Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Think I Just Solved the Mommy Wars

My guess is that the mommy wars debates have been raging since mommies realized they were mommies. Cavewoman 1 nursed Og for 6 months and then started spitting pre-chewed grubs into his mouth while Cavewoman 2 nursed Ug for 2 years, and naturally it caused all sorts of tension in the tribe.

One way the mommy wars play out in our industrialized world is with lots of mamas debating whether staying home with children is easier or going to work outside the home is easier. But maybe not from here on, because I've finally solved this one. *pats self on back*

Here's who has it easiest:
1. Mommies who are able to CHOOSE whether to work or to stay at home with their children, or work half time or whatever.
2. Mommies who have the TEMPERAMENT and the SKILLS to do whatever they've chosen to do and who know they do it well.
It's that simple (and it's a formula that works outside the mommy wars, too, if you ever want to know who has it easiest).

A person who has chosen her lot is usually going to be more at ease than a person who was thrust into her position by circumstance, if only because people like to feel like they have choices. Choosing to work or choosing to stay home are both easier than being unable to work (due to jobs not being available) or unable to stay home (because it's not financially viable). The day to day may not feel easy, per se, but solid research shows that people who feel they have the freedom to choose their paths are happier than those who feel stuck. Even when choices are difficult!

Secondly, a person who feels comfortable doing a certain set of tasks, is good at those tasks (whether naturally or with practice), and enjoys those tasks will feel more at ease than someone who struggles with a set of tasks. In the mommy wars, this emerges as people saying things like "Being a SAHM is the hardest thing I've ever done ergo working moms have it easier" or "Going to work is a daily struggle ergo SAHMs have it easier." But all that means? Is that it's easier or harder for that person. Some people take to parenthood like ducks to water but some people take to finance like ducks to water.

Heck, it's logical. Someone who feels stuck and not comfortable in her circumstances and questions whether she's even good at what she does is going to have it less easy than someone who feels like she's made the best choice and has options, and also feels like she's good at what she does.

Ta da! Think I should commission a study?

P.S. - The winner of the MyMemories giveaway will be announced this afternoon, so stay tuned!


  1. Now that you've got that solved, maybe you should open for questions? :)

  2. Choice has SO much to do with it, as does happiness/ability in what you're doing. I'm more at peace with being a working mom when I'm happy at work. I'm less at peace when I feel trapped.

    I still think part of the hard part is dealing with outsiders who judge your position (whether it's choice or not), but it's definitely much easier to be ok with things when it's in your control.


  4. @Courtney I am always open for questions! (And now that I wrote that, I somehow feel like someone, somewhere is going to parse it as naughty...)

  5. Christa, I think you may actually HAVE found the answer to this silly debate! :)

  6. Great, excellent, awesome point! Maybe that's why the Mommy Wars aren't bothering me so much. I'm happy in what I've chosen so I don't feel threatened by what the sides say! Thanks for making me think!

  7. Brilliant, lady. World domination is next for you. :)

  8. Very smart! And I agree 100% with you. I was a SHAM for 15 months before going back to work. I went back on my own terms, not because we needed the money but because I needed the adult interaction/to use my brain.

  9. I think you're onto something. The mom who thinks things are greener on the other side clearly has trouble maintaining her own lawn and wishes it was like her neighbor's

  10. I completely agree with this. Completely, 100%. And I can't believe I hadn't thought of it this way before. That could also explain why I've never been as at ease as I thought I should be with being a SAHM, because I feel like I didn't have a choice, and still don't in many ways.


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