We’re rolling our eyes here at 200kfreelancer at the latest round of the Mommy Wars. The narrative is so familiar and so predictable: working mom vs. stay-at-home mom. We heard it almost 20 years ago when Hillary Clinton said that she chose not to stay home and bake cookies; this time around, Ann Romney is being criticized for having opinions on the economy even though she was a stay-at-home mom.
Come on, already. We need to find other ways to talk about the choices that face women than these mud-wrestling matches that seem to be put on for the delight of the media and the political parties.
The reality is that for most working mothers there are many more choices than this rehashed debate would have you believe.
Many freelancing mothers that we know have found ways to walk middle roads, working from home and establishing career paths that do not live within the stark environment of this working mom/stay-at-home mom debate. Some moms take time off and turn their energies to homemaking and perhaps return later; some work full-time or part-time from home, or become entrepreneurs.
The middle road doesn’t work for everyone, and we don’t knock those women who are comfortable with high-quality childcare and traditional corporate careers. Whatever works in any given family … works.
For us, cobbling together careers on our own terms, in our own environments and setting our own hours around our children has turned out fine. (We’ve both written about the strange dichotomy of our work/personal lives. See our posts on the Double Life of Working At Home and You Get To Set Your Own Hours!)
We bring an equivalent level of discipline to our current careers as we did to those we had in the world of traditional work.
Is it easy? Maybe not. But it is possible, and talking about ways to make those nuanced, individual choices easier for working parents would be far more productive than the conversation that’s going on now.
And I do deliberately mean to draw working fathers into the debate. As Time Magazine recently wrote, the number of female breadwinners is rising. That means the pressure will fall on fathers to be the main caregivers. They’ll then face the juggling act and the same tricky balancing acts.
When it comes to work and family, there are no particularly easy roads for anyone. So why are we wasting time judging anyone for the choices they’ve made?