Legendary coach and motivational speaker Lou Holtz once said “If you burn your neighbor’s house down, it doesn’t make your house look any better”. This is one of my favorite quotes. It really speaks to a “win-win” versus “win-lose” mentality. Why does someone else have to be doing it wrong for us to be doing it right? The New Year tends to be an optimistic time of reflection, fresh starts and renewed commitment. This year, why not resolve to stand united with other moms, even those who have made different choices about working or staying at home.
If you look at the “mommy blogosphere” including Stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) and working mom blogs (and commentary of these blogs) it is clear that in our current culture, women in full time careers are often looked upon unfavorably if their children are in day care, while stay at home moms are judged equally unfavorably for not reaching their intellectual and professional potential. Women who choose to do both; career and a family are faced with this constant stereotyping, for which in exchange, they receive lower pay, less prestige, less authority and increased home responsibility as compared to their male counterparts.
As women’s workforce researcher, writer and advocate Joan Williams suggests, there is a bias against mothers that remains embedded on the job, in the culture, and at home. We as Mom’s should not be part of this bias. As Lou Holtz suggests, burning down our neighbor’s house (e.g. marginalizing other mom’s choices and decisions) doesn’t help make our choices look any better. Why do moms who should stand united tend to divide themselves into categories to be judged and ranked? This opens the door to criticism of mom’s decisions which isn’t good for any of us. Why look at what is different, easier or harder but rather accept that being a mom is hard and we need all the support we can get! This year let’s resolve to stand united with other moms. Whether we work full time, stay at home or any other combination, we are all moms and we are all trying to do the best we can. United we stand, divided we fall!