It’s a new twist on the old “Mommy Wars” story. This time, instead of the working mom vs. the stay-at-home mom. It’s the work outside the home mom vs. the work at home mom.
The problem? Apparently, moms who work from home are fed up with being asked favors from moms who work outside the home.
The Wall Street Journal recently published a story about how people who work feel as if working parents are taking advantage of their flexibility. The story focuses on both genders, but I know firsthand (anecdotally) that people are more likely to ask work-at-home moms to help out than dads.
A couple of years back, both my husband and I worked at home and shared childcare responsibilities. Friends often asked me to pick up their kids from school, but they almost never asked my husband. To be fair, it could be because of our personalities (I’m the extrovert and he’s the introvert). I’m probably a lot easier to approach than he is. I’m also more likely to ask favors of others in return, while he never wants to inconvenience anyone.
Diane Fitzpatrick, a blogger and freelance writer, is annoyed by the assumption that because she works from home, she’s available to help out. “You’re expected to pull the weight of all the people who can’t,” she told The Journal. “It’s as if I have to explain what I do all day.” After years of being a stay-at-home mom who has been asked to look after the kids of working parents, Ms. Fitzpatrick says that she occasionally feels like “the doormat of the neighborhood.”
My response? Stop being a doormat. If you’re going to resent helping out, then don’t agree to it.
Besides, why do we have to always frame these discussions as “us” vs. “them?” We’re all busy. We’re all over-committed and doing the best we can. I’m happy to pitch in wherever I can and if I need some back-up, I’m comfortable calling in a favor.
Most parents I know who work outside the home are more than happy to return a favor by hosting a weekend playdate or running an errand. Sure, moms who work outside the home shouldn’t take advantage of stay-at-home or work-at-home parents’ generosity. But parents who are at home can also feel free to ask for a favor in return or simply say “no.” There’s no need to start a new “mommy war” over it.