Much has been written about the so-called “mommy wars.” This ridiculous concept that some sort of battle exists between working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.
According to a 2013 survey by Parents magazine, 63 percent of mothers believe that a mommy war exists. Even worse, we are arming ourselves with judgement, criticism and even ridicule to ensure victory.
High-powered executive mothers like Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer and YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, are shining examples of the working mom’s superiority over the other side. Simply by waking up every morning and taking on the dual responsibility of motherhood and career, these women shine a glaring, accusatory light on the potential of every woman.
On the day my son was born, my female obstetrician welcomed me into the club – the worldwide club of motherhood. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to join this club. I felt connected to every other woman pushing a stroller on the street because we had something sacred in common.
And then, a year later, I joined another club. The club of working mothers. For millions of women like me who face the delicate juggle of balancing work and motherhood, we make choices every day that place our personal self-worth in direct opposition to our children’s well-being.
I had perfected the balance. I was working part-time from home, balancing playdates with deadlines and meal planning with planning meetings. But something was missing.
While being a great mom had been my top priority for as long as I can remember, I suddenly felt myself hitting a wall in my career. I could continue to phone it in by limiting my work hours and working from home but that would mean no opportunity for growth. But, ambition is a selfish ideal when the health and wellness of two young children is at stake.
It was for my mother. She gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mom and never looked back (I think). For months, I dropped my sword and shield in the mommy war and waged battle with myself. Every mean thought or baseless criticism that I had towards other mothers was suddenly back on me.
In the end, I decided that it was okay to want more. I took a new job that is a huge step up career-wise. Every morning, I pack backpacks, lunchboxes and laptop bags and head out into the world. And, every afternoon at 2:30, when I know that my kids are finished their school day, I try to ignore that painful twinge of guilt that comes because I am not there to pick them up.
Being a working mom is never easy. But more and more, we benefit from flexible hours, infinite telecommuting options and more accommodating workplaces. Personally, I am fortunate to work for a company that enables me to balance my family and my work. Our corporate culture prioritizes the feeling of family in the workplace, which sets a clear tone for the value of family at home.
The best thing about fighting a war with yourself is that you lose the energy to battle others. Instead, I respect and support the decision of every mother to be whatever type of mom they want to be.
I work hard to embrace the notion that my choices reap benefits for myself and my kids. The lessons I’ve learned from motherhood have helped me to be a better manager and team member. Similarly, I am confident that the confidence and skills that I gain at work help me to be a better mom.