Dear daughter, here’s why I work (at ending the mommy wars)

Mommy wars

Dear Daughter,

Why do mothers pummel each other over whether or not they work for pay outside the home? Why do so many women eagerly enlist on one side or another in the Mommy Wars?

Why did Lydia Lovric write Dear Daughter, Here’s Why I Don’t Work? Or, more to the point, why did Lovric publish a letter that was ostensibly written to her daughter, including such gems as:

My “job” is to take the best care possible of you and your younger brothers…

Other people may dismiss babies as simply blobs. But we both know better.

And:

I stay home because although I did love my job very much, I love you more.

I stay home because although writing and radio did make me extremely happy, I knew that you seemed happier when I was around. And your happiness was more important to me than my own. And making you happy also made me happy.

I stay home because I want you to learn that family and love are more important than material possessions. A large home or fancy sneakers will not make up for an absent mother.

I stay home because I want you and your brothers to be proud of me because I gave up something I truly loved in order to put you first.

And especially:

The feminists may not like it, dear daughter, but even if I made it to the very top of my profession, even if I drove a fancy company car and went on a slew of business trips, I would feel like an utter failure if any of my kids felt the need to ask me if I loved work more than I loved them.

I ponder these questions because I’m a feminist. I was a feminist even as a child, before I had ever heard the word and before the feminist movement profoundly improved the world for all women.

I’m proud that you are a feminist, too.

I ponder these questions because I was a stay at home mother, too, and I am all too familiar with the way that women bash each other about their choices, as if their worth as mothers and as human beings depends on belittling those who make different choices.

I suspect that it was your feminism that led you to ask me years ago why I no longer worked outside the home, specifically, “Don’t you feel bad that you are not an important person?” We talked about it when you asked me, and I’ve thought a lot about over the years.

I understood that what you were asking about was not that mothers aren’t important; you were curious whether an ambitious person can be happy if she does not have professional success to point to, and if no one is paying her for the work that she does. The answer is yes.

I stayed home because I am a feminist and feminism is about women being free to make the choices that are right for them, without external limitations imposed by societal beliefs about women. Feminism is a remarkably simple belief: women are morally, intellectually, and politically equal to men. That’s it.

That’s why Lovric’s dig “The feminists may not like it, dear daughter, but … I would feel like an utter failure if any of my kids felt the need to ask me if I loved work more than I loved them.” is hard for me to fathom.

Dear daughter, as a feminist yourself, you know that feminists don’t care that Ms. Lovric chooses not to work. And you’ve probably figured out that the fact that she imagines they care tells us more about her and her misunderstanding of feminism than anything else.

As you know, and as we have discussed at length, feminism requires that women not be constrained by societal prejudices. It does NOT demand that women work or emulate men in their choices. While Ms. Lovric feels driven to flaunt her choice to prove her supposed maternal superiority, the rest of the world is going about its business.

Or they should be.

Sadly, there is no lack of enlistees in the mommy wars. They imagine that motherhood is a zero sum game with a limited amount of child happiness, parental success, and personal self-worth to be doled out among the mothers of the world. They envision an “I win; she loses” world. I hope you never view motherhood that way.

The truth is very different. As I’ve written in the past, two women making opposite choices can BOTH raise happy children … or not. Two women making opposite choices can both point to the same parenting success … or not. Two women making opposite choices can both be proud of what they have done … so long as they aren’t always judging themselves by what others are doing.

And that’s why I work, not at paid work, but at defying the invective, defusing the guilt and decrying viciousness of the mommy wars. I concentrate on childbirth, infant feeding and attachment parenting, which some women have turned into fights to the death about unmedicated childbirth vs. epidurals, breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding, and baby-wearing vs. sleep training, but I’m well aware of other battles like “stay at home vs. working” mothers.

I stayed home with you and your brothers because I love you beyond reason, but I don’t think, even for a moment, that other women who made different choices love their children any less.

I’m so glad, dear daughter, that you’ve had the opportunity to know my friends, highly educated, talented, powerful women who have made a range of different choices and whose profound love for and devotion to their children has not been bounded in any way by those choices.

As a feminist, I want every choice to be open to you, including the choice to be child-free (though I am not so secretly desperate to be grandmother). But if you do have children, I fervently hope that what I’ve tried to teach you, and endeavored to model for you will lead you away from the mommy wars and toward making the choices that are right for you and your family, without any reference to what other women are choosing.

And no matter what, I will always love you and your brothers more than life itself.
Your Mom

  • Kq

    Dear Son,

    I know it’s hard for you to understand why Mommy got a job and isn’t home all the time anymore. We had three years of us home together all the time, and it was amazing at times. But we were starting to really struggle, you and me. Mommy was lonely and sad and felt like she was Nothing But A Mommy, and you were bored and lonely too. And it was even harder because we hardly had enough money – and I don’t like when I hear you asking “can we afford to do that today?”

    It really is better now. Not only do we have enough that we aren’t worried about where food will come from (and you shouldn’t have to even think about that at four!), Mommy has the energy to play with you in the evening and on the weekends. You have friends to run and play with, and you tell me excitedly about all the things you learn in your preschool. You even get to hang out with Daddy more, now that he isn’t so exhausted from carrying our whole family.

    But it’s more than that. As you get older, I want you to see that Mommies are women and women are people just like you – they can work hard, have achievements and support the family just as much as Daddies and men. Someday you might want to have a family, and I don’t want you to think that Only Mommies Take Care Of Kids.

    And even more, I don’t want you to look back at your life and see a tired, drained, sad Mom who gave up the world to make it revolve around you. You’re a part of thr world, not it’s axis, and you have to learn that too. It doesn’t make you any less precious to me and your dad. It just means that it’s time for each of us to stretch out and be more than just Mommy And Baby.

    I am still here when you need me, and most of the time when you want me – and I always will be. But the world is bigger than you and me, kiddo. Let’s both have feet and strength to explore it.

    I love you, my best boy ever.

    Love,
    Mom

    • Wren

      Excellent job at being just as crappy to SAHMs as the original was to working moms.

      How about:

      Dear Son/Daughter/children,

      Your parent(s) do what is needed in your best interest as well as their own. There is no need to denigrate parents who make different choices that work for their families.

      Love,

      Your mother/father/care giver of whatever stripe.

      • Kq

        Did you go through bitching at every other persons letter in the comments too?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Why, did they say the same things you did?

        • Wren

          Actually, yours was right at the top and so antithetical to the post it really got me.

          Your now deleted letter made every point on the anti-SAHM list, whether you were ever one or not. I guess I’m just teaching my children only mommies can take care of children, despite the numerous working mothers they know in their lives. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the sad woman you portrayed, being stuck at home with her child.

          If you want to write that letter to your own child, fine. Posting it here on this particular post is, well, pretty crappy.

          • Kq

            I still don’t see how you could get that out of what I wrote, but whatever, the world is safe from it now.

          • Wren

            It’s difficult to show you now, as you have deleted it, but you claimed you were teaching your son that not just mommies can take care of children by going back to work. You also may have only been referring to your personal situation, but you did imply staying home made women less happy and going to preschool made children happier. That’s going to be a variable thing from one family to the next.

            Basically, your letter continued the mommy wars on a post specifically pointing out that that particular argument is unnecessary.

          • Kq

            No, I said it made me a better mother to *him*, which was the entire point of the letter – and this article, or was I mistaken? That we should do what is best for our own families and children?

          • Wren

            Your letter did not distinguish between the specific and the general. I really do not see how you going back to work is teaching your son that people other than mommies can take care of children but other women choosing to stay home is not teaching their children the opposite, for example.
            The article is not just about doing what works for your own family, but also stopping the crappy SAHM vs working moms wars. You did the first, but your letter definitely continued the wars.
            To answer your original question, now that I have read a few of the other letters posted in the comments I have not reacted this way to them because they were very different in tone. I love the one about the cat (and could apply it to my two as well).

  • OT: The Magic School Bus and anti-vaccinating parents.

    As someone who grew up idolizing Ms Frizzle, this is the best <3

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDjz5qHIzsc

    • Mishimoo

      I love that so much!

      • The Frizz ain’t havin’ it!

    • Box of Salt

      One problem: “Ms Frizzle” got this wrong: there was never any mercury (thimerosal) in the MMR. That would kill the live virus. Let’s keep out points straight.

      Actually, after further review, from a chemist’s standpoint, that part of the video (this one’s oxygen, that one’s hydrogen, but no mercury) is fundamentally wrong on so many levels I personally will not be sharing this video with anyone.

      I’ve never watched Magic School Bus, nor did my children (who went from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse directly to the Universe on Discovery Channel and are watching Mythbusters as I type); I hope the real show had better actual science.

      • Sorry, as a lowly plebe whose parents weren’t smart enough to shield them from the ANTI-SCIENCE SCHOOLBUS AMIRITE, I was charmed to see a parody of it and amused by the attitudes of the parents.

        I’m writing an angry letter to College Humor right now to let them know that this is absolutely out of bounds, which they will hopefully read between writing scripts for live-action Captain Planet boning Gaia, and Reservoir Dogs-style Rugrats parodies.

        • Mishimoo

          Lucky you – I had to read and analyse it, and explain where they had strayed from young-earth Creationism and why they were wrong.

          (I’m happily enjoying my kids adoration of the Frizz since I claimed the books for my shelves.)

          • Oh man, I remember my church doing that– people were downright vitriolic and even attacked her sexuality (our pastor had watched it and was “horrified” by the number of men she was obviously involved with). That’s hilarious. I’m glad you got away from that noise and are raising your kids in a better environment. 🙂

          • Who?

            As I recall from when my kids watched The Frizz was quite the minx!

        • Box of Salt

          Annie, the parodies of the parents are great.

          But here’s the thing: their refutation of the “OMG mercury in vaccines!” is faulty. One, as said before: Ms Frizzle should, after mentioning the fact it’s not currently in pediatric vaccines, add the fact that it was NEVER in the MMR. Antivax bitching about the mercury in the MMR is a red flag for not knowing what they’re talking about it. But that goes both ways.

          Their explanation for when the cute “magic schoolbus can shrink to the molecular level” sequence makes no sense at all on “the molecular level.” It just doesn’t, in any way, shape or form. I’m sorry if you don’t have the chemistry background to recognize how little sense it makes; it’s total crap, and unrelated to the point they’re trying to make (which I assume is that when we combine elements into compounds, the properties change).

          Don’t start me on their use of graphics in that sequence. Again: it’s total crap, put together by

          someone who has forgotten any chemistry they ever learned.

          I don’t know what your background is. But think about this: Would you trust a source that was supposed to be written in the English language if in

          the middle of the article, for about a paragraph, the letters printed were all from a completely different alphabet?

          That is the level or error here.

          If that part of their video is complete and total nonsense, why should anyone believe they are saying anything worthwhile in any of it?

          • Box of Salt

            Please forgive formatting errors: no preview function.

          • I’m sorry that the cartoon made by the brain trust behind “My New Year’s Resolution is to Get My Dick Out of this Toaster” isn’t scientifically accurate enough for you.

            In any case, there’s a reason why College Humor isn’t published in the Journal of Pediatrics. It’s a dumb little flash cartoon lampooning them, not championing vaccination.

          • Box of Salt

            Annie,
            “OT: The Magic School Bus and anti-vaccinating parents.”

            “It’s a dumb little flash cartoon lampooning them, not championing vaccination.”

            Why did you post it?

          • I’m sorry, you caught me! I did it to educate, to draw in suckers to my Cult of Skoobus! And I wouldn’t gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling science geniuses!

            Or, because it made me giggle at the people we so thoroughly wreck on a near daily basis and I know that most readers would appreciate its silliness without turning into a bunch of Fun Killingtons.

          • Box of Salt

            Annie “I did it to educate”
            “most readers would appreciate its silliness without turning into a bunch of Fun Killingtons”

            How can you educate people with a video that is blatantly incorrect?

            Your love of the “Cult of Skoobus” is leading you to give a pass to being functionally illiterate about chemistry.

            Why is that OK?

          • Of course I didn’t post it to actually educate anyone, and this obviously isn’t the actual Magic Schoolbus– it’s a ridiculous modern parody made by overpaid dropout stoners. Obviously.

            This is stupid. You’re being arrogant and pedantic.

    • Kq

      My son is watching The Magic Schoolbus right this minute. He adores the Frizz and learns so much from it. I adore this video.

  • staceyjw

    What a self important, privileged JERK.
    Thats all I can muster for someone like her. She claims to be a feminist, but attacks other women? That is NOT feminist!

    • Montserrat Blanco

      Well, actually being a feminist does not mean you can never ever disagree with other women… She is not exactly attacking. From my point of view I feel much more attacked by the piece Dr. Tuteur is talking about than I think anyone could feel attacked by her post…

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        She is not exactly attacking.

        “I am staying home because I love you” is ABSOLUTELY an attack on those who choose to work, with the implication that they don’t love their children.

        • KarenJJ

          I think Montserrat Blanco thought StaceyJW was writing about her reaction to Dr Amy’s post, not the piece she is writing about. I suspect StaceyJW is actually talking about the original piece under discussion.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            Actually yes, you got me right. I feel attacked by the piece Dr. Tuteur is critizicing. And I thought Stacy was agaisnt Dr. Tuteur’s piece. I may have gotten it wrong when reading… In that case, I am sorry Stacy.

          • Kq

            Oops, my bad. Sorry monsterrat-I was stunned to see you, as I thought, defending the original piece. My bad!!! /o

      • Kq

        Cry me a river. The “feminist” who wrote the original piece says that working mothers (like me!) think of our babies as “blobs”

  • Jennifer Love

    I don’t think this issue is just a matter of supporting women in making personal choices. I enjoyed staying home with my son when he was little, and we were lucky enough to not need regular childcare when the kids were little because their dad and I worked opposite schedules. However, having stay at home parent is not always the best for kids, and I think it can be extremely detrimental to the stay at home parent. Kids can thrive in many different care environments, and the research backs that up very clearly. I love my kids, but I am not a kid-oriented person and my children benefit greatly from not being under my care 100% of the time. More importantly, though, deciding to stay at home can have long term financial consequences for the parent in question, well above and beyond the “lost wages” from not working. What happens if your spouse leaves you and you are suddenly responsible for providing for your children yourself? This can happen to ANYONE- even the most stable marriage, even if you are married to the most upstanding husband ever. Jobs are not easy to come by these days, and even if you had a good career prior to having kids, an employment gap and the resultant stagnation in skills can make it hard to get back in the workforce. I’ve seen too many newly-single moms working 2 low-wage jobs just to keep a roof over their head. Because I have stayed in the work force and built a career, I can support my kids comfortably with a normal work week, something a min-wage employee wouldn’t be able to do. And as a feminist, I believe every adult has a responsibility to do everything in their power to be financially solvent. Sometimes staying at home, or having your partner stay at home, really is the best solution. But it is foolish to pretend that stepping out of the work force doesn’t have real, far reaching consequences. That article made staying at home seem like a selfless labor of love with endless benefits for the kids, but the reality is far less rosy. I would not freely choose to put my or my children’s long term security at risk by voluntarily leaving the work force for an extended period. That being said, we need better supports in place so that women with young children CAN stay in the work force if they choose- the reality is that childcare (especially for multiple kids, or kids with special needs) can be so expensive that a person with a minimum wage job and two kids might not be able to AFFORD to work.

    • FEDUP MD

      To add to your point, even if you are sure you will never be divorced, you can never be sure you won’t be widowed.

      • FrequentFlyer

        This. My parents had a rock solid marriage and I’m sure they would be enjoying retirement together today if he hadn’t died so young. My mom has said how glad she was to already have a job and pretty good benefits when she was left on her own with 2 kids. It wasn’t the greatest job ever, but she was already there doing good work and gaining experience. Raises and promotions came and we didnt have a lot of extras, but we were secure. I never really thought about being a sahm. I guess mostly because I had always expected to get an education and career, but after we lost my dad there was fear of what could happen if I didn’t have a job and couldn’t find one. Then I married and had two children with a man who has pretty high risk of dying i or at least being seriously injured on the job. When my boys were babies, I did want to be with them all the time, but I also needed to work for my peace of mind. We could have managed financially if I had decided to stay home, but I probably would have been a nervous wreck. Who knows what that would have done to the family? I’m a worrier anyway. I did what I thought was best for our particular family in our particular situation. Isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do? I don’t care what they say, one size never fits all. -Sorry for writing a novel.

    • Guesteleh

      Here’s the problem: we’re looking at this as a matter of individual choices rather than as a structural problem. Why is our social safety net so poor that women feel they can’t be out of the workforce for even a brief period of time for fear of ending up on the streets with their children? Why isn’t there enough support for ALL caregivers, male or female, caring for children or elders? Why can’t employers offer more flexibility so women aren’t completely shut out of the workforce during their years of peak fertility? We can take potshots at each other’s choices but all of these choices are constrained by economic and social realities. Instead of defending our choices we should be pushing against structural issues that put all women and children in danger of poverty.

      • Cobalt

        Word!

      • KarenJJ

        ” Instead of defending our choices we should be pushing against structural issues that put all women and children in danger of poverty.”

        Love this! So well said!

  • Valerie

    I don’t understand the “I sacrificed everything for you” mentality. The kids never asked for that- it’s the mom (or parents) who made that decision on behalf of the family. Demonstrating devotion by quitting your job kind of reminds me of Van Gogh cutting off his ear for a gift to his prostitute. I can think of a ton of reasons why people might prefer to be stay at home parents, but to “show you how much I love you” seems empty, twisted, and weirdly self-serving. What’s noteworthy here is that she doesn’t ever say what the supposed advantage of staying home is for the actual kids, besides cloth diapering and that they “seemed happier.” It’s just dripping with the assumption that constant care from the child’s mother is better for and of utmost importance to every child.

    It never even occurred to me to feel slighted because both of my parents worked. I don’t remember caring if my mom changed my diaper or if she paid somebody to do it while she worked; (tender) bottom line, my diaper got changed. I have plenty of fond memories with my parents, as well as other caregivers, like my babysitter and my grandparents (and preschool/elementary school teachers). I had stay-at-home parents on Saturdays and Sundays, and that was plenty for us all.

    • Right?

      Not only does it cripple women, it guilts children and completely disregards the great capacity for love that men have for their children.

      When people like this cloister their children, it leads to them being overly dependent. Allowing them to be in the care of that extended support system, from family to friends to daycare, is instilling strength and independence and reinforcing the idea that others outside of their mother love them.

      • Bugsy

        …but isn’t that what these moms want? It seems to me that the utterly exhausting dependency of a young infant is something they try to maintain as long as possible, sometimes ignoring how independent the child could otherwise be. (Extended breastfeeding, for example.)

        • This is a very good, and chilling, point.

      • Cobalt

        Increasing the number of people that genuinely love and care for a child, that help them learn and grow, is GOOD for the child.

        The way the world works now, you have to build your own village. Demonizing daycare, non-traditional family structures, or other creative ways of solving the logistics of parenthood is akin to trying to burn down a child’s village, metaphorically speaking. It’s mean, it’s wrong, and it should be stopped.

        • Very well said!

          This bullshit about each family being an island in of themselves is ridiculous. In some African communities, child discipline and education is seen as a communal effort; if someone who isn’t the parent catches them doing something they shouldn’t be, they lay down the law.

          I love this idea and would hope that if anyone saw my kid doing wrong, they obviously wouldn’t hit or yell at them, but immediately correct them. Unfortunately, it feels that most people would freak the fuck out if this happened, even gently, because the “Im’ma momma bear” philosophy of child-rearing is too self-important to allow for anyone else’s hand. In their world, you’re with them (not telling them anything they don’t want to hear, validating everything no matter how questionable, letting the sprogs get away with murder) or against them.

          • Cobalt

            I love it when other people tell my kids “no”. The kids get a better sense that what they’re learning from me has transfer value in society that way. If I’m the only person that ever calls them on bad behavior, they kinda get the impression that I’m the only one who thinks it’s bad and the only one who cares enough to stop them.

            Fast forward a decade or so, and that’s a very dangerous impression.

            The worst is if I’m correcting the child, and someone else says “oh no, they’re fine, it’s ok”. No, it’s not ok for my kid to act like a jerk.

          • YES. EXACTLY.

    • FEDUP MD

      Absolutely. I was on the other end of that. A mother who did not stay home for herself, but because it was the “right” thing for a “good mother,” in her eyes, to do. I was on the receiving end of “but I did this all for YOU” from a very early age. I was an only child and it was a tremendous weight feeling soley responsible for a grown woman’s happiness, which I was reminded of constantly. Every time we had a disagreement, especially as a teenager, the sacrifices my mother had made for me (which I never asked for) were used as a guilt cudgel and any criticism, even if rational, was an indictment of her entire existence as a human being. This actually persisted well into my 20s, until my mom finally found other interests to occupy her time.

      I shudder to think of these poor kids. If you want to stay home, stay home for you. I work part time for me. I like to work, but I wanted to spend more time with my kids because I enjoy it. So part time it is for now.

      • SporkParade

        Would you believe that working mothers are capable of inflicting the same mental damage? But what do I know? I’m just an ungrateful, selfish child who doesn’t appreciate all the sacrifices my hard-working mother made to give us a good life. 😉

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I don’t understand the “I sacrificed everything for you” mentality.

      I do. And so did Alanis Morissette

      I’ll live for you, I’ll make you what I never was
      If you’re the best then maybe so am I
      Compared to him, compared to her
      I’m doing this for your own damn good
      You’ll make up for what I blew
      What’s the problem, why are you crying?

      -Perfect

      • Kq

        Minor correction – it’s “I’ll live *through* you” in the song. Which only makes your point stronger.

        — a 90s teen

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Blame the lyrics website

  • JDM

    Could she name some of these people who “dismiss babies as simply blobs”? Because I have the sneaking suspicion she’s full of it.

    • One has to wonder about anyone speaking in such “glowing terms” about their kid.

    • KarenJJ

      Well I work part time, so 3 days a week I thought my babies were blobs and the other 4 days I thought they were babies.

      • JDM

        I guess that’s why they call the day after “Hump Day” “Blob Day”? 🙂

    • Michele

      I have referred to mine as a blob before. Of course, I think that was at a 7 or 8 week ultrasound when the fetus is still pretty blob-like.

  • Aliciaspinnet

    Dear Son,
    You’re not born yet, but once you are I will be a SAHM for at least the first 6 months. I haven’t done this before, so know that there’s a chance I will go completely stir crazy. If I do then I will go back to work, and I will not be feeling guilty about it because I think you’ll be much better off without a mother who is insane.
    The reason your dad will probably not be a SAHD has nothing to do with gender – it’s because given his personality type, he would definitely go stir crazy.
    Love,
    Your Mom

  • Cobalt

    An actual stay at home mother would have answered the child’s question instead of scurrying back to her writing gig to monetize it. She’s using her relationship with her kids as fodder for her work, which is not the same as giving up your job to stay home.

  • the wingless one

    What a nasty, self-righteous sanctimommy this woman is. I googled her and immediately found another piece she wrote about how terrible feminists have doomed babies to be raised by random strangers at “baby warehouse” (aka the dredded daycare). I would not be the least bit surprised if her husband works long hours just to get away from her insufferable ass.

    • JDM

      One wonders how she finds a way to be “a regular guest on BBC Radio, The Michael Coren Show and Charles Adler” and write things that appear in HuffPo, “The National Post, The Montreal Gazette and various other papers across Canada” when “all of that was put on hold when you entered this glorious world”. Is she lying to her little kid? Because she’s not telling the truth.

    • Nick Sanders

      I remember my days at the baby warehouse. A dimly lit building where we babies just sat around in crates and pallets hoping they didn’t accidentally overstock and have to send some of us back to the baby depot, or worse, get sold in a back alley by a shady manager who said we fell off a truck.

  • Francesca Violi

    I’m really fed up with this battle of stay at home mother vs. working mom. This kind of moms war only colludes with dominant social -cultural expectations and job market, in reinforcing the gender-based stereotypes that mothers are the “natural” child raisers, and thus if there is a parent who must choose between career and children, it’s the mother – which makes it very difficult for many women, couples, families, to actually make a free choice. If an employer assumes it’s always the mother who will choose between job and family, he/she will be more likely to hire a man, or incentivate male employees ( pay men more than women etc.). This is what happens in my country (Italy). But in the U.S.A. too, you hear “can women really have it all?”, but you never hear “can men really have it all?” meaning, both career and family.

    • Box of Salt

      “If an employer assumes it’s always the mother who will choose between job and family”

      This is the attitude that needs to change to improve society. It *has* to become culturally acceptable for workers to temporarily leave and re-enter the work force without penalty, regardless of their gender or age, as necessary (and I’m referring to child care and/or elder care).

      We need employers to understand there is *not* a choice between work and family obligations. Employees who are able to fulfill both obligations without penalties within the workplace will be happy and productive employees.

      Yes, it would be a major cultural change, and I’m not holding my breath. But that’s the kind of future for which I am hoping I’m preparing my children.

      • araikwao

        That is my dream! I only recently articulated it, but it is what I want to see happen and help drive, if only in some small way.

      • Dinolindor

        I’m encouraged that my husband’s company just instated paid family bonding leave (which I believe is separate from maternity leave, but I don’t know. I’d be surprised if *this* company had previously only offered 2 unpaid months of maternity leave), and that it’s available to take any time within the first year of having the baby. The tide is slowly, slowly changing. But honestly, I think a huge stumbling block for sweeping change are the smaller businesses, both official “small businesses” that don’t have to adhere to a lot of these federal/state policies and those just above the cut off. I worked at a small-to-medium museum before it had to sell its collection and close down, and they just didn’t have the structure to even offer paid maternity leave. I don’t know what it would take to get those kinds of businesses to accept the kind of change we need, but to pay 2 people for 1 job even for only 3 months is just more difficult for small/medium businesses. (Or maybe my experience of a smaller business is totally off since it’s a non-proift AND the museum screwed itself over to the point it had to shut down!)

        • Inmara

          Well, the answer is government funded maternity/paternity leave. Of course, it may be very hard to come by in US where ideas about raising taxes for common societal benefits are met with hatred, but in long term it is only policy that can ensure healthy demographics (and thus sustainable growth of economy).

      • Inmara

        Meanwhile, you can drool over this photo series of Swedish dads in paternity leave http://www.buzzfeed.com/lynzybilling/this-is-what-it-looks-like-when-men-are-allowed-to-take-60-d?bftw&utm_term=4ldqpgm#.ypYy3a9YG
        We have really generous maternity leave policies in my country (government-subsided, because our tax model is quite close to Scandinavian) and fathers can use them too but it rarely happens due to tradition and cultural reasons. But it’s changing, and fathers are willing to take both paternity and sick leaves for children.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    I just want to say that I am sad that I can’t upvote without signing in because there are so many comments here worthy of upvoting.

    • LibrarianSarah

      Just reply and say “upvote” or “this” or something. OHHHH and to downvote you can say “no thank you” or “downvote.” I might just start doing that since Disquis took away the downvote option.

    • Guesteleh

      Me too but I refuse to get a Discus account. REFUSE!

      • Box of Salt

        With you, Guesteleh.

      • toni

        how come?

      • guest

        Yup. Is this a general Disqus thing? It has been changing back and forth recently.

  • LibrarianSarah

    Dear Ginger,

    I am sorry I have to leave you 5 days a week for hours at a time. I know that you would much rather have mommy at home petting you and telling you what a good girl you are. But you have to realize that mommy is not doing this to punish you even though you did leave a dead mouse in her bed this morning, she is doing it to keep a roof over your head and by those treats you like. I know you and I will never be truly attached because I didn’t vaginally birth and breastfeed you and that is why you do things like hide your food bowl and use the potted plants as a litter box. I am sorry I am such a bad mommy and promise to buy you extra treats next time I go to the store so can you please stop shredding the curtains?

    Love,

    Mommy

    P.S. Whose a good kitty? Yes you are. Yes you are.

    P.S.S. But seriously stop crapping in the potted plants.

    • MLE

      My recurring nightmare before having my first child was that I actually gave birth to a cat and was forced to breastfeed it. I still remember the “feeling” of those teeth on my nipples.

      • Kq

        OMG. I totally had recurring dreams for years that I gave birth to a baby and it turned into a cat. I thought I was the only one…

  • LibrarianSarah

    Ironically I am pretty sure the guilt complex that this woman is laying on her kids for giving up a job she loved for them is going to screw up her kids far more than if she just kept working.

    My mom was pretty much the stereotype that this woman described in her article. She worked 12 hour days at a high powered job where she occasionally had to leave the country and left me with a babysitter for some of the time. The result? I talk to my mom twice a week and I don’t think I could possibly be more “attached” to her and still be considered a healthy adult. I learned from a young age to be my own woman and to work hard for what I wanted. I also learned not to rely on one person for all my physical and emotional needs because I had multiple loving adults in my life that I could turn too.

    Any yes the extra income was nice. It gave me access to the best schools, therapies, etc which allowed me to be a relatively independent adult. So we didn’t have two Mercedes but we didn’t have two neurotypical kids either.

    I am sure anyone who had a stay at home mother could relate similar lessons that they learned from their mothers. The point is do what makes you happy and the kids will, most likely, turn out okay.

  • Amy M

    My children have never asked why I work instead of staying home. My husband was a SAHD on and off (he’s a teacher, summers), but they don’t know any different. I suppose they might start comparing notes with their friends one of these days, but if their lives have always included daycare/school, why should they even question that? I think the mothers care way more about this issue than the children. As long as the children are in a safe place, and have loving/caring, consistent caregivers, they are happy.

  • Box of Salt

    Dear Lydia Lovric (I don’t need to address this to my own
    children, because they already know):

    I work because I think I have more to offer the world than the
    happiness of my own offspring.

    • Jennifer Love

      THIS. I have no problem admitting that part of the reason why I work is because I am more than just a mother. Sure, I feel more than a twinge of mommy guilt when I am stuck at the hospital well past the end of my 24 hour shift, even knowing my kids are with their dad. But. I am a midwife; that is a central part of my identity. Although Dr. Amy probably doesn’t approve of that either lol.

      • KarenJJ

        There are loads of midwives that post here. It just depends if you’re a midwife or a fruitcake midwife that gets more hung up on how a woman gives birth rather than the health and safety of a woman and her child and the woman’s own preferences..

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    You guys need to read her other articles. She is really a piece of work. http://lydialovric.com/?cat=1

    • Bugsy

      Oooh, I took a quick look at the Canadian (Vancouver) child care article. It really makes me mad. We have a lot of friends w/ kids in child care up here, and their kids are absolutely thriving.

      I noticed that someone asked her to source her references, and she never bothered to reply to them.

      • PrimaryCareDoc

        That’s because “my ass” is not a valid place to pull references from.

    • Cobalt

      Wow. Reminds me, quite strongly, of Alison Dixley’s work.

    • LibrarianSarah

      It’s nice that Canada has an Ann Coulter as well. Make’s me feel better as an American.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      My goodness. So the ideal stay at home mom who focuses on nothing but her children spends her time writing online opinion pieces. I wonder if she loves her children more than her blog posts. (/sarcasm. I don’t actually doubt anyone’s love for their children until they start getting really obvious about it.)

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    I would feel like an utter failure if any of my kids felt the need to ask me if I loved work more than I loved them.

    My father worked my entire childhood. My mother worked much of my childhood. It never once occurred to me to ask them whether they loved me or their job more. Where does this idea come from? Maybe from a little fear in the back of the author’s mind that she does love her job more than her babies and that she needs to come down hard on that feeling?

    • fiftyfifty1

      “Where does this idea come from?”
      It comes from a sum zero mentality.

    • Bugsy

      Great questions; I had a similar experience to yours. My dad worked throughout my childhood as well, and I never doubted that he loved me. It was clear that his job was his job, and that he did it to provide for our family. My mom was home with me, and she never once gave me the impression that her being home meant she loved me more than working moms love their kids.

      To me, that’s one of the saddest parts about this new breed of mommy – that they are teaching their kids that only stay-at-home moms love their kids. So much for encouraging & embracing diversity in values.

      • toni

        my parents did not have to work and still did. my mother just could not do the childcare thing for very long, she found it too tedious. but she was a lot of fun for the short periods of time we did have her to ourselves. if she was a sahm (i giggle just imagining it) i think she would have been committed

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          I sometimes claim that if I had to be a SAHM I’d either sink into a depression or take up housecleaning as a blood sport and spend my time snearing at those other mothers who had dust in their unfinished subbasements. I don’t think either approach would be best for me or my kiddo.

        • KarenJJ

          I think the sooner the media and culture get over the idea that mother’s are homogenous blobs (yeah, I went there too..) and are real people with personalities and their own strengths and weaknesses, the sooner we can move on from this “working versus stay at home” debate.. In the same way that some Dads are known to be sporty, some handy, some bookish blah blah blah – but Mums have to be Mums.

    • LovleAnjel

      My dad worked beyond full time, often taking whole weeks traveling (he was a software salesman). I never once thought it had anything to do with how much he loved us vs his work.

  • Amy

    Since so many people are adding their own letters….

    Dear daughters,

    Your grandmother DID stay home for a time when I was very young. Times were different then: their mortgage payment was very low thanks to support from their own parents, they graduated from college and graduate school with no debt whatsoever, and there really wasn’t reliable institutional day care to which she could have sent me. That said, she did return to work part time when I was in preschool, and full time when your auntie went to kindergarten. I grew up with a mother– no, parents– who modeled flexibility in making the best work decisions for their family. I also grew up with parents who were thriving in their chosen careers and encouraged me and your aunts to pursue fields that would be both financially adequate and personally fulfilling.

    As a parents today, living in a part of the country with a high cost of living, your dad and I don’t have quite the same degree of flexibility– having a parent stay home would substantially affect our ability to provide for you. Further, as the parent with the higher paycheck, better benefits, and more flexible hours, I am natural choice both to stay home AND to be the primary breadwinner…..and I can’t do both. The situation that works best for our family is for both parents to work. So far, most of the disadvantages seem to be falling on me. I’d love a neater house and more home-cooked meals; I’d love for our mornings to be less rushed. But when you’re not in school, I’m with you, so it’s not like you’re missing out on parent time. You’ve both cited my professional success as an inspiration to your own future dreams and goals. And probably most importantly, while we’re not right or even upper middle class, we get our bills paid and food on the table with enough left over for your music and dance lessons and a family vacation every so often, along with retirement savings.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    Other people may dismiss babies as simply blobs. But we both know better.

    Wait, what? Moms who work outside the home think their babies are “blobs?” Who are these “other people” she’s talking about? This is probably one of the most offensive Mommy Wars statements I’ve ever read. You work, so you must think your baby is a blob. I don’t work, so I actually think of my baby as a human being.

    Um, moms who think of their babies as blobs have personality disorders. Whether or not they have to (or choose to) work for a living has got nothing to do with it.

    • Bugsy

      I would also argue that any mom who assumes other moms think of their kids as “blobs” may not have a personality disorder, but certainly has other issues…

    • fiftyfifty1

      Well, I’ve never thought of them as blobs exactly. But the pediatric neurologist I did my rotation with called newborns “7 pound bags of reflexes”. He had a point….

      • toni

        hm, most newborns i’ve been around seem to me to have their own temperaments/personalities. a lot more than reflexes in my unprofessional opinion

      • D/

        From the point of meeting her new sibling when she was six, my eldest has always referred to very young babies as “lumps” (and still does). I think she was expecting an instant playmate and was disappointed to realize they didn’t actually _do_ much at first.

        When she met her own for the first time it was like a laughing, crying, hugging term of endearment though … a beautiful, perfect little lump of her very own!

        • Roadstergal

          I now have “My lovely lady lumps” from My Humps stuck in my head.

          • D/

            Noooooo! I really wish there was an earworm vaccination … says the LC now humming along with you … hoping to take the nonstop advice of the grand kid singing “Let it go” 😉

        • Bugsy

          Lol – we haven’t told out son that I have a baby in my tummy yet, since he has a big mouth. We told him there’s a circle in my belly, instead. He keeps coming over to give kisses to the circle. It’s making for some pretty funny discussions when we ask him if the circle is a boy or girl!

    • Ardea

      Excuse me while I go kiss my two blobs goodnight. (I guess I have to call them that now, since I work for pay outside the home. It does keep a roof over their head, and the nature of my work has inspired my older blob’s ambitions to be a paleontologist, but hey.)

  • GiddyUpGo123

    The idea that women should value their children’s happiness over their own happiness is completely counterproductive. An unhappy person cannot raise happy children. Your happiness is it least as important as your children’s happiness.

    • Cobalt

      Kid’s happiness is a lot easier and less complicated, too. And if you want them to stay happy as adults, you might consider modeling how that can be achieved.

    • JJ

      This is something that I wish I knew when I first started having children. Now that I enjoy my life more my children are thriving.

    • Jessica

      There are two phrases I use at home to reinforce this point: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and “A happy wife is a happy life.” It’s often said tongue in cheek…sort of.

    • KBCme

      This is so true. Some people (including the author referenced), say that the children should be first priority. I disagree. I am first (if I were married, the marriage would come second) and then the kids. If I don’t take care to keep my self mentally and physically healthy, there is no way I can take good care of my kids. I used this criteria to make several parenting decisions. After several weeks of trying to breastfeed, I realized that I’d rather use the 4+ hours a day that I was pumping, actually having enjoying my kids. I switched to formula. I tried co-sleeping. I didn’t sleep at all because I was too afraid of rolling over. After a couple of nights baby got his own bed and we both slept better. I could go on….

  • Cobalt

    Dear Kids,

    At various points in your collective childhoods I choose to go to work, go to school, stay home, and/or work at home. You all got time, attention, and love. No, your sibling didn’t get more, and you all got what you needed.

    Some went to a daycare center, some to preschool, to home daycare, and/or to work with me. You all had a caring, responsible adult watching over you and keeping your childhood safe, secure, and fun, with appropriate space to play, learn, and grow. Remember fondly those others who gave you their time, and respect those who choose to give their gifts to children.

    Some of you got breastmilk, bottled or on tap, some got formula, some got both. You all got fed nutritious food and were never truly hungry for long. Yes, I know you think you’re starving because it’s been an hour since lunch, but you can make it to snack time, I promise.

    Some got cotton diapers, some got the cheapest functional disposables. You all got cleaned and changed as needed. Please start flushing the toilet though, my poop patrol days are ending.

    Through it all, I tried my best to match our resources to your needs. To be flexible and creative in achieving my goal of raising you all into happy, healthy adults with enough love in the tank to get you through the harder parts of life.

    I love you and I believe in you. Call me if you need me, you know I’m here.

  • Mel

    Dear women,
    Let’s be honest here. In terms of life choices, we have MORE acceptable choices than men when it comes to caring for children.
    Think about that for a minute.

    We can (theoretically) choose to work full-time, part-time or stay-at-home. Yeah, our careers may take a hit with some of the options, but we can still choose.

    We say that men can make the same choices, but societal pressures on a stay-at-home dad is pretty rough.
    As a childless woman, I propose a truce. Women can choose whatever choice works for their family. You can THINK whatever you want about other people choices but SPEAKING and WRITING about their choice in a derogatory manner is off-limits.

    • KarenJJ

      I think the truce has largely started to happen. In this case I think the writer is dredging up a 2yo article in order to create notoriety and get her name out there for more opinion/freelance work. You can go back to tired old “mommy war” arguments but most people are heartily sick of it and the argument is no longer “should mum stay home or work” but “how can families realistically choose the option that works best for them”. Like arguing if women should wear trousers or skirts or whether they should have long or short hair…

    • just me

      Depends on profession/job/location. I know in my job at my govt employer in Calif I don’t have any more choices than men. No one gets to work part time in my department and if we stay at home and then want to come back we’d have to apply when an opening came up just like anyone else. So no advantage to being mom vs dad.

  • Jessica

    Dear Son,

    My mother was a stay at home mom until I was in middle school; as she said,she never had a career, she had jobs. My father’s job was not terribly stable, so although my brother and I had our mom at our beck and call, there was tremendous financial strain in the house. We often went without health insurance. I had one pair of frames for my glasses between the ages of seven and twelve because my parents couldn’t afford to replace them more frequently; the last year I wore them they were obviously too small. There were no vacations or fun family trips.

    And although the strain eased when my mother returned to the work force, she still only had jobs. There was no college fund, so my brother and I borrowed heavily to attend college. I graduated from law school with over $100,000 in student loan debt. That debt has been a significant burden and has slowed our ability to buy a home and save for retirement. Fortunately, your father and I, despite our student loan debts, each have careers. I have a career that I love and at which I am successful, and I am beginning to reap the rewards. We will own a home soon, we have retirement savings, and we can give you (and your older brother) opportunities I never had: sports, camps, travel, health insurance, hobbies, and greater assistance with college tuition, to name a few. My work does not in any way affect the deep love I feel for you, a love which is so profound I hardly know how to describe it.

    I love my mother tremendously; she is a wonderful mother. I do appreciate all she did (and does) for me. But I also don’t want you to be in the position I am now in: having to assist my parents financially because they went through a bankruptcy and foreclosure and now in their late 60s and early 70s have no retirement other than Social Security. I don’t want you to have to worry about your father and me living with you when you are in your 30s and 40s and raising a family. I love my parents and will do it without a second thought, but quite simply, I want more for you.

    And that is just one part of why I work.

    Love, Mom

  • Jessica

    Lovric’s piece was especially irritating because it was meant as a response to a similar letter by Sasha Emmons, http://www.parenting.com/blogs/true-mom-confessions/sasha-emmons/why-i-work, who explained that one of her many reasons for working was “because even at your young age you’ve absorbed the subtle message that women’s work is less important and valuable—and that the moms who really love their kids don’t do it.” That point seemed to sail RIGHT over Lovric’s head.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Dear Kiddo,

    I went back to work after you were born because I thought that would be the thing that would make us both the happiest and healthiest. My sister stayed home with her kiddos because she thought that would be the thing that would make them all healthiest and happiest. My sister and I have different circumstances and what was right for me would be wrong for her and vice versa.
    We and your fathers, who also work outside the home, all love you more than we can say. We hope that when and if you decide to have kiddos of your own you will make your decision of how to raise them based on your own judgement of what you think would be best for you and not what someone else tells you you must do or should do.

    Love,
    Mom

  • Megan

    Dear daughter,

    I chose to stay at home with you because I wanted to and we were lucky enough that I could. Soon I will go back to work because I want to. I love you infinitely regardless. So does your father who works outside of the home. Period.

    Love, Mom

    • Cartman36

      I love it!

  • Cartman36

    UGGGHHH! Every time I read one of these martyr type SAHM articles I just want to say “Can we not f*cking do this”.

    • wookie130

      That’s exactly what this letter was. One big fat pat on her own egocentric back. “Look at ME and MY SACRIFICE. Aren’t I SELFLESS? Aren’t I DEVOTED? Anyone who isn’t as big of a martyr as I am, most certainly doesn’t love her kids as much as I do.”

      It’s really nauseating. Get over yourself, seriously.

  • fiftyfifty1

    Well, I suppose it’s good that Lovric wrote that letter to her daughter. Because it’s clear that in her mind SAHM is the only acceptable choice for a woman. Better that her daughter should know it now, so she can start altering her career aspirations right away (or maybe so that she can realize that Mom is a blowhard now, and starting ignoring her right away.)
    It’s clear that Lovric believes boys and girls should be treated very differently. You will notice she wrote the letter only to her daughter, not her son. Her son will be expected to work, no questions asked and no guilt given.

  • Camilla Cracchiolo, RN

    Dr. Amy: “Feminism is a remarkably simple belief: women are morally, intellectually, and politically equal to men. That’s it.”

    I would add one thing to that: that women and their contributions are as valuable as men as well.

    After all, many religions at least give lip service to the intellectual, political (you girls can vote now, right) and moral equality of women.. Nay they put us on a pedestal saying we are superior to those animalistic males. Yet somehow that pedestal keep getting moved right next to the dishes and the kitchen sink.

    • staceyjw

      Feminism is the movement for women’s liberation. Equality is nice, but it can only come after liberation.
      Also- why are MEN the standard we need to be equal too?

      • Aliciaspinnet

        Who else would we be equal to? It seems like the other 50% of the human race is the logical place to start to me.

        • SporkParade

          I believe staceyjw’s point (correct me if I’m wrong) is that women’s contributions to society are devalued when feminism is not about increasing women’s choices but about telling women that they should be exactly like men. I see this quite a bit in my own culture. We have a very rich women’s culture that is disappearing, to a great extent because some women have said, “This isn’t what the men are doing, so it must be inferior.”

  • feesh

    my mother stayed at home, straight out of university. she was narcissistic, abusive and wrecked my confidence, socialisation, and, frequently, my bedroom and belongings. she never let me forget she’d chosen to be ‘there for me’ either, though I’m not sure she really wanted to work at the time. I would have been better off if she’d had an outlet for her need to be praised, all-powerful and perfect through work – though she’d have been a nightmare colleague!

    • demodocus’ spouse

      Sounds like one of my grandmothers ‘though in her generation, sahm was nearly obligatory. Also, she was genuinely crazy.

  • KarenJJ

    “Help, help! I want to feel better about my choices by putting others down! Make me feel better about my choices because life can get kinda hard and sucky at times and I sometimes suffer internal conflicts about the decisions I’ve made.”

  • araikwao
    • Megan

      I would be completely flabbergasted if someone asked me the question that author was asked at her fellowship interview. I’m a famy doc and at a recent interview they asked me if I could have any job in medicine what would it be, and I simply answered that it would be one that would allow me to be part time so I could be with my children but also develop my career and myself. I was actually lauded for that answer (to my face at least). I wonder if it’s a specialty specific thing?

    • Modernist Mom

      As a woman in academia, we are asked these types of questions a lot. Why admit you to a PhD program/tenure-track job when the job market is so tough and so many leave the profession? Also, my female undergraduate students who are interviewing for medical school are getting some really gendered questions along these lines as well–almost always asked by men when there are no women on the committee.

  • araikwao

    OT, but just reading through a poster abstract from the SMFM meeting in January, from some very notable authors: mode of delivery has no discernible effect on the infant microbiome by 6 weeks of age. (From another poster by the same authors, mode of feeding does, but ?implications.

  • k_cayte

    I appreciate your response to the original article. I have never used so many curse words as when I read that sanctimonious piece of drivel. I had PPD with my first baby. It didn’t improve until I went back to work. I needed to have purposeful time AWAY from my baby. Working makes me a better mom.

    I still sometimes wish I could’ve handled being a stay at home mom, and pieces like that don’t help anything. I’m glad you understand feminism.

  • toni

    OT: I’m freaking out a teeny bit and no idea if I’m supposed to be worried or if this is no big deal… my in laws were staying with us until last night and I just this morning saw that one of them (i hope it was my nephew and not one the adults – ugh) had left their McD’s chocolate milkshake on my porch step. Some critter had got to it and chewed through the cup and had a go at the straw. I put in the trash in the kitchen and forgot about it but a couple of hours ago I found my 2 year old in the kitchen had retrieved it from the bin and was sucking on the straw.. the same end the God’s knows what had chewed! Could he have been exposed to some horrible animal disease?? should i sleep with him tonight in case he gets sick?

    • Kq

      Does it help to hear that my son, at age 1, tried to eat a hairball the cat hornked up? He never showed a hint of I’ll effect (he’s 4.5 now). I still gag thinking about it.

      • toni

        D: that is revolting lol. I’m not germ phobic or anything. I don’t mind him eating off the floor or kissing the cat but I heard raccoons carry hepatitis :/

        • Dinolindor

          Something I didn’t know until recently – rabies symptoms can take about a month to show up. The vaccine works after exposure, but only before symptoms show up. I have no idea how that applies to someone so young or if that is what you’re worried about though. I hope everything turns out to be a big old nothing.

          • Guest

            I would call the pediatrician. If you’re in the US, you can call the poison control hotline too. They help with all kinds of ingestion exposures, not just traditional “poisons”.

      • Mishimoo

        …that tops trying to use a gardening trowel as a spoon to eat dirt. Good job. 😛

        • Kq

          Eh, you take the wins you can.

        • Nick Sanders

          My parents have a photo of me as a baby trying to eat seaweed that had washed up on the beach.

          • SporkParade

            We have a family photo of my husband’s brother eating cat food while my husband played with the cat.

          • Mishimoo

            In the vein of “Babies know when to be born”… babies know when they’re low in iodine?

          • Bugsy

            Hey, that’s a popular food nowadays. You were just ahead of the curve.

        • demodocus’ spouse

          Someone hadn’t heard that the old “eat a pound of dirt” thing isn’t supposed to be all at once 😉

        • Adjective

          I *told* my son to eat dirt one time when he was about 1 year old.

          We were outside and he had a bowl of raisins to snack on. He holds up a raisin to show me. I say “it’s good, eat it!”. Except it wasn’t a raisin, it was a clod of dirt. He gagged and spit. I’m a bad mom so I laughed at the situation. I did feel a little bad for telling him to eat dirt.

      • Bugsy

        Ewwww!!! And my mom flips out every time she sees my son w/ play dough in his mouth. (It’s non-toxic, mom….it’s the least of our worries of what goes into their mouths!)

      • D/

        Came up on my eldest hunkered over in a corner, obviously into something, when she was two-ish. She turns around, smiles and loses a river of cat food gravy down her chin. Grossed me out, but at least she wasn’t recycling *after* the cats. That’s beyond nasty!

        My worst was being at the laundromat last minute before work and realizing little pockets had been stuffed full of litter pan trinkets, run through the washer and dryer and now every set of scrubs I own smell like baked cat crap …

        Oh the love of kids, cats and work!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          *vomits*
          That’s awful, yet hilarious. 😀

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        That is simultaneously the funniest and the grossest thing I’ve heard all day. Well, so far anyway. There’s hours of the day left…

    • Mishimoo

      Oh goodness, yours too?! No critter marks on the cup, but my nearly 2 year old grabbed a cup from last night off the bench and sculled the remnants (melted dregs of iced coffee drink).

      Hope your munchkin is okay.

      • toni

        I checked on him and he’s sleeping soundly – not frothing at the mouth or anything /nervous smile

        • Mishimoo

          Awww cute!
          Mine took himself to bed for a nap and is now bugging his sisters to share their snacks.

    • Cobalt

      Sometimes I just want to tell (yell at) my kids “I’m trying to keep you healthy, dammit, stop making it so difficult!”

      For what it’s worth, rabies isn’t carried on surfaces.

    • demodocus’ spouse

      The crap toddlers put in their mouths. *shudder* and mine’s not quite a year and a half. Hopefully yours has made it through this scrape without a hitch to anything but your blood pressure.

      • Michele

        Mine has literally put crap in his mouth. He once grabbed a handful of poop during a diaper change and stuffed it in his mouth before I could stop him. He gave me the most horrified “Why did you let me do that??” look. I laughed at him because I’m a terrible mother 😉

        • Cobalt

          Recycling?

          One of mine ate a mouthful of mustard. Not gross like poop, but the faces made!

    • Bugsy

      I can’t offer any advice, but just wanted to send along my hugs.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I’d suggest calling your pediatrician and asking him or her, but I doubt it’s going to be too big a deal.

  • Ash

    OT: I’m still having the problem where the front page posts are stuck in February. Does not happen all the time.

    • Adelaide

      I think it happens if you type skepticalob.com without the www. I left a comment a while back about the same thing but I don’t know if anyone saw it. Technically the address with and without the www are different addresses. If they are not set up properly with the web host and/or the website registrar, they can look different.

      • Ash

        @Adelaide I think you are right.

      • I suspect it’s a WordPress configuration issue. If there were hosting or dns errors the site wouldn’t load for either.

  • Kq

    I was so enraged at the excerpts I couldn’t even read all of your response. That BITCH has SOME FUCKING NERVE

    • Allie

      Don’t hold back. Let it out ; )

      • Kq

        I’m not good at subtle.

        • Box of Salt

          No, Kq, what you meant to write was: (I’m not good at subtle).

  • namaste863

    Eye roll. Because everyone knows that the only reason a woman would want to work outside the home who doesn’t have to is to finance the two Mercedes and the vacation condo in Palm Springs. It has nothing to do with being a human being and wanting to nurture a part of herself that exists apart from her partner and kids. Oh, wait, she’s a woman. She shouldn’t even HAVE a part of herself that exists apart from her partner and kids!

    • LibrarianSarah

      Yup and everyone is upper middle class and has a spouse that can support a wife and two kids on a single salary.

  • Guest

    So, a man who has a full time job is still a great dad. And a mom with any job is a neglectful witch who loves her lattes more than her children. Yep, feminists are still pissed off.

  • mostlyclueless

    I almost feel sorry for her. There will come a time when she looks back on this piece at cringes at herself.

  • RMY

    Wow, geez. Martyr complex anyone?

    • Puffin

      Yeah, the martyrdom of the modern mother gets to me. How is it good for kids for their mothers to go on about how very much they bravely sacrificed for them? Is this just the prelude to the guilt she’ll lay on them later when attempting to manipulate them into the life she has already planned for them?

      As with the rest of the mommy wars, it isn’t really about the kids, it’s all about how good mom (thinks she) looks to other people.

      • RMY

        No, it’s not about the kids and what would be best for them, it’s about the performance of the mommy-suffering. My mom was that way. I’m in my 30s, my mom stayed up late sewing costumes, etc. When I was a kid I would’ve given up homemade costumes/homemade bread/etc if I had a mom who was happier and better rested.

        • demodocus’ spouse

          Yep. My mom sewed clothes and baked because she found it relaxing, but if you’re doing it for some reason like “only terrible moms don’t” then you’re just making yourself miserable. There’s a point to doing necessary chores, but extravagant handmade costumes and homemade bread are not necessary in most developed countries. I hardly ever bake, and the only clothes I ever sewed were a vest for mom and a couple outrageous scrub shirts for dad.

      • Mishimoo

        “Is this just the prelude to the guilt she’ll lay on them later when attempting to manipulate them into the life she has already planned for them?”

        Pretty much, yes. It’s also laying away guilt to use when the child fails to live up to the parents’ expectations, or tries to enforce healthy boundaries.

        My favourite is: “I spent over $10,000 on that trip when you were 13!!” (every time that I disagree on anything. The trip was to attend my favourite cousin’s funeral.)

        • Who?

          We’re seeing a lot of this with our 20-something kids’ friends, some of whose parents put all sorts of eggs into child-shaped baskets, only to find the young adults aren’t interested, the world doesn’t find them unalloyedly wonderful, and the job market for their particular talent is very ordinary.

          Parents are funding multiple open-ended and expensive ‘dreams’ and are not happy about it, but they have no language with which to say ‘enough’. And the young adults have learnt no independence, resilience or coping skills along the way.

          Curiously they are usually the people who think everyone else should be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

          • Mishimoo

            To me, it seems like the type of parent you describe is the result of rebellion against my parent’s belief that children “owe” their parents for their existence and should work both within the home and out in order to repay the debt. I think a happy medium would be for people to accept that the responsibility that parents have is to raise their kids to be independent, happy adults. Part of which is to demonstrate healthy self-care habits/boundaries including having a life outside of the kids.

      • Bugsy

        Crazy Lactivist to her 3-year-old son: “It’s so great you know your letters. Mommy worked so hard with you on them.”

        CL to me, when her son was 4: “I have to homeschool him. Everyone says I’ve done such a good job with him so far.”

        Eeck. Gag me.

        • Amy

          Awesome! I bet she’s great with literary themes (taught even in elementary schools nowadays), foundational number theory, biology, chemistry, music appreciation and theory, exercise physiology, and making accommodations if her son has a learning disability. Because we all know the ability to sing the alphabet song with your child is TOTALLY indicative of how effectively you’ll be able to teach him everything else that goes on in elementary school, never mind secondary.

          • Bugsy

            Lol – as long as they teach him that GMOs are evil, I think they believe they’ll have succeeded.

            (I come from a family of public school teachers; my mom is utterly appalled by my friend’s decision to homeschool simply because she thinks she’s awesome…)

  • asfhjkl;

    Reading that, I can just SEE her making that fucking Princess Diana face, too. STAHHHP WITH ITTT.

    • Kq

      PREACH

  • Oye, that woman.

    She isn’t even aware of her passive-aggressive bullshit. If my mother wrote that, or said that, or wrote it (ostensibly) to me but really it was to humble-brag to strangers, I’d feel awful.

    Can the martyrdom, it creates very neurotic adults.

    • Cobalt

      What I hear when I read crap like that letter is someone holding their knees, rocking and chanting “I made the right choice. I made the right choice.”

      It SCREAMS insecurity and immaturity.

      • Melissa

        I see it as click bait. It isn’t that she gave up working. She wrote before and now she’s trying to make it in blogging/freelance web content. It might as well be “Dear Daughter- I’ve decided to be a work-at-home Mom because I love writing and working, but I also want or need to be here with you. But nobody will buy a piece saying that so let me tell you how much better I am than working Mom’s because that will sell.”

      • Right?!

        JFC, there are so many reasons why this annoys the piss out of me, one of them being that it completely writes off fathers. Yeah, fuck ’em, they don’t even have, like, maternal feels and stuff, not like me, I’m SPECIAL.

        Ugh. My eyes are about to roll right out of my head.

        • FrequentFlyer

          Exactly. She and people like her seem to think that all fathers have to contribute to the family is their sperm and paychecks. Only mom can do the actual parenting. Fortunately, no one gave that memo to FireCapt. He has always been on a 24hrs on 48hrs off schedule. Before our children started school, I dropped them off at MIL’s house on my way to work. If it was a morning that he was coming off a shift he picked them up there and *gasp* went home and took perfectly good care of them. On week days that he was off I left my children in the care of their dad all day. No maternal influence in sight until I got home! The horror! They could never grow up happy, healthty, and well loved…oh wait. They are all of those things and more.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I wonder, what do folks like that think of Horton Hatches the Egg? Give that baby back to Maisy, because, you know, she laid the egg!

  • Puffin

    My children’s happiness is paramount. However, I am unashamed to say that I consider my own too. I didn’t stop existing as a human being when I had children and I think it is good for my kids to see that my husband and I take time to focus on each other, and on ourselves. Not every second of our lives is family time, and the kids know it and enjoy their independent time too.

    Admitting this in some circles is tantamount to heresy, though, given how much crap I’ve gotten for it before. I can and do take part in things – including work and school – for my own benefit. I was a SAHM for a few years too and didn’t personally enjoy it, but I know my husband is looking forward to when he can be a SAHD as he would like to focus on our home and family when my career gets going.

    Life got a whole lot better when I stopped feeling guilty because other people thought I should. My kids are fantastic, engaging, spirited young people I am very proud of. And if my daughter grows up to be a SAHM or an astrophysicist or anything else, I’ll be happy so long as she pursues what SHE thinks is best for her happiness.

    • RMY

      Children are better off with happy, engaged parents who use daycare than with depressed parents who are around them constantly.

      • Puffin

        Yup! And my daughter LOVES daycare. She is a huge social butterfly and enjoys spending lots of time around other kids. I was home with her for her first two years and she just bloomed once she was in daycare. Both of my kids are independent sorts – we all thrive when we have our own stuff to do. Different things work for different families. This shouldn’t be a hard concept for people to grasp, but it apparently is.

  • Cobalt

    Mothers who work have jobs for the same reasons as non-mothers who work, just with more dependents relying on the results, dependents who they care for in the same way as mothers who stay home.

  • attitude devant

    Yes, my daugthers were ‘simply blobs’ who needed to be clothed and housed and fed……and I was the only person on the planet who was willing and able to step up to the plate and see that that happened. Tsk, tsk.

    (I almost hurled at her routine about using cloth diapers to protect her daughter’s ‘tender bottom.’ I did cloth one time and disposables the next, and the cost was similar and the amount of rashes was similar. Puh-leeze lady, get over yourself–motherhood is a relationship, not a calling.)

    • fiftyfifty1

      “I did cloth one time and disposables the next, and the cost was similar and the amount of rashes was similar”

      Yes, as a family doctor I see a lot of diaper rash. In my experience, commercial disposables and high quality cloth are fairly equal. Low quality cloth (one layer only with plastic pants) and expensive organic disposables (the kind without the super-absorbent gel) are worse. Parents are always convinced that diaper rash is due to exposure to chemicals (e.g. in the laundry detergent, or in the disposable layers). But that is not the case. The cause of diaper rash is prolonged exposure to waste. Stool is the worst. Sitting in that for even 20 minutes can give a diaper rash. Urine, in contrast, is fairly benign, at least if you use the very absorbent diapers (cloth or disposable) that pull it away from the surface.

      • Mishimoo

        Thank you!! Yes, I’ve done a bit of eye-rolling over being ‘taught’ about nappy rash and chemicals.

      • Somewhereinthemiddle

        Yeah, I used cloth for my first almst full time. Did so part time with my 2nd untill he had yeast rashes almost continuously. With my third I tried for about a week until the rashes appeared. Switched completely to dispoables and haven’t looked back. They might kill the earth but they *work*.

      • toni

        yes my LO has only had it twice in his life but both times it was fierce and he screamed every time I changed him :[ it happened because he was sleeping through the night and they were the only two occasions since he’s been sleeping through that he pooped during the night so he could have been sleeping in it for 10/11 hours! if he doesnt go in the day I check on him a few times in the night now just in case. I don’t think nappy brand makes much of a difference but he did used to get a teensy bit red down there when I had him in the Honest diapers. they’re adorable but don’t stay as dry as pampers etc

      • Cobalt

        I use cheap, but good, easy to clean all cotton cloth diapers. I love them, if only because I don’t have to keep buying them. It gives me feel goods to walk past the disposable diapers at the store and not have to buy any. Instead I have to wash diapers, but that doesn’t bother me as much as handing over money.

        My kid still gets rashes sometimes. It’s because he poops! And that’s just babies, rashes happen sooner or later no matter what you wrap them in.

        I’ve never used the expensive organic disposables. Paying that much for something my baby’s going to wear once and then get thrown out just didn’t fit with my lifestyle.

        • fiftyfifty1

          yep, poop is the enemy for sure, no matter what kind of diaper you use.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I use bum genius for DD. Like you, I enjoy not buying disposables. We live in an area with very cheap water (as in, comparing current water bills to pre-baby water bills of the same month, we’re paying the same), we have a very efficient washer, and laundry is a job I genuinely don’t mind doing, mostly because it means I get to watch a show while I fold. 😉
          More acidic poop is the only thing that causes a rash for DD, and I’m just careful to change her ASAP when she poops, so she’s had all of one bad diaper rash in her life, and that was when she was getting about four teeth at once, poor kid.

      • Amy M

        That’s the conclusion I reached. My boys only had diaper rash if they had diarrhea—usually from a stomach bug, occasionally from a food that didn’t agree with them. The diaper didn’t matter, but their skin was sensitive to acid poop.

    • Bugsy

      Lol…we switched to cloth when LO was 3 months old because he was screaming bloody murder every time he wet his diaper. Unfortunately, we’d put him in a new one, and he’d immediately wet it again. When we started going through 6 diapers per hour, we switched to cloth.

      Switched back to disposable 18 months later, after our son got a weird rash (not diaper rash, but something else) that didn’t go away with cloth. It disappeared with disposables. The insanity I was feeling over the constant washings also disappeared.

      I plan on disposables with #2, unless he/she starts doing the whole 6 diapers per hour routine again…

  • Who?

    Ms Lovric is a competitive soul, isn’t she? I wonder what car she drives as a stay at home mum?

    Makes for a lovely parenting style in my experience. (that was snarky btw)

  • Amy M

    I saw that letter. What a piece of tripe. Obviously it was basically click-bait, and I doubt her daughter actually asked if her mom loved her more than work. According to her world-view, fathers love work more than they love their families, since that’s what most of them do every day.

    Of course, those of us that inhabit the real world understand that most people who work do so because they have to, to provide for the children they love. Some people are lucky to work in jobs they love and many would work even if they didn’t have to—but it is certainly not the majority of working mothers driving fancy cars, owning vacation homes, and enjoying all those luxuries Lovic has “sacrificed.”

    I saw this posted on STFUparents and one of my favorite comments (not sure of author) wrote a sarcastic letter along the lines of: “Dear Daughter, all those working moms HATE their kids. Including the doctor who was away from her kids all night, to deliver you, the nurses at the hospital who abandoned their kids to wait hand and foot on me, and your teachers at school who leave their kids in the care of strangers so they can teach you to read. They all hate their children and are terrible mothers.” Not only does Lovic not understand feminism, but she doesn’t realize how privileged she is, to be able to make that choice to stay home with her children.

    • Michele

      Exactly. If a parent has a truly has a choice about whether to stay home or to work (i.e. not forced by circumstances to either stay home or to work), that’s a privilege that many parents do not have.

  • Bugsy

    I really enjoyed your post. I’m a stay-at-home mom as well, and reading even a few sentences into Lovric’s post made me cringe. The arrogance and self-righteousness is so inappropriate in the world of parenthood.

    Yes, let’s celebrate the opportunity we have to be moms, period. None of us have any right to gloat over our own personal decisions to those who make other decisions. That’s not what parenthood should be about, in my mind.

    • demodocus’ spouse

      Made me cringe too. Lovic is implying that working parents love their jobs more than their children. What a load of horse manure. I heard my mom complain about her job often enough to know that she loved her job about as much as a gyn visit.

      • Roadstergal

        It’s the idea that love is a zero-sum game – like loving your job and loving your kids has to add up to a certain amount of love. Certainly, balancing the time can be challenging – but they are completely compatible loves!

        • Amy M

          And different kinds of love too. I love my husband, my children, my parents, my in-laws and my friends. Not all the same way of course, and just because I love all those people doesn’t mean I can’t make new friends, or when new family members are born, love them too. Loving a job, and loving a hobby aren’t the same either.