tears because you are an evil, selfish witch who did not send proper snacks?

And this is why we have mommy wars.

Fun, huh?


  1. Wow I have worked and stayed at home I am like a crazy selfish out of control kind of bitch!

  2. Girl, me too. But we sure do make awesome kids, don't we?

  3. Wow, that woman has some serious issues and internal insecurities about her own parenting choices. Don't let her put that off on you. You are a fabulous mom!

  4. And she uses ampersands like they are going out of style. If you're going to write a blog post about how you're taking care of all the working moms' kids, don't be a lazy writer about it.

    1. I am with Jennifer on this one. While I am sitting selfishly at work, whilst another mother is wiping away my baby's tears, I listen to my own playlist on Grooveshark or Pandora....mostly music that makes me feel appropriately guilty for the choices I make... I may have read the opposing blog with a more open mind, had I not been FORCED to listen to an embedded music player playing what must be music that "good moms" listen to...
      I hate that. I can never find the source of the music until after it has ruined the groove I have going on....and on Pandora, you can't scroll back the track anymore, so the offending music ruined some good Syreeta I had been blessed with on my "awesomesauce" station. I am scrolling up and down on that page thinking "where the hell is this shitty music coming from, DAMNIT!" MUST. TURN. OFF.

  5. Kayla is raising Gabi JUST FINE, while I selfishly go to work day after day...Kayla and Korgi and the tv. Raising her just fine. LOVE IT...

    see previous email stating you're an AMAZING WRITER.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I know my house cat certainly has done an incredible job of instilling values into my two children. For instance, they have learned that the best reaction to anxiety when strangers visit is to pee on a brand-new duvet cover. They have learned that the secret to acting like you don't give a shit is to actually NOT give a shit. The cat has also taught them that whining is an effective dinner-time strategy and, if Mom is on the laptop, the best way to get attention is to get all up in her business.
      Thank God for Shadow or those kids would be like wild animals up in here!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks! I was just singing your praises to my friend Tina the other day and telling her how awesome you are, what a great mom and a kind person, how hard you work, etc. In other words: You ROCK, too!


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