Sometimes I feel as if all you have to do is type the phrases "stay-at-home mom" or "working mom" into a blog post or article – or utter it on your daytime TV talk show, if you happen to have one -- and you're almost guaranteed to get an onslaught of outrage. Anderson Cooper is apparently learning that the hard way.
Cooper's minions (one assumes) have thrown gasoline on the flames of the SAHM v. Working Mom debate with a web post touting an upcoming episode of his daytime show in which a panel of moms discuss a new study that found that SAHMs of preschool-age kids had higher rates of depression than those who worked outside the home, and that part-time moms were the happiest of all. (I wrote about the study here.)
Unfortunately, Cooper's peeps ran the preview under the headline "Are Stay-at-Home Moms Lazy? Plus, Kathie Lee & Hoda," inciting fury – and not because of the Kathie Lee & Hoda part.
The headline apparently refers to one guest mom's opinion, alluded to in a video preview, that staying at home with the kids is "almost an excuse to be lazy." Cooper incited further ire by clarifying the woman's statement, albeit with wide-eyed alarm: "You're saying that stay-at-home moms are lazy?!"
The blogosphere is outraged, as are the commenters on Cooper's site – furious that Cooper would even utter the phrase, it seems. I think mothers (SAHM, WM, PTWM) are right to be furious – but many of us are furious about the wrong thing.
What we should all be angry about is being constantly pitted against each other by the media. Is it better to be a stay-at-home mom? Better to be a working mom? Better to be a part-time mom? Of course, the answer is different for every woman who has produced and is raising children.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. No one is lazy – and no one is selfish or neglectful – for making one choice rather than another. Can't we all just agree that parenting is both wonderful and difficult for all of us – working, SAHM, part-time, you name it? We're all doing the best we can. Why can't we simply support each other instead of helping the media turn this into a catfight? (The more we react, the more they're going to throw this stuff at us like chum.) Why are we so invested in proving that we have it worse – or better? Can't we all just put these manufactured "mommy wars" to rest, once and for all?
Do you think the stay-at-home v. working mom debate has gotten out of hand?
Image via mroach/Flickr