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Smackdown: Slacker Mom vs. With-it Mom

Pitting working moms against at-home moms is so the-last-20-years ago. Now it’s slacker mom versus with-it mom. Welcome to the new Mommy Wars.

I grew up with a working mom in the ’70s and ’80s. I remember lots of magazine covers with moms holding babies and briefcases. I remember that the movie Mr. Mom was cutting edge social commentary, as well as HILARIOUS.

Those were heady days for feminists. Then we had the backlash (daughters of feminists who assert their right to choose by choosing to be stay-at-home moms) and the backlash against the backlash. And now, thanks to shows like Mad Men and the quaint, retro appeal of all things vintage-ly misogynistic (wink — we’re in on the joke this time around!) . . . well, here we are.

I fall firmly in the camp of a hands-on, free range-ish, neurotic, worried, tired, letting-some-things-go, hard core, home-made/store-bought, spoiling, negligent, lazy, frenetic, distracted, intense, trying-really-hard mom who — incidentally — blogs. But labels can be so confining.

I’ve been enjoying the internet ever since Mitt Romney invented it. I have gotten great ideas, commiserated with other parents, and made true IRL friends because of it. I love the internet. I love social media, and I love being a mommy blogger. I love talking about stuff and hashing things out. I love being presented with new ideas and perspectives.

Also, I love reading blogs of people I hate. I love that self-satisfied smirk I get when I read about a mom I know I’m better than. I love that self-satisfied eye roll I get when I read about a mom who thinks she’s better than me. I blog-stalk stupid people and talk about them with my husband. I blow off people’s best efforts as “misguided” when I don’t agree with them. And they do it to me too. Luckily I’m old, thick-skinned, and have no pride.

I write to give parents like me (whatever that slim niche might be) a boost with something they can relate to. But the truth is, if hearing about my parenting exploits and failures gives parents (who aren’t like me) a self-congratulatory boost, I like that too. I find that most people — whether they feast on junk food or purely organic fare — can use a boost.

People choose different things all the time. We get it, and we live with it. But when it comes to parenting choices, the stakes are higher, and preferences become virtues. You’ve put so much thought into how you raise your child. When someone agrees with you, it is validating. And when they don’t, we feel worried and defensive. Putting so much importance on parenting is a good thing — but there’s a lot of pressure. We are in charge of their nurture and their nature, their now and forever, their cute nurseries and their chances of getting skin cancer when they are 50. The stakes are high. If you love them wrong, they could become serial killers (yes, that’s a thing; watch Law and Order).

And here’s how the internet works: I, personally, like cold cereal, old cartoons, and superheroes. Other bloggers like Twilight, graphic cupcake liners, and . . . I don’t know, what’s some other stupid thing lame people like?

See what I did there? I can’t help myself. Everyone like me likes me. Everyone not like me is all, “She’s immature and hates romance.”

The truth is, half the internet hates you. Remember that. The internet can be a supportive community that parents rely on, but on the whole it’s just like the kids you went to high school with: Some are your besties, some are cuter than you, most don’t know you exist, and a couple of them make you feel like crap every time they open their mouths. Don’t let it get to you.

Moms and dads need supportive, thoughtful friends and peeps who have their back. The internet isn’t exactly that. You still need your sisters, a few choice friends to go to lunch with, and maybe one or two secret Facebook groups for when you really need to mouth off in a safe place.

And on behalf of all of us skinny-jean-wearing, perfect-bosom-baring, green-smoothie-drinking, lullaby-singing, cookie-baking, hard-working, hanging-in-there moms, I want to welcome all the Dads to the Mommy Wars. O hai. Is ruff in deez warz. I can haz ur help?

Image by Bfurnace.

Read more from Kacy at Every Day I Write the Book.
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Read an interview with me here.

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