The Wyvern Opinion on the Mommy Wars: Stay at Home or Go Back to Work?

Continuing with the theme of Wyvern Mothers, I’m sharing my opinion of the Mommy Wars.  Like our ancestors, the Dragon Mothers, Wyvern Mothers don’t have time for Mommy Wars because we’re battling on another front.  Rather than fight our peers about the trending and temporary issues of modern motherhood, we’re fighting for our children’s survival.

Today’s post is the third in a series on this Wyvern’s Opinion of the Mommy Wars and how my other (literally life or death) battle experiences have formed my opinions.  This is my truth.

Make A Home or Build a Career?

Oh, this is the oldest battlefield on the Mommy Wars front.  It’s been rutted and bloodied by more SAHM and Working Girls than we can count, many of whom are now grandmothers.  And yet, here we are again.

The most ironic part of the SAHM vs. WEM (wage earning moms) for me personally is that bit about “a parent should be home with the children,” because in our case a parent was home with our children for five and a half years, it just wasn’t me.  When Liam was just an genderless flutter  in my belly, I knew myself (at age 28) well enough to know I wouldn’t be a SAHM.  As a child I always assumed all moms stayed home, but I outgrew that as I grew up, went to college and started a career where I was succeeding.

After Liam’s diagnosis, the daycare options we had hoped for seemed impossible.  After he was born, it was clear that they were off the table.  On oxygen 24×7 with diuretics and other meds we had to give through syringes.  Day care was too complicated with other kids needing attention and sharing their germs.  Liam’s cardiologist said, “If you can afford to keep him at home, you should, at least until preschool.”

So we got a nanny, then we got two more, then we gave up and Jim stayed home.  Liam was barely two, and Moira was almost one.  I loved all of our nannies, but we had scheduling conflicts.  When we got rid of mind-rotting cable, and an unnecessary second car, and eating out at lunch time, we were actually ahead of the game.  Not to mention the payroll taxes . . . (I, good citizen that I am, will go off on tax evaders in a future post).

Jim stayed home through surgeries, hospitalizations, preschool, and Moira’s first year of school in half-day kindergarten.  He was an awesome SAHD.  We had a terrific experience, and we made it work.  I would have been a horrible, miserable, and tragic SAHM.  I was a very satisfied WEM, and the kids were way better off with the parent that not only likes to play but knows how to cook – I embody neither of those things.

That’s our story, and the ironic thing is that Wyvern or not, every mom and every dad has a story about how they make it work.  If I hadn’t been a Wyvern mom, we probably would have been an two-income family with kids in daycare, and that would have been ok too.  If  parents are unhappy in their arrangement, as a society we should be supportive and offer valid alternatives and encouragement.  We should never offer derision, condensation, or respond out of our own misguided defensiveness.  If parents are happy in their arrangements, we should celebrate that.

I have never felt any guilt about being a WEM Wyvern.  Guilt is for sissies and true evil-doers.  Why other mothers want to heap guilt on each other or themselves over something that only matters in their own homes is beyond me.  If SAHMs are happy, hooray!!! If WEMs are happy, hooray!!! Neither is better than the other.  Each has her challenges and successes.  It’s like an ice skating party verses a pony party – both are great, but they’re different.  Let’s celebrate different and SAHD and WEDs along with SAHM and WEMs.  We’re all doing the best we can, so can we shut down this battle field and build a museum already?

2 Comments »

  1. Amanda-I’ve been right there with you through this whole series. I think we do more good when we all assume that every mom loves her child and is doing the best she can and making the best choices she can for her family. To argue over the issues you’ve raised is time that could have been used to support one another.

    In that spirit, I just wanted to mention your use of the phrase “mind-rotting cable” because TV is one of the area’s I’ve struggled with guilt. I have many friends who go without TV/cable and spew the evils of screen time. However, they haven’t had to keep a child flat on his back for 4 hours after 12 caths. Or have him hooked up to a g-tube feeding 4x/day for up to 45 minutes each time. Or had him flat on his back with a broken leg that couldn’t be casted because of a pending cath lab visit. I know you get my point.

    And while TV is more trivial than the causes you have raised, it gets me because I never intended to parent along with Dinosaur Train and Dora. Certainly there is plenty of reading and playing that goes along with the TV. But I have come to peace that TV is not the enemy and can have a place in our “new” normal.

    Thanks for letting me share my opinion. I certainly enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas!

  2. Oh, we certainly allow for TV time (through apple TV, library DVDs, PBSkids.com, NetFlix) and it’s not outright banned at all. I didn’t say my kids don’t watch TV; I said we don’t have cable. We don’t have a ready stream of Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, Toddlers & Tiaras, etc. etc. etc. accessible to them with the push of a button.

    We’ve allowed lots of extra TV time during medical procedures and hospitalizations as well as a substitute for all the fun they can’t have while strapped down.

    I do stand by my assertion that uncensored and unlimited Cable or Satellite access is a dangerous substance. For instance the kindergartener at my kids’ school who watches “True Blood.” I will judge the wisdom and competence of any parent that lets their five year old watch that show.

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