Mommy Talk

More than 80 women came to the first Mommy Wars reading in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday evening. Women of all ages. And one baby. I read from eight essays by a mix of working and stay-at-home moms. Afterwards, there were two or three questions. Mostly, there was discussion.

"I don't know if moms are ready to talk about this."

"What am I supposed to do? Walk into my neighbor's living room and tell her I think she's hurting her 3-month-old by going back to work?"

"Women of my generation never dealt with this. We were all the same. We were all at home."

"Stay-at-home moms are so isolated by endless baby care and laundry."

"Working moms are so isolated -- they are too busy for friends."

There wasn't any anger. No one criticized other moms who'd made different choices. Instead, there was hesitation -- how do we deal with this? How can we make it better?

And groups of moms went out into the night together, to talk and, I hope, to make it better.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  March 12, 2006; 12:30 PM ET
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Add one more thing to the mom task's not them, it's the rest of us who don't value enough what moms do that need to make it better.

Posted by: Tek | March 13, 2006 10:29 AM

for anyone who's read Miriam Peskowitz's "The Truth About the Mommy Wars" this would come as absolutely no surprise.

Posted by: Chip | March 13, 2006 1:51 PM

I'm not entirely sure that there is anything to "deal with." Each woman makes her choice for various reasons and all that we, as a society, can do is respect that choice. I don't believe that anyone has the right to chastize someone for making a personal decision based on what their lives are like or what their familial need is.

Posted by: Jennifer | March 13, 2006 2:47 PM

"No one criticized?" What exactly does "What am I supposed to do? Walk into my neighbor's living room and tell her I think she's hurting her 3-month-old by going back to work?" mean, then?

Posted by: Suzy | March 13, 2006 5:07 PM

And once again, we see that there is no real controversy. Just hype to sell books. I don't know anyone of my generation who genuinely looks down on any other woman for her work/life choices.

Posted by: Mrs. Coulter | March 14, 2006 11:09 AM

To anyone who thinks there's no controversy about moms working vs. staying home, I think you are not talking to -- or listening to -- enough moms!

Sure, some women don't feel the hostility, fortunately. They are a) filled with inner peace or b) too busy to notice other moms. But how can you not feel the angst, when our society deifies motherhood, but then doesn't lift a finger to help once you have a baby?

It doesn't do anybody, anywhere, any favors to pretend these problems don't exist.

Posted by: Leslie Morgan Steiner | March 14, 2006 12:25 PM

Speaking for myself and my perception of my friends who are mothers, I guess when people say there isn't a lot of hostility, it's that we don't feel hostility towards other moms. Yes, there is angst and confusion and wondering about what's the right choice for you and your family, but to call that a "war" seems inappropriate. I think the angst and hostility are not between the moms themselves (well, usually--I have been told that my brain will turn to mush as a result of my decision to stay home), but towards policies that make it hard for both moms who stay home and moms who continue to work outside of the home. And I think talking about "mommy wars" a pretty inconstructive way to approach the problem, although it probably is great for getting some PR hype.

Posted by: E | March 14, 2006 2:30 PM

My favorite morning show in Atlanta GA is doing a debate on Friday, May 12 about this war. I sure hope that they take the time to get the research or read your book before allowing this often hostile, very passionate subject get put into the wrong hands. Thanks for your work.

Posted by: Michelle S | May 10, 2006 12:37 PM

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