Dr. Phil: Guilty of Starting a Mommy War?
by Leslie Morgan Steiner
God, even the title of the show made me cringe.
“Guilty Moms: The Debate That Never Dies” was the headline for the Wednesday October 14, 2009 Dr Phil Show.
Phil’s sensitive-wise-man intro prolonged my wincing.
“This show is the best we have ever done on the important challenges both types of moms face. In fact, something took place that’s never happened before in the history of Dr. Phil.”
Meaning that guest/blogger/saint/at-home-mom Jessica Gottlieb had dared to speak her truth in front of all the at-home moms watching TV at 3 p.m. in the afternoon (and Dr. Phil is paraphrasing here):
“If a woman is so selfish she can’t stay at home with her kids, then maybe she just shouldn’t have them!”
That’s the earth shattering view from daytime TV.
Please raise your pinky if you are sooo past all this.
Now I’ve often thought I should not have had kids. In fact, once or twice I’ve been tempted to rip out my uterus with my own hands. But it’s never, ever because I don’t have time for my children. Quite the contrary. My worst moments are always when I’m spending TOO MUCH time with them. If Ms. Gottlieb wants to swing by my house to give my kids some of that nurturing she thinks they’re missing, honey, come on down! Just get here quick before the neighbors’ windows shatter from my decibel levels.
A few things to ponder that were not settled by Dr. Phil on Wednesday.
First, let’s not leave out the dads. We American women have fought hard for decades for gender equality, so let’s give some back. Do daytime talk shows tar-and-feather MEN if they don’t spend “enough” time with their kids? When was the last TV show titled “Guilty Dads?” University of Maryland sociology data shows that dads with employed wives actually do more with their children. When is Dr. Phil going to do a show about THAT?
Second: If the Jessica Gottliebs of the world can judge me, I get to judge them too. My vote is that anyone who degrades other mothers’ choices automatically loses her parenting license. I sure don’t want the children of the future to have those sanctimonious mamacitas as role models. Or, to paraphrase here, “If a woman can’t raise her kids to be tolerant of others’ different lifestyle choices, then maybe she just shouldn’t have kids!”
Third, if this debate is really about what’s best for kids, let’s ask our kids. Not a slew of judgmental other moms. And most definitely not Dr. Phil.