Where's the village?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Just Say "NO" to Mommy Wars.

God knows I struggle with the decision I made, to stay at home with the dajamou. I mean, I know on many levels that it was the right thing to do for her, but for me? Some days it's a resounding "YES" and other days it's a "Hmmmmm." I'll admit to sometimes feeling trapped. Especially being in a new-ish city where we don't have any family or long-time friends. There is no village here to help us raise our child. Hence the tagline up top.

So the last, the very last thing I need is the media telling me that other moms are going to war with me for making the decisions I've made. (That, and the government telling me what to do with my body, but that's for another time.) So I'm jumping on the NAMC bandwagon.

The National Association of Mothers' Centers and its MOTHERS Initiative have been creating special projects for Mother's Day and this year is no exception. We are declaring a Ceasefire in the "Mommy Wars", the expression that many authors, journalists, TV & radio personalities have latched onto in order to sell their magazines and newspapers or to boost ratings for their shows. The reality is that women are not at war with each other. In most cases the tensions we feel are related to the fact that the choices we are faced with are NOT the choices we might make if there were more options available. Right now we can stay home to raise our children, go to work outside the home, work from home, work full or part-time. But we are always concerned about the road not taken. If we are at home, how much of a financial sacrifice is it for the family? And is our career being derailed? If we work part-time, are we denied benefits or the chance for advancement? If we work full time, do we have the flexibility we desire to be able to go to our children's soccer games or class plays? What if both mom & dad could work flexible hours that wouldn't require leaving our children with non-related caregivers? Clearly the choices are limited and not necessarily the choices that we would pick if we had other options. This is what we believe causes the tensions we feel in making these difficult decisions.

So we're asking women to participate in our Ceasefire on the "Mommy Wars" Campaign to send a message to the media that we are not buying in to the notion that women who've made different decisions are at war with each other. The use of this phrase leaves the impression that the issues are different for different "kinds" of mothers and that is not the case. Plus a working mom may need to stay home at some point and and at-home mom may find she needs to go to work at some point. It's a back-and-forth process for many of us. The policies and customs that would value and support the work of mothering would benefit ALL mothers. So our goal is to unite mothers, to point out what kinds of changes may be helpful, to encourage moms to work for the changes they feel will be beneficial to them, and to make the case that motherhood should be valued and supported.

Please visit our website and sign the petition to ask the media to STOP dividing women and address the real, underlying issues. Go to MothersOughtToHaveEqualRights.org to read all about it.


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