Mommy War and Peace: It's personal
Can we please declare a moratorium on the mommy war? The one where mommies are fighting about whether it’s better to stay at home or work? The war that is almost halfway to the Hundred Years War? Can someone please muzzle Dr. Phil and all the people who fan the flames?
Enough already. Most mommies don’t have a choice about fighting this war---they’re drafted. Even for those who have choices, it surprises me that today's mommies are so sure about where they stand.
Because I could never choose a side.
In fact that’s my point: that the most intense mommy war takes place not BETWEEN mommies but INSIDE mommies.
The first skirmish on my battlefield came in with the breast milk.
I had never yearned to be a mommy; had not a single domestic bone in my body; no stirrings when I saw a baby. In fact, what stirred in me was doubt.
In my thirties the body clock ticked loudly enough to wake me up and the alarm went off and suddenly I was pregnant.
At the same time, I knew, deep in my soul, I was not meant to stay home. So I hired a nanny before giving birth.
I fired her before she ever got started.
Because I was in love.
So began the mommy war within myself. Maybe it was due to my age---growing up with one foot in the fifties and one foot in feminism. Or maybe just because I’m basically an indecisive person.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), thanks to other choices in husbands and career, I had options, making me luckier than most women.
When my first baby was 3 months old, I took a writing job. Only I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was. After days of agonizing and soul searching, I backed out of the job and stayed home for months that turned into years.
By the time my second child was born 4 years later, I had switched sides. I took business calls in my hospital room; and took my two-week old son to a business meeting, even nursing him there (hey, it’s Hollywood.)
Back and forth. For years, the conflict continued on the battlefield of my brain.
Would it matter to them if I brought team snacks made at Costco rather than in our kitchen? Would they be traumatized by the succession of babysitters who came through one year like a revolving door? Would they feel cheated that someone else fed them milk and cookies after school or supervised homework?Continued on the next page