I’m a lover, not a fighter, but while sticks and stones aren’t part of my very specific skill set, my words have caused some hurt in their time. I have had arguments with other parents and judged their worth as people based upon tweets made in 140 characters of anger and status updates lacking context. Usually, such reactions were of the proverbial knee-jerk, and other times it was personal. I may have been out of line, and they were probably more so. Nobody’s perfect.
The thing is, I may have judged people based on politics, religion, and book covers, despite my every attempt to remain open-minded, but rarely have I placed decrees upon their value as a parent—the exceptions being those examples we all know from the news and tend to agree on, like murders, molesters, and pageant moms. Also, the jackasses that let their kids push mine on the playground, but that’s innate and I can’t fight nature. However, the thought that one parent staying home versus one that works as making either better than the other, be they mothers or fathers, seems beyond the pale of ridiculousness.
That, the working parent versus stay-at-home-parent, and which one is right, is the gist of the Mommy Wars, and who the hell am I to opine on such things?
I have heard of, and subsequently ignored, the Mommy Wars for many years. Truth be told, I didn’t even know what the battle was about other than it was, apparently, catnip to page views. I almost got away with it too, except Rush Limbaugh decided to stick his foot into the mix, and suddenly I was on HLN’s Raising America to call him on it. Judging Rush Limbaugh is something that I am quite comfortable with. Limbaugh is my catnip.
It seems that Rush Limbaugh felt he could end the Mommy Wars, nearly nonexistent as most of us believe them to be, by declaring it so, loudly, and then insulting everyone within earshot. Loudly. You know how he does.
Then I was red-faced and ill-lit, barefoot in shirt and tie, sitting in your TV, and poking fun at the notion that dads need a war of their own (as if one fairly fake war isn’t enough). I followed that with a painful attempt at a Dead Poet’s Society joke that nobody got, and then, when the audio got fuzzy and I felt a lull in the conversation I jumped in with my sound bite and didn’t even realize that I was speaking over the guest with the floor, one Dr. Drew of everything fame, and that’s a wrap!
In other news, my sincerest apologies to stepping on Dr. Drew’s big TV moment. I wasn’t raised that way.
I don’t know that our three minutes of airtime will slow the Mommy Wars propaganda machine, that being the agenda that such animosities exist at a level that warrants mass attention, but I like to think that we (fellow Babble contributor Brian Gresko was also a guest) may have done something to drive home the fact that we are all in this together.
It is my belief that the ongoing conversation about parenting and work, whether mandated by choice or necessity, is not a war between mothers, or fathers for that matter—rather, it is a passionate discussion of personal opinion and the things we each must do. It is about parents doing the best they can to be the best parents they can be. That is our battle. That is our fight. If we agree on nothing else we should agree on that.
As an added bonus, Rush Limbaugh will probably hate it.
Here are Whit and Brian dropping what passes for knowledge on HLN’s Raising America:
We’re continuing this conversation all this week, because we want that lasting peace, dammit. Read more posts on this subject in this section all week (you can start with Catherine’s kick-off post.) And tune in to HLN’s Raising America (12:30 EST) to watch The Mommy Wars: the Peace Talks, a 5 day collaboration with HLN’s Raising America aimed at wrestling this so-called ‘war’ into peaceful submission.
For more on ‘leaning in’, and for buckets of inspiration toward being intentional and empowered in our choices (motherhood-related or otherwise) and our lives (including inspiring stories from many Babble bloggers that you know and love), visit the Lean In community. And maybe join the Lean In community. It’s a movement for all of us.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).