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Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Are You a "Weekend" Mother?

by Leslie Morgan Steiner

 

Good god, sometimes I don’t know whether I can take the mommy wars anymore.

 

The latest salvo: invention, by stay-at-home moms, of the derogatory term "weekend mother" to describe women who work for pay outside their homes from Monday through Friday (or some other period).

 

The implication being that working moms can not give as much love and attention to their children as stay-at-home mothers.

 

"They're not there," one stay-at-home mother said of working mothers. "Most of the working moms [1] I know, all they have time for is dinner and bath time. They're not really spending time with their kids."

 

Oh dear.

 

The debate raged on Facebook about this moniker and then was picked up by newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee [2]. Writer (and mom) Niesha Lofing wrote in her own defense:

 

"The ‘weekend mother’ label certainly hit a pressure point in my brain. I thought good parents were the ones who engaged in their children's development – whether they stay at home with them or not."

 

Shout it from the laptop, Niesha! For the record, The American Association of Pediatrics has said that a child's development is influenced more by the emotional health of the family and quality of child care [3] than by whether mom spends all day child-rearing. I know stay-at-home moms who are so nuts I wouldn’t leave a child with them for 30 minutes. And working moms who bump pediatrician appointments in favor of a pedicure. Your employment status is irrelevant to how good a mom you are. Most of the 80 million moms in this country are darn good caregivers, no matter where you find us between 9 am and 5 pm. The vast majority of mothers are working moms who have to work to support their families – only about six million of the country’s 80 million moms stay at home fulltime. And all moms work, whether we get paid or not – the label "working mom" is just as silly as "stay-at-home mom."

Although we all wish we could have a day off (some of us, a month or two) from mothering responsibilities, it is mean-spirited and insulting to suggest that any mother doesn’t care for her children 24/7, regardless of whether her title is CEO, teacher, Secretary of State or at-home mom.

 

And how come, once again, men get a pass in the debate about what makes a good parent? I don’t see any nasty articles (except my own) written about "Weekend Dads." Why do these "I’m better than you" put downs only apply within mom circles? Why not attack the real enemies – clueless partners, insensitive employers, and social attitudes and government policies unsympathetic to mothers and children?

 

Lastly – most importantly – moms, we need each other. Or let me say it this way: I need you. Mothering is challenging for me. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve climbed Mt Washington. Survived 7th and 8th grade mean girl torture. Screamed through childbirth without anesthesia. Stuck it out with a physically abusive man for four years.

 

Motherhood is far harder.

 

We don’t have the luxury of catfights and name-calling. Not if we want to be good mothers, support other women, and make it to see our children have children of their own. Which I do.


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