Womens Issues

Are the Mommy Wars Harming Feminism?

What’s up with this problematic part of motherhood that never seems to impact fathers??


When I was growing up, my mom chose to stay home, a decision that positively affected my childhood in a lot of ways. My aunt chose to keep her job when my cousin was born, and they also have a great relationship. What do these two women have in common? They both made choices about motherhood that we should support.

Are the Mommy Wars Harming Feminism?

Motherhood is surrounded by a lot of disagreement. Working mothers are made to feel guilty for leaving their kids with a nanny during the workday. Meanwhile, stay at home moms are criticized for undermining the feminist cause by sticking to traditional gender roles. No matter what mothers choose, the end result is the same: society doesn’t approve. New mothers are faced with a choice, and whether they decide to stay at home or continue working, society will condemn them for it.

It’s a problematic part of motherhood that never seems to impact fathers.

It is these mommy wars, and not stay at home motherhood, that undermines the feminist cause. Instead of empowering women to make their own career choices, we’re policing mothers’ decisions. Instead of making it easier for women to work, we are quick to judge.

Stay-at-home versus working motherhood is a personal choice based on an array of personal factors. It’s a case-by-case decision that each mother has to make for herself. If a mother chooses to continue working after having a child, it is a choice we must respect. No mom should feel inadequate because she, like most fathers, works during the day.

Are the Mommy Wars Harming Feminism?America’s lack of nationally-mandated maternity leave certainly doesn’t help the situation. In countries where women have the job security that maternity leave affords them, they are far more likely to go back to work. This would suggest that women would prefer to go back to work, but often can’t because their job evaporated while they were in the hospital. Or, better yet, in countries where there’s equal maternity and paternity leave (for the father), gender roles and pay equity are far more equal, and studies show that mothers are far happier. In these countries it’s not just a given that the woman will be the one to sacrifice her career.

We must respect women’s right to choose their own careers, a choice we have never denied men.

Likewise, we must respect the choice to stay home. Many argue that if a woman isn’t working and thus not financially independent, she is destroying the feminist cause. But forcing women into the workplace when they have the desire and means to stay home and look after their children is just as bad as forcing women to stay home when they want to work. It takes away women’s autonomy and suggests that women can’t choose for themselves.

We must ensure each woman has the right to make her own choices about her own career, whether she has children or not. By suggesting that employment makes you a lesser mother (but not a lesser father — in fact, just the opposite), we’re saying that women who have children must sacrifice everything while their husband does not. By trying to force stay at home mothers back into the workplace, we’re saying women who choose full-time motherhood can’t choose their own career and life paths. That sounds like exactly the kind of mentality feminists are trying to fight.

We should strive to make both choices accessible to as many women as possible…

That means helping professional mothers by making it easier for them to balance professional time and family time.

It means supporting stay at home mothers in their decision instead of accusing them of whiling the day away in yoga pants.

It means respecting women’s universal right to choose their own careers — a choice we have never denied men.

In the end, feminism comes down to supporting women’s career choices. We fought, and continue to fight, for equal rights in the workplace, and women have more professional choices now than ever before. As mothers struggle to decide whether they will stay home or continue working, they should know that the feminist community supports their right to choose. Let’s stop judging each other and refocus our energies to make both choices easy and accessible to all women.


Don’t want to deal with the mommy wars? Here are 8 solid reasons not to have kids.


How do you feel about the so-called “Mommy Wars”? Let us know in the comments!

Avatar of Auriane Desombre

Born in France but raised all over the place, Auriane has wanted to write ever since she was old enough to spell her name. In her spare time she loves reading, hanging out with her best friends (even when they're not in the same time zone), and spontaneous singing with her Broadway-bound roommate.

Reader Discussion: 115 Comments

  1. Avatar of Faith Lucas

    Faith Lucas

    Let’s just keep it this way. If they want to work, let them, if they want to stay at home, let them. It is their lives, and we are not part of it. If she fails as a mother, it’s her fault, and if she succeeds, it’s her victory.

  2. Avatar of Kara Mccormick

    Kara Mccormick

    As a feminist, I support both types of women. Why are we going to force women to work if she wants to stay with her child, or why are we going to force women to stay at home if she wants to work, right?

  3. Avatar of Amanda Long

    Amanda Long

    I hate the fact that there is a mother who left their children just to work. Mother’s presence is more important than her money.

  4. Avatar of Laurie Ryan

    Laurie Ryan

    There are no mommy wars. It’s just the people who judge each other.

  5. Avatar of Melody Phelps

    Melody Phelps

    We can’t please everyone, there are people who will always judge us in every single thing that we do. Good or bad, people will judge us.

  6. Avatar of Stacy Maldonado

    Stacy Maldonado

    If the people of the United States will accept feminism, there will be no problem here. In this case, people can’t accept the fact that women are capable of working even if they already have a family. We are in 2018, let’s keep on moving for innovation.

    • Avatar of Sue Wise

      Sue Wise

      We can’t please everyone, there are people who will always judge us in every single thing that we do. Good or bad, people will judge us.

  7. Avatar of Lydia Erickson

    Lydia Erickson

    There’s no mommy war, this is just for judgemental people. There’s no need to argue about what is right because as long as they are doing their job as a mother, there’s nothing wrong with them.

  8. Avatar of Marsha Reed

    Marsha Reed

    It is affecting the feminist, but the feminist are just in the middle. They don’t choose their side because they support equality, and whatever their decision is, feminist will just support them.

  9. Avatar of Myra Sullivan

    Myra Sullivan

    Give us the right maternity leave, and ensure that we can get back to work. Companies are being unfair to us, women. We want equality.

  10. Avatar of Myron Stephens

    Myron Stephens

    In my case, my wife chose to stay at home because it is our first baby. I told her that if she wants to get back to work, she’s free because it’s her passion. She agreed with me, but she wants to take care of our first born baby first. ☺

    • Avatar of Ellen Padilla

      Ellen Padilla

      Maybe she wants to be a hands-on mother to your firstborn. She’s a lucky girl to have a supportive husband like you.

Load 10 more comments

Join in the Conversation! Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Urbanette moderates and edits comments for grammar and to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Please use your full name. Moderators can only approve comments written in English.

All content is strictly copyright. Contact us for permission.