There’s a war going on out there, ladies, and it ain’t a pretty one. Moms– awesome women who should always be united on the sippy cup front, who should stand together as one in all of the trials and tribulations of motherhood —are currently battling it out in a bitter feud so controversial that I almost didn’t want to weigh in. Almost.
The working mom verses the stay-at-home-mom thing. You know all about it, girls. It’s a major source of tension between mamas these days. From sisters to best friends, to strangers, to people who are closer on Facebook than they’ll ever be in real life, we are ALL guilty of it. Whichever end of the rope you find yourself on, you can just go ahead and admit to having the occasional feelings of jealousy, animosity, resentment, and even actual anger for the other side at some point or another. And it’s totally normal– it’s human nature. The grass is always greener on the other side, right? It’s hard not to sometimes wonder how that lush, green grass would look on your own weedy, toy-littered front lawn.
But before we allow this petty rivalry to continue, we should probably take a few steps in each other’s shoes for a moment just to see what life is like in the slippers—or stilettos – of the women we are often too quick to judge.
The stay-at-home mom has probably found herself on the business end of a nervous breakdown at least once or twice, brought on by a potentially lethal combination of neither seeing nor speaking to another adult for several weeks at a time and the 24/7, nonstop, earsplitting shrieks of a colicky infant all day and all night. She is home ALL THE TIME, she hasn’t showered in days or worn anything but pajamas for a month, and all she hears from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes back to sleep is “mommy she’s hitting me,” and “mommy I want more juice,” and “mommy I peed on the couch again.” And if she sees ONE more fucking episode of Dora, she’s going to take that horrible, singing map and stick it so far up Swiper’s ass that he won’t be swiping anything again for a long, long time. Yes, it’s a pretty lonely, exasperating life.
The working mom, on the other hand, is eternally plagued with stress and guilt. There are assholes everywhere she goes trying to make her feel bad for doing something as basic as GOING TO WORK EVERYDAY, as though we live in some kind of utopian society where one measly income could effortlessly provide any family with everything they need. And it’s not like there is some mathematical equation for balancing home and work and everything in between. It’s not like she ENJOYS coming home to a messy house, the kids needing homework help at 8p.m.,then having to fold laundry until 11p.m., then waking up at the buttcrack of dawn the next day to chop vegetables for the stupid crockpot, so she is literally making everyone’s breakfast, lunch, AND dinner at the same time, and then sitting in rush hour traffic or next to some smelly person on the train for over an hour just to get to work and have some dickhead boss up her ass all day, making sure she isn’t Instagramming pictures of her kids instead of getting work done. Does that sound fun to anyone?
I, myself, am actually kind of a work-at-home-mom these days, as I do freelance writing in between refilling juice cups and cleaning pee off the couch. The amount of money I make doing it is practically laughable, but I can use all the help I can get with bills and writing experience, so I do it. When I started, I thought that working from home was going to be the best of both worlds. I can work but I don’t need to find a babysitter! How awesome, right? Um, not quite. My daughter literally climbs on my head whenever I attempt to get work done, my son is always on my laptop playing computer games when I need to use it, and I usually have to wait until everyone is sound asleep to get anything remotely productive done, often finishing my work just a couple of hours before the kids will be awake.
So you see, we need to understand that we are ALL amazing women, and we’re just striving to do the best we can with the hand that life has dealt to us. If you are familiar with me and my blog, you know that I’m rarely serious about anything. But I take this seriously because I am so incredibly tired of seeing women tear each other down over something that doesn’t even need to be an issue. I don’t go to “work” every day, but so what? Sometimes I’m happy about it, other times not at all. But that’s my life, my decision, and no one’s business but my own. The same goes for each and every one of you in the decision you have made for yourselves.
And as frustrating as the working-from-home gig can be, it’s allowed me to see things from the other perspective. It’s given me a chance to see how stressful, exhausting, frustrating, debilitating, and downright miserable ALL of these situations can be. But it’s also proven what I’ve known to be true all along: that being a mom is insanely difficult, no matter what you do for a living. It doesn’t matter if you have a job, a career, a business to run, a house to run, or maybe some hectic, hybrid version of it all. Because, at the end of the day, there’s a good chance that the hardest thing you will EVER do is something that we are all doing— raising children.
Can’t we all at least agree on that?