Mommy Wars Are Spirit Wars
As a part of American jargon, the “mommy wars” have raged for more than 20 years. The term was coined in the late 1980s by Child magazine to describe the tension that existed between working and stay-at-home mothers. Since then, numerous books and articles have been published about the so-called mommy wars, feeding the talk show circuit and fueling blogosphere brushfires.
But our history of cultural ambivalence about motherhood is much longer. Allow me a moment for a quick overview.
Shortly after our nation was founded, motherhood hit a high note. As historian Glenna Matthews writes in Just A Housewife, this new political experiment needed mothers:
There were no precedents for a republic on the scale of the United States. Many people believed that the new nation would require the support of a uniquely public-spirited citizenry. If citizens must learn to place a high value on the public interest,…