'Mommy Wars' are American phenomenon, says feminist French author
'Mommy Wars' are strictly American, says feminist French author Elisabeth Badinter whose recently-released book, 'The Conflict,' argues that natural motherhood hinders women from fulfilling their full potential.
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But are these Mommy Wars still raging? Not everybody thinks so.Skip to next paragraph
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"In my Salt Lake City community, they are over," says Kathy Dalton, a mother of two and CEO of a skin care company. "Instead, we collaborate, create and celebrate. I have never heard a mom in our community criticize another mother over their parenting choices. The feeling of 'we're in this together' is very strong."
Rita Colorito, mother of a 6-year-old son in Glen Ellyn, Ill., says moms like her don't even have time for such debates. "I'm too busy being a mom to worry about what the heck any other moms do with their time or think of me," says Colorito, a freelance health writer. "I think the war exists for those in the Ivory Tower who get paid to continue this ridiculous waste of everyone's time."
Others, though, feel the wars are going strong.
"Moms are always judging moms," says Lynn MacDonald of Greensboro, N.C., a mother of three kids 18 and older. "I can't imagine it'll ever change as long as moms are human beings." Adds Sarah Barrett of Los Angeles, who has two daughters and runs a company that makes handmade greeting cards: "I hate to admit this, but I don't think the Mommy Wars will ever end. There are too many judgy women who criticize and teach their daughters to do the same."
New Jersey mom Debra Rutt agrees, with a caveat: "As long as there are moms who work and moms who stay at home and moms who have and moms who have not, the mommy wars will continue," she says. "It's human nature to judge one another." But Rutt, who works full time in public relations, notes that "the war between mommies is not constant. There is a common ground and there are truce periods, but then politicians get involved and somehow stir the pot."
Singer, the MommaSaid blogger and New Jersey mom, hopes we're talking about more than a series of temporary truces.
"I really want to think we've evolved beyond the skirmishes of working moms vs. stay-at-home moms," says Singer, whose online followers used to be exclusively stay-at-home moms, but now, she says, comprise a real mix. "I don't see it happening in the real world — on the soccer sidelines, at kids' track meets. I DO see it in the media, whenever there's a new manifesto on motherhood. Everyone talks about it for a while, and then we all go back to doing what's best for ourselves and our families."
In other words, there is no perfect formula. On that, Singer would find a surprising ally in Badinter, with whose book she does not generally agree.
The term "Mommy Wars," Badinter says, "signifies to me that one wants an absolute model for motherhood.
"But we are all different," the French author notes. "Human mothers are never perfect."