The Mommy Wars: Iím AWOL
by Tracey Solomon
OK. Thatís it. Iím done. The warís over, at least for me. Iím going AWOL from ďThe Mommy Wars.Ē
There may not be a military presence, but evidence of the war is everywhere. Go to Amazon.com and look up views on mothering or Google "Mommy Wars". From blogs to workplaces, the battle is blazing.
I actually left the battle awhile ago, but I want to tell the working and the single moms how sorry I am for being a participant. If you understand what one SAHM really thinks and feels, it could help end the war.
- Sometimes Iím jealous of you. I know itís stupid. Your life is no piece of cake. I sometimes wish I could go to work. (Leave it there and then, come home and be done working.) Itís not that simple. Iím sorry for minimizing the struggles you face, because Iím blinded by my own. Iím sorry for assuming mine are harder to deal with. Theyíre not. Theyíre just different.
- Sometimes Iím afraid youíre better than me because I think youíre worth more. Iím still suffering with CAD Ė Culturally Affective Disorder. (I made that up, but Iíve met other women who suffer from it!) Our culture seems to value people by their paychecks. Since mine are nonexistent, I sometimes question my worth. At times I slip into junior-high mentality and try to bolster my value by devaluing others. Iím sorry for taking it out on you.
- Sometimes I think you look down on me because I stay home. Maybe you do. Or maybe Iím insecure. Sometimes, Iím afraid people think I stay home because I canít do anything else. Feeling insecure makes me feel defensive and that I need to defend the rightness of my choice to stay home. In order for me to be right, you have to be wrong. Iím sorry. I know thatís not true.
- Sometimes I think youíre selfish. The truth is: I am. Part of my decision to stay home has been because I couldnít let someone else love my kids or experience their lives with them. But thereís another part of me that says: ďGet a job! Escape, before these kids turn your brain to mush!Ē Maybe Iíve been assuming thatís your motive, because it could be mine. There are a lot of reasons why I stay home and an equal number for you to work. Itís not my job to judge or assume your motives. I have a hard enough time sorting through my own.
- Finally, to the single moms Ė Iím sorry for being jealous of your freedom. Sometimes I wish I didnít have to argue with someone else about how to parent the kids, or what to cook for dinner or what to do on the weekend. I know I should appreciate the perspective my husband offers, but I donít always. While marriage and being a SAHM has its share of struggles, itís also wonderful. I love being married and a SAHM. But I worry that if I talk about it, I may make you feel bad or jealous. If weíre going to be friends, we need to share our lives with each other. I hope youíll help me learn how to share without feeling guilty or hurting you.
So, thatís it. Iím AWOL from the Mommy Wars. (Good thing, too Ė I look like a mess tent in camouflage.) I know Iíll mess up again. Iíll feel insecure and get defensive. And I may have a hard time remembering God can direct us differently in our mothering and that we can both be doing whatís right. It may be messy, but I think getting to know you is worth the risk. Being in the mommy trenches together is better than fighting each other, donít you think? Besides, I have this feeling, that together, we could change the world!
Tracey Solomon lives in Canton, Michigan, with her husband, Kyle, and three sons: Mike (19), Matt (17) and Noah (7). Sheís a ďbeen there, done that, doing it againĒ kind of mom.