Mommy Wars or Catfights?

You probably already heard about it or perhaps you even read the piece titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton professor who recently left her job at the State Department.

It's a hot topic in the circle of moms I know, but what I find most interesting about the article is the fact that it blew up into an instant debate among mothers or we could also call it, a "catfight."


Slaughter's piece in the Atlantic just added to the ongoing feminist conversation that is focused on women's status, opportunity, and family concerns. A conversation actually led by elite women at the top of their fields, like Tina Fey, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, and Slaughter herself.

The article urges workplaces to change and women to stop blaming themselves. She said that the workplace needs to adapt, and women who opt out to work and have kids should have no need to apologize.

Ms. Slaughter is simply suggesting things like more latitude to work at home, less face-time, taking career breaks, and matching work schedules to school schedules.

I agree with her 100%. 

On the other hand, Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, who has been leading a work-or-home debate from a different angle. Sandberg says that you should "require your partner to do half the work at home, don't underestimate your own abilities, and don't cut back on ambition out of fear that you won't be able to balance work and children."

Sandberg has become the face of female achievement, but her advice isn't embraced by all working moms because they feel she's just putting even more pressure on them to succeed, while they struggle to balance work and family.

These two prominent, smart and influential women are actually saying sort of the same thing, and they should band together because they both have good points.

The truth is that there are two vicious camps out there: working moms and the stay-at-home moms. Women just need to stop judging each other. The mommy wars are bitter because both groups are under way too much pressure: The ideal worker always has to be available for work, and the ideal mother always has to be available for her children.

What we need to do is band together to change the laws. All women, working and non-working, should take this media frenzy moment as an opportunity to remind lawmakers and business leaders that the conflict between work and family has really never been addressed by the workplace.

It doesn't matter if you want to climb to the top of the corporate ladder or if you want to host playdates, but the truth remains that women with children have to stand by each other and fight for our right to have the same opportunities as men.

What do you think of these Mommy Wars? Don't you think it's about time women banded together to make important changes?

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: work/life balance