War (What is it Good For?)

July 4, 2006

Edit: More links added below!
I’ve been promising this for a while: a smackdown post wherein I drag Caitlin Flanagan and Linda Hirshman into my bloggy ring and bash some heads together. Problem was, every time that I started putting my thoughts to screen, I’d get mad and start ranting. No matter what corner I started from, I’d end up shrieking HI-yaah! and flinging myself footlong, Miss Piggy-style, at my antagonists. And then screaming and clawing and pulling hair.

That is, I would have done. Except that my opponents weren’t really there and it was just me cursing at the page.

So I needed to retreat to the corner and calm down.

And I needed to figure out just what was making me so mad.

The obvious source of frustration for me is, of course, my disagreement with their respective positions. I’ve already addressed Caitlin Flanagan’s argument that it is simply best that, where possible, mothers stay at home with their children and have stated that I think that it is, for the most part, bunk. And there’s much that I could say, and someday will say, about my thoughts on Linda Hirshman’s argument that life in the home is not particularly conducive to human flourishing and that women should, therefore, reject any assignment to the home. I want to say more about it someday – soon, I hope – because the question of whether and how women, and especially mothers, contribute to public life, and so whether and how they flourish, is central to my academic work. And although I am merely a flea in the academic microcosmos that Hirshman inhabits, I’m a pretty fucking ballsy flea and am pretty comfortable stating that she is, in my own academic opinion, wrong.

(And, how many opportunities to I get to pretend that my years and years of – in Hirshman’s estimation – useless study in the field of political philosophy might qualify me to contribute to a public debate? Mama-blogging isn’t just about keeping track of shits and spits, you know. It’s mah soap-box.)

But I’m going to save that for later. ‘Cuz that’s a long post and a pedantic one and I haven’t been sleeping because WonderBaby hasn’t been sleeping blah blah blah and it would probably just degenerate into another rant about gods and penises. And in any case, I’m more interested, for the moment, in figuring out why this all makes me so angry.

It’s not just that I disagree with Flanagan and Hirshman. I’ve spent enough years in undergraduate and graduate seminars reading crap theories about crap nonsense – including plenty of crap-assed feminist and post-feminist and I-ain’t-no-feminist theories that only ever amount to so much useless gynobabble – to be really bothered by one or two more dumps in the bowl.

(Sorry.)

What’s bugging me – and here I am not going to win any awards for originality – is that women, women, like Flanagan and Hirshman continue to force the dynamic of disagreement among women and insist that that disagreement is grounds for war. They demand that we choose sides, even as they insist that we are not within our maternal and/or feminist rights to freely choose our lives. If you wish to be a true mother, a truly good mother, says Flanagan, then you have no choice: you must stay at home. If you are a true feminist, a truly good feminist, says Hirshman, then you have no choice: you must not stay at home.

Pick your side. You’re either for us or against us.

Flanagan and Hirshman have been holding opposing fronts in the so-called Mommy Wars, dictating hard lines from their respective sides. And I hate hard lines. I’m not interested in either of these women telling me or any other mother what is best for us as mothers and/or as women. I didn’t sign up for this war, I don’t support this war. Don’t ask me to march, don’t ask me to fight. Don’t ask me to wave a flag on behalf of our side.

‘Cause I don’t know what side I’m on. More to the point: I don’t want to have to choose a side. I’m not comfortable with the absolutist character of either of these sides.

But I want to be clear: this isn’t a cry for unfettered freedom of choice. I do think that the single greatest contribution of feminism to the lives of women in the West has been the propagation of the principle of choice, for women, as an ideal. But the resolution of the Mommy Wars is not going to come about through a simple affirmation of the principle of choice. The Mommy Wars continue, I think, because we are reluctant to whole-heartedly embrace the idea that one side is as good as the other – or to reject the idea that there may in fact be one right way.

The notion that there may be ‘one right way’ – to live, to believe – is a tremendously compelling one. It has fuelled and sustained empires and religions and civilizations. It promises to simplify things, to make life clearer. And there is, I think, no life that so provokes the desire for clarity – for salvation through clarity – than that of a mother (and perhaps that of parents more generally.) And I think that there is no state of being (human being) that so stimulates the desire for truth as the state of being a parent. We want to know what is truly best for our children, what is right. And I think that most of us believe, or at least suspect, that when it comes to parenting, to protecting and nurturing children, not all choices are equal. We know that there is such a thing as bad parenting. We know that there is such a thing as neglect. We know that some children – many children – turn into unkind, unpleasant, inconsiderate, nasty adults. There is a wrong way.

And because we love our children, we want to know what the wrong way is, so that we can avoid it. And if there is a clearly marked right way, we want to know that, too. And if someone with a degree or a publishing contract comes out and says publicly that the path we’ve chosen is the right one, we cheer. If they say it’s the wrong one, we get nervous. Or mad. And we fight.

And so the War continues. And will continue, I think, until we are prepared to admit two things. One: that there are right ways and wrong ways, good choices and bad choices, and that a simple affirmation of choice qua choice is not enough to allow us to identify the good and avoid the bad. Two: that the correct path is not going to look the same for every woman, mother, father and family.

I don’t know what the right way is. I do know that there is more than one right way. And I know – and I’m comfortable making a knowledge claim on this – that whatever maximizes the stock of love in our families is what best points us in the direction of the ‘right way.’ That’s not going to look the same in every family, but it boils down to the same things: love and care and respect – for our children and our partners and ourselves – and love love love. Everything else is so much detail, so much window dressing, so much she said/she said.

That’s what I say, anyway. Bad Mother out.

I told her to say all that.

For further reading: check out what Mo-Wo, L., Sheryl, Christina (in her July exchange post over at Cape Buffalo) and TOMama (at Literary Mama) had to say on this subject.

And – more links! – check out what Kittenpie said about the whole Mommy War thing back in March, BubandPie’s take on Hirshman here, Toyfoto’s recent thoughts here, and what MotherGooseMouse had to say. And Laural Dawn wrote this after reading my words. Also check out what Beanie Baby had to say, and Moonstruck Mama, and Veronica at Toddled Dredge.

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    { 47 comments }

    Motherhood Uncensored July 5, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    Good points, lady. I think that your statement about how ONE way is not always the right way for everyone rings true for me.

    We’re humans – I know researchers (particularly the QUAN folks) don’t want to hear it – but generalizations just don’t fly so well. What works for one – may not work for me – and guess what? I’m done driving myself crazy trying to figure out why. I’m just going to do it MY WAY.

    And really, all the fighting – particularly folks that dog women with education and high career standings who leave to stay at home – doesn’t help the image of motherhood.

    gingajoy July 5, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    you’re right–there is no right way, and to ask for one is utterly bogus and (blegh) binarist.

    using the “work” situation of a mother (a MOTHER, and not a FATHER mind) as a means to determine what good or bad parenting. it’s just a false foundation from which to start. we’re never going to stop questioning if we’re doing the right thing, but we can step back and say “do my kids seem ok?” yeah? not bad? ok, we’re good.

    the only thing that annoys me is that these ladies get so much airplay. and money. yeah. the money chaps my ass.

    Granny July 5, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    And the choir says amen.

    I haven’t written a post on either of my blogs yet. Others were doing it much better than I.

    I’ve been the cheering section for those who have and I’ve written comments in some places which might as well have been a post. They certainly were long enough.

    I keep coming back to the good we could accomplish if we just stopped fighting with each other.

    For women who work outside the home from choice or necessity, we could work to improve conditions. Affordable child care, flexible hours, consideration for lactating mothers, more opportunities to work from home. It’s a long list.

    For moms who choose to remain at home, we should praise them and do everything we can to make their contribution valued.

    It could be a win-win opportunity for all of us.

    Silly Hily July 5, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Amen sister! Amen.

    L. July 5, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    I thought it was ironic that Hirshman pilloried the “failure of choice feminism” in her American Prospect article — women like her helped kill it.

    I look forward to reading more from you on this.

    Queen of Spain July 5, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    A big, fat AMEN sista…except for one thing.

    I like the fighting.

    I think it means we’re arrived. The men fight about crap ALL the time. They debate. They have heated exchanges. They do what they need to do to make their points HEARD. So I think that this fighting is the next, necessary step in equality. We’re finally so good with ourselves, as a gender, that we can openly and freely debate what is best and what is horrible about all the various choices we have.

    Sure we like to be all huggie and happy and pat eachother on the back and support one another…but why can’t we do that and add some smack down? Why do we always have to be so peace and love? Is THAT lack of agression, that fear of a fight that really dooms us?

    I say bring on those morons like Caitlin and Linda who want us all to be in one box or the other. Let’s all duke it out with them. With eachother.

    Then let’s all go get pedicures and laugh about it later.

    chichimama July 5, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    You go girl. I have avoided jumping into this debate on my blog because I couldn’t come down on one side or another, and didn’t know how else to state my opinion. Great job.

    Mel July 5, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    “the correct path is not going to look the same for every woman, mother, father and family”

    BRAVA!!!

    Agreed. Great writing, great post. Thank you. :)

    kittenpie July 5, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    You know, this is very much my feeling on this. We get worked up because it matters so deeply to us that we be doing a good thing and that makes us defensive when someone tells us we are doing it wrong. My post from back in March on this is
    here
    [that may look like gobbledygook, I'm attempting the html for the first time.]

    chelle July 5, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    I agree on so many fronts. I try not to get defensive when people ask me when I am going to return to work, when I know that I am not returning to work. I am educated, I had a good career before having a baby, however I am doing what is best for our family.

    Mom101 July 5, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    Bravo! Her Bad mother for President! And UN Secretary General! And Secretary of State! And Best Director at the Academy Awards!

    I know you’re not really in the running for the last one, but don’t you like the ring of Oscar Winner Her Bad Mother?

    Anonymous July 5, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    Well said. I haven’t written about this because–in my zeal to embrace all possible options–I get tongue tied.

    I will say this though: I’ve been longing to make fun of Caitlin Flanagan for just how bad her hair was when she appeared on the Colbert Report. (My hair is not such that I ordinarily feel entitled to cast stones, but then again I don’t advocate that one of my sole purposes on this earth is to be attractive to my husband.)

    ~Brooklyn Girl

    Laural Dawn July 5, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    when I read your post I sent it to all my friends who are moms or who know moms. You’re right on here. I wish you could just take that post and put it in the brochurs they hand out with formula coupons and learning to read books at the hospital.
    I had such a hard choice knowing what to do at the end of my year. Money dictated that I went back to work but I felt so horrible. And then I admitted that to someone and she told me that staying home was bad.
    Thanks for writing this so eloquently because I can finally use your words to explain to people how I feel.
    And, in the end I think that if you are happy with your choice, or make the decision to be happy with the decision forced upon you it will work.
    Thanks! I LOVE you!

    Veronica Mitchell July 5, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    I think the balance you struck between “there is no one right way” and “there are rigt ways and bad ways” was just what the doctor ordered.

    I have been debating for weeks whether I should post on this. But I think my rant would just be one more fart into the effluvium.

    bubandpie July 5, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    Lke Kittenpie said, I think that we invest so much in our choices – and give up so much, no matter what we “choose” – that it’s tempting to elevate our path into the One True Way For All Mothers. I’m on day three, now, of using full-time day care for the first time, and I’m shocked, really shocked, at how little I see my children. It boggles the mind. But I also see how the Bub is really noticing me – really seeing me and interacting with me, instead of just accepting me as the usual backdrop of his life. It’s good for him, I think – it’s drawing him out of himself a little.

    Here’s the link to my little riff on Hirshman:

    http://bubandpie.blogspot.com/2006/05/bless-me-mother-for-i-have-sinned.html

    (I’m not as brave as Kittenpie with the linkage – do you do it the same way as in a post?)

    wolfbaby July 5, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    Your right, there are to many shades of gray.

    Great thing about being human is, were all different. Because were all different all situations are diffent. Meaning there is more then one path

    Well said, well written… way to go;)

    Marla July 5, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    Over at Smartmouth Mombie’s, after her May 12th post in reference to this ( http://www.mombie.com ), my comment was:

    “I’ve been thinking about this post for a bit…and I still haven’t hammered out the perfect way of saying it, but, once upon a time the dictionary definition of feminism was simply “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”. It seems to have come to a point where feminism now advocates that some women are more equal than others.

    Damn, that was it. I may have to re-use it on my own blog.”

    Then I never wrote more, because really, that is it for me.

    And over at Beanie Baby, Andrea’s post is beyond fantastic : http://www.athenadreaming.org/Beanie/archives/2005/12/synthesis.html, but I STILL don’t have anything more to say.

    You know, if we all end up shipwrecked on some island, and it got all “Lord of the Flies” about Feminism, I’d be Piggy. I just know it. And because I can’t do the linky thing in comments either. And I have ass-mar.

    mothergoosemouse July 5, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    Here’s my previously published thoughts. We’re on the same page.

    SUEB0B July 5, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    Brilliant post. Cute baby. What more could a reader ask for?

    Mother Bumper July 5, 2006 at 10:58 pm

    Hey there ballsy flea :) Your posts from your soap box (Leicester Square of the blogsphere) are among my favourite and while many of us parent bloggers have posted about “keeping track of shits and spits” there IS so much more to the community we’ve joined. I had to repeat that part of your post because this community has helped me (because once again, it’s all about me – ha!) feel so much more comfortable with my choice to stay home. I can stay home and keep my mind sharp with a community of people who talk the talks I want to hear and stimulate my brain matter. And because our community bumps around with the other communities I hear so many other opinions. I’m picturing this huge endless venn diagram of communities and now I’m picturing that really cute guy who sat in front of me in stats 310 and… wait a sec… where was I going with this? Oh right, my stance on the “Mommy war”. Well the fact is: that I’ve never been able to pick a side. Mostly because I’ve never wanted to pick a side. And I’m so relieved that you wrote this post because I’d rarely speak about this because I felt so on the fence and for lack of a better word “wimpy” about my lack of a stance. This was a hot topic at my parenting class and I’d just shuffle around it because I didn’t care what other folks did, I just knew that I was going to stay at home because it was right for me and Bumper. So once again thank you for writing this one. I can’t believe you just published it and there are already so many comments (ahhh who am I fooling… of course I knew there would be this many comments already… now to go read them all). I’ll talk to you soon. Over and out.

    Liesl July 5, 2006 at 11:23 pm

    Delurking…

    Sheesh, this whole Mommy Wars debate just drives me insane. Primarily because, as you’ve stated, there are a lot of good ways to parent, a lot of bad ways to parent, and there are very few absolute rights and wrongs. The problem is that very few people seem to want to admit that having multiple paths to great parenting may be, in fact, a good thing, or at least an OK thing. I guess it doesn’t sell books or air-time. So I thought, “I’ve got nothing original to contribute here.”

    Then I read Queen of Spain’s comment, and thought, “AHA!” Maybe we as women have arrived…

    I heard this interesting story from my sil a while back – she’s feeling excluded by the SuperMoms at work. The reason is that she formula feeds her daughter, and the moms in question are breastfeeding. The interesting spin is that since she’s using formula, she has no real reason to be in the Mother’s Room set up at her office for pumping. My sil told me all sorts of business decisions are made in that room, and she gets no say in them. Neither, obviously, do the guys.

    So the Mother’s Room seems to have become a new-century men’s room, or exclusive country club, complete with in-fighting. Who knew?

    Maybe we have arrived.

    (Sorry to highjack your comments, but this story has been begging me to tell it for a while now.)

    Lena July 6, 2006 at 1:19 am

    (((sigh)))

    Exactly. I’ve written about 29 posts about this and deleted them. For the reason your post points out: BOTH SIDES HAVE GOOD POINTS. It all comes down to not buying into the judgements with your own insecurities and be confident in your choices.

    Easier said than done.

    You put it well. As always.

    sweatpantsmom July 6, 2006 at 4:21 am

    Good gawd – I’ve been away for awhile. Are the mommy wars STILL going on?

    You bring up some great points. Thanks for getting me all riled up. I’m off to put a bag of flaming dog poop on Linda Hirshman’s front porch.

    HomeFireBlue July 6, 2006 at 9:41 am

    “Gynobabble”!!

    I LOVE YOU!

    I am one, too, who has been meaning to blog on this. I get so effing angry when I think about it, though, that I can’t write straight.

    Perhaps one day. In the meantime … off to read all your links.

    -Blue

    metro mama July 6, 2006 at 10:07 am

    I want to write about this but I’m waiting until I can get around to actually reading both of their books. From what I know, I think they’re both going to piss me off.

    I agree the subject is too complex to be treated as a dichotomy.

    sunshinedaily4me_wuz_here July 6, 2006 at 10:54 am

    I’m with sweatpants mom..and the flaming bag of dog poop. Great post and I totally agree. What is right and works for one does not necessarily for the other. What happened to “live and let live”? Why must it be such a huge debate.
    By the way, I am new to your blog, but I will check back. Enjoy it (love the picture of the “motha sucka” t-shirt…so cute!)

    sunshine scribe July 6, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Yes, yes and yes!

    I haven’t written about this for the very reason you described. I am just so inflamed that they have created a scenario where there is a line drawn and there are sides.

    There is no “right” way to do anything. Just what is “right” for ones own family.

    These women seem to be enjoying their fame in polarizing a debate that need not exist.

    Andrea July 6, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Toyfoto over at Itty Bits and Pieces wrote about this just a couple days ago, here. I am so with you, because I’m an Office Mother and I have to believe that what I’m doing is best for my child, and right now, my paycheck is needed to put a roof over his head and food on his plate, plus insurance for his healthcare at our disposal. But don’t think for a minute I wouldn’t stay home with him if the opportunity and finances permitted me the choice. There are merits to both sides, and I think I haven’t written about this myself (like so many others have said) because I don’t fall on one side or the other. I see the validity of both sides. One is only better than the other on a family by family basis, and judging a mother for her choices is only going to convolute the issue.

    Thank you for your eloquence and insight.

    rhonda July 6, 2006 at 11:58 am

    First time visitor and I could not agree with you more on this issue!
    Great post-

    toyfoto July 6, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    YAY!!! … Perhaps the bloggesphere is where this battle will finally end. Perfectly put, I should add.

    Bahar July 6, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    Great post!

    As I am growing older, more and more, I realize that there are “personal choices” in life that do not determine whether or not you are a feminist (or democrat/republican/libral/conservative).

    They are just personal choices, meaning that, they work for you and your life style!

    Why do we have fit within a box? Why do we need to label any step we take?

    NeoTechie July 6, 2006 at 3:09 pm

    Imagine PEACE
    Imagine PEACE

    Reflecting on the 4th

    Imagine PEACE
    Imagine PEACE

    moonstruckmama July 6, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    I so agree! I’m just so sick of everyone (particularly other women) telling us ALL what to do. Where is this notion that all women must do the exact same thing coming from? Every woman, indeed, every person, needs to choose his or her own path and make it work for them. Thanks for the additional links on the topic!

    I also wrote a flimsy post on this topic (sorta) but what is really nice is the long awesome comment I got about not only work vs. stay at home, but ALL the chioces we make as mothers/women being disparaged by each other.
    http://www.moonstruckmama.squarespace.com
    /journal/2006/6/13/mommy-skirmishes.html

    Dawn July 6, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    I’ve written about this too. It befuddles me that women can still choose THIS topic to go at one another’s throats, when we are each Experiencing how hard the rols of mother is- both in and out of home.

    I still ownder if the issue about women anger is popping up in this arena. And is it Just women who are fueling this, or do we have men egging them on from behind? When women are busy fighting themselves, it’s much harder to rally and say “we want equal pay” or “we want paid time home with our children like Sweden…”

    Mrs. Darling July 6, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    Just happened on your blog and want to say that I totally agree. Why argue about these things. We all choose the path that is the best for us as a family and individually. It’s no one elses business.

    mamatulip July 6, 2006 at 10:45 pm

    There *is* more than one right way. I think if people opened their eyes wider and looked beyond their own front porches they’d realize that what works for them might not work for other people.

    Honestly? I’d never heard of these two names until a little while ago. I don’t know enough about what either of them have said or stand for to really weigh in heavily, but I do believe to each is own. As women, as mothers, we can choose what’s right for us and our families. There really doesn’t need to be so much hoopla about it.

    Christina July 6, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    It’s true, there is no one right way. Anyone who tries to tell you there is only one right way is either a zealot or trying to sell you a book.

    The right way is different for each family, each person, each situation. If you make your choices based on what is best for you and your family, then I believe you’re choosing the right way.

    Oh, and Linda Hirshman? She has a degree in Philosophy, just so you know. ;)

    Heather July 6, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    We’re on the same page. I have to say I think the polarization in viewpoints is strongly rooted pre feminist history. Women have been historically treated in absolutes not subject to change. We were to stay home and tend to children, or, post-feminism, we were to work because you’re a capable person and historical roles were beneath us. In the end in-fighting only serves to reinforce existing class, socio-economic, and other differences among women, and undermine the debate about why workplace and other issues still require attention. Why women predominantly who work (by choice or necessity) pull a double shift or why glass ceilings still prominently exist in so many professions (*cough* law *cough*).

    It’s the same thing has largely pushed the leftist movement to the side for so long. We’re so busy fighting among ourselves there is no united front and the issues remain sidelined. But that’s a rant for another day.

    lildb July 7, 2006 at 2:13 am

    I’ve lately wanted to join the discussion on this topic, but am so wishy-washy that I haven’t taken the plunge. (and I love you even more, if that’s possible at this point, for dipping into the pool yourself.) I’ve lately been feeling like some of the work-away-from-home mommy bloggers find the SAHM mombloggers “boring” because we don’t tend to create posts that follow a format that looks like something a professional would. maybe that’s just me and my insecurities bleeding all over the front of my comment, and blog, but it’s something I’ve tried to talk myself out of and can’t. why is it boring to blog about what I fed my child today? it’s not boring to *me*. it consumed me for a good hour, because sometimes food is a giant battle between my child and his food preparers. why is it boring to mention that I’m having a horrible day, that I’m depressed, that I’m ill? it’s what’s happening, and it’s important and nasty and consuming for me. and I use my blog to vent, oftentimes, because I don’t have any other social outlet, since I don’t leave the house and communicate with other adults. ever. which is not to say that I bear animosity toward those who do (jealousy, maybe, but not animosity); so why do they bear animosity toward me for writing about my supposed “boring” laundry list of experiences; why is my minutiae perceivable as boring, simply because it’s not involving important, career-ish stuff, or written in an important, career-ish fashion?

    whee-ew. I didn’t mean to steal your blog. *hangs head*

    thanks for posting about this, HBM. I like your take on this whole business way better than my own.

    Pattie July 7, 2006 at 7:30 am

    I am with Mama Tulip. I honestly have never heard of these women, either until now. I gotta get with the program! Ahem…anyway, I agree…I never trust someone who says there is just one “right” way of doing things. As a Mom, what works for me may not work for someone else. I think we should just accept each other and respect each other’s choices.War? What war? There shouldn’t be one….

    Beanie Baby July 7, 2006 at 12:01 pm

    I blogged about this one way back in December when Hirshman’s god-awful article first came out:

    http://www.athenadreaming.org/Beanie/archives/2005/12/synthesis.html

    Her entire argument is crap. The formatting is kind of wonky b/c I wrote it before upgrading my blog software, but there you go.

    And in it, I–ahem–disagree slightly with you. I don’t think she’s anti-SAHM so much as anti-Mom, period. She’s not for working moms, not for any moms except herself and a slight handful of others. Gods know that I, as a full-tiem working mother, don’t get any warm fuzzies from her writings.

    Nancy July 8, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    Great post. This topic I don’t get tired of, ever.

    I do agree that the mommy wars are not bound to come to a halt (or friendly cease-fire) anytime soon. I think you touched on the reasons — as a society we tend to be so defensive of our own choices, and any other people’s choices that we think somehow degrade or question our own. I wish people — OK, women — could be secure enough in our own decisions and choices that we don’t feel the need to start these wars. We like to say “to each his own” but we don’t really live that philosophy.

    MommyWithAttitude July 9, 2006 at 12:33 am

    HBM, I now have not only a 3000 word response to LH’s original horrifying AlterNet article, I also have an 1800 word response to your original Flanagan piece…

    Will I EVER get them posted???? I hate posting things that are THAT long.

    But you make great points here… I’m getting tempted to dust them off.

    Just because I happen to want to stay home and am able to stay home is not in any way an indication of how good (or not) a mother I am, nor is it any indication of my moral (or lack thereof) character. It’s a lifestyle that works for me and my family AT THE MOMENT, subject to change without notice or approval by anyone else.

    Why don’t these two seem to get that?

    Heather July 9, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Kudos to you for saying so. I agree we all have our own choices, and whatever works for the family is best. It is unfortunate that not all mothers think we have freedom of choice, and respect the choices that we each make.
    Yes my family is living with a minimal budget right now, but I get to stay home with my son, and we are happy.
    When the topic arises or is mentioned off hand at the park, many mothers on the playground make sure to let me know in a round about way that they think I’m acting like I’m better than them for staying home with my son, while they choose to work. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact working sounds good to me right now, though so does staying at home with my son. IT’S A TOUGH DECISION EITHER WAY!It’s like mothers bullying mothers on the playground when we are forced to choose which parenting style is best.

    mo-wo July 10, 2006 at 1:05 am

    Crap look at all those smart comments. What can I possibly add.. well, here’s something.

    You’re right, women suck! You know whadd-eye mean? I gno what you mean.

    Nice post!

    kim July 10, 2006 at 9:40 am

    Only extremists play.

    something blue July 12, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    Brilliant! Personally I wouldn’t want there to be only one right way. It would leave no room for individuality.

    It’s not a question of whether to work or not. I agree that the right way includes a whole lot of love!

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