The mommy wars are heating up again, and this time we have politics to thank for it. I’m really sick of this fight. We all do what we feel is best for our families, and those decisions often change with time. Why must we, and by we I mean women, keep fighting over these issues?
I’ve been on both sides of the fence. When my first daughter was born, I was still in college. For the sake of my sanity, I cut back to a part time class load. I was also a nursing mom, and at the time, it was the right decision for us. As she got older, I found safe child care and went back to school full time. I even picked up a part time job to make ends meet. Fast forward another year and out of state move later and our second daughter was born. It was a similar situation. This time, my husband was working nights so he cared for the baby while I went to school and worked part time.
After taking nine years to finish my BA, it was time for me to go to work full time. Our oldest daughter was in school, and our youngest was preschool age. My working not only provided financial stability for our family, but also provided me with an outlet for my skills and abilities. I don’t apologize for being a capable and intelligent woman.
Daughter number three flipped the script again. I was unhappy with my teaching position at the time. My second daughter was entering kindergarten, and we decided I’d take a year off and stay home with the new baby. It was one of the worst years of my life. And not because I didn’t enjoy being with my baby but because we were so financially strapped. I didn’t mind giving up cable or cell phones for awhile but wondering how you’re going to pay the $400 winter utility bill and buy groceries is more than just a sacrifice.
Our family of five needed security. We needed a larger home. We needed reliable vehicles. We needed money in the bank for emergencies. My husband is a wonderful father and husband. He works hard to take care of his family, but he’s not a behind the desk guy. I married him because I loved him not because of the number of zeroes in his paycheck. I went back to work when my youngest daughter was fifteen months old. When our son came along almost three years ago, I had no choice but to keep working.
There is a part of me that wishes I could stay home with my children, but that would mean giving up security not luxury. I’ve never owned a brand new car, and the last time we took a real vacation, we only had two kids. My husband and I work opposite shifts so one of is always with the kids. I think it’s good for them to see their dad as a caregiver.
I also love my job! I teach high school, and yes, it’s exhausting, but it’s part of who I am. I’m also pursuing my MA degree in History because I have other dreams and aspirations. Why should having children mean that I cannot also pursue my dreams? I don’t judge mothers who stay home with their children. I don’t believe they are setting women backwards or any of that other nonsense.
So if I don’t judge you for your decision, why do you judge me for mine?