Mothers against Mothers – a 1987 article by Barbera Berg discussed the values of being a stay at home mom (SAHM) and those of being a working mom (WM) and termed this debate as the Mommy Wars. Media has portrayed SAHMs and WMs as envying and misunderstanding each other. Working moms have to face the guilt of staying away from their children and feel the guilt of being selfish and not caring enough for their families, whereas the stay at home moms feel boredom, isolation and vexed about sacrificing financial independence. Moms who do want to stay at home are also perceived as those who can afford to do without work as opposed to women who have to work to sustain a family. SAHMs also complain that they don’t get the respect which working moms do. This is an ongoing debate and a conclusion is still awaited as to who faces more challenges as a mom, or who is better, or who can raise healthier and happier children – a working mom or a SAHM!
The Alpha and The Beta
The idealization of motherhood also gave birth to the concept of “good” or “bad” mothering depending on how near the real moms are to this idea of an ideal mother. So we have the concept of alpha moms, who are generally, well-to-do and well-educated and aim to be excellent mothers. They think natural instinct is not enough and motherhood has to be given a professional approach in order to achieve excellence. Finding up-to-date and best information on raising children in the best possible way is what alpha moms believe in. Against this surfaced the beta moms, who do not believe in running after perfection in motherhood and would rather take it easy, and believe their own instincts and make practical decisions.
Then there are tiger moms, soccer moms, security moms and even good and bad moms. My question here is – why are moms being stereotyped based on individual decisions? Is this really necessary? The aim of being a mom is to raise a happy and healthy human being, and as every parent and child is different, moms may want to take their decisions based on their personal comfort as a mom. Mommy wars have originated out of ego clash, whereas motherhood means much more than just an ego issue. Children and family are an integral part of motherhood, and it is fair enough for moms to make decisions that work best for a family balanced with their individual interests.
Encyclopedia of Motherhood GENERAL EDITOR – Andrea O’Reilly[ratings]