Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the office, Dr. Phil airs a segment that will no doubt have working moms up in arms. While the purported intention of this show was to "encourage a conversation" about this often divisive topic, the producers veer into Jerry Springer territory by inviting outspoken mom Jessica Gottlieb into the ring. Known for bringing brands to their knees with her Twitter vitriol, Jessica comes out swinging against working moms and sings the praises (and benefits) of moms like her who choose to stay home.
Full disclosure here: Jessica Gottlieb is a close friend but as I said to her face after hearing some of her comments (the full episode will air at 4pm pst today), I would hate her if I didn't love her.
Jessica goes out of her way to make the point that the aspersions and judgment she casts are directed at moms who choose to work -- not the millions of moms who have to work. These moms are off limits. But unfortunately, this nuance is buried by her strong statements such as this one in response to the use of childcare:
"I wouldn't outsource loving my husband, why would I outsource loving my kids?"
Basically, Jessica equates the hiring of a babysitter, or use of a daycare facility for the kids with the hiring of a surrogate (a hooker perhaps?) for the husband. While this is an interesting concept (and I'm sure will make some moms say, "What's so wrong with outsourcing the loving of your husband sometime!") it's just dead wrong. Working, or staying home full time, is not the litmus test by which we evaluate the quality of love a mother has for her kids. There are plenty of full time moms who aren't that loving and probably just as many working moms who love with a vengeance. But Jessica makes it sound like those of us who head into the office, have forsaken our most important job and relinquished the loving of our children to others. There's definitely no room for the quality vs. quantity argument here (nor the "it takes a village" theory or any of the benefits mentioned by experts in this "back to work doubts" video!) In Jessica's world it's pretty black and white -- if you invite someone else in to do the loving (even for a scant few hours a day!) then, in the words of Heidi Klum..."you're out!"
Dr. Phil states in his blog today, "It bothers me to see any division among moms, working or otherwise, because both groups share such a devotion to their children. You would think by now that we would have found some common ground on this issue." Well, Dr. Phil, we have found some common ground and many are trying to ease the mommy divide by taking a "to each mother her own" attitude about the to work or not work debate. But unfortunately, by showcasing and provoking Jessica, the segment you hoped might unite moms, only pushes us further apart.
For more answers to any parenting (or working mom!) questions, visit Parents Ask.