Working? At Home? Both? Bad Mom.
There's a disturbing number of ways that we women are mom-shamed these days. It's like we can't do anything right, starting from the very beginning, with our decision to have a career or stay at home.
The world finds ways to shame us, no matter which path we choose. This shaming can come from without—through the pressure and messages of the people, media, and advertising around us—and even from within, from our own fears and doubts.
And its shame-bashing often goes something like this:
WORLD: You're a stay-at-home mom?
Wow. Must be nice, to be able to do whatever you want, all day long... Yeah, it sounds so hard to lay around, watching movies and eating bonbons. You must be a religious zealot. Or a woo-woo hippie. Either way, you should get out of the house more. You know, do something during the day. Maybe you're just too lazy or depressed to work for your family's needs? Everyone knows stay-at-home moms take the easy way out so they can sit around instead of working all day like the rest of us. But I guess you can afford it... or, wait. How many kids do you have again? Am I paying for you to stay at home and be on welfare?!? And what's your excuse for why you and the house and the kids are always such dumpy messes? Geez.
WORLD: You're a full-time career mom?
Umm, you actually refer to yourself as a mother?!? Eee-yikes. I must have heard you wrong. Do you really think you've deserve to use that title? What I'd like to know is... who's raising your kids while you're off abandoning them for money? Do you even love your kids at all?!? Or maybe you love your house and shoes and devices more? Must be nice to just drop your kids off and make them someone else's problem while you get paid to go get a drink and manicure. You mean, you hire a housecleaner? You serve frozen pizzas instead of organic backyard garden veggies?!? You're like the poster child for selfish mom. Do you even care that you're ruining your kids... for life?
WORLD: You're a part-time career mom?
That can't be worth it. What are you trying to prove, Ms. Perfect? You think you're better than the rest of us, don't you? But really, you can't do either well, so you're doing both. You should really be working full-time if you want what's best for your kids. Or at least if you budgeted better, you could stay home. But, see, you're trying to do both which is why it's not going well and you're failing at everything. Pick a side and stop pretending you're superwoman. Can't you get a full-time job? Or is it that you can't stand being at home with the kids? Whatever. The point is, you can't, aren't, able do both, well, obvi. You're sucking at home and at work. You constantly letting someone, everyone, down.
The world's general message is: "Whatever you're doing, mom—wrong, wrong, wrong. Bad choice. Bad mom. You're a terrible mother."
Which is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. And yet, everywhere Mom is, so are the judgments and shaming and endlessly unsolicited opinions on what she's doing—whether they come from inside, or out.
And wow. I know we can do better than that.
Because moms don't need to be attacked and torn down. Motherhood is freaking hard enough.
We can think and say—or even better, be—something more to moms. We can send a message of hope, help and love:
VOICE OF TRUTH + LOVE: You're a mom?
Oh, momma! Go you! You've got the most brut-iful and important job in the world! The long, exhaustive hours. All day, a mother. All night, too. When you are with them and when you have to be away. You make it look so easy, but I see how hard you work, how much you care. And I bet I don't even see the half of it. I know you want what's best for your babies, and I admire you for being a mom even when it's defeating, thankless, tearful, soul-crushing, and unshiny. I'm insanely proud of you. And I'm here for you—do you need anything? How can I help?
Points to Ponder + Discuss:
- As a mother, have you ever been or felt judged for your choice of work (at home or at a career)? How did it affect you?
- What impacted your decision to have a career / to stay home?
- What are the world's expectations of women who have children? What about men?
- Why is mom-shame so prevalent? What do you think it stems from?
- Ponder / discuss the following verse as it might relate to this topic: