Met a new mom at preschool drop off this morning. Seems nice enough . . . after a few minutes of the usual mom-to-mom banter we went on our separate ways. One thing that struck me from our conversation was that she pointed out theirs was a dual-income family. Whether by necessity or not, I do not know . . . but she made it clear in our two-minute talk, “We. Both. Work.” There is a lot of implicit meaning behind a statement like that, especially when you have just uttered it to someone who is clearly a stay-at-home mom.
Everyone like to joke about them, but the Mommy Wars are real . . . maybe not in the sense the media would have us believe, but they are ever-present.
My experience has been that moms who work outside the home LOVE to point out this fact as often as possible. And they expect it to elicit sympathy. Whether or not they are intentionally doing this in the presence of stay-at-home mothers to make a point, I’m not sure. However, I find it interesting that it is usually presented with an implied air of “and you don’t” or better yet, “and you don’t have to.” The impression is you (you, you . . . stay-at-home mommy!) are so fortunate . . . so protected . . . so . . . what exactly is it you do all day? Because everyone knows that caring for children is menial, beneath the dignity of an educated woman.
Yes, I know it can (and often does) go both ways. Many mothers who make the choice to NOT work outside the home and instead be the primary caregivers of their offspring often slip into venomous lashings out in the opposite direction: Clearly, moms who go off to work each morning do not care about their children at all, and probably wish they never even had them.
And so it cycles, not knowing when (or how) to stop.