While perusing my Facebook news feed, I came across a blog post several friends had posted. The gist- a whiny dude was ranting about an interaction he had where he defended his wife, who happened to be a stay-at-home mom. At the time of writing, the post had received close to five thousand comments.
News stories from world news organizations covering genocide don’t get that many comments.
That seems a little fucked up.
I’ve noticed this phenomenon before. As a self-titled expert antagonist, I know hot-button issues. I know what topics elicit the most discussion.
Lots of divergent opinions.
It can get pretty heated.
Brings out some emotion.
But none come close to the most controversial topic of our times:
The battle between stay-at-home moms and working moms.
The Apparent Root of the Debate
This debate appears to be rooted in a difference of opinions regarding parenting best practices. Working moms insist they need that extra paycheck to help provide their kids with security and material comfort. Stay-at-home moms insist they need to spend as much time as possible to facilitate their children’s development.
Sidebar- I’m not including single moms in this discussion. In my experience, they really do have legitimate problems that deserve attention. I’m also not including families with significant health problems or the homeless. My rule of thumb- if you’re sipping Starbucks or viewing this on an Apple product right now, any complaint you have is invalid.
Anywho, there are many other nuances to this debate. The working moms will rant about contributing to society, being a good role model for their daughters, or claim they’re doing it to “socialize” their kids.
Stay-at-home-moms will rant about tradition, not wanting to miss their kids’ childhood, wanting to avoid their kids being raised by strangers… whatever.
The Real Cause of the Debate
That’s it. Women that engage in this debate are insecure. For whatever reason, they feel some degree of guilt over their decision.
This isn’t surprising given our society’s obsession with re-packaged behavior plan. We like someone to tell us exactly what to do when to do it. We like to eat the Atkins diet, work out to the Crossfit workout of the day, drive the route given to us by GPS, and fuck in the positions on page 38 of Cosmo.
Of course, we do this with parenting, too. There are a billion parenting philosophies out there. Some are practical, others absurd. For example, how about attachment parenting?
“Ohhh… you want to go down on me? Okay, let me just move the baby carried to my back.”
Sounds like a swell idea.
Pretty much every parenting idea out there turns out to be some sort of marketing ploy. Remember that bitch that wrote the book about French parenting awhile ago? She was on the news lambasting supposed “American” parents for their over-involvement? Eventually some researchers that study cross-cultural parenting spoke up and reminded the supposed “French” parenting wasn’t French at all… it was just another flavor of the methods some parents use worldwide. Shit, we use it here. It’s sometimes called “benign neglect.”
The author hit on our insecurity though, didn’t she? The forumla’s pretty simple:
Repackage an idea -> make people feel insecure -> sell books
Insecure about being a bad parent? Here’s the single best bit of parenting advice you’ll ever get, and the only advice you’ll ever need:
There are three things that matter: The parents, the kids, and the environment you’re in. Experiment with different ideas from anywhere and everywhere that take these three things into consideration. Keep the ideas that work. Discard those that don’t.
Once you do that, own it. You’re being the best parent you can possibly be. Stop the guilt; stop the insecurity. Don’t let the judgement of others affect you.
I have a few female friends on Facebook that do exactly this (you guys know who you are.) They’ll post something that hints at their parenting style, someone will criticize them. Their response is apathy. And it’s magical.
Learn From Dudes
You know who doesn’t engage in bitter debates about the merits of stay-at-home parenting and working parents?
Why don’t you ever hear dads having this debate? I suspect it’s because most guys simply don’t give a fuck. Our kids run around barefoot a lot. People often make comments about it, usually with a judgmental, condescending tone.
How do I respond?
I usually just shrug. If they’re really animated, I give them a dismissive “Umm… okay.“
Then I move on with shit that matters.
I know what you’r thinking. “But the article linked above was written by a dad!”
Yeah. And his proper response to the opinionated cunt should have been “Meh.” Why did he actually engage her and then write about the encounter? Odds are good he’s gotten multiple blow jobs AND a ton of traffic for the chivalrous act (which is okay.)
Ultimately, we give people the power to offend or upset us. If we’re so insecure that we’re going to let random people affect us, we need to work on our own insecurity… NOT engage in dumbass debates in a futile attempt to rationalize our decisions.
One More Log on the Fire
Sometimes I see women justifying the veracity of this debate by pointing out that parenting is the hardest job in the world. Bullshit*. I agree with Bill Burr. If you think parenting is the hardest job in the world, you’ve lived a really cushy life. Go out and get a real job. Face some real adversity. THEN we’ll be slightly more inclined to listen to your self-congratulatory rants.
Women- stop being so fucking sensitive. You can dress this debate up however you wish, but it’s really about your own insecurities. Everyone has difficulties in their life. Don’t add to the problem by being so insecure you need to cut other people down.
Stay-at-home moms: Pretty much the entire world doesn’t consider you to be a productive member of society. Fuck ‘em. You’re doing this for your family, not for random strangers that feel a need to buy more useless shit.
Working moms: Pretty much the entire world thinks you’re selfish and hate your children. Fuck ‘em. Being with your kids 24/7 sucks. Sometimes we need to feel productive and/or have interactions with adults. And that’s okay.
Dads that feel a need to justify either: Your attempts at getting your wife to put out are pathetic. She’d probably be more likely to give you a piece of ass if you put down your purse, grow some fail hair if you need to, and learn to not give a fuck like the rest of us.
In short: Focus on your own shit. Ignore everything else.
* Same deal applies- single parents, those dealing with health issues, and the homeless… you guys have legitimate difficulties. As a society, we don’t do enough to help you and that sickens me.