The minute you even consider getting knocked up, the fraught decisions begin: Where will you park the kid during work hours? Should you find a more flexible job? Can you live on anything less than a full-time salary? Is it more cost-effective to stay at home for a couple of years? Meanwhile you're swarmed (and maybe even beaten over the head) with other people's very firm opinions.
Well, consider this news segment from ABC 40, a local Alabama outlet. Citing Pew stats about the uptick in stay-at-home moms, they introduced the term MOM SHAMING to central Alabama (though surely not the practice). "It's called mom shaming, Pam, and it's really it's young women making each other feel guilty about their decision to either stay-at-home, or go back to work. It's really sad!"
To combat this menace, reporter Candace Sweat interviewed a psychologist who often helps women work through their anxieties about working vs staying at home and also their anxieties about people being all up in their business about the decision. Basically her advice is to get the fuck off Facebook and decide based on the specifics of YOUR situation:
I think a lot of time women get a little bit sidetracked in listening to voices out there, listening to the Internet or other people's opinions. And I think a lot of times what's really important is to hunker down and focus on yourself.... Think about the potential consequences positive or negative a few months from now, a few years from now, or decades from now.
She recommends making a list of pros and cons, and adds that you should "constantly evaluate your options. You don't have to make one choice and stick with it forever." Sensible!
Unfortunately the segment positions this entire discussion as a matter of increasing options for young women, and does zilch to address the fact that those Pew numbers are likely driven, in part, by stagnating wages, inflexible work schedules and high childcare costs. There's no psychologist in the world who can fix that.
But sure, let's keep focusing on mom shaming and the mommy wars and all the ways mean old ladies tear each other down. You know women—always catfighting! Pay no attention to the Congressmen behind the curtain, refusing to mandate paid maternity leave.
Photo via Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock.