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In Defense of Women: Why the Mommy Wars are Counter-Productive

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Posted on November 10 2010 9:00 pm

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There is one subject in which I claim expert status:  Mommy guilt.

Raising three children, I’ve analyzed every decision I’ve ever made, no matter its seeming insignificance.  As a second-generation feminist, I’ve tortured myself with all the options my predecessors presented me.  Should I work outside the home?  Should I be a stay-at-home mom?  What about my independence and my career?  What about daycare germs?

I’ve agonized over the “correct” answers.

After a lot of soul-searching and careful consideration, I’ve made peace with my decisions.

So, here’s the deal:  I’d like everyone to back off, now.

In the Internet wars, the Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom debate is as volatile as the abortion debate.  Positions are entrenched, and there is no room for seeing another person’s point of view.  On one side, only a mother who devotes herself 24/7 to her children is worthy of the title of “mother.”  On the other, a woman without outside employment is endangering her independence and providing a bad role model for daughters.  There is no middle ground.

Once the mother’s employment status is determined, there are more questions that require answers.  Dr. Spock or Dr. Sears?  Attachment parenting or Babywise?  Playschool or homeschool?  If the devil is in the details, I know where Satan resides.  He’s in the pages of thousands of parenting books, telling us what we are doing wrong.

Ladies, I say to you, we must forge a middle ground, not just for the sake of our sanity, but also for the future of women in power.

This particular culture war has been raging for generations.  Whether it was Susan B. Anthony, fighting for the vote, Rosie the Riveter, bitter that her job was taken away after the war, Gloria Steinem, on the front lines of the 1970s feminist movement, or Concerned Women for America, offering an opposing voice for conservative Christian women, the fight for gender equality has covered all aspects of the political spectrum, for over a century.

We watched as conservative women came to the forefront of the political arena, and the media encouraged their downfall.  We heard from the Daily Kos that Sarah Palin was not the mother of Trig Palin.  During the mid-term elections, the left-wing media hammered us daily about Christine O’Donnell’s ridiculous moral values.  Joy Behar enlightened us all about Sharron Angle’s stupidity and racism.  The media declared war against conservative women, and while we would like to believe that this kind of behavior is limited to the Left, unfortunately, that is not the case.

Sarah Palin recently made a comment about “Neanderthals”, for which she has been taken to task.

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