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>Worth Repeating: The Mommy Wars

February 14, 2010

>I’m utterly consumed by The Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families, edited by Leslie Morgan Steiner. It was a hand-off from my good friend Christy (btw, Chris, it’s all highlighted and dog-eared now. If you want it back I’ll have to buy you another copy!)

The Mommy Wars is a collection of essays by moms – moms who work outside the home, moms who work from home, moms who work part-time and moms who just work, sun up to sun down, trying to make a good life for their kids. They all have different stories to tell about the choices they have made, but one thing is abundantly clear – a common thread running through every anecdote – it’s never easy. No one can “have it all,” not at the same time at least, and it doesn’t matter if you are Donna Reed or a CEO with an army of nannies and housekeepers to help you, raising children requires choices and sacrifices and you will be judged for every choice you make.

Right or wrong, we women are exceptionally good at slinging mud at one another. In her preface, Steiner writes:

“Why is there this catfight between working mothers and stay-at-home moms?
Despite the snarling most of us witness at times (and engage in ourselves),
aren’te we moms ultimately united in our quest to stay sane, raise good
kids, [and] provide one another with succor and support…?”

Just Google the phrase “Mommy Wars” and you will find thousands of entries, articles and even other books on this topic (ironically, many ripping Steiner apart for merely collecting and editing the essays and putting them in a book).

Why is this? Leslie Lehr, who published four novels AND a screenplay from home WHILE raising her young daughters (without that army of help, I might add) writes: “I suspect that deep down in every mother, with or without a paycheck, there is an element of self-doubt that never goes away.”

But the question remains…why? WHY are we so hard on ourselves, and on each other?

I’m only halfway through the book, so you are bound to hear more on this topic. If I come up with any answers I’ll let you know.

Sidebar:
I continue to be grateful for all your comments. They enlighten and encourage me! Through a magical randomizing formula created by my in-house engineer, Dianne and Christy have won those ducky little magnets from Papaya Art. Merci, cheries!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2010 8:33 am

    >Wow! I wasn't even trying, I swear! You can give me mine when I next "sit on your babies". Oh, and btw, I wnat the book back as is (unless you're really tied to it and plan to look back in 10+ years. Then I understand.)Part of being a word-o-phile is loning out books to other litereay types to see what they get out of them. I gave that book to you because I knew it would resonate. So I will cherish it and pass it an with my dog-ears, and your notes, to the next mommy in need! (I vote Dani. Thoughts??) Glad you're enjoying a loned book as I would!

  2. February 15, 2010 5:12 pm

    >Thanks for passing this on! Competition and belittling each other isn't just an issue for moms – it begins with the first crush on a boy and the intense jealousy for the girl he's crushing on instead. It seems that women have an inherent insecurity that makes them often compete against other women rather than build each other up.

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