Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Can We Be Done with This?

The Matron knows this book is a couple of years old; she picked it up anyway, wondering what in the world was left to say on this subject.

After reading several of these essays -- all penned by reporters or editors or novelists working for or in 'mom-retirement' from venues like Publisher's Weekly, The Washington Post, Time Magazine and The New York Times -- the Matron's previously vague analysis of "The Mommy Wars" has sharpened into something crystalline.

The wars between working and stay-at-home mothers is a completely fictive enterprise; it is a narrative created by self-reflective mothers who work in the media industry. Good for them! She bet this narrative has paid some hefty private tuition bills and funded good shoe shopping.

The truth? All mothers on this planet--let's get real, folks -- work and raise babies. And most of the 'work' she's talking about is back or heartbreaking: searching for food, raising food, hauling water, sewing, pushing down the lever in the factory, baking bread, mining, collecting firewood, waiting tables, washing dishes, loading garbage, collecting recycling, husking corn, picking apples or any of the truly endless tasks that constitute the lot of the worker.

There is a percentage of the global population -- and she's not sure what this number is, but she knows it's not the biggest slice of the populace pie -- who live from time to time (or permanently) without the economic imperative to earn money. These women who are mothers still labor and toil, but get to choose whether or not to take on one more job -- for pay.

So when the Matron reads a book about "The Mommy Wars" or hears media discussion about the dissent between the 'stay at home' (what? like in house arrest?) and 'working' mothers she wishes the narrative would clarify that this is a story about rifts between women who come from a specific shared demographic and has nothing to do with the majority of women, who (like many working class men she knows) would love to give up their day job: but can't. Even imagine. Because if they don't earn a paycheck, there's no food, rent or gas -- or even less, in some parts of the world.

She wishes twice as much attention were paid to the real problems faced by most mothers: food, shelter, water, safety, school. No dissent there, people. No royalty money, either.



12 comments:

another mary said...

AMEN!

Michele Renee said...

Amen to Allah, Buddha, trees, full moons, etc.!

smalltownmom said...

I will not read anything about mommy wars. I've been on both sides.

You do the best you can, working in or out of the home, and that's all I have to say about it.

Amen, Matron!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

If you want to see some Mommy Wars in action today, start with Suburban Turmoil and follow the links. Whoo boy--this debate is alive and kicking. Though in this latest tempest in a teapot was about WAHMs and WOHMs. Why aren't women nicer to each other?

The Gossamer Woman said...

A very big Amen on that, Matron. We are all a silly bunch of goats.

Mary Alice said...

The mommy wars are only able to happen because some people can afford to have them. We (in general) are a rich enough country to have the luxury of the mommy wars.

Lynda said...

Nice post!

TexasDeb said...

All mothers are "working", thank you for that. I agree these "wars" are only skirmishes taking the world's population into account.

I try to pay less attention to what other working mommies are up to for the most part and stick to moving towards my own goals.

There is and always will be somebody out there doing more than I can. If my sense of satisfaction is derived comparatively then I'm set up for eternal dissatisfaction.

Amy said...

Well said! Just brings out the cattiness that some people thrive on. And I personally don't have enough time as it is to worry about those things.

Miss Grace said...

I've been done with this.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Amen to that! I'm a SAHM and honestly, I haven't got any vendetta against working moms. They have my empathy because I cannot imagine doing what they do. Likewise, I've never felt any hostility coming my way because I'm a SAHM. Silly petty invented battlefield--a foil to keep us from focusing on the REAL ISSUES--y'know, like poverty, domestic violence, reproductive rights...

JCK said...

Mary Alice's comment was really insightful. I also like yours in that the media creates it...for people to buy stories.