Today I read a post by a blogger, Mascara Maven, called "Defending Daycare". She wrote about defending her choice to put her kids in daycare and contending with “mom judging” for doing so. Though I in some ways relate to her experiences, though not entirely, my initial reaction to reading it was frustration. This isn’t about “daycare moms” versus “stay at home moms”. This is about respecting choices, whether that choice is to keep your children home or entrust them to the care of another person. This is about the fact a post like this even had to be written. Again. Mothers, are we really not past all this?
I believe one of her thoughts summed up my feelings well. “Yes, you can have an opinion. I hope you do, but remember, your opinion doesn’t have to be insulting just because another person’s way of life doesn’t float your boat.” You got that right, sister!
I am not so naïve that I think we can join hands and put our differences aside. However, I do think that whether you stay at home with your children, or you work and put them in daycare, if you feel it is best for your family, that should be the end of it as far as anyone else is concerned. This “mom judging” or “mom shaming” just needs to stop. Unless a child is in danger or in an unhealthy situation, there are more important things for us to be spending our energy on. Ladies, this isn’t one of them.
I liken my feelings on the topic to politics. Everyone doesn’t like the same candidates or have the same reasons for their way of thinking, but in their mind their way is both the right way and the best way. Decisions around child rearing can be very similar in their potential to be polarizing. Ultimately though, most parents make choices they feel are best for their families, for any number of reasons. It isn’t the job of someone making different choices from me to “convert” me to her thinking, nor is it my job to convert her to my way. I may not understand or agree with it, but who ever said that I had to.
If you think daycare is the devil, you are entitled to that viewpoint. Feel free to never have your children spend one day in a daycare facility and that should be respected. If you, like me, choose to have your child in a daycare and believe it is best for your family, then that should be respected. There’s no “defending” anything. There should simply be understanding between parents that we all want what is best for our family, however we uniquely define it.
The very fact that posts such as Mascara Maven’s persist is beyond dismaying. I’m not saying the situation doesn’t exist or warrant a perspective. It’s simply dismaying we can’t moving away from this type of thinking and focusing more on what matters. I realize some of it is human nature, but we have to do better by each other here.
Women in general are pitted against each other in so many ways anyway. This feels magnified for me when you layer on being a mother. Do you work or stay at home? Do you have your kids in school or do you homeschool? Did you use formula? The list can go on and on. Honestly, do we need another thing to divide ourselves over? I say a resounding “no”.
Motherhood is enough of a challenge. Why waste what little time we have worrying about choices that aren’t ours to make anyway. Do what’s best for you. Respect the choices of others. Stop wasting time and energy on manufactured drama such as this. Let’s focus on raising our children the best way we know how, and creating loving, supportive upbringings for our families in whatever way works for us and for them. Period.