Tuesday, June 1, 2010

SAHM vs. Working Mom

WARNING: I am writing about a touchy subject...I am not trying to upset anyone--just getting some things off my chest.  You have been warned! :)

I think that every mother deals with the stay-at-home mom (SAHM) vs. the working mom (WM) battle at some point.  It is such an emotional subject and typically it can cause the calmest of people to suddenly become a intense crazy person.  Why?  Because we all feel the need to justify what we do. 

And I am here to say-STOP!  Every time a woman justifies her decision to stay home or to work outside the home we set the feminist movement back about a hundred years.  It is time for women to simply support each other and stop judging.  I am so tired of listening to women tear each other down based on a career choice. 

Let me start by saying I really dislike the "stay-at-home mom" and "working mom" titles.  Do SAHMs not "work" and do WMs not do anything at home?  But for general understanding I use the terms because I don't really have a better suggestion!

I am a working mom.  I also was a SAHM after Scout was born for almost 3 years.  I did work part time during that time but I did it when my husband or other family member could take care of Scout.  After Scout was ready for preschool I decided to go back to work full time.  The extra money gave us the opportunity to buy a bigger house, nicer cars, pay for a great preschool program, take vacations, etc.  We survived on one salary...but two was so much easier.  When I got pregnant with Truman we had already locked ourselves into some of these expenses and so I knew I would have to go back to work much earlier. 

The truth?  I love my job.  I love feeling like I have made a difference within my business.  I like getting dressed up every day and going to work. I like to use the "adult" side of my brain.   I feel like I have really accomplished something and it feels really great when my daughter talks in a proud voice about her "mommy's important work."     

Also the truth?  I miss my children daily.  Sunday nights are so hard knowing that the next day I will not be with them every second.  I think about them constantly throughout the day.  I worry that I am missing out on so much of their childhood.  I wish that I was with them when I am not and I think about work when I am. 

I don't think I am made to be a SAHM.  I know several women who just fit the SAHM world.  The ideas they come up with, the activities, the incredible meals, etc., are so inspiring.  I typically get stuck on the "what do I do now?" and we end up staring at each other.   

For a long time I tried to be both...I tried to do all the things a SAHM would do while I worked full time. I felt like I had to somehow justify the fact that I worked to other moms.  I would volunteer for everything, bake things from scratch, take Scout to all of the classes, etc.  I would talk down about myself by trying to make my job seem less important to me than it really was and it still didn't matter to many of the SAHMs that I was around.  I heard all of the nice ways to judge another person--"I just can't imagine being away from my kids like that."  "It is so much more important to give time than material things that I could buy if I worked."  "My kids won't remember a big house but they will remember the time I spent with them."  Blah, blah, blah.

Now on the other side of things I would also hear the judgment from the WM crowd.  "What do they do all day?  I get it all done and I work 40 hours a week."  "Wouldn't it be nice to get to play all day?"  "I would never let myself be dependent financially on my husband.  What would they do if the suddenly had to work for a living?"  AHHHHHH!!!!!

All of the nastiness has to stop! 

We could all relax a lot more if we stopped looking over our shoulder trying to figure out how to one up each other.  I have enough guilt without another woman deciding to place additional pressure on me. 

My SAHM guilt --was I doing "enough," I couldn't buy her whatever she wanted, I was tired and needed a break, etc., etc., etc. 

My WM guilt--I am missing so many things, I don't have the time to do it all, I can't take a break at all now because I am already gone too much, etc., etc., etc.

I'll step off my soapbox now with one last thought...I hope to raise my children with the idea that the sky is the limit.  I want them to believe that they can accomplish whatever they set out to do.  I want them to live their dreams, whatever those dreams may be.  Maybe Truman will be a stay-at-home dad and Scout will be a CEO.  Maybe they will both decide not to have children (I hope not because I am going to be a incredible grandma!) or have 10.  I imagine that most parents feel this way about their children.  Why don't we give each other the same opportunity?  We should let others be who they dream of being and not stick our opinions where they don't belong.


  1. I couldn't agree more. We need to do what's best for our individual families and ourselves, and, as women, we need to take better care of each other and quit with the Judgey McJudgington act.

  2. I've been both, and I've heard all the arguments. I miss my FT job now. When I worked 60 hrs a week, I hated not being here at home. There is no perfect situation. There are only seasons-- this is the season for me to be home. Sooner than I can believe, that season will end. And I really don't give a rip what anyone thinks about that choice.

  3. Okay, girl - we really need to get together. Sometimes (and I'm so random about my blog reading and then all in one night catch up) I feel as if you are writing my blog on your page and I didn't have to do any of the typing! Dawn and I hang out a bunch because our 2 oldest are the same age and adore each other. I like what she said. I miss working, yet I also remember the horrible tug of war sitting at work knowing I had a baby that (I thought) needed me in someone else's arms. I've said it a million times - cut the jr. high cliquey crap, cut the "you should..." bs, and let's just support one another!! Way to go for laying it out there, girl! Maybe, with your permission, I will at some point have you guest post this to my "Ah... motherhood" blog. You are an amazing mother - don't forget it!