Over the years of writing and reading parenting blogs, I have rarely heard straight talk when it comes to working-mom-guilt and the mommy-wars. This is the sometimes continental divide between working moms and stay-at-home moms.
But recently, I was listening to the book "The Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes, who has great insight on these issues.
Rhimes, if you don't know her, is an award-winning producer of several hit prime time television dramas. She has risen to such prestige in her industry that Thursday nights are often referred to as "Shondaland."
Her concept of how we should treat one another as parents is "leave no mother behind." She explains that we all have different styles, different strengths, different priorities – none are better than others, they are simply different.
One mother may feel like it's very important to cook with her child, another mother may not cook, but may think it's equally important to bring her daughter to work to show her what she does for a living. One is not better than the other, they are simply different approaches.
The other thing that Rhimes touches on is the "secret "to doing it all. She says people are constantly asking her how she does it all. The secret? The secret she says is that she doesn't do it all well.
When you are at work involved in a project and your child calls needing your immediate attention, you are torn. Something has to give. When you're at home with your child and work calls needing your assistance, even a few minutes on the phone away from your kids can cause stress for your family. So, in essence, we have to make peace with not doing it all well, and simply decide to do the best we can every single day.
There are no warm, fuzzy, easy answers to this dilemma that I can put in a blog. In America, most families need two financial providers to support their families. In addition, many women have spent years building their careers before they had children, and they are passionate about what they do and want to continue working and being role models for their children.
So cognitive dissonance on this age-old conflict will always be there. At the end of the day, it's about triaging. Of course, children always come first, but not everything is an emergency. Your need for me to buy cereal is not an emergency, breaking your wrist is.
So, let's not beat each other up. Let's support one another and our different choices as we muddle together through this beautiful, brilliant and challenging journey that we call parenting.
Thanks for the straight talk Shonda. Can I call you that?
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.