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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Michelle Obama, Momma in Chief?



Mom_obamaskissMichelle Obama recently declared that as First Lady she will be Mom-In-Chief, a statement that set Mommas the world over buzzing. Is Mrs. Obama rolling back the clock on decades of gender equality gains? Or is she the ultimate feminist, choosing to stay at home with her daughters when her Ivy League education and work experience would make her a tour de force in any boardroom, courtroom or classroom?

All this chatter, which Mrs. Obama has done quite a bit to fuel, has the potential to reignite the Mommy Wars. In one corner, the stay-at-home moms. In the other, Mommas who work outside the home.  Check out this interesting discussion in which four African-American Mommas take on the topic. These ladies offer largely divergent opinions, including the argument that Mrs. Obama is blazing a trail for black women whose economic situations traditionally required that they work outside the home.

I applaud respectful communication about ideals. But culture wars that pit moms against each other are oh, so last century. From where I sit, this isn’t about us versus them. It’s about doing what’s best for individual children and individual families. Although I’m new to this mommy thing, I’ve learned very quickly that there are few truly universal parenting rules. Instead, my household employs a patchwork of practices that work best for us. 

Exhibit A: I am a working mom. As much as I loved being at home with my now 10-month–old daughter for nearly five months, I was ready to come back to work. I bear no ill will to women and men who chose to stay at home. Really, to each his or her own.

So while Mrs. Obama helps daughters Sasha and Malia get settled in their new house and lifestyle, I wish her well. She’ll be plenty busy without trying to juggle a 9 to 5. Still, I’m hoping the First Lady-elect will remember well the challenges of being a working mom and advocate more for work-life balance for parents of all genders. Someone who can truly see things from both sides, that would be refreshing.

-- Sherri Day

[Photo: Getty Images]

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:58am]


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