Nowhere is this more potent than in the silent War of the Moms. The working mom versus the stay at home mom. Since becoming pregnant, I have heard it from both sides. When learning that I decided not to go back to work, those who are pro-home have said, "How wonderful. It would be so hard to have to put your child in (gasp) day care." And friends who plan to continue working after having children have said, "I don't know how you do it. I think I would go crazy if I had to stay home with snotty kids all day." Okay, I added the snotty part. But I've wondered why the judgement... And I am convinced that it is because most of us want it all. We want to experience the joy and fulfillment of having children AND stay connected to our former pre-spawn life. We want to accomplish things and contribute to our communities and spend time with our men and our girlfriends and our manicurists, but we also want to give ourselves fully to guiding and teaching and nurturing our very own child. But, despite our desire for having it all, it is almost impossible to keep 13 balls in the air without dropping 7 or 8 or 12 of them. So we make a choice. We either give up our sassy skirts and Starbucks hot chocolate breakfasts to spend every waking hour with our punks, or we entrust the munchkins with someone who will take care of them while we spend our days working to bring home the bacon. Either way, we sacrifice something. So to fill that void, whether large or small, we look at the woman who made the opposite choice, and we judge. We stick a pin in our "stay at home mom" or "working mom" voodoo doll. And we think we are smarter for making the choice she didn't.
What's with the judgment? What's with the guilt? We are too hard on each other because we are too hard on ourselves. We expect perfection. Maybe not the perfection that Victoria's Secret expects, but our very own, personal brand of perfection. But we need to give ourselves and each other a break. If it were possible to have it all, I would be able to train for a marathon, earn the blue ribbon for my homemade chocolate chip cookies (while never eating any), spend 10 hours every day reading and singing to my baby and teaching him to perfect his golf swing, banish dust from the house, and become Salt Lake City's Erin Brockovich without the trashy clothes, but with the fantastic legs.