Parenting

No one is a lousy stay-at-home mom

Prompted by Claire Danes’ confession that she’d be a lousy stay-at-home mom, Jennifer recognizes the bigger issues in the SAHM debate.

Photo: Andrew Evans/PR Photos

I have Google Alerts set up to let me know when stories about stay-at-home moms make news headlines. So, it was no surprise when Claire Danes’ interview with Elle magazine filled my newsfeed last night. Her confession that she’d make a lousy stay-at-home sparked posts from both mommy and celebrity bloggers everywhere.

Today’s Parent’s Haley Overland predicted on her Celebrity Candy blog that “some stay-at-home moms may take issue with what Claire said — especially the many stay-at-home moms who also have ‘arrow-straight focuses.'” Sadly, she was right. The majority of the comments I read on the blogosphere were malicious, many sharing the theme that Claire Danes shouldn’t bother having kids if she won’t take the time to raise them. A few ventured to say that she would change her mind once the baby was born.

She may. She may not. But here is what I do know: Not everyone is cut out to be a stay-at-home mom and the response to Claire Danes’ Elle magazine interview shines a light on two upsetting trends among mommy bloggers.

We all suck at being moms
While I admit that I often poke fun at myself about how miserable my craft skills are and how I don’t like playing Lego, I don’t think I could — or would — ever call myself a lousy mother. Sure, none of my meals are Pinterest-worthy and I hang out on Twitter while I’m tucking my kids in bed but, overall, I do a kickass job. But the trend where we talk more about our failings than our successes is terrible. It’s no wonder that last October’s Pregnant Chicken post about failing at motherhood went viral.

One-upping each other with tales about how one mom’s homemade playdough didn’t turn out or how another mom didn’t get into Kindergym trivializes the fact that all of us are raising a generation of kids who are kind to each other and their environment. Remember what I said last week about not being helpless? You are not helpless and you are awesome. 

There is no bigger sacrifice than motherhood
A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend posted a meme about how mothers should make sacrifices for their children, so that children should not have to sacrifice anything. The original meme was shared from the Facebook page of Opinionated Mamas and, when I checked this morning, it had nearly 150,000 shares and more than 200,000 likes. Nearly all the people who left comments agreed that motherhood is the ultimate sacrifice — nothing else will do.

The pal that posted it is an American father of three and he disagreed about sacrificing everything for your children — and I’m on his side. While I have sacrificed a few things (a career as an underwear model or sleeping six hours in a row), becoming a mother does not mean I’ve become a martyr. An ultimate sacrifice is putting your life on the line as an emergency responder or deciding to join our armed forces — not giving up Starbucks or family vacations.

Just be the mom you are and be happy. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to combine it with your career or make a career of motherhood.

Congratulations Claire Danes on following your heart.