Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney. That she shouldn’t be giving her husband economic advice because she hasn’t worked a day in her life. I have my own opinions about women putting other women down because of their perceived circumstances, but I’m not going to go there. Instead, it made me start thinking: where do I fit in this equation? For many years, I so related to the SAHM moniker and wore it with pride. And it is indeed the toughest job out there. And so worth it. But I am amazed at how many women think that they don’t have a choice. Wrong–you are choosing, even if it is that you have to work to pay the bills and keep your kids fed and clothed. Or working because you want the kids to go to private school or that you can take fabulous family trips.
In 2001, after returning to the firm and being utterly miserable for a month, I woke up and made my choice. I chose the mommy track over the partnership track. The financial impact was one thing: sayonara job means so long salary. What surprised me was the reactions I received. Many scoffed at me. I got the snide remarks–“why did you go to law school if you were just going to stay at home?” “What are you going to do all day? You’ll be so bored!” I could have done without the pitying looks that said “you’ve just ended your career.” Truth is, I didn’t make a career decision so much as a LIFE decision–my family had to come first or I would wind up a regret-filled, sad woman.
But the bigger question is: what the heck does it really matter what my answer is to the question?!? I am a mom, a wife, and I am the CEO of my home enterprise. But as an attorney, I also work part-time. So I am neither a SAHM or a WAHM or whatever other cutesy 4 letter acronym you can create for it. (Funny how it’s a four letter word!)
I am a hybrid mom. I work inside AND outside the home. Does that mean I am more one than another? That I don’t smile at the mom pushing 3 screaming kids through the store in the middle of the day? Or that I can’t relate to the working mom because I can pick my kids up after school? My ability to be there when school gets out is a privilege, a choice, but for pete’s sake–quit calling it a LUXURY. This is not class warfare. So shut up, stupid media parrots–I am tired of your begging for a cracker.
And while I’m chastising the media, I’ll add this: why must the objective be to always divide? Why should there be battle lines drawn between working and stay at home women? Please. We deserve more credit than that. We are different, to be sure. Some are moms to all boys, others are adoptive parents. I don’t see anyone trying to delineate moms in that way. We are moms–plain and simple. As women, I think we are more empathetic than the media depicts us. So to everyone out there trying to bolster their political position based on the calamity that has erupted from Rosen’s comments, I say, “I’m over it. I’m not going to be a puppet in your little game.” Fellow moms are my friends, not enemies.
I think we fall prey to this type of divisiveness because we feel mommy guilt. It goes back to the whole “I’ve got to have this motherhood thing perfected” pressure. That is both unrealistic and impossible. I am human. There are days where I have to tell my kids sorry for blowing a gasket or send myself to my room for a timeout so I don’t scream my head off and scare the neighbors. Why do we get caught up in the game of comparing ourselves to one another? I am doing the best I can, and I am tired of beating myself up for it. I have days where I rock and days where I suck. Most of the time I wind up somewhere in-between. And I’m good with that.
So I’m going to hop in my minivan in an hour, pick the kids up from school after I’ve been sitting at home blog writing for a half hour and drafting a hold harmless release. You know what? My kids won’t care what I’ve been doing or what acronym you might give me. They’ll have me-and that’s enough. In fact, that’s EVERYTHING.