The Question Every Working Mother Hates To Hear
Life is complicated. Thank goodness there are experts to help us untangle some of the vexing issues that, well, vex us on a daily basis. The Mouthy Housewives are here to help, three times a week. Today, the Housewives answer an exclusive BlogHerMoms question! If you need some fresh, frank advice, email stacy at blogher.com with your (totally anonymous) question!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I work outside the home. I also have 2 daughters -- 7 and 6 years old. The other day as I was dropping my girls off at school, one of the moms said something to me, to the effect of how she could never leave her kids in order to work. I've been dealing with these types of comments for years, and it never gets any less annoying. Why do stay-at-home moms feel like they have the right to say these ridiculous things?
And what's an appropriate response, assuming "Oh, shut the fuck up already" isn't?
Dear Working Mom,
OMFG. Please tell me that you wrote this question fifteen years ago and I just now located it in The Mouthy Housewives mailbox. Because I feel like this "WOHM vs. SAHM" debate has been going on since my teenager was an embryo, and hasn't advanced one bit.
And I'm sorry to break it to you, but we can't lay the blame exclusively on the SAHMs. Because for every "I could never leave my babies!" there's a "I'd get so bored without the intellectual stimulation of work." Oh, yes, there is. I know. Because I used to work part-time and got it from both sides.
Obviously I'm the primary victim in this whole situation.
There are a number of reasons for working outside the home&mdashyou may find it professionally satisfying, enjoy having an income (whether discretionary or to feed your family) or you just plain want to work outside the home. All of those reasons are valid, and most importantly, they are yours.
You do not owe the Mom-at-dropoff an explanation, any more than she owes you an explanation about what she does once she drops off her school-age child for a 7-hour day at school.
As for how to respond, I find that silence is golden. A ridiculous comment does not merit a response. But if you want to shoot for platinum, look at her, shake your head sadly and say "I really hope that we are the last generation that has to have these discussions. I'd hate to think that our daughters would still do this to each other."