Saturday, November 6, 2010
My house is a mess and the newspaper pissed me off
I also just have to comment on this ugly article that met me at the breakfast table this morning. I don't understand the so-called "mommy wars" at all. It seems to me that some people take others' strong commitments to a parenting philosophy personally, and feel indicted if they don't share one, whereas the focus of most parenting philosophies is actually on children, not other mommies. If a mother doesn't like a particular philosophy, perhaps she should just avoid using it, instead of suggesting that its existence is undermining decades of progress in women's liberation. Jong seems to miss the point that if a woman disagrees with a philosophy (in this case, attachment parenting), then she is free to ignore it and move on. It is only if she actually finds it compelling and thinks in her heart that she should be following it (or doing something differently) that it has any sway over her at all. If she does not find a philosophy compelling, then the fact that other mothers practice it should not even be on her radar--parenting is a very personal quest, not a contest, and mothers do not have to register their commitment to any particular set of values anywhere.
I am grateful for a community that allows me to parent the way I feel is right. Sometimes that is an accord with one particular parenting book or another, and sometimes it is not. I know women who largely share my parenting views and work full-time at demanding jobs. I know others who stay home and share none of my philosophies. I am glad that in this garbled world of feminism, post-feminism, and feminism-yet-to-come that I can stay home and tend my family's metaphorical fires without feeling like I have something to prove. I stay home because that is what feels right to me. I enjoy contributing to my family's economy in the kitchen, at my sewing machine, and out of my crochet bag. I hold a masters degree from a prestigious university and if I felt like that piece of paper forced me out of the spot that makes me happy, then that would be enslavement. To each her own. I can't imagine any child would be better off staying home with a mother who felt stranded in the role. Nor do I think women should work outside the home just because that's what they thought they would do when they were 22 and made expensive educational choices. It's a big world--can't we make room for all the choices that are as varied and ever-changing as the individuals who make up our current generation of mothers?