Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cat Fights

I promised myself that I wouldn’t blog anymore until a project I am working on for a client is done. Is the project done? No. I attribute my incredible self discipline to my Catholic upbringing, because you know that abstinence pledge worked out so well.

I am on a yahoo group for moms in my area. All sorts of moms are on it, straight moms, gay moms and even some men. It is a really active email list. Every thought that crosses the minds of these people gets emailed out. It’s everything from my daughter won’t stop eating toilet paper to my son is projectile vomiting, what should I do? The list is so active that I have surrendered an email address to it. The emails from the group just took over.

Every few weeks, without fail, a cat fight breaks out between the Stay at Home Moms and the Moms that Work. Today someone emailed an article about a local newscaster who gave up her job to be a SAHM and KABOOM, the fur started flying.

First of all, this strikes me as a rich girls fight. For most people, this isn’t even a discussion. I think for most people, the question is how are we going to pay the mortgage and feed a kid, not would I be more fulfilled at home or at work?

Second, parenting is the strangest thing. There is so much potential for misunderstanding and hurt feelings. I have never experienced another situation where ones choices can automatically offend other people, just because they made different choices. Co-sleeping can seem to be a negation of Ferber. Those who stay at home offend those who go back to work. Breastfeeding can seem like an insult to those who bottle fed.

Personally, I would like to see us support each other more. I know that the choices I made were grounded in the crucible of my reality. I breastfed until lil’ guy and I developed a painful case of thrush, and then we stopped. I stayed at home, but had to cash out my retirement fund in order to do it. Now I will be going back to work (ha ha). Accept in rare cases of abuse or neglect, I am sure other mothers make the best choices under the particular circumstances they find themselves in.


Housewife said...

It's a tough one.

I live in a neighborhood where the Working moms have clearly chosen lifestyle over children.

I'm aware that I have it all because the house is big and the hubby believes I should be home. We were able to do it on far less some time ago but I realize I've been out of the scrimping and saving mode for many years.

I think it's an important decision and the children in my neighborhood raised by nannies are missing many things.

The three that were over today were missing:

Sense of self
The ability to pick up after themselves
The ability to share the spotlight
The knowledge that they are children and not little princes

The list could go on and on but it's difficult to watch because these are good kids and they're the fallout of some pretty selfish women coupled with a servant based household.

I know our neighborhood a little more extravagant than some so these things are magnified, but really it's sad for everyone involved.

Jen from Boston said...

I feel appreciative of having choices, choices of the work I want to do, and appreciative of the time I get with little guy, appreciative of the knowledge of seeing him to a healthy one year old, and appreciative of an excellent and devoted coparent to raise him with me!

Rosie said...

I think people tend to get into these snits on the internet as a matter of course. It's taken the place of gossip, except now everyone can see it. So, when one might have been making backhanded comments to a cadre of intimate friends of the same everyone can see what one is thinking. And people seem to lack social filters when communicating on the internet.

Feelings get hurt.

I disagree with housewife on the servants issue. I think something else must be at work. I am childless but come from a culture where everyone of a certain age and social class had a nanny, stay-at-home mom or no. Not that we were all little angels, but I certainly don't see the level of surliness and lack of social skills I see in children today.

Having a nanny also gave me a level of cultural sensitivity. She was a huge influence on me and was really a second mother.

One thing I love about the children of the Appalachian community where I live is that they have retained the quality of being children. They are all very polite little people who "sir" and "ma'am" adults. It really is like stepping back in time.

Housewife said...


What churns out little monsters is the "servant culture" that the nanny issue sometimes creates.

Around here (all too often for my liking) the child is the client and when the client isn't happy the nanny is fired. The nannies know that therefore we have entire neighborhoods where 3 year olds are never told "no".

It can't be every single one of them but I do see a servant culture with a bunch of little princes and princesses. The sense of entitlement seeps out of their pores and by Kindergarten they are unwelcome in so many homes.

Obviously, this isn't every child. But it is what I observe.

We had a housekeeper growing up and the thought of me bossing her around still makes me tremble. My parents would have killed us (and they would have been right).

I don't think we're in disagreement, I think we're looking at different things.

Housewife said...

Also, the nanny has become a status symbol.


They don't know what they're missing.