Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Mommy Wars

I recently had a question from a reader, a mother of 2 young girls. The problem she presented has been plaguing women since they left the home en masse and entered the workplace - from the 1970's forward.  It is a problem we all struggle with - whether we are stay at home moms or working moms.

Here is my response to this busy, working mom - who like all mothers is just trying to do the best she can for her children.


Has anyone else had this problem? I work 2-3 days a week as a nurse in an extremely busy hospital Endoscopy department. I have 3 and 8 yr old daughters. I have a really busy life. I'm experiencing a sort of "backlash" from my friends. My work friends are giving me this "must be nice, only working 2 days a week." My at home mom friends are giving me this "your too busy for us, your career and all."

It is soo frustrating. It's like I can't win. Neither party has any idea what my home life is like and all I am responsible for. I'm really doing the best I can. Any suggestions??


My Reply:

Ask yourself this question first: Do you really like those friends who are giving you such a hard time?

In fact, are they really your friends at all? If it were me, I would not give them a second thought. Women have it hard enough in this world trying to balance being the (usual) primary caregiver, the (usual) primary household manager, and then oftentimes working outside the home on top of that. However, instead of helping each other - they frequently tear each over down over mothering choices.

This evolution is very sad, and it represents the demise of women's relationships in this world. Women used to band together and help each other stand strong - through birth, child rearing, family life, work, and death. I believe we lost this womanly community of support when women started to believe they had to choose sides - either work inside the home OR work outside the home. They also bought into the belief that one was more important than the other. The truth is - both jobs are valuable and absolutely necessary.

Surround yourself with positive thinkers who support you.  You are doing your best as a woman and mother and you only have time in your life for those will help raise you up - not tear you down.

If you have not read any of Pulitzer Prize nominee and mother's activist Ann Crittenden's books, I highly suggest them. Crittenden's books empower mothers- and leave no room for the petty backlash you are, and most ALL mothers experience, from their not so friendly "friends."

You are doing a great job - and yes, you can have the best of both worlds as a mother and woman. I think you have made a great decision - it's one I can relate to and strive for as a working mother with two young sons.

Congratulations to you, keep up the fantastic job of balancing your life well and having the awareness and wisdom to know when you may have to walk away from relationships which are damaging your well being.  Cut yourself loose from those false friends who do not support you. There are plenty of women out there who do support you, and I am one of them!

Blessings to your and your family,

*photo taken of me speaking at a national health care convention in Philadelphia in June. What is not pictured is the internal struggle of me leaving my sons (again) to be "the working mom."  I empathize with all moms - stay at home and working moms.  Women need to support women because no one else can truly understand the complexity of what life requires from us.

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