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Working Moms Not Real Moms?

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A comment on one of our posts made us working moms see red...and is proof that the Mommy War between working moms and SAHMs is still raging on.


Last week, momlogic published a post called Moms Survive L.A. Earthquake, which recounted how the working moms in our office reacted to the 5.4 trembler. One of our readers, who only dared to sign her name as "A Real Mother," had this to say:

"How sad, for all of you, who think you are real moms. A real mom would be home with her children, not leaving them with a babysitter/nanny/daycare provider. And you guys run a 'mom' site, I find that almost as sad. You know nothing about being a mom, because you're always thinking of yourself first. I feel for your kids...they won't know what a real mom is."

We're not real mothers because we hold down jobs?! Sorry to break this to you, "A Real Mother," but some of us have to work. If we didn't, we'd be "Stay at Homeless" moms. Is that any better?

Many say the Mommy Wars between stay-at-home and working mothers is all perpetuated by the media ... but this comment proves it's not. The battle is still raging on, with both sides pointing fingers.

In momlogic's happiness poll, we surveyed over 700 moms and found almost an equal percentage of SAHMs and working moms feel judged by the opposite group. And an equal number of working moms and SAHMs confess they feel like failures as moms.

"It was interesting that both SAHMs and working moms feel judged by the other and they both feel like failures," says spiritual advisor Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, author of We Plan, God Laughs. "I think that is the truest statement. Everyone is judging everyone because everyone feels there is no exact right way to be doing things."

Why do moms feel the need to judge other moms? Isn't being a mom hard enough without us turning on each other? Moms: Why can't we all just get along?

next: Brangelina Denies IVF Rumors
51 comments so far | Post a comment now
foxymama August 5, 2008, 2:03 PM

I’m a working mother and I don’t work b/c financially I have to…I work b/c I want to. Frankly, I’m a good mother and a great example to my three kids. I’m not mad at stay at home moms - I think each family has to make decisions that best suit their needs. My family is doing that.

ame i. August 5, 2008, 2:08 PM

I am a SAHM and feel blessed to be able to stay home. Some of my friends would love to stay home, but there is that pesky business of bill paying and children who like to eat at least once a day that makes it necessary for them to work outside the home.
How self-righteous it would be of me to badmouth my friends for needing or wanting to work outside the home!

Anonymous August 5, 2008, 2:15 PM

That comment made me SO MAD. I don’t want to buy into the Mommy Wars but she is attacking me and of course I will fight back. I am a real mother. Just because your husband is fortunate enough to make enough money where you don’t have to work, don’t judge me for having to make a living.

mel August 5, 2008, 2:33 PM

I think it’s sad that some little minded person posted such a hateful message. I am a SAHM who was raised by a mother and father that both worked. Some days I wish I worked outside the home for my own sanity, but I am very grateful that I am able to stay at home with my son. I wish that women would come to term with the fact that what is best for you is not always best for others. That goes for working, breastfeeding, diapers and pacifiers. There is not one “correct” answer to life or parenting.

puddin August 5, 2008, 2:37 PM

I am a working single/divorced mother and I work because if I want my child to eat and have clothes on his back then I need to work. It is unfortunate that we all did not make the right choices in life to find that Mr. Right to take care of us and give us what we want. I look to God to supply all my need for me and my son. That is why I work and not stay at home collecting welfare.

familyallamode August 5, 2008, 2:39 PM

I’ve been on both sides of the fence — working and staying home. I think the moms who stay home by choice get angry because society percieves them as just hanging around and doing nothing all day — you know, bon-bons and soap operas? I quit my job recently to work on writing full-time and I was asked by a working friend how I was enjoying my “leisure time.” You can guess my response — “WHAT leisure time?”

jennifer August 5, 2008, 2:51 PM

I have spent four years as a mom with a full time job and now I can also say I have four years of being a mom with out a job outside the home. Please don’t judge - we are setting a very bad example by judging the other moms. Just think of what it tells our children. Aren’t we all here to do the best for our children?

Tiffany August 5, 2008, 3:04 PM

Well what happens when the hubby of the lady who made that comment trades her self righteous behind in for a younger model??? When she has to get a job will she not still be a mother?

Beth August 5, 2008, 3:07 PM

This “Real Mother” person actually sounds very defensive and unhappy to me. Insecurity fuels attacks like that more than anything. “Others must do what I do to validate me!” As others have said, that really is sad.

I find it funny though that she attacks MomLogic (a site she apparently frequents) for being run by…mothers. What? Who should it be run by? Who’s better qualified? Young single women? Men? Dogs?

I think “Real Mother” needs to take a day off and take a deep breath. Look around and notice the beauty in the diversity around her (not just people, but flowers, animals, even cars and buildings) and remember that she’s as different from me as I am from her. We can’t all have the same tastes, desires, and backgrounds. What a boring world it would be if we were all exactly like “Real Mother”. (Her family may thank her for the time off as well. Not that she’s smothering them, but a more relaxed mom is a more effective and nurturing mom.)

stevenbrycesmomm August 5, 2008, 3:08 PM

Why are we still having this same debate? We need to respect each other’s choices when it comes to SAHM or WOHM. It is harmful to all of us as mothers to judge or be judged. We should be supporting each other not knocking each other down.

momof1boy August 5, 2008, 3:13 PM

This irritates me to no end. Why do we feel the need to judge each other. I wish I could stay home with my son but I must work to afford the roof over his head, food at the table and the clothes on his back. We should be helping each other not bashing each other! Motherhood & Children are a gift not a chore and we all make the best of what we have.

Alice  August 5, 2008, 3:15 PM

I stay at home (but also work from home) and am totally embarrassed by moms who judge…from either side.

That these silly “Mommy Wars” even exist is totally sad. We all do what we have to do, what’s best for our families and yes, even best for ourselves because after all, we are people too.

Anonymous August 5, 2008, 3:23 PM

I am a working mom turned SAHM. This kind of stuff really irritates me. My mom and dad both had to work outside the home. They were GREAT parents. I think people need to mind their own affairs and quit worrying what everyone else is doing. Raise your kids the way you think they should be raised and let others do the same. If no one is hurt then there is no need to abuse, neglect, etc. I would rather work and provide food and shelter for my kids than stay at home and not be able to provide for them.

QueenBee August 5, 2008, 3:26 PM

Okay, if you gave birth to your kid/kids via c-section, vagina, adoption, other means……..etc that qualifies you as a “real mom”. I think the debate is usually about quality moms. For instance:
“I am better than you because I can run circles around you SAHM’s. I can do it all.”
“I am better than you because my kid sees my face from the moment they awaken until the time they close their eyes.”
It just keeps going in circles. I think that there probably are extremes to both SAHM’s and working moms. I know plenty of women who put careers before family and I know women who think they are super mom and that if you don’t have a baby perminantly attached to your breast and finger painting murals in the craft room you have not given the best quality of life to your kids.
It is what it is. So what, I’m sure there are moms better than me. I just ignore them because I know deep down inside myself I’m trying the best I can and I’m being the best mom I can to my son. That is all we CAN do. We should just assume we are all trying to do our best in whatever means we know how. This isn’t a winning debate. It will forever be a lose/lose argument.

2g2b August 5, 2008, 3:30 PM

I agree that we should not be making judgements, but we must also challenge them when they come up or we’re just taking it. A “verbal” attack like that reminds me of the bashing I got years ago from my childrearing friends when I had none. It seemed they all wanted to recruit more parents to validate themselves (all the while griping about the little downsides). They stopped when I started saying “Misery loves company”, and that’s what A Real Mother sounds like. She just craves outside validation.

A Real Mother, I address you directly - I totally support your decisions and I’m sure your kids feel lucky and loved. So do mine. I work when they’re in school and I pick up a couple hours on weekends when their dad is happy to take over and give me a break. Thank God I have that, or I’d go nuts. You don’t have to feel the same way to be valued, and I don’t have to be like you to be valued. Please open your mind and don’t bash me for living differently.

Candes August 5, 2008, 3:31 PM

What a pity.

Really, I could care less how she spends her time. SHE doesn’t define who I am. I WILL tell you who I am, like it or not.

May be it’s my age but I’m tired of the bs that comes w/ motherhood. My kids are happy and healthy, so there! :oP

tzdelar August 5, 2008, 3:34 PM

That statement made by “A Real Mother” is very judgemental and actually childish. But, you know what, none of us are perfect and all of us screw up. You don’t have to be a SAHM to be a real mom. They can be just as selfish and self-centered as anyone else. I’m both a SAHM and a WAHM and I do it both because I need to and I want to. And its not easy either. Racial, ethical, religious, and better-than-thou tensions will never go away this side of heaven, cuz we’re all sinners, period and in need of a Savior & forgiveness.
John 3:16

Sarah Zeldman August 5, 2008, 3:42 PM

Is it possible that the “Mommy Wars” are NOT alive and well, but rather that this is the singular comment of a egotistical “know-it-all” type of person who thinks she knows everything and what is best for everyone?

You must get hundreds of comments of day — yet you get ONE of this nature and declare the “Mommy Wars” alive and well? I beg to differ.

More and more I see that the so-called Mommy-Wars are over (did they ever really exist?) as mothers come together to support each other in many venues.

Momlogic, I love you — but don’t fan the flames of this fake war because of one “know-it-all” mom.

A Little Common Sense Goes A Long Way August 5, 2008, 3:59 PM

I find this sentence troubling:

“You know nothing about being a mom, because you’re always thinking of yourself first.”

Moms who never think of themselves, take care of themselves, or allow themselves to be individuals, will burn out. We all need to do things for ourselves, not just Go, go, go! Do everything for everyone else! all the time.

We must afford ourselves the resources to recharge and contribute in other ways, whether that’s a job outside the home, or working on a favorite craft, or simply reading a book alone. You can’t possibly make anyone feel guilty for not disappearing into Invisible Mommy Land.

Think of something you loved doing before you had kids. Did you bicylce to the Farmers Market? Make jewelry? Go on day hikes at your nearest state park? Why don’t you do that now? Little kids actually need doses of time apart from Mom, otherwise they may have a harder time adjusting to school, sleepovers, college, and the real world.

No, it’s no one’s fault, and there are no wrong answers. Do what’s right for you and your family, but take a critical look once in a while at what that is. If you and your family are happy, then you’re on the right track. For me, a couple of times I’ve realized I was too involved so now once a week I go do something just for me. Sometimes it’s just a visit to the bookstore, or an appetizer and iced tea at a favorite restaurant, or just a walk in the park. All the kids know is that I return a couple of hours later refreshed, happy, and fun to be with. What on Earth could be selfish about that?

Amy August 5, 2008, 4:24 PM

Give me a break - get a life!! You either stay at home or you work. You can be a wonderful mother either way.

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