Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Polite Society

In Polite Society....that is, in real life, not online..

I don't have the following debates:

*Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding
*Rear-Facing vs. Forward Facing Carseats
*Attachment Parenting, Co-Sleeping, etc.
*Vaccinating, Not-Vaccinating, or Delaying Vaccinations
*Being a Working Mom vs. A-Stay-At-Home Mom

But last week I got thrown right in the middle of a discussion about one of these topics. I attended the Dr. Phil show taping last week where Heather Armstrong aka Dooce was a special guest. The topic of the show was "Working Moms vs. Stay At Home Moms".

I took my friend Suzanne from Twenty Four at Heart, to the taping with me. Lucky enough, she drove. It was a good thing since I had only like three hours of sleep. The best part of that morning was parking her car in a cemetery. Yep, that's right, a cemetery. I even Tweeted a picture of the cemetery. We had to leave our electronics in the car. So Suzanne and I both parted with our Blackberries. Seriously, we both had withdrawals that entire afternoon. How dare they! We got in line for the taping and began to size everyone up. Yes, that's what we do. Suzanne and I are from Orange County. The land of the pretty. We both love people watching. How do you think we come up with these blog posts? From sitting in our homes? Anyway, we made our way through the line, a metal detector, and dubbed ourselves as a working mom (me), and stay at home mom (Suzanne).

We were then taken into a room where we were separated again, into two separate categories. After sitting in the room for about 30 minutes, we proceeded to the actual Dr. Phil set. The working moms and stay at home moms were seated in different areas. I suspected this was for the "drama effect". There were several women who were pre-selected. They had microphones placed on them, and were seated on end seats. I would say a small, very small percentage of this group were bloggers. Not that I'm an expert on who bloggers are, but you can kind of tell. I was seated next to Jess from Shuggilippo. Thankfully, Jess was as snarky as I. I wouldn't have been able through all the drama that occurred without Jess. We whispered, and commented. We exchanged annoyed looks, and we rolled our eyes. Jess came all the way from Arizona for this. She is nuts. I was waiting to see when Heather would come on stage. Ironically, they placed her in a chair (seated) in the front row of the pit (chair area). She was on the end seat with her iPhone firmly placed in her hand. Dr. Phil made some comments to her about tweeting. She made some remarks back. Apparently, she was supposed to Twitter during the show. She didn't tweet that much. Believe me, I checked later.

Dr. Phil came on, and introduced "real life" working moms and stay at home moms. Then the debate started. He had a woman talk about having three children under 2, and going back to work. Then he had another woman speak about being a stay at home mom. The stay at home mom was a voice in the audience throughout the show. She was a strong advocate for staying at home, and wanted everyone to know her opinion. I follow this woman on Twitter. She is a strong willed person and will let you know her opinion, she doesn't shy away from that. I knew that already. But the people who did not know who she was, were very offended. I could hear the "oohhhs and ahhs" in the audience. It was not good.

Basically people stood up and told their story. People defended their choice. Dr. Phil had a video prepared by Heather, showing her blogging, etc. Then they had the Producers from the show up on stage. Two of the Producers were working moms, and one was a the child of a working mom. Basically, the Producers had a banter back and forth with the stay at home mom from the audience. I had to be obnoxious and raise my hand. Ok, maybe I was jumping out of my seat, to raise my hand. But I was able to speak my thoughts, and how it works in our household. Then Suzanne stood up and said not all the stay at home moms felt the same way, etc..

It was the most random Dr. Phil show. I felt like we were taping an episode for Jerry Springer. Seriously, I think they set this up to create drama. At the end, they had a new mom on stage. After having her son a few months ago, she had to go back to work, because of the economy. They showed her researching daycares, etc. I felt bad for her, she looked really sad.

But really, what I'm rambling about here is real life vs. online life. Since trying to get pregnant through infertility, etc. in 2004, I've come across various types of people. There are forums ad message boards created for controversial issues in parenting. As a new mom on my "birth boards" if I dare mentioned that I was formula feeding my son, I would probably get 10 nasty replies about it. Really, if I told people in reality (non Internet) about formula feeding Angry Toddler, people would just shrug and say, "what formula are you using". It's not that I don't have opinions, because I do. It's not that I'm not strong willed, I am. But really, I don't have the time or energy to argue with people about their individual choices. Because that's what they area, choices.

Yes, I am a working mom. Yes, I choose to work. Well really, I don't chose that much. My mortgage company gives me no choice. Thanks Chase. We live in Southern California. My house is 1100 sq. foot. It really can't get any smaller. We are not living a high lifestyle by any means. We eat a lot of hot dogs, and Ramen noodles. My life is so glamorous. But no one has ever questioned my choices. Do I have regrets, no? I only work four days a week, and about one third of the year, it's at night, when my kid is asleep.

The new season of Dr. Phil starts on September 14th, I think? The show should air within the first few weeks of the Season. You can check their website for the details.


  1. So interesting! Neat to hear the behind the scenes. Can't wait to see it!

  2. I cannot wait for the show to air. It will be interesting to see how it was produced and edited after you guys were there.

    I had the same experience with formula feeding in my online mom's forum.

  3. Thank you for taking me! It was a lot of fun. Dancing in the cemetery was the best part of the whole deal! : )

  4. Sounds like a pointless show! I think they should be making Moms a club all together not separating into WAHM & WOHM, that is just dumb! :o( We should be supporting other Moms for the choices they make as long as they aren't hurting others or themselves. Whether you stay at home or work out of home, Moms work hard and other Moms should be supportive either way. I also can't stand Dr Phil, so go figure, lol.

  5. I answered emails for Pier 1 about 9 years ago when they first launched their E Commerce site. Lesson learned? People are very brave sitting behind a computer. They feel entitled to write it all....whether appropriate, welcomed or not. So real life is a lot more pleasant in many siuations in my opinion. Manners come into play more....unless they're set up like it sounds this show was created.

  6. That sounds nuts julie! Dont worry, chase has me by the balls too.


  7. BTW, i feel totally screwed. Im a WORK AT HOME mom. No one ever talks about us. I think ill bitch about that 2morrow on my blog.

    You know, just to stir the pot.


  8. very interesting to read about the behind the scenes view. I think Dr. Phil is slowly morphing into the next jerry springer. The drama brings the viewers. (and I will definitely be watching this one!)

  9. I'm totally looking for that episode. Yes, they set it up to create drama...that's what TV/media does. Good on you for going...and I agree with all of your points;)

  10. The mommy-wars are so dumb. Women should support each other - but once people get behind a computer they suddendly feel this giant need to put others down. Interesting story about Dr. Phil show though!

    There is nothing wrong with being a working Mom. My Southern California Momma went back to work 6 weeks after having me, and worked for my entire life and she is pretty much the best Mom I could imagine. All that matters is how much you love, care about, and attend to your kids and you can do that if you work, use formula, co-sleep, or home school.

    PS- I love how you talk about your 1100 sq ft. That's what I live in too! I love So Cal.

  11. Let's try this puppy again. Damn Crackberry!

    The gist of the last comment focused on how stellar it was to meet you too, thank goodness my snarky-ness is appreciated...finally, and how I am SO stoked for my first Vlogging Vednesday now (like I wasn't before, really?!).

    P.S. the new pic is priceless. I would have expected nothing less than for your second lover to be in the picture with you.

    Oh Monster, my Monster....

  12. Loved the post - I already had heard you tell the story (and it was great in person) but there were things you included in this that I missed. I agree with Newlywed next door - mommy wars are rediculous. Seriously people, why can't we just support everyone for their choices?

    And darlin', I love the new pic, Peter's Canyon and Jen did you well :)

  13. I can't stop laughing at Trisha's comment because I am also a work at home mom and everyone always forgets about us! Ha! But in reality - if you work or if you stay at home- or if you are a little bit of both- We should all be supportive in this motherhood experience and try to help each other instead of creating "mommy wars".

  14. Oh the mommy wars.

    I love when people insist that they know what is best for other families.

    ...and you, dear, I love.

  15. I can't wait to see this episode. It really sounded awkward.

  16. Wow that sounds like quite an experience! I am never home when Doctor Phil is on, but I may have to set up the DVR for this one!

  17. I really really want to be a stay at home mom when I have kids. But I don't think that can ever happen...unless I win the lottery. So I have come to terms with the fact that I will have to be a working Mom and I am okay with that. I think it is sad that some moms are so out spoked about how staying at home is the only way. Do they not realized that some people don't have that choice. If they had to choose between having kids and working or not having kids at all would they not choose to have the kids and work??? Anyways...are you going to be on tv when the show airs??

  18. Yea, I check the website daily to see when it is airing. I really want to see the editing..

    I was a nervous wreck when I stood up and spoke. My legs were shaking and trembling. I mean come'on, it's National TV.

    The episode is called "Economoms" or something like that.

    Yea they really didn't even touch on the subject of work at home moms either. Which a lot of people do now....


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