Stay at Home Vs. Working Mom Battle

Now that I’m a working mom, I’ve been paying more attention to the war.

Not the war in the Middle East.  The war between working moms and stay at home moms (SAHMs).  You won’t find coverage on CNN, but read any mommy blog or listen in at playgroup and you’re sure to get the latest.

On one side, working moms feel empowered.  They don’t consider wiping butts and folding laundry a real job.  They pride themselves on having it all.

The other side feels sorry for the poor working mom’s family.  She may question their financial decisions that force the mom to work.  She can’t imagine how someone could possibly be a good mother while working outside the home.

Neither side will state their views outright.  Instead, they come in the form of muttered comments and snide remarks.

Can we say ENOUGH ALREADY??!!

I’ll tell you where I stand.  I do think it is hard, if not impossible, to have it all at the same time.  If you’re working 80-hour-weeks in order to climb the ladder, it’s going to be difficult to be there for the moments that make a family a family.  There is a time for working long hours and achieving career goals, but when you have a young family probably isn’t that time.

80-hour-weeks aside, different things work for different families.  Personally, I would have a hard time staying home full time with a baby.  I treasured my maternity leave with the little one, but towards the end I wasn’t myself.  I became needy for attention and resentful of the husband’s life outside the home.  Taking care of the baby started becoming a chore and the cries weren’t so cute. Those feelings disappeared on my very first day back to work.  I know myself well enough to know that I am happiest when I have a full plate.  When I know my time with the baby is limited, I cherish every moment with him.  I focus fully on him, with limited Facebook or TV distractions.  The time I do have with him is quality.  I have a flexible job that allows me to work from home two days a week (he still goes to daycare) and work flex time, so I’m trying to work very early hours so I can get off early and enjoy evenings with my boy.  If I really wanted to, I could stay home full time.  But I don’t really want to.  I don’t even kinda want to.  That might change as he grows up, or if we have multiple young children, or if our adopted kid(s) are having a tough adjustment.  That’s what works for me, for now.  And that doesn’t make me any less of a mother.  If anything, I am a better mother when I have that balance outside the home.

But not everyone is that way.  And you know what?  That’s okay too.  Someday, I hope we can withdraw the troops and accept that a good mother in one family may be a miserable mother in another.  I think it’s time we start applauding our fellow women for doing the best they can instead of judging a family that doesn’t look like ours.  What works for you?

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4 Comments

Filed under Baby, Preparing for Kids, Working Mom

4 responses to “Stay at Home Vs. Working Mom Battle

  1. Abby B.

    I completely agree.

  2. Leah

    Well said! Being introduced to the world of homeschooling through Josh’s family has definitely opened my eyes up to this “war”! I agree completely, each family is going to be different and we cannot judge.

  3. great post. Now that my kids are 9, 12, and 15, I find much of the defensiveness has subsided. I envy the SAHM for being able to go to the gym at 9:30 am and think they envy me for being able to cash flow a project quickly. There are trade-offs but one reality that has stuck with me is that most women will find themselves alone at some point (I know, we don’t like to think of it) and the reality is that having market ready skills or savings from working is going to be really valuable.

  4. I’ve always known, even before my marriage, that I would go for everything: both family and a career. It has been the right choice for me but I can see how it’s not for everybody. It’s very hard, and exausting, and there is constant guilt. I know though that have I chosen the other path there would have been different challenges too.

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