Tuesday, October 06, 2009

UK Gets Ranty

You know, I was reading an essay the other day that I felt like I had read a billion times before. It was about a mom who stays at home with her kids and was questioning her choice. She used to have a job she loved, now she freelances, and she wonders what was lost in the translation.

I am tired of hearing about this.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm tired of it because I'm a third time mom who isn't in that phase of life anymore. My choice has been made, I'm not changing it, and I don't doubt it. And since we homeschool, it won't be something I really have to think about for a long time. So reading article after article about the "Stay At Home Mom vs. Work At Home Mom vs. Working Mom" has almost no relevance or appeal to me.

But I feel this way about most "hot button" issues. I've made my choices, I don't doubt them, and I'm not changing them. And if you have made different choices, fine. I see no need to persuade you differently. If you ask, I'll tell you why I cloth diaper, but if you choose disposables, that has zero effect on my day to day life. I don't spend my spare time bemoaning your decision to buy jarred food instead of hand making it or deciding to go back to work.

So why, WHY, do I have to read about this in every. single. magazine? Is there nothing left to talk about besides the things that for some unearthly reason polarize moms?

Which brings me to my ultimate point: I am tired of hearing about Mommy Wars. What Mommy Wars? Who are these people "warring"? Why on earth does anyone feel the need to argue about this over and over? And why do magazine editors insist on publishing articles about it in every. single. issue? Sweet Fancy Moses. If you are reading anything related to parenting you just can not escape these topics. Surely there is more to parenting than picking a side on a few hot button topics and defending your choice to the death.

I'm sure that if people only knew my choices, I would look like a rabid hippy. Stay at Home mom, Breastfeeding, Baby Wearing, Co-Sleeping, Cloth Diapering, Delayed Vaccinating, Homeschooling, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. However, not one of these choices define me. They are simply choices, not the center of my being. It is impossible to know my character or motivations simply by assigning me to a "side" of a debate. So why do we feel the need to endlessly moan and groan about making these choices? It's not like once you put a cloth diaper on your baby you are an irrevocably "Natural" mother and will never be able put a disposable on them or that once you choose to stay at home you can never work again. It's not all or nothing.


I do know that just because I choose not to participate in any sort of "war" doesn't mean that there aren't people who do. Maybe that is even the majority of people, I don't know. There will always be those handful of loud people that equate bottle feeding to child abuse or insist that stay at home moms have lost their identity, but so what? Ignore them and move on. Don't keep giving them a chance to see who can yell their point louder. And for goodness sakes, quit arguing back. Telling a mom who loves her public school and is actively involved in it how much better homeschooling is for her kids won't change her mind. It'll just irritate her. If it's that important to you, then mention the positive attributes and then quit talking and let her see how happy your choice has made you.

The only thing worth pushing about is Salvation, and last time I checked, no battle in the Mommy Wars was centered around that.

Anyways, I'll step down off of my very randomly put up Soap Box and get back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. But for real friends, I'm going to have a pretty gnarly facial tic if I see one more article about this. My eyes are already starting to cross whenever I flip the page and see the acronym "SAHM".

Or maybe I should just take my own advice and flip the page to the next article. I do love reading a recipe for a good mock-tail. :)


April Spicer said...

This is the first time I've seen you publically rant. And I like it. We by no means have made the same choices when looking at all the mentioned "issues", but you are absolutely right about everything. It's easy to get sucked in to thinking something is right and something is wrong and we KNOW that is what the media does all the time. Thanks for the pep talk and please feel free to pull up your soap box any time you please. :) And please share any mocktail recipes.

Beth said...

I think its a vicous circle that just feeds on its self building up unnessacary anger and prejudice

Cat said...

Have no fear, UK. I'm not going to debate you on any of those issue because I want to be you. Yearning to stay at home and homeschool and maybe even have another little one if all that would work out. :-)

Tiffany said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome. You said everything perfectly.

It really blows my mind that so many women have no interests and no self-identification outside of mothering. If that's what they chose and it works for them, that is wonderful! I just hate the fact that some women feel that being a mother is the absolute trump card to make every opinion they might hold reign supreme.

I applaud your decisions, UK; I also applaud the decisions of women who have chosen differently but still love their children just as much. The beautiful thing is, we DO have a choice now about work or a career if we want to pursue that; and we DO have options on how to school our kids and what to feed them. "You've come a long way, baby!" -- that's what we're told, right? So why can't some women accept that and move on with their lives instead of acting like there is still an uphill battle for recognition and respect?

Can't we just live and let live instead of constantly belittling each other -- and ourselves?

Sara Kay said...

De-lurking to say...
I was thinking over this today too, because there's a family we've gotten to know where the woman has a personality very similar to mine and yet has made different choices and put her kids in daycare in order to work. She does a great job and really makes a difference in the job she chooses to do, but her choice is totally different from mine. It's kind of like looking at myself, had I made the other choice. She likes to say things like, "because I'm not the stay-at-home type..." which I have to just DECIDE not to take personally. What type is that exactly? :) I don't really feel like the stay at home type myself, but it's the choice that was right for our family, regardless of my personal comfort.

I think at the root of the issue, all us women are looking for someone else to value the decisions we've made, and when someone else makes the opposite decision, it's easy to feel devalued as a person no matter which choice you've made as a mother. Which, at it's root is probably looking for approval from people and not from God, which is totally off base anyway...

All that to say, yes, totally with you. Can we all just talk about something else? ;)

A Fancher said...

Oh, so you're one of THOSE moms ;) J/K, cause I'm one of THOSE moms, too. People will look at you funny, they do us quite a bit especially when we tell them all the stuff we do, plus we're having our 5th. You think they'd just let it go, but alas, we're the weird ones.

Andrea said...

You don't know me. I am a friend of Cheryl McFaddin's from London. I linked to your blog from hers a long time ago and have regularly read your blog ever since. I truly love it. Sorry I have never commented. I don't mean to be a blog stalker or anything, but it just felt weird to comment on a blog where the person didn't know me. Anyway, this blog post has finally inspired me to comment. Someone left a comment that mothers are perhaps looking for validation for the decisions they make. I agree. Parenting is so difficult and I think we all want to feel that we are making the best decisions that we can make for our children. We all worry about making the right choices. We all want to feel affirmed. Unfortunately some people feel the need to lash out at the decisions other's make in an attempt to find validation of their own decisions. I know I have fallen in to that trap at times. I think what struck me most about your blog entry is how much we have in common, while at the same time being so different. For example, I am from Minnesota, I am Jewish, and I am politically very liberal. I work full time (with one kid in daycare and the other in public school) and use disposable diapers. However, I practice co-sleeping, baby wearing, delayed vaccinations, grow my own veggies and make my own baby food. I feel respect and admiration for the decisions you have made and I enjoy reading about your adventures in parenting. I think if we could all learn to support and respect each other more as individuals, women, and mothers, the 'mommy wars' would fade into the background and we could all feel a little more secure about the individual decisions we are making for our own children. We just need to focus a bit more on what we all have in common rather than the issues where we differ. I think we would all find that we have a lot more in common than we think.

Cynthia said...

Andrea... I am Unsinkable's mom and I think your words are very wise. We can be different yet still respect the decisions that other people make when it comes to how they choose to raise their family.

When someone doesn't agree with you and your decisions it's like they said your baby was ugly! It's because most of the time we are emotionally attached to our choices, our ideas, and our opinions. And when other people don't agree - our emotions flair up thus we feel the need to defend ourselves. I wish that we could set our emotions aside and allow a calm sharing of ideas and experiences...not to change each other but to share experiences.

You just keep on posting - any friend of Cheryl's is a friend of ours.

Unsinkable Kristen said...

I totally agree with my Mom :)

Glad to finally "meet" you Andrea! I've heard lots about you from Cheryl :)

Debra said...

A little late in commenting ... we've been out-of-town.

I'm with you on the ridiculous ways that we choose to ridicule others choices. It has taken me a long time to come to a place where I am happy for whatever my friends choose and happy with what I choose and that is the end of it. Bottom line for me is this ... if I am doing what the Lord is leading me to do in whatever situation, be it staying at home with my kids and homeschooling or having a baby at 45, and my husband and I are in agreement with our choices, that is all that matters ... the Lord's opinion and not anyone elses. Afterall, my job is to please God. The. End.

Well stated my sweet friend. Public opinion is a tool satan uses to stir up dissention, trouble, unhappiness, judgement, confusion and discontentment and to keep us from loving God and loving one another. I'd rather listen to God and then bask in the contentment He gives me!