I’ve never watched Dr. Phil and to be honest, the small bits of the show that I’ve caught here and there, while flipping through channels at the gym, didn’t exactly draw me in. I find him blunt, but in a bad way, intrusive, but in less-than-helpful way, and just overall not a kind of guy whose opinion will sway me. So when I read about the show he did recently about stay-at-home moms vs. working moms, I didn’t rush to YouTube to check it out.
It turns out it was a very good thing. According to the many, many blog posts about it — most filled with the kind of sharp emotion only the mommy wars can bring on — the show would have made my blood boil. One of the guests was Jessica Gottlieb, who is a stay-at-home mom and who often blogs about the wonderfullness of moms who stay at home and the terribleness of moms who choose to work. Apparently she said things like working moms who choose to work (vs those who have to work) are selfish and “I wouldn’t outsource loving my husband, why would I outsource loving my kids?”
You know what’s funny? Stuff like this used to set me off for hours, maybe days. I’d go into a whole defensive tirade about how working keeps me happy and smart and my daughter benefits, and how her having exposure to different caregivers and being in a social daycare situation has been amazing for her, and so on. But no more. It does make my blood boil for a few seconds but I’ve grown to a point where I just move on. It’s sad, it’s stupid, it’s offensive and as moms, we should be way, way better than that to each other.
The show was apparently a huge ratings hit and I get why Dr. Phil and his producers chose to cover this topic, but c’mon, aren’t we done with this? Don’t we have enough studies that show working and stay-at-home moms give their kids the same amount of hugs (which I think is a ridiculous thing to study but so relevant to mention in this context), that they spend as time time with their kids as stay-at-home moms, that kids who go to daycare benefit from it, that neither working or staying-at-home is empirically better for the mom or the kids. We all make our personal choices. Period.
All this talk about the Dr. Phil show really makes me wonder about one thing: Will we ever get over the mommy wars and just accept each other’s choices OR is this an undying debate, with us for eternity of motherhood? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments!