Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Working vs Stay at Home Mom Debate

I read something today about how the biggest debate and criticism between mothers is the choice to stay home or work.  By this point many of you have come to expect the truth from me and even though I have my views anyone is welcome to argue against me. In fact I would welcome hearing some different opinions and take on what has become a generational debate of our time in motherhood. As women, we are so critical of any choice different than our own. Some are guilty of defending their personal choices so much that they put others' opposite choices down, belitting their mothering abilities, or even their capabilities as a modern day woman.

On my random days and two months a year that I get to be a stay at home mom I am busy. Being a stay at home mom is not sitting on the couch, watching soap operas all day, or even lunch and playdates. I am a busy body. I do not like to just sit and I am not a big TV watcher either so my days are usually filled with feeding, hygiene care (they can be dirty little creatures), playing and engaging them in activities, but also with housekeeping and errands. The more I'm home the more messes I'm cleaning up throughout the day so sometimes I feel that it's a daily cycle of picking up, preparing meals, washing dishes, and folding laundry. It's usually a full day but what's nice is I feel that I've kept up with the kids, the house, the errands and everything needed to keep our household functioning. Some days my time at home is more exhausting and harder work than my actual work day.

The ten months a year I'm working, I am much busier though and it's much harder to keep up. Obviously between my husband, myself, and our sitter the feeding, hygiene, and basic caregiving of my daughters is taken care of but some of the daily stuff is taken care of by the sitter rather than myself, and even though I'm busy I think we do a pretty good job of still fitting in valuable time with our girls. However, I definitely struggle with mommy guilt because sometimes I'm tired and short tempered with them, but I also feel like that when I spend all day with them too. It's just when I'm home all day I don't feel as bad because we've spent all day having more positive interaction; whereas, during the work week I feel that all they see of me is the tired, cranky mom that I am at the end of the day. Even though I'm not picking up messes all day because we're not there for them to make them, I'm still spending the end of my day squeezing in all that housework with laundry, cleaning up, and errands that I can't get to during the day because I'm working. So just as stay at home moms are really working while they're at home because being a mom is work, a  working mom is doing that work too on top of  her part time to full time job.

I'm not trying to take anything away from the stay at home mom or the working mom. They both take sacrifice and deserve respect and as women I think we sometimes forget to recognize what contributes to each woman's choice. For me working is not just because we need the income,  but I need more than my role as a mother to fulfill me. Work also gives me purpose. Some may say that is selfish, and sometimes I think part of the guilt that comes with being a working mom is because something or someone tells us wanting to work for our own self fulfillment is selfish. There have been many times in the last five years I have wished to have the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, but I've always felt I would be giving up a part of myself by abandoning my career goals. I think the thing that reassures me my choice is the right choice for me is that I am confident I am still a good mom as a working mom. I can do both. Do I struggle some days?  Oh, my goodness, yes, but I think that's life and motherhood in general.  I can still do things for myself and be a good mother to my children. I see many women out there doing things for themselves and being good and great mothers to their children. Working isn't what defines their capabilities as a mother.

I've heard a variety of arguments from stay at home moms as well but I would definitely welcome some insight from the stay at home mom on this topic.  The sad thing I hear the most is somewhere along the way being a mom has supposedly become not enough in our society. The "oh, you're a stay at home mom" mentality implies they do very little all day and being a mom just isn't much. Many of them have given up their own career ambitions and personal fulfillment with a career to fulfill a larger role at home.

Different things work for different families and different women. I believe so much more goes into raising strong, well loved and globally prepared children than the result of this one choice. As women, we each make the choice that will fulfill us the most and works for our families and our goals.  Whether it's the right choice or not is not determined by the woman beside us, behind us, in front of us, or wherever the one casting judgment may be, but it's best determined by the woman looking back at us in the mirror. Is she satisfied and content with the choice we made?


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11 comments:

  1. I have volumes to say on this subject! Plus, I feel I may discuss this topic with some authority, having been employed full-time until two years ago when I became a SAHM. My youngest was 10 months when I left my stressful career in medical administration. My iPad is a bi*#ch to type on tho! & my laptop & desktop are on strike together....so let me try to find a way to share what I have learned, and the stuff that caught me off guard, and the changes in my feelings about working vs staying home. Maybe you could help me Angie, with some questions? I am needing help collecting all of the stuff swirling thru my brain!

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    1. You want to write a guest post for me on the topic? I ll give you questions, you can write whatever comes to mind, IM it to me, I ll edit it for you, and feature you as a guest writer.

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    2. Yeah, that would be great! I have lots to share about the untold side of staying home, how much work it really is, the unexpected issues, & how it can alter your relationship with your spouse (if u have one). I also want to share the opposite side by sharing some of the things I do miss about working....I would be honored!!

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  2. It's a debate that is never ending. Unfortunately people always feel they need to express their views onto those with differing views.
    I have been on both sides -- working outside the home and SAHM. It really is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer -- each family is different.
    I have gotten the looks from people when they find out I am a SAHM -- sometimes you can just see the thoughts. But, I have to say, like you, I don't just sit around. Being a SAHM is the TOUGHEST job I've had. But, for us, right now, it is the right decision.
    Thank you for sharing with me -- looking forward to sharing it this week on FB!

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  3. Going from a SAHM to working full time after a month I can say I really miss being at home. I do not feel my current job is fulfilling, but it is a step towards my career. I can not imagind being here more than a few years. I would feel better about leaving my girls everyday if I enjoyed my job. The nice part about my job is I do get to have more adult conversations that I was lacking when I SAH. I know the extra income will help us which is a reason why I stick with it. I think part time work would feel better for me, a little of both worlds.

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    1. I have been convinced part time work would be the happy median for me for awhile now. Really, really hoping next year I will have the chance to find out if that really is the case.

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  4. I enjoyed this post! There seems to always be a debate circulating over these two. Both come with different challenges and of course for everyone it's different. I've also noticed the big debate on nursing vs bottle feeding. I nursed our daughter and of course during that time is when I noticed the debates. Seems like there is always room for debates these days. =) Great post.

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  5. I am working from home mom for 2 years now and I love being a stay at home mom and at the same time work without ever leaving our home and get to attend to my family's needs.

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  7. I am a mom and I have a 5 years old daughter, so I can understand that for any mother how difficult it is to look after her children and going out for job. That is the reason I prefer to work from home that allows me to look after my child and make me independent as I can earn from home and stay updated with today world. If you are also in same situation I have a suggestion for you from here you can learn how to make money or get good earning from home based job, I am confident it will be of Great Value to you and yours. Respectfully, Enjoy: http://vipspecialgifts.com/go/Shweta/

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