It's been a common topic as of late on any parenting-related blog: Mothers and our willingness to - nay, enthusiastic acceptance of - attacking other mothers who do things differently than ourselves. Name your camp, there're so many to choose from: Are you a breastfeeder or a bottlefeeder (or perhaps a bottomfeeder)? Do you use a crib or co-sleep? Do you work outside the home? Do you use cloth diapers? Attached or detached (and I'm not referring to garages)?
It's the silliest game of semantics ever. No, not silly. Harmful. Damaging. Awful. Stupid. And ANTIFEMINIST.
This morning I was talking with a good friend about a small feeding issue when she mentioned that a neighborhood friend had sent an e-mail announcing a second pregnancy. Following the woman's signature was a quote:
"How can you be proficient at anything, much less mothering, if you are not actually physically there to do it? Would we really be able to say Michelangelo was a great sculptor if he did a little scraping on marble some nights and weekends after shopping, errands and R&R, but never spent all day, day after day, on the Pieta?"
My friend, who for the record is at home now, but is struggling with the issue of whether or not to return to teaching next year, was mystified. Did the e-mail not go to anyone who had kids and dared to work? Why attack people who've had to make that decision? And why sign off on every e-mail with such a presumptuous quote? While we agreed that she must feel somewhat defensive about her own decision to stay at home, we still couldn't justify the quote.
Here's what I told my friend in response:
"I've thought about it some more and here's what I've come up with: You're being too sensitive. Obviously she's not trying to say that you're not a good mother for considering working outside the home. Only that her child will be a truly inspired work of art - divinity - with nary an imperfection in sight. Whereas yours will be more akin to one of those reproduction oil paintings at the art liquidators warehouse sale. That's all, you silly goose!"
Can't we all just agree to quit attacking one another and try to HELP instead? Sheesh this crap is for the birds.