Old friends are precious, and we should value those who have been in our lives for years, right? But what if your close friend suddenly criticizes your parenting choices and declares that you are a “fake mom?”
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A working mom recently ended a 20-year friendship after her friend (a stay-at-home) made disparaging remarks about her parenting decisions. Her friend was particularly upset about her choice to use an epidural anesthetic during childbirth and her decision to enroll her children in daycare and hire a nanny so she could return to work. But that’s not the worst! She called her a “fake mom.” Here are the thoughts of fellow parents.
1. Daycare Is Good for Kids
Most of the parents were firm believers in the idea that daycare is good for kids and every child should spend at least some time in daycare…maybe. This one wasn’t totally unanimous. There were a couple of very strong dissenters. But, the majority of parents saw daycare as more than a place to stash their youngest offspring while working. In fact, they argue that daycare is a net positive and a necessary part of a child’s early socialization. These parents say that kids need to get out of their comfort zone, and daycare offers a taste of independence in a safe and kid-centric environment.
2. “You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup”
Many parents in the group were a little uneasy about the idea of daycare and a nanny. They worried that the children were not spending enough time with their mother. Once they realized that the nanny was more of a mother’s helper, they were back on the side of the working mom. Lots of people referred to the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” A saying that tells parents that taking care of themselves makes them better caregivers.
3. Stay-At-Home-Moms Envy Working Moms?
The majority of parents felt that the stay-at-home mom seemed to be very jealous of the other mom. What was less clear was whether they thought this type of jealousy was common. Some did imply that choosing to give up a career for children leads to resentment. However, several stay-at-home moms reported that they have experienced the same jealous, resentful behavior from working moms who envy their ability to be home with the kids all day. Most simply believe that people should make the choice that is best for them. Those who make choices based on duty or sacrifice may be resentful.
4. My Body, Her Choice?
The stay-at-home mom shocked everyone by attacking the working mom for choosing to have the epidural to control the pain of labor and delivery.
The group didn’t even attempt to justify the leaps of logic in that assertion. There was some valuable discussion of the risks associated with the use of the epidural, but the consensus sided with it being up to the mother as the risks do not impact the baby.
5. Modern Medicine Is Not for Wimps
Stay-at-home mom’s unsolicited and unqualified medical lectures didn’t stop there. She continued to explain her belief that women who choose an epidural during childbirth are not true mothers. Why? They did not make sacrifices to bring their children into the world. She pointed to the fact that women on the frontiers of America barely took a break from the work of homesteading when they gave birth, and they certainly didn’t have the benefit of an epidural.
The group was confused by this narrative as well, and a few wondered if the woman knew that the mortality rate for both mother and child was pretty abysmal in those days, so everyone felt fairly certain that there was value in modern medicine, the epidural included.
6. Financial Fears Can Make People Mean
Many people noticed that the stay-at-home mom made a lot of jokes about how easily the working mom could afford to pay for daycare, a nanny, and a maid. The group thought the supposedly “friend” may have been upset because she was insecure, stressed, and worried about being divorced and taking care of five kids. This thought softened the group up a bit, and several expressed sympathy for the other woman. A significant portion of the group decided to set the metaphorical pitchforks aside for now.
7. What Is the Value of an Old Friend?
This prompted a brief trip down memory lane. During Christmas, people from different generations like to watch the classic Rudolph claymation. We all enjoy listening to Burl Ives sing about the value of keeping old friends close. His words, “old friends are more precious than silver and gold” hit everyone in the feels. Maybe the working mom overreacted. Maybe the stay-at-home mom had a bad day. Maybe they should try to save their friendship.
8. Cutting Crummy Friends Is Normal
Others were not so moved, no matter how silky Mr Ives’ baritone might be. The group was split 50/50, with some parents fretting that old friends should not be discarded. Other parents countered that the stay-at-home mom was clearly a toxic friend. They said the working mom should not feel guilty for cutting that negativity from her life.
A surprising side note: A significant number of parents reported purging their friends list to a core of one or two people in their early 40s. Apparently, this is a thing. At a certain age, quality becomes more important than quantity. That is good to know. Heads up, if you want to keep your 40+-year-old friends, watch your p’s and q’s or risk getting purged.
9. All Mothers Are Real
One thing was clear: the entire group was upset about the “fake mom” remark. The group unanimously agreed that all mothers are real mothers. This goes for step-moms, adopted moms, biological moms, moms who have nannies, and yes, even moms who opt for an epidural.
10. An Introduction to Mommy Olympics
The truth is many moms go through “Mommy Olympics,” a competition wherein moms (friends or not) try to out-mom other moms. As ridiculous as it sounds, this does happen in real life. Still, many parents agree that the working mom is right for cutting off her friend and doing what’s best for her family.
Stop Judging Other Mothers
So, what was the verdict? Did the other parents think that the working mom was being too sensitive? Absolutely not! In fact, a lot of the other parents marveled at how reserved she was, confessing that they would likely not have been quite so well-mannered.
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