I never really understood the whole "Mommy Wars" thing until I became one. And how could I? It's perhaps one of the most divisive and hurtful scab anyone ever picked. But why do we do it? Why do we lash out at each other and criticize and try to make a woman feel bad about the most important role she'll ever play in her life?
My mother was a stay-at-home mom. That was the only way I ever saw "motherhood" happen. So when it became my turn and I had to work, I was thrown for a loop. I'd always assumed daycare kids were sad little creatures, sitting in a lonely corner with green boogers matted on their faces. It turns out, as I've discovered, this is not the case.
Here's a quick example of the arguments given on both sides:
1. Pro-Stay-At-Home: "I've made sacrifices to stay at home. I didn't want anyone else raising my kids. Women who work just like to drive nice cars and go shopping."
2. Pro-Working-Mom: "I want to set a good example of a work ethic for my child. They get so much valuable socialization out of daycare. I can't sit around and bake cookies all day."
And here's what each side hears:
You don't make sacrifices.
Someone else is raising your children.
You work because you're materialistic.
You don't set a good work ethic for your kids.
Your child isn't socialized and acts weird.
All you do is bake cookies, you're not valuable.
That smarts doesn't it? WHY do we do that to each other?
This is the lesson God has been teaching me for the last year: the Lord asks different things of different women. For some of us, it's crystal clear that if we don't work our homes will end up in foreclosure. For some, it's crystal clear that they can't be at a desk all day.
Somewhere deep down (and it's probably because I didn't grow up with a working mom) I thought that being working mother wasn't as fulfilling and noble as staying at home. I was wrong. I've found great contentment in doing what I do. I don't second guess whether I'm doing the right thing. Why? Because I trust that God's will in my life is good. He needs me to help pay bills and contribute in that way. It also doesn't hurt that Jane is the most social baby in the world and is thriving at her daycare.
So why would we argue and back bite and make other mothers feel badly about what is perhaps God's will in their lives? It's because in the dark of night we worry. We're insecure. We wonder if we should be working. Or not working. Or home schooling. Or feeding our kids only organic food. Maybe they should go to preschool? Maybe they should be breast fed? Bottle fed? Given a bath every other day? Every day? What if shots cause autism? What if their car seat isn't tight enough? What if...
The what if's eat us up.
The reason that I sleep well at night, the reason that I enjoy every second with Jane, the reason that I'm totally content as a working mother isn't because I don't struggle with the what if's. It's not because I'm some testament to supreme self confidence. It's not because I "have it right" and you don't. It's because the Holy Spirit has given me peace. It's because of the realization that I am right where God wants me to be at this moment. And God's plan, God's will, is always good.
I encourage everyone reading this to think about that. Think about what you do as a mother. Are you staying at home and homeschooling and growing a garden and looking into happy smiling faces every morning? Are you working to keep a roof over your head and spending every waking moment sucking in the joy of being a mother and watching as your child tries to kiss everyone at daycare (Jane is more of a hugger, but I'm sure the kisses are coming)? Are you praying and asking God to have his way with your life? Then enjoy it. Don't be insecure. Don't worry about what the mom next door is doing. You are a mother walking in God's will, and that's a beautiful thing.