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The ‘Mommy Wars’ Myth: It’s Actually A Flourishing Mom Ecosystem

A bake sale in Kittery, Me (Beautiful Lily/Flickr Commons)

A bake sale in Kittery, Me (Beautiful Lily/Flickr Commons)

It was the kind of imminent afternoon crunch that looms more often lately as my work hours ramp up. My children would get out of their elementary school at 2:20, but I wouldn’t be able to get home until nearly 5.

“Sure,” Isabella’s mom said when I called. “Your daughter can come home with mine.” “No worries,” Luca’s mom texted. “I’ll pick up your son.”

My problem was solved. But more, my heart swelled with gratitude and respect for these parents who had structured their lives to be there for their own children but were also so willing to take in mine in a pinch.

And I thought: So much for the purported conflict between “stay-at-home” mothers and “working” mothers.

I’d like to declare “The Mommy Wars” officially over, helped along by the latest ammunition from the Pew Research Center: Moms are now primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households, either because they’re single mothers or they out-earn their partners.

Does that sound like a nation riven between ‘housewives’ and ‘career women’?

Does that sound like a nation riven between “housewives” and “career women”? Or does it sound like a land of a million permutations of family-work arrangements?

In fact, we don’t even need a truce because there never really was a war in the first place. Rather, what I see in real life, in my own community, is a sort of mom ecosystem, and it’s often a thing of beauty to behold.

Consider class gift season, which is right about now at schools around the country. There are class parents — oh, forget the gender correctness, I’ve only ever seen class moms — who take on the organizational challenge of gathering money and card signatures. And then there’s the rest of us — overscheduled or discombobulated — who are thanking heaven for those class moms. Continue reading