Thursday, February 21, 2008

The homemaking wars

I read a lot of blogs. Many of them are related to homemaking, because that's my thang. I tend to think of blogs as people's homes - I try to wipe off my shoes before entering, sit politely on their sofa and make thoughtful comments. I refrain from stirring up too much because I'm a guest in their space and my mama didn't raise no party pooper.

I also read forums, which are really more the equivalent of graffiti on a wall. Writers tend to let it all hang out and not censor their thoughts or responses to topics. Now on some forums, such as those dealing with sensitive topics like politics, religion, what have you, I expect a bit of fire. Some people post controversial statements just to "troll" for comments and everyone gets all riled up. You expect that on some forums. But lately, I've been surprised at the amount of venom that can show up on forums dedicated to more tame topics. Want to start a war? Go make a snide knitting comment on a crochet forum. I've seen knitters respond that they don't even want to associate with people who crochet. Hard to believe, but some people take everything really seriously.

Today, while browsing a homemaking forum, I found a very contentious conversation. There was namecalling, swearing, liberal use of exclamation points and someone virtually huffing off and slamming the door. The topic? Doing it all in the home. The original poster was looking for some advice on managing her home when her husband isn't available to help with the kids due to work. The responses were mostly informative - lots of "you can do this" and "here's what works for me" stuff. Things sorta devolved from there. One poster had a different position from a previous poster and it snowballed. Suddenly, it felt like there was a camp of those who "can" do things and those who have to "hire help". I read all the posts and I didn't take the original comments as offensive, but someone else did and that's my point. Judgment - whether it is coming from an anonymous poster or a friend, a spouse or yourself is ever present. Dealing with that judgment seems to be the stickler for some folks.

It's funny, but I've seen the arguing between Stay at Home moms and "Working Moms" (as if SAHMs don't work) and I get why there seems to be sides on that issue - though I don't agree with those sides, I get the tension. But to find women within the SAHM camp tearing at each other, that just seems so strange. It's like the battle over crochet vs knit - both crafters work with yarn and sticks, what's the biggie? SAHMs all deal with being in the home and making their work easier. They deal with being at work 24/7 and always being oncall. They deal with guilt over less than perfect homes when they are home and "that's their job". They deal with finding satisfaction and recognition in their work, the lack of "employee of the year" awards and socializing around the water cooler. They deal with many challenges that don't crop up until you rise and shine every day to the same environment. Why then make even more stress by finding ways to tear down other people just doing the best that they can? I don't get it. Sure, I don't agree with a lot of what I see posted on forums, but even from the most opposite position I can usually learn something.

Ok, so I guess that makes me Switzerland - neutral, into fondue and chocolate. I'm passionate too and I often want to post that blistering response that I have ready to type, but I guess when it comes down to it, I'm just not into graffiti.


rosemary said...

I did both...the difference? As a stay at home mom I didn't get a paper paycheck. Both situations were hard work, very little me time and add to that I was a single parent.

imakecutestuff said...

I'm with you -- The Swiss have it all...fondue, chocolate (cheese?). Those crazy forums are sort of like Jerry Springer for crafty people, no? Love your blog!

Sling said...

Okay,let me get this straight...
There is a matter of contention between Those that knit,and those that crochet??
My grandmother used to crochet the most delicate doilies,and tableclothes,in defiance of her ever present arthritis..
A thing of beauty is a joy forever!
My mom knitted marvelous afghans.
Multi-colored works of warmth,and comfort.
It's a win-win situation. :)

Doralong said...

Having been both- can't we all just respect one another's choices and get along??

Malone! said...

I love telling people that I am a CEO of Childhood Development, CFO of the Bank of Malone, Chef, Certified Driver, Therapist, Teacher, Doctor, Nurse- everything! And I get paid with lots of love, no paycheck. I've done both and this job is better. Actually, it's not a job it is an adventure. My oldest starts High School next year and the youngest the following. I think my next 'job' will be working at the High School to stay close to my growing young ladies before they leave their Dad & I for life in college.

Lorraine said...

I guess being judgemental is part of human nature...the need to see ourselves as somehow better or more accomplished or whatever than others.

I'm glad you're Switzerland.

JafaBrit's Art said...

I think it goes to show that sahm are as diverse (thank goodness) as any other group politically, socially, culturally etc. Some people (no matter what walk of life) are just judgmental types. Yes I can tell you I have actually come across someone who knitted who sniffed with contempt at crocheting. I couldn't stop laughing and asking her if she was serious (which she was). I have and do come across this type in the art world all the time, art snobs, elitists. I just smile and say thank goodness I am a jafa.