It’s tough to imagine the smallness, entitlement, and bloody-minded gall of a person who would take the time out of their busy schedule to tell a woman that she was “not a real mom” because she has a job. Why would any person say that when they could just be quiet? But still, it happens every day, from people of all ages and genders. It’s garbage. Now actress and writer Tova Leigh has come out with a furious response to the random dude who wrote that working moms are not real moms.
Leigh blogs about parenting at her site. Tova Leigh, and also produces videos and podcasts.
This week she posted on Instagram about the dude who wrote to tell her that working moms are not real moms.
“To the guy who wrote in to tell me that ‘working moms’ are not “real moms”, Firstly I’d like to welcome you to the 21st century. You probably missed the memo, and this may come as a shock, but news flash – women work,” she wrote. “Secondly, I think you may be confused by what makes someone a “real mom” as you call it, so listen up as I explain what it means:”
“It does not matter if a woman squeezed a child out of her vagina, or had her stomach cut open to get her baby out, if she adopted, used an egg donor, or a surrogate. It doesn’t matter if she breastfeeds, bottle feeds, if she stays at home or goes back to work. It doesn’t matter if she plays with her kids for 5 hours straight every day or takes some time for herself. It does not matter if she cooks from scratch, or orders take out, if her house is spotless or a raging mess, if she bakes homemade cookies or gets them from the store. And it doesn’t matter if she has the patience of a saint or if she sometimes loses her shit.
“All that matters is that she loves her children with all her heart, and does her absolute best to provide and care for them.
“Because “real moms” come in lots of shape and forms and there really is no one perfect way to be a parent.”
Leigh is totally right, and people are loving her response.
In what universe is a working mom not a real mom, anyway? Very few people can finance a whole family on one adult’s income anymore. And a lot of people just don’t want to. Nobody goes around telling fathers that they aren’t “real dads” if they work.
Real mothers have lots of jobs. Maybe they’re nannies or doctors or teachers or CEO of Pepsi. Heck, Kate Middleton has a job. Is Kate Middleton not a “real mom”?
This idea that working mothers aren’t “real moms” is made up of layers of prejudices. It’s sexist and judgmental. It insists that any family that doesn’t look a certain way isn’t “real.” And it’s a pretty handy way of dismissing the experiences, needs, and perspectives of anybody who doesn’t follow that model. If a person defines a “real” family as one dad who works, one mom who doesn’t, and a certain specific number of children, then that person can dismiss all the millions of other families out there as “not real.”
That’s probably the same type of person who would insist they care about families. But when asked “what about that family over there?” they’d say, “Well that’s not a real family.”
Leigh’s followers are loving her response. Her Instagram post has been liked more than 1,000 times. Plenty of her readers have been sharing their own experiences of departing from that prescriptive “real mom” model. Some of them worked with one kid and then didn’t with another. Some of them have to work. A few don’t have to work and do anyway. Some are stay-at-home moms.
One woman wondered what the “real moms” dude would have said about her own mom. She had to work after her husband died and she had a bunch of kids to feed.
All families are real families. All mothers are real mothers. And anyone who says otherwise can STFU.
(Image: Instagram / Tova Leigh)