7 Non-Negotiable Truths In The Working Mom Vs. SAHM Wars

working momIn the winding path my career has taken, I have spent substantial time both in and out of the workplace since my children were born.  As a result, I am constantly at war with myself and have a hard time “picking sides” in the Working Mom vs. SAHM debates.  So instead of taking a side, I offer seven non-negotiable truths I’ve revealed from my time moving across the battle lines.

1.  All working moms “have” to work. 

Anyone, I repeat ANYONE who spends the greater part of their waking hours doing a job that takes them away from their kids HAS to work.  This is non-negotiable, even though I admit I am SO guilty of putting up this defense mechanism.  But it’s just not true.

Some people work to pay the electric bill, some people work to afford private school, some people work in an effort to break glass ceilings and kill the patriarch, some people work to preserve their sanity.  But telling a working mother she doesn’t really “have” to work is the most offensive thing you can possibly say.  I’m guilty of it, but since I’ve gotten it thrown in my face — never again.  It’s simply not true.  If they didn’t feel they had to work they would be spending their time at museums or the mall (with or maybe without their kids).  No one gets up each day and goes to work without a sense of duty.  Don’t rob them of it.

 2.  All stay-at-home parents make sacrifices. 

All working parents make sacrifices as well, but that seems to be a given.  Many people like to think of SAH parents as privileged, but I find 99% of the time it’s not true.  Especially in today’s economy, no one can afford to sideline an income without important sacrifices.  That means giving up dreams of owning a house, time for a hobby, or buying organic food.  Even if they have enough to make ends meet, they worry more about their spouse losing their job, they worry about future costs and how they keep growing.  Even if they have all the money in the world, they are still sacrificing time and energy that could be put towards a job or charity or leisure. And unless they popped out babies before ever having to enter the working world, they are sacrificing part of their identity that existed in their career.  Most stay at home parents sacrifice a lot to do what they think is important as a parent, and it’s not fair to minimize that or act like they “do nothing” all day.  What they do all day is vital to their new identity and it doesn’t deserve to be trashed.

 3.  We are all trying to do the best for our kids. 

I have never met a parent who didn’t think about what was best for their children and act on it the best they could.  For some that means staying home to be a guiding force in their kids lives from a young age.  For others it means going to work to provide their children with more than the basic necessities of life.  For some parents that means knowing that their career is inextricably part of their identity and giving it up would leave that child with a depressed and directionless parent who serves no one by staying home.  Everyone is thinking and making choices.  There should be respect for that process, even if the outcome is different from what you believe in.

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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    • Maria T.

      Perfect.

    • Kate

      Great post!! I, too, have done every version of SAHM/working mom at various phases of my kids lives and have ultimately chosen to stay home with them while they are still under 5. I agree with everything you say except for #1. I have DEFINITELY met working moms who do not HAVE TO work, but are working because they either can’t stand being with their kids all day and/or are trying to afford an affluent lifestyle (read: all designer clothes for the babes, pottery barn decor in the kids’ rooms, brand new expensive cars for mama and dada, exotic vacations many times a year that they do not miss an opportunity to document with tons of pics and send to everyone they have met). These are the working moms that make me the craziest because they CLAIM to wish they were home with their kids and often are the most critical of SAHM’s (I think b/c they are jealous of moms who actually WANT to be with their kids and/or guilty for their selfish reasons for working). Sad. But on all other points – RIGHT ON!

    • Kate

      Great post!! I, too, have done every version of SAHM/working mom at various phases of my kids lives and have ultimately chosen to stay home with them while they are still under 5. I agree with everything you say except for #1. I have DEFINITELY met working moms who do not HAVE TO work, but are working because they either can’t stand being with their kids all day and/or are trying to afford an affluent lifestyle (read: all designer clothes for the babes, pottery barn decor in the kids’ rooms, brand new expensive cars for mama and dada, exotic vacations many times a year that they do not miss an opportunity to document with tons of pics and send to everyone they have met). These are the working moms that make me the craziest because they CLAIM to wish they were home with their kids and often are the most critical of SAHM’s (I think b/c they are jealous of moms who actually WANT to be with their kids and/or guilty for their selfish reasons for working). Sad. But on all other points – RIGHT ON!

      • pixie

        Then arguably, they “have to” work to keep their sanity/to afford more than the basic necessities of life. Carinn mentions both of those in #1. I won’t deny there are parents who work to maintain a certain lifestyle, but unless they’re being negligent, there’s no reason to believe they are also partly doing what they feel is best for their children.

      • rrlo

        It sounds like you are saying women should only work because they HAVE to work. Women should be allowed to work simply because they like working without having people questioning their dedication to their children. That is a very backward, antagonistic point of view to have about your fellow women.

        I suppose you are allowed to judge whomever you want but I hope you extend the same judgment to the fathers as well – who work extra hours just so they get a promotion or a bonus.

      • rrlo

        It sounds like you are saying women should only work because they HAVE to work. Women should be allowed to work simply because they like working without having people questioning their dedication to their children. That is a very backward, antagonistic point of view to have about your fellow women.

        I suppose you are allowed to judge whomever you want but I hope you extend the same judgment to the fathers as well – who work extra hours just so they get a promotion or a bonus.

      • rrlo

        It sounds like you are saying women should only work because they HAVE to work. Women should be allowed to work simply because they like working without having people questioning their dedication to their children. That is a very backward, antagonistic point of view to have about your fellow women.

        I suppose you are allowed to judge whomever you want but I hope you extend the same judgment to the fathers as well – who work extra hours just so they get a promotion or a bonus.

      • JLH1986

        The point of the article was that moms/dads do what works for their family. If that’s both partners working who cares why they are as long as their kids are not neglected. Your response smacks of judgment of women (or men) who chose to work because they want those “nicer” things in life, when they could have an “average” life by staying at home. And it’s presumptive to assume that they “don’t HAVE TO work”. Unless you are privy to their finances, maybe they really do have to work, maybe the working partner makes almost enough but not quite so the other income allows for some extras? Either way who gives a crap why they work or stay home? Kids safe? yep. Kids clean? yep. Kids loved? Double yep. Good lets move on.

      • JLH1986

        The point of the article was that moms/dads do what works for their family. If that’s both partners working who cares why they are as long as their kids are not neglected. Your response smacks of judgment of women (or men) who chose to work because they want those “nicer” things in life, when they could have an “average” life by staying at home. And it’s presumptive to assume that they “don’t HAVE TO work”. Unless you are privy to their finances, maybe they really do have to work, maybe the working partner makes almost enough but not quite so the other income allows for some extras? Either way who gives a crap why they work or stay home? Kids safe? yep. Kids clean? yep. Kids loved? Double yep. Good lets move on.

      • JLH1986

        The point of the article was that moms/dads do what works for their family. If that’s both partners working who cares why they are as long as their kids are not neglected. Your response smacks of judgment of women (or men) who chose to work because they want those “nicer” things in life, when they could have an “average” life by staying at home. And it’s presumptive to assume that they “don’t HAVE TO work”. Unless you are privy to their finances, maybe they really do have to work, maybe the working partner makes almost enough but not quite so the other income allows for some extras? Either way who gives a crap why they work or stay home? Kids safe? yep. Kids clean? yep. Kids loved? Double yep. Good lets move on.

      • AP

        My parents felt the same way, that a lot of two-income families prioritized Luxury Items over Their Precious Children.

        And when we all grew up, yeah, the kids whose parents had killer business connections, bought them semesters abroad, and paid for top 10 colleges out of pocket ended up far better off as young adults than those of us whose Parents Loved Us Very Much. Let’s be realistic. You can’t put “Mommy loves me!” on your resume and expect to get anywhere. You can put the semester in Barcelona Mommy bought you, or the internship Daddy pulled strings for, on your resume, and it will get you places.

      • AP

        My parents felt the same way, that a lot of two-income families prioritized Luxury Items over Their Precious Children.

        And when we all grew up, yeah, the kids whose parents had killer business connections, bought them semesters abroad, and paid for top 10 colleges out of pocket ended up far better off as young adults than those of us whose Parents Loved Us Very Much. Let’s be realistic. You can’t put “Mommy loves me!” on your resume and expect to get anywhere. You can put the semester in Barcelona Mommy bought you, or the internship Daddy pulled strings for, on your resume, and it will get you places.

      • Kate

        So it’s all about mommy and daddy’s money and connections “getting you somewhere?” Really? Wow. Just wow. How about kids from a loving family feeling secure and confident enough to achieve things ALL ON THEIR OWN!? A novel idea.

      • Kate

        So it’s all about mommy and daddy’s money and connections “getting you somewhere?” Really? Wow. Just wow. How about kids from a loving family feeling secure and confident enough to achieve things ALL ON THEIR OWN!? A novel idea.

      • Lena

        You know, it is actually possible to have both! My parents both worked, my mother is a kickass lawyer with practices in two different countries. She HAD to work because her not doing so would be a waste of a fantastic brain. She HAD to work because through her job she has helped hundreds of people.

        Do I feel less loved? Not at all. Do I resent the fact that I had a nanny? No, she was one more person that cared for me in a an already loving environment. I have gotten a lot of things on my own but I’d be a hypocrite if I said that my parents paying for private schools and college did not give me a leg up.

      • Johnar

        your mom sounds pretty rad, could she adopt me?

      • Johnar

        your mom sounds pretty rad, could she adopt me?

      • carosaurusrex

        Hi–I’ve never commented here before, but I’ve lurked for awhile. Frankly, I found your response to be kind of offensive. No it is not all about connections or money, but those things certainly aren’t bad (especially in this economy!) and it’s silly to suggest otherwise. My mom stayed home with my sister and I until we were in middle school. She spent years trying to find a teaching job. Now I’m a teacher. I have a master’s degree, high GPA, near-perfect Praxis scores, HQT status in three content areas, excellent recommendations, and oodles of experience with all kinds of kids (all of which I achieved on my own). This will be my fourth year looking for a teaching position. I can’t find one because I don’t have connections to districts/”don’t know the right people,” connections that I might have had if my mother had stayed in the workforce. I can’t buy a home, can’t marry my boyfriend, can’t have kids, and can’t afford to make payments on my student loans until I have a better job. I’m about to turn 28 and, as much as I don’t want to worry about this stuff, am really starting to worry about this stuff. So yes, honestly, I would have happily traded having a SAHM for a mother who could have helped me transition more successfully into adulthood and my career.

      • Sammi

        Girl, I feel your pain. It’s the song of our generation. Parents need to think about their children’s lives past those first five years. Is it kinda harsh and against all those lessons we learned watching Hallmark movies? Yup. But it’s real life. Life is hard. Your kids won’t just become big kids and teens but adults who, in this world, need more than good work ethic and intelligence to truly succeed. Not all parents will have jobs that will provide those needed connections but that doesn’t mean it would hurt to keep a professional presence.

        And Kate, it’s not an either-or choice. Kids can feel secure because they know their parents are setting up a good stable life for them. They can feel confident that they come from smart, able people and they can feel loved because their parents were willing to sacrifice the joys of RIGHT NOW for a chance to give their kids the very best shot at a successful life.

        SAH- PARENTS can do this too. But to assume otherwise is offensive to me.

        And Caro, I’m so sorry for how hard it has been for you. We need great teachers so badly. Good luck!

      • Sammi

        Girl, I feel your pain. It’s the song of our generation. Parents need to think about their children’s lives past those first five years. Is it kinda harsh and against all those lessons we learned watching Hallmark movies? Yup. But it’s real life. Life is hard. Your kids won’t just become big kids and teens but adults who, in this world, need more than good work ethic and intelligence to truly succeed. Not all parents will have jobs that will provide those needed connections but that doesn’t mean it would hurt to keep a professional presence.

        And Kate, it’s not an either-or choice. Kids can feel secure because they know their parents are setting up a good stable life for them. They can feel confident that they come from smart, able people and they can feel loved because their parents were willing to sacrifice the joys of RIGHT NOW for a chance to give their kids the very best shot at a successful life.

        SAH- PARENTS can do this too. But to assume otherwise is offensive to me.

        And Caro, I’m so sorry for how hard it has been for you. We need great teachers so badly. Good luck!

      • carosaurusrex

        Thanks friend! And I agree with the rest of your post too. I feel like there are many people who have kids and don’t think about those kids becoming adults, and the support they will need as young adults. I only want a couple kids, tops, and that’s one reason why: I want to be able to pay for their college if I can. College is so expensive, and has become so necessary (for better or worse), that I honestly feel it’s irresponsible to *not* plan to help your kids pay for college (or whatever post-secondary education they feel they need to succeed).

      • carrie

        I’m not arguing with you, but It’s funny you say how important college is but you are struggling to find a job with a master’s degree. The importance of college really depends on one’s goals. I went to college and I work for a non profit. I love my job, but a lot of my coworkers in my same position don’t have a degree and they also don’t have $30k in debt like I do. I think college is actually pushed too much and is not for everyone. I will have a college savings for my daughter, but I will also allow her to realize she has other options. There are a lot of well paying trade careers for example that are desperate for workers (such as electrician, plumber, etc) but everyone wants to go to college rather than learn a trade.

      • Johnar

        but that’s the point – they can have ALL those things “loving family feeling secure and confident” PLUS extra and connections. It’s not true for everyone but there’s a valid point in there

      • heapofmeat

        People won’t like this comment but it’s so true. This is the real, harsh world we live in. Your kids will know you loved them even if you go to work for the day and there are more benefits to it than just the immediate extra money.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        You can’t put “mommy loved us” on a resume, but having a parent who has the time and energy to take you back and forth to practice and competitions for whatever is also helpful. I’m definitely not that parent, I work to bring in income and keep my sanity, but I see this issue as having two sides. Having a stay at home parent isn’t necessarily a negative, as long as there is some kind of added bonus. I would guess that most olympic athletes have a parent with the time to help them make their dreams come true. I sometimes worry I wouldn’t be able to do that if any of my kids were so inclined.

      • ChillMama

        I am not going to deny that what you are saying can often be true, but I also know several people who have managed to land great positions in a field that is traditionally viewed as nepotism-heavy, and each of us did it without any “connections.” In fact, all of us had SAHMs. So I do not think it is a foregone conclusion in any way.
        *Edited to add that both my husband and I work full time, so I am not trying to judge one or the other choice.

      • ChillMama

        I am not going to deny that what you are saying can often be true, but I also know several people who have managed to land great positions in a field that is traditionally viewed as nepotism-heavy, and each of us did it without any “connections.” In fact, all of us had SAHMs. So I do not think it is a foregone conclusion in any way.
        *Edited to add that both my husband and I work full time, so I am not trying to judge one or the other choice.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        do you enjoy being judgmental or is it really hard for you?

      • Kate

        Wow. Harsh. You clearly completely missed my point, as I was actually in agreement with the majority of the article. You are the very type of person that fuels the mommy wars.

      • Cee

        Nope. YOU are the type of person that fuels mommy wars.

        Could you have been more cliched about mothers who work because they simply just want to go back to work? Designer clothes, expensive cars, exotic vacations? You missed manicures and pedicures during their lunch hour and happy hour after work with her coworkers.

        A mother can decide to return back to work because she doesn’t want to be around her child all day. It can be all about quality time than quantity time for her, it can be because she feels that she would not be the best mom if she is at home all day, it can be because she is used to a life style she afforded with a double income.

        It. Doesn’t. Matter. Whatever the mother’s choice is, it is never entirely selfish because at the end, a happy mother is a good mother.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        Um, I didn’t miss your point. You were being judgmental. I called you on it. If the ‘mommy wars’ (fuck I hate that term) are fueled by people calling other people out when they are being judgmental, then sure.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        Um, I didn’t miss your point. You were being judgmental. I called you on it. If the ‘mommy wars’ (fuck I hate that term) are fueled by people calling other people out when they are being judgmental, then sure.

      • Hashem Matori

        hi

      • mary

        I don’t necessarily see what’s incompatible about seeing/desiring some of the benefits to being on the other side of the fence. *Sometimes* perfectly happy working moms wish they were also able to spend more time with their kids. *Sometimes* perfectly happy stay at home moms wish they were also able to have more money/’things’. Just because one way makes you extremely happy and fulfilled doesn’t mean that there aren’t elements of happiness that could be found elsewhere.

      • Cee

        Also,

        http://thestir.cafemom.com/

        Please go there. It will be more suitable for you.

      • Carol

        Have you met any dads who don’t have to work? Why is it always the woman who must prove whether or not she deserves to go to the job she worked so hard to get?

      • carosaurusrex

        THIS.

      • val97

        Thank you!!

      • James

        someone seems a little jealous herself…

      • Kate

        Ok, folks. Time for me to apologize. I really didn’t mean to ruffle everyone’s feathers here. I mistakenly thought that I was replying to a group of like-minded folks who would read my post in its entirety to see that I am making a point about a SELECT FEW working moms that I have encountered. No all working moms. If you re-read my post, I noted that I was a working mom at one point. I’m with you! And guess what? I will work again! Took me 5 years to get my PhD after college so you bet I will work again and give my kids the experience of a mother in the work force. I was merely commenting on the SELECT FEW working moms that I have encountered who are “Diva’s”….I thought perhaps you may all know the type- spoiled, frivolous, materialistic, etc. Again these women have the right to be this way if they want. However, I commented that it frustrates me when THESE particular women whine about “wishing” they were home with their kids and how it is all fun and games at home, implying that I am sitting around eating bon-bons here. This is hard work! And to know it is coming from someone who truly doesn’t “need” to be working is most infuriating. That was my point. Nothing against working moms in general. Nothing agains any of you. Just a comment about “Diva’s.” Again, I assumed that all of you folks would relate and know “that lady.” But a lot of people seem to have a chip on their shoulder for whatever reason and took a few buzz words from my post, completely misconstruing my point. As for my second post about hard work, I stand by that. I came from NOTHING and did not need any of mommy and daddy’s “advantages” to achieve my goals. I believe in hard work. And I have worked with plenty of underprivileged kids in my career who are smart but can’t get ahead because they can’t compete with kids with these “advantages.” Very sad world we live in. But I digress. I need to thank you all. This has been a good reminder to me. I rarely post on these sites. Hardly have time to look at them, actually. The world of social media can be a dangerous place. Even when you think you are in a “community,” you never really know with whom you are conversing. I am truly sorry that I seem to have upset some folks. I really hope that you find peace and that your hearts are not so heavy with defensiveness. I learned a valuable lesson in preschool about tug of war – the game is over when someone lets go of their side of the rope. I am letting go of my side of the rope now. Have a peaceful day.

      • Kate

        Ok, folks. Time for me to apologize. I really didn’t mean to ruffle everyone’s feathers here. I mistakenly thought that I was replying to a group of like-minded folks who would read my post in its entirety to see that I am making a point about a SELECT FEW working moms that I have encountered. No all working moms. If you re-read my post, I noted that I was a working mom at one point. I’m with you! And guess what? I will work again! Took me 5 years to get my PhD after college so you bet I will work again and give my kids the experience of a mother in the work force. I was merely commenting on the SELECT FEW working moms that I have encountered who are “Diva’s”….I thought perhaps you may all know the type- spoiled, frivolous, materialistic, etc. Again these women have the right to be this way if they want. However, I commented that it frustrates me when THESE particular women whine about “wishing” they were home with their kids and how it is all fun and games at home, implying that I am sitting around eating bon-bons here. This is hard work! And to know it is coming from someone who truly doesn’t “need” to be working is most infuriating. That was my point. Nothing against working moms in general. Nothing agains any of you. Just a comment about “Diva’s.” Again, I assumed that all of you folks would relate and know “that lady.” But a lot of people seem to have a chip on their shoulder for whatever reason and took a few buzz words from my post, completely misconstruing my point. As for my second post about hard work, I stand by that. I came from NOTHING and did not need any of mommy and daddy’s “advantages” to achieve my goals. I believe in hard work. And I have worked with plenty of underprivileged kids in my career who are smart but can’t get ahead because they can’t compete with kids with these “advantages.” Very sad world we live in. But I digress. I need to thank you all. This has been a good reminder to me. I rarely post on these sites. Hardly have time to look at them, actually. The world of social media can be a dangerous place. Even when you think you are in a “community,” you never really know with whom you are conversing. I am truly sorry that I seem to have upset some folks. I really hope that you find peace and that your hearts are not so heavy with defensiveness. I learned a valuable lesson in preschool about tug of war – the game is over when someone lets go of their side of the rope. I am letting go of my side of the rope now. Have a peaceful day.

      • Betty

        We all stand on the shoulders of our parents and those who came before us. ALL of us. Of course you got some help. Don’t discount how much they did for you. You really sound like you need to grow up and gain some real perspective. So what if there are divas? Don’t let them get to you.

      • RidiculousMan

        And you don’t HAVE to stay home. You could get more money and give your family a better life. Your kids could learn from tutors, go to private schools and get all the art/dance lessons they can. You could set it up where if your husband ever needs help/gets sick/loses his job you will be prepared to save the day. You could give up your time with your kids and let someone else wipe their butts on these early days they won’t even remember and get a job that will benefit them throughout their lives. – Do you see how horrible that is to say? Doesn’t that piss you off? No matter how many designer clothes someone owns, you don’t get to say whether they deserve it or not. Or perhaps you are just a liiiiiiittle bit jealous/insecure because your job wasn’t something you worked long and hard to get and took no effort to leave? See? Offensive, isn’t it?

      • RidiculousMan

        And you don’t HAVE to stay home. You could get more money and give your family a better life. Your kids could learn from tutors, go to private schools and get all the art/dance lessons they can. You could set it up where if your husband ever needs help/gets sick/loses his job you will be prepared to save the day. You could give up your time with your kids and let someone else wipe their butts on these early days they won’t even remember and get a job that will benefit them throughout their lives. – Do you see how horrible that is to say? Doesn’t that piss you off? No matter how many designer clothes someone owns, you don’t get to say whether they deserve it or not. Or perhaps you are just a liiiiiiittle bit jealous/insecure because your job wasn’t something you worked long and hard to get and took no effort to leave? See? Offensive, isn’t it?

      • Gangle

        My SiL is a kick-arse cancer research scientist. She worked damned hard for her doctorate and has a smashing career.. tell me: should she give up her career fighting cancer (something that may save you precious darlings one day) because YOU think that her utilising her amazing brain is selfish to her family? She will be teaching her kids that they can climb mountains and reach massive goals. And if she gets to buy herself some designer clothes along the way, good for her!

      • Gangle

        My SiL is a kick-arse cancer research scientist. She worked damned hard for her doctorate and has a smashing career.. tell me: should she give up her career fighting cancer (something that may save you precious darlings one day) because YOU think that her utilising her amazing brain is selfish to her family? She will be teaching her kids that they can climb mountains and reach massive goals. And if she gets to buy herself some designer clothes along the way, good for her!

      • SarahJesness

        I dunno, if I had kids and a husband with good money I don’t think I’d want to be a SAHM. I get bored and frustrated easily, and also when I’m bored and not getting out of the house on a regular basis I tend to spend a lot more money.

        If a woman wants to work for her own sake, what’s so wrong about that? Having a stressed parent can cause a lot of damage to a kid. And even if she’s only doing it to maintain a luxurious lifestyle, well, she probably believes that it’s the best thing for her kids. Maybe she wants to give them the best opportunities, tutors, lots of extracurricular activity opportunities, chances to see the world.

        Not to mention that the second income offers more financial security. One of the downsides to being a SAHM for a long period of time is that being out of the workforce for longer can make it more difficult to get back in. What happens if they divorce? If the wife gets primary custody as happens in the majority of divorce cases, even if she gets a really good child support deal, she’s suddenly working off much less money and doesn’t really have a choice but to get a job. Alternately, what if the husband dies?

        On that note, why are you singling out moms? Is it because the article is doing so, or do you think all women should be SAHM if the husband has lots of money? If a man is married to a woman with a very high-income job, do you criticize him for not staying home?

      • SarahJesness

        I dunno, if I had kids and a husband with good money I don’t think I’d want to be a SAHM. I get bored and frustrated easily, and also when I’m bored and not getting out of the house on a regular basis I tend to spend a lot more money.

        If a woman wants to work for her own sake, what’s so wrong about that? Having a stressed parent can cause a lot of damage to a kid. And even if she’s only doing it to maintain a luxurious lifestyle, well, she probably believes that it’s the best thing for her kids. Maybe she wants to give them the best opportunities, tutors, lots of extracurricular activity opportunities, chances to see the world.

        Not to mention that the second income offers more financial security. One of the downsides to being a SAHM for a long period of time is that being out of the workforce for longer can make it more difficult to get back in. What happens if they divorce? If the wife gets primary custody as happens in the majority of divorce cases, even if she gets a really good child support deal, she’s suddenly working off much less money and doesn’t really have a choice but to get a job. Alternately, what if the husband dies?

        On that note, why are you singling out moms? Is it because the article is doing so, or do you think all women should be SAHM if the husband has lots of money? If a man is married to a woman with a very high-income job, do you criticize him for not staying home?

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        Um, I’m not critical of SAHMs in the least, but yeah, I’m one of “those moms” who works even though I don’t “have to,” though how one would really quantify “have to” is beyond me, especially since no one would ever ask my husband if he “had to” work.

        Silly me! I should simply be a broodmare, because vagina. Seriously though, I work because A.) I can’t afford to have a 20 year gap in experience when I do eventually “have to” work. And B.) I LIKE my career. Guess what? I LIKE my kids too. I even LOVE them! SHOCKER!

        But childcare doesn’t have to be my end all and be all. I’m proud of my work and I’m proud of my work ethic. Not everyone is cut out to be a housewife. It’s a talent just like any other calling, and not one I’ve been gifted with. Sure, I love spending time with my kids, but the last thing I care about is cleaning my grout with a damn toothbrush or having the perfect seasonal decor. I’d rather work my 40 hours a week, spend the rest with my kids doing basic parent-stuff, and live a happy life.

        The 1950s called, they want their gender roles back, by the way.

      • Kate

        Here we go with the stereotypes of SAHM’s which fuel these mommy wars. Who said anything about cleaning grout and having perfect seasonal home decor? Is that what you think a SAHM does? Maybe some. Not this one. I take that job WAY too seriously to waste my time decorating my home perfectly. And as for cleaning, I am sure that whether we stay at home or work, we still need to clean at some point. I, for one, have NO time for that when I am home with the kids during the day. I spend my time WITH them. Interacting. Reading. Playing on the floor. Fostering independence by watching them play with friends, supporting when needed. Taking them places. Being WITH THEM. Being available to them. Not being preoccupied with the things the mothers of the 50′s focused on. I am not a 1950′s “housewife.” I am a modern mother who values the precious little time I have to spend with my kids before they are in busy with school 5 days/week, homework, sports, activities, etc. This is not about “hanging out at home” and being lazy or being Martha Stewart. This is the kind of narrow-minded thinking that probably prompted the author to write the article in the first place.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        First of all, I meant to refer back to another comment that was left above this that I thought made a great point about some people having a talent for housework and others not having that. I can see how my comment makes less sense outside of that context.

        What bothers me about your comment is the assumption that working mothers can’t do all the stuff you mention. I can and do, The vast majority of time that I’m working, my kids are in school. When we’re home together I read to them, take them to activities, etc. Those things aren’t particular to SAHMs, which is why I didn’t mention them You acting like I can’t possibly spend quality time with my kids because I work is insulting to me and every other working mom. I spend more time with my kids than even some SAHMs I know, it’s all about prioritizing (most parents I know in general are good, my point is that some aren’t, and it has nothing to do with whether you work or not).

        Let me reiterate. Quality time with one’s children is NOT a SAHM thing. It’s a parent thing. THAT kind of narrow minded thinking is what fuels the “mommy wars.”

        Another thing, why are you down playing the things women did in the 1950s. I simply said I didn’t have the capacity for that stuff, not that it wasn’t worthwhile or needed. My gran is exceptional at cleaning. She’s my go-to person for info on getting out a stubborn stain or getting gum out of my kid’s hair. My best friend’s mom is great at decorating (as well as being a great, involved parent and grandparent) and she’s my go-to person for tips on how to spruce my house up when it feels boring. I have no talent for that stuff, but I see how important it is. Which is why I see nothing wrong with parents hiring help if they can afford it, or seeking help from friends and family (which is also mentioned in the comment I was referring to up top, which I forgot to mention before).

      • Lala

        I don’t think poster above you was trying to say that you don’t spend quality time with your child (is reading to them, taking them to activities). I feel like she meant that just because she is a SAHM doesn’t mean her day is filled with house work and decorating which I think a lot of people assume of us sahm’s (or that we watch soap operas all day). I wouldn’t take it so personally as I don’t think she was attacking working moms just more defending what stay at home moms do/do not do.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      If I could afford to stay at home with my baby once mat leave was over, I still wouldn’t do it. It’s not for me. I’m a quality time kind of mom (and spending each moment with my baby feels like a lot of quantity). I had that with my mom growing up, a few hours per day, and our bond was excellent. She taught me how to be the kind of woman I wanted to be. You don’t need the whole of each day to impart values and show love.

      If you feel you do need the whole day, or just can’t bear to miss the little things, or it just feels right and necessary, then that is the sort of woman and mom you are, and I support that. It’s not a universal truth for all, but it a nonnegotiable truth for many. People deserve to pursue the lives they feel called to live.

      • rrlo

        Completely agree. My mother was a pediatrician. She worked long hours at times while I was growing up. My dad was a very involved parent (he worked for IBM and worked long hours sometime too). I had a magnificent childhood. I am super close to my parents. Staying at home at all hours of the day with your kids is not the only thing of importance parents do.

      • rrlo

        Completely agree. My mother was a pediatrician. She worked long hours at times while I was growing up. My dad was a very involved parent (he worked for IBM and worked long hours sometime too). I had a magnificent childhood. I am super close to my parents. Staying at home at all hours of the day with your kids is not the only thing of importance parents do.

      • Roberta

        I agree with this so much. My mom stayed at home when we were small, and when I was very sick for a year or so. But she is the type of person that needs something to do outside the house, a career of some sort. That doesn’t make her (or anyone else) a better or worse parent. It is about what works for the family and for the parent, not for everyone else.

      • Sara610

        YES. I come from a family of “career women”, most of whom hold advanced degrees. I had my first child at 30 and was considered on the young side by a lot of my relatives.

        I married into a family in which women tend to stop working after they become mothers, which tends to happen in the late teens to early 20s. As a mom with a master’s degree, who works full-time outside the home, I’m very unusual in my husband’s family. “Unusual” being code for “literally the only one”. I say this not to imply that one way is better and the other worse, just to highlight the cultural differences at play here.

        I spend a lot of time fielding questions like “When Billy Bob finishes grad school, will you stay home?” (I want to be very clear that they’re not being rude–they’re just asking out of curiosity.)

        But even though they’re not being rude, it’s still taken me a long time to be able to say, without guilt, that anything is possible but I don’t foresee myself leaving the workforce. I love my work, I love the financial stability and sense of personal and professional accomplishment that it brings me, and I’m happiest when I’m working outside the home. I don’t want to give that up, and I don’t feel I should have to.

      • Sara610

        YES. I come from a family of “career women”, most of whom hold advanced degrees. I had my first child at 30 and was considered on the young side by a lot of my relatives.

        I married into a family in which women tend to stop working after they become mothers, which tends to happen in the late teens to early 20s. As a mom with a master’s degree, who works full-time outside the home, I’m very unusual in my husband’s family. “Unusual” being code for “literally the only one”. I say this not to imply that one way is better and the other worse, just to highlight the cultural differences at play here.

        I spend a lot of time fielding questions like “When Billy Bob finishes grad school, will you stay home?” (I want to be very clear that they’re not being rude–they’re just asking out of curiosity.)

        But even though they’re not being rude, it’s still taken me a long time to be able to say, without guilt, that anything is possible but I don’t foresee myself leaving the workforce. I love my work, I love the financial stability and sense of personal and professional accomplishment that it brings me, and I’m happiest when I’m working outside the home. I don’t want to give that up, and I don’t feel I should have to.

      • ted3553

        Completely agree. I work by choice. I love my baby and I really enjoy working. I truly feel that I’m a better mom when I have time away from him and because I have no friends with children his age, he spends time with other little kids. I adore his babysitter because she loves kids and is really good with him. I believe that what is best for one person isn’t best for everyone and the non-negotiable truth is that I do my best to be the best mom to my little guy that I can and for me, that means some time away working at a job I really like

      • Lucy

        I completely agree. Plus, going to a babysitter can be a great experience. My mom was working full time before I was in school full-time and I spent the days at a babysitters. She was awesome and there were other kids to play with. Our family is still very good friends with her and her family and I’ve always had great memories of the times I’ve spent with her. I don’t see it as being denied time with my parents, but of gaining another awesome adult in my life.

      • Lucy

        I completely agree. Plus, going to a babysitter can be a great experience. My mom was working full time before I was in school full-time and I spent the days at a babysitters. She was awesome and there were other kids to play with. Our family is still very good friends with her and her family and I’ve always had great memories of the times I’ve spent with her. I don’t see it as being denied time with my parents, but of gaining another awesome adult in my life.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      This is really, really great.

    • Mel

      This artivle could’t have come at a better time! In our neighborhood all the mom’s are clutching their pearls right now because one mom decided to have her 7week old watched by a nanny 3 days a week. While I personally wouldn’t have done that, all the judgement is crazy. And yes, they’re saying she doesn’t have to work so it’s selfish. Financially she doesn’t have to, but she’s spent the last 20 years building a career. I wouldn’t give that up either.

    • Mel

      This artivle could’t have come at a better time! In our neighborhood all the mom’s are clutching their pearls right now because one mom decided to have her 7week old watched by a nanny 3 days a week. While I personally wouldn’t have done that, all the judgement is crazy. And yes, they’re saying she doesn’t have to work so it’s selfish. Financially she doesn’t have to, but she’s spent the last 20 years building a career. I wouldn’t give that up either.

      • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

        20 years is a long time to build something up only to stop. No one should ever forget that.
        And let’s not kid ourselves. Homemaking is a skill. I’m not talking about just staying at home with the kids, which is what I do. I keep the baby alive, basically. I’m no good at this. I’m talking homemaking: Cooking, cleaning, household improvement projects, children’s activities, school volunteering. That is a talent, like any other. We do not all possess it. Those of us who suck at it need to hire help. Those of us with other outside talents need to hire help to allow to pursue those things.
        There is a woman on my friend list who is a born homemaker. It was her passion. She went to college as a backup, but always aspired to her current life. The photos of her home put me to shame. With children and one income, she has made two separate houses look like magazine ads with nothing but DIY, budgeting and time management. And her home is always seasonably decorated with gorgeous home-made crafts. I couldn’t do what she does with no kids and two incomes.
        My hat is off to her. She’s exactly where she’s supposed to be. And come the end of my mat leave, so will I.

      • mary

        And some people’s criticism over ‘hiring help’ has always made me even angrier when those exact same people often suggest cleaning houses or watching children as an easy way for SAHMs to make some more cash. Without those ‘horrible’ people who need/want/whatever help, those SAHMs would have to seek employment elsewhere. (And abandon their children to be raised by wolves… Or pick a wonderful daycare facility full of loving people. Whichever.)

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I love this comment so much.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I love this comment so much.

      • Hashem Matori

        hi

    • Mel

      This artivle could’t have come at a better time! In our neighborhood all the mom’s are clutching their pearls right now because one mom decided to have her 7week old watched by a nanny 3 days a week. While I personally wouldn’t have done that, all the judgement is crazy. And yes, they’re saying she doesn’t have to work so it’s selfish. Financially she doesn’t have to, but she’s spent the last 20 years building a career. I wouldn’t give that up either.

    • 4under4

      Slow clap! I have never understood why people get so mad/defensive about this issue.
      On a side note, what is phase-in?

    • 4under4

      Slow clap! I have never understood why people get so mad/defensive about this issue.
      On a side note, what is phase-in?

      • carosaurusrex

        I’m pretty sure it is when a preschool or primary school has a week for the kids to get used to being in school by having half-days, parents in the classroom, etc. Someone correct me if I’m wrong though!

    • 4under4

      Slow clap! I have never understood why people get so mad/defensive about this issue.
      On a side note, what is phase-in?

    • Tinyfaeri

      In light of a previous post, this random chick from the internet is very proud of you for #1.

      • Carinn Jade

        Which is exactly what inspired this post! It was the first time I realized what I was saying. I mean, took a really hard look at my defensiveness. So, thanks.

      • Carinn Jade

        Which is exactly what inspired this post! It was the first time I realized what I was saying. I mean, took a really hard look at my defensiveness. So, thanks.

      • Sara610

        Good for you! Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic or anything–not many people can honestly reflect on their words and admit when they were less than sensitive. Which is crazy, because we all do it. If more people were willing to be reflective and honest with themselves, the world would be a better place.

      • Sara610

        Good for you! Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic or anything–not many people can honestly reflect on their words and admit when they were less than sensitive. Which is crazy, because we all do it. If more people were willing to be reflective and honest with themselves, the world would be a better place.

      • BigBlue

        Someone fill me in. I feel like I’ve missed something here.

      • Tinyfaeri
      • BigBlue

        Thank you. I read all the comments…wow. I don’t know how I missed that the first time around.

      • Tinyfaeri

        it was a doozy!

      • Tinyfaeri

        it was a doozy!

    • Bethany Ramos

      I fall right in the middle of the two and feel so blessed to be able to work at home with my husband full-time. When I had my first son, I leaned more on the SAHM side because I thought that’s what mom was supposed to do, but I’m also one of those people that loves to work as part of my identity. Thankfully, I’ve been able to build my career at home. It keeps me from going crazy with all of the Groundhog Days of babyhood because I have something to do/look forward to every day.

      • StoonGirl

        LOL -”Groundhog Days of babyhood” -oooh damn you just named what I’m going through right now. Feels so good to be able to put a name on it!! I’m stealing this phrase, thank you very much!

      • StoonGirl

        LOL -”Groundhog Days of babyhood” -oooh damn you just named what I’m going through right now. Feels so good to be able to put a name on it!! I’m stealing this phrase, thank you very much!

      • Stacey

        “Groundhog Days of babyhood” is spot on. I nearly went insane on maternity leave because I couldn’t keep track of what day it was. They were all pretty much the same. Eventually I sorted them into “Not Weekend” and “Weekend,” but that was the best I could do.

    • keelhaulrose

      I’ve been both a working mom and a SAHM, and I know I love my kids no matter what and I’m doing what’s best for them and my family. That’s my only drive. I’d love to go back to where I was working before I had my second child, but it was in the non profit sector, which doesn’t pay enough to cover daycare. Even if I went back to working daycare I’d wind up barely breaking even, and being a SAHM allows so much more flexibility in responding to sudden situations (and now that I’ve officially crossed the line into “mom of a child with special needs” that is a major consideration). I love being a SAHM, but I am thinking about a few years down the road, when my girls are both in school full time, and the possibility of returning to the work force, at least part time.

    • Madame Ovaries

      Love love love this. As always, the golden rule of parenting is simply that every child, every parent, and every situation is different. Considering that you have to make the best possible choice for you and tune out haters. True for the SAHM/working mom debate and just about everything else.

    • Madame Ovaries

      Love love love this. As always, the golden rule of parenting is simply that every child, every parent, and every situation is different. Considering that you have to make the best possible choice for you and tune out haters. True for the SAHM/working mom debate and just about everything else.

    • Aimee Beff

      THANK YOU for writing this, especially for #1. The next time one of my family members bewilderedly says to me, “But you don’t HAVE to work! I just can’t believe you’d abandon your little babies all day!” I am going to print this out and highlight it and mail a dozen copies to them. The time after that they say it, I am going to print this out, highlight it, drive to their house, and staple it to their forehead.
      I’m also going to use it as a reference the next time someone claims that an internet comment thread never helped to change anyone’s mind: I really appreciate that you took the time to both interrogate your position and then to write something so thoughtful and inclusive that both SAHMs and working moms can proudly get behind it. A+, ma’am.

      • BigBlue

        Can you fill me on on the comment thread you’re referring to? It looks like I missed it.

    • that_girl_again

      Best article I’ve seen on mommyish for a long time. Thank you!!!!

    • Blueathena623

      We have the right to change our mind

      YES! I am constantly asked when I am going back to work. I am well educated and had a good career before having a kid. Yes, I assumed I would be a working mom. I changed my mind. I like being home. I plan on being home for a while, if we can continue to swing it financially. I wish people would stop asking me about going to work, because it really comes off as “so, when are you going back to your real life?”

    • Blueathena623

      We have the right to change our mind

      YES! I am constantly asked when I am going back to work. I am well educated and had a good career before having a kid. Yes, I assumed I would be a working mom. I changed my mind. I like being home. I plan on being home for a while, if we can continue to swing it financially. I wish people would stop asking me about going to work, because it really comes off as “so, when are you going back to your real life?”

    • Courtney Lynn

      Awesome. Every family is SO unique in their needs and lifestyle. My friend’s husband tweeted that he wished they could afford for her to be a SAHM. Being a SAHM who is NOT made of money by any means, I thought about telling him how they could do it. Then I thought about how I haven’t spent a lot of time with them lately and I don’t know what their mortgage is, gas money, cost of food, their monthly bills and how her leaving would affect those things. Just because we were able to make it work doesn’t mean they could just as easily do that. Every family is truly unique.

    • My2bits

      I agree with most of is, except number one. I currently work about 18 hours a week outside the home. I decided to do it because I thought it would be fun to do something different for a while. I don’t “have to” do it. If the job suddenly went away, I would be fine. I like it, but I don’t have to do it to survive financially or emotionally.

      • My2bits

        *this

    • meah

      Love this! Thank you. Number 1 is a big one that often raises everyone’s hackles. I think because that is the issue on which people can be most judgemental, but I think you nailed it. I have been a SAHM and worked full-time, and both have had their own rewards. Now, I am incredibly lucky to be self-employed and working 3 days a week. At this point, it is perfect for us. I wake up every day thinking, “Yay! Work/ Hanging with the kiddo today.” Never as a SAHM or full-time employee have I ever woke up on a weekday thinking, “Yay!”.

      It all comes down to what works for each family and human being in that family. Your kids are obviously important, but let’s not forget that mothers are also human beings who deserve to feel fulfilled and happy.

    • CW

      Let’s not confuse “need” with “desire”. It is OKAY to desire full-time employment for whatever reason(s). But you may or may not NEED it. Own your decision about your career and don’t pretend that you “need” it if in fact you don’t.

    • CW

      Let’s not confuse “need” with “desire”. It is OKAY to desire full-time employment for whatever reason(s). But you may or may not NEED it. Own your decision about your career and don’t pretend that you “need” it if in fact you don’t.

      • TngldBlue

        But need is subjective. It isn’t always financial.

      • Katia

        Maybe you don’t understand how she just explained that need and desire are not the same. If you “need” to personally go to work and never stay home with your kid for more than a few months, and you need this just for your ego, or feminist issues, you are instable or obsessive or irrational. That’s not a need, that’s an issue that you’ve built up in your head with your self esteem/obsession with feminism. Kids needs should come first and if they are well looked after than sure go to work. If you leave your own pre-verbal child/infant with a virtual stranger just for your own desire then that’s on the narcissistic side. Like have you really logically weighed the risks and benefits? Or is it just me me me, I’ll never leave the job it’s too ‘important.’ That’s irrational. I’m glad my husband doesn’t think this way about his job- he would take another job if it had more advantages for our family

      • Gangle

        Nope.

      • TngldBlue

        Ugh such fuckery, I can’t even. You go back to your narrow minded world and I’ll stay over here in reality.

      • TngldBlue

        Ugh such fuckery, I can’t even. You go back to your narrow minded world and I’ll stay over here in reality.

      • CBillard

        My “obsession” with feminism has helped fuel me working instead of staying home with my son. We could probably afford it. But you know what? I want my son to realize that a woman has the right to do whatever the fuck she wants with regards to being a mother. I’m raising him to respect his future partner’s choices should they have children. I’m raising him to realize that what I do is just as significant and important as what his father does. Go crawl back under the rock you came from. Jesus.

      • CBillard

        My “obsession” with feminism has helped fuel me working instead of staying home with my son. We could probably afford it. But you know what? I want my son to realize that a woman has the right to do whatever the fuck she wants with regards to being a mother. I’m raising him to respect his future partner’s choices should they have children. I’m raising him to realize that what I do is just as significant and important as what his father does. Go crawl back under the rock you came from. Jesus.

      • Aimee Beff

        Granted I’m speaking through my “feminist issues”, but I can’t help but notice that while in your above post you tried to claim you were misunderstood because you were only really talking about ‘divas’ it’s pretty clear from this post that what you mean by ‘diva’ is ‘a woman whose life doesn’t begin and end with her children’.
        I can’t help but notice that you find it’s irrational for a woman to want a job or a career, but the dilemma you present for your husband is “his current job” or “a better job” – no possibility that he might stay home with the kids. Does he have masculinist issues that prevent him from staying home when that would be the best option for his children?

      • Winwin

        I’d like to second Aimee Beff’s question. Are only women considered obsessive, unstable and narcissistic if they ‘want’ to work for their self esteem and identity? Would your husband stay at home if you happen to be qualified enough to get a job that pays twice as much as his current job? Why aren’t there more stay at home dads in this world if kids need to always come first?

      • Winwin

        I’d like to second Aimee Beff’s question. Are only women considered obsessive, unstable and narcissistic if they ‘want’ to work for their self esteem and identity? Would your husband stay at home if you happen to be qualified enough to get a job that pays twice as much as his current job? Why aren’t there more stay at home dads in this world if kids need to always come first?

      • whiteroses

        The thing about your comment, though, is this. Whether or not my kid is well looked after is on me. Not you, not anyone else–with the exception of my husband. And, being a relatively intelligent person, I would think that whatever choices I make on behalf of my child, a child that I know better than anyone else, would be what’s best for him. He has never been abused, he is loved, he is well-fed, and he knows he is loved. Anything past that is nobody’s business.

        What are “feminist issues”? Illustrating to my son that women can and should work if they want to, regardless of circumstance or anything else? I do have an “obsession with feminism”. So does my husband. Women and men being treated equally is generally a good thing.

      • CW

        If you COULD get by without your employment (as many women can), then you are employed because you want to. Period. And that’s OKAY. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad mom to choose to be employed. But don’t go around pretending that you NEED to work if that is not in fact the case. Own your life choices.

      • Zoe Lansing

        My family could have easily gotten by solely on either one of my parents’ salaries. Both worked anyway.Why is it that my mother’s job is the one more likely to be considered “a choice”?I’ve actually never heard anyone question my dad’s decision to remain employed after having kids,probably because few even considered it to be a decision to begin with.On the other hand, people judged (and still judge) my mother for “choosing her career over her kids” all the time.Why do you think that is?You’re delusional if you don’t think it has anything to with gender.

    • pineapplegrasss

      This! has always been my inner struggle. I stayed home with the last baby until he was 1&1/2 and nursed and walked the kindergartener back and forth to school and depleted our savings. Was it worth it? To me, yes. I have been back at work for a little over a year and have another baby on the way and no savings and altho my husband works very hard and is very stable and loyal, sadly, those blue collar jobs just don’t make enough money. I really want to stay home with the children but it also sucks to stay home and be stuck home because you have no $ to do anything. (Yes, I know all the free stuff one can do.) I’m smart, have a college education, and a decent job and I hate going to work everyday.

    • pineapplegrasss

      This! has always been my inner struggle. I stayed home with the last baby until he was 1&1/2 and nursed and walked the kindergartener back and forth to school and depleted our savings. Was it worth it? To me, yes. I have been back at work for a little over a year and have another baby on the way and no savings and altho my husband works very hard and is very stable and loyal, sadly, those blue collar jobs just don’t make enough money. I really want to stay home with the children but it also sucks to stay home and be stuck home because you have no $ to do anything. (Yes, I know all the free stuff one can do.) I’m smart, have a college education, and a decent job and I hate going to work everyday.

    • yaldani

      Nothing bothers me more than a mom who knocks another mom’s situation at home or at work. I’m home most of the day, my closest mom friends are getting their PhDs or working, and we all respect each other and the various challenges we each face. Parents knocking each other only harms ourselves in the long run.

    • yaldani

      Nothing bothers me more than a mom who knocks another mom’s situation at home or at work. I’m home most of the day, my closest mom friends are getting their PhDs or working, and we all respect each other and the various challenges we each face. Parents knocking each other only harms ourselves in the long run.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I’m living #6 right at this very moment. Thanks for this awesome article.

      • Carinn Jade

        Every. Single. Night. This is more between me and my husband – we’re always looking at each other with our finger on our noses trying to explain who had a worse day and should be allowed to sit out bedtime torture.

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    • Susy

      It’s been said already in the comments, but I will say it again: I disagree with #1. I don’t “have” to work — I *want* to. And I make sure I phrase it that way when I talk to my kids. I want them (both girls) to know that work can be an enjoyable and rewarding endeavor, and to show them by example that women are entitled to have a fulfilling career if that is what they want. I have worked, stayed at home, and worked part-time, and I wholeheartedly agree with the commenter who said she is happier when she’s working and that being happier makes her a better wife and mom.

    • Susy

      It’s been said already in the comments, but I will say it again: I disagree with #1. I don’t “have” to work — I *want* to. And I make sure I phrase it that way when I talk to my kids. I want them (both girls) to know that work can be an enjoyable and rewarding endeavor, and to show them by example that women are entitled to have a fulfilling career if that is what they want. I have worked, stayed at home, and worked part-time, and I wholeheartedly agree with the commenter who said she is happier when she’s working and that being happier makes her a better wife and mom.

      • LawGeekNYC

        My mom “had to” work to keep sane. She openly says she would have gone mad as a stay at home mother. She made sure to reinforce the notion that work could be enjoyable if you do what you love, and that women can achieve as much as men in the workplace.

        I didn’t suffer one iota from not having her around 24/7, but I sure did take those life lessons to heart. The impact they made in my life is immeasurable.

    • Elise

      I work because i HAVE to. I do find it weird when people think most women have a choice in that. I am the only parent working; my husband was laid off. I wish I could stay home with my baby. Yes, I do tend to think of SAHMs as either more privileged (because they have a spouse who makes enough for them to live on) or poorer (where spouse making so little that they qualify for public assistance). Maybe that’s wrong, but I see some that don’t work and still seem to go on vacations, have fancier things, bigger houses, and i’m like damn you don’t even earn any money…your husband must have such a good salary! Meanwhile I bust my ass, don’t get to see my baby and can still barely pay the bills and have to put things like food on credit cards. Am I jealous? Yup!
      If I didn’t work, I wouldn’t be able to pay any bills… I don’t have a mortgage fairy. My mother was home with us, returning to (very) part time work when each of us was toddler-preschool age. It was a different time when there were more jobs in this area that paid a livable wage too.

      Anyway, for some women, working or staying home is a choice they get to make and there’s lots of articles written about that. But for many, working is a necessity to live. Next up: how childcare is soooo unaffordable and the whole world acts like all mothers still stay home even though 75% of women are in the workforce!

      • Kim Poffinbarger

        THANK YOU. I’ve read so many articles, this one included, that either subtly make the point, or boldly, that all mothers have a choice. Yes, for some people it is about whether or not they want to keep their career as well as be a parent. But that is not the same choice everyone is faced with. A LOT of middle class families do not get a choice. If they want to afford diapers, formula, or anything else their particular baby may need in this uber expensive day and age, they have to have enough income. And in many cases, even with the ridiculous cost of child care, that means that staying at home is not an option. I did not get a choice. I guess I had a choice whether or not to have children knowing that we could not afford to raise one on just one of our incomes at this time. But we wanted to be parents and with this economy who the heck knows how long we would have had to wait before financially we could sacrifice a few things and make it on just one of our salaries? The writer of the article states that one reason working moms work is because they want to provide “more than just the essentials” for their child. Some of us work to provide THE essentials, not more than the essentials. Sorry, I respect the heck out of most stay at home moms. Especially the ones who found a way to make it work financially on one income even though they had to make sacrifices in their budget. I would stay at home in a second if I could make the numbers work. We all have to work hard, whether it be at a job for 8 hours a day and then a homemaker for the remainder, or staying at home and child-rearing our butts off 24/7.

    • candlesoffate .

      I’m not sure exactly where I fall in all this, I guess I’m just a single mom. I work 6 nights a week from 2 am -8:30 am. If I’m able to get in earlier that night I do I’ve been at this shift for about a year. It was 11pm-730am before that and come February it’ll be 12am-8:30am. I started this when my son was 3 months old. I share a house with my sister so she’s at home with my son while I work. When I get off work it’s mommy mode. ALL day. I do all the cooking and cleaning, even her cooking and cleaning. We have activities, rough house, play games and go to the park. There are some days we don’t do jack. The house gets cleaned and he gets fed. But if he shoots me with a toy gun I’ll play dead and come back as a zombie. He loves that. When he goes to bed I go to bed or my forehead will have a meeting with the keyboard I’m typing on right now. I have this schedule because I can’t bare to put my boy in daycare. I’m high strung anyways and that would just put me over the edge. So I sacrifice regular sleep cycles to ensure my son is safe and well taken care of. I realize that not all daycares are horrific. I can’t take the chance the one I choose will be. He’s the only one I will ever have so I feel the need to be that cautious. I literally have 0 friends and have no life outside of work or home. Surprisingly, I don’t too much mind it. I do get bored. I do feel guilty that my son doesn’t get the social interaction he needs. He has cousins we see a few times a month, maybe. I don’t think I could even afford putting him in daycare. I don’t receive government assistance or child support and I’d like to keep it that way. Maybe in December when I pay my car off I’ll think about it, but that’s a BIG maybe. I can sympathize with SAHM and WM. I have to wonder if for some SAHM have an over whelming fear of putting their kids in daycare of hiring a sitter. I know I do. Half the time I don’t even know what day it is. I’m counting down the years until he starts school. That same fear has me contemplating home school! Maybe I need help?

    • March

      Here endeth the entire “versus” stupidity. Praise be to Jade.

    • http://www.3under3andaphd.blogspot.com/ 3under3andaphd

      I loved this article. I am in a strange position where I am both a SAHM and a “working mom” as I am pursuing an advanced degree and completing a part time assistantship. I feel like I am constantly being pulled in both directions, never completely fitting in under either camp as I scheduled my week so I am with my kids part of the week and at school/work the other. ALL 7 are true from both ends for me and I find it a constant battle to blend my work identity, my school identity, and my mom identity while still somehow holding on to my own identity outside of all of that.

    • lookwhoshere

      The first three should simply be “all parents/moms”, not one set or the other.

    • lookwhoshere

      The first two should simply be “all parents/moms”, not one set or the other. We all make sacrifices (monetary or time with our children) we all work (be it laundry or 9-5 shenanigans)…

    • lemon floor wax

      Thank you! Being a parent is HARD, anyone who has done it/is doing it knows it’s hard, so why do we constantly squabble and try to bring other parents down? Why can’t we acknowledge that different people make different choices and as long as they are doing the best they can, we don’t need to bring each other down with petty crap?

    • PassingBy

      “All working moms “have” to work…” No doubt that everyone who makes any given choice has reasons for those choices, and it’s not up to anyone else (especially those unaffected) to judge those choices. Still, acting like it is not a choice doesn’t do anyone any favors. For some women it’s a choice they didn’t want to make, yet it’s the lesser of two evils. For others, it’s a choice they were happy to make. I think this is the distinguishing factor in whether or not women are judged about working. The bottom line is, though, that we should all be understanding of other people’s CHOICES regardless of whether we would choose the same or not — it’s up to them to choose the best path for themselves and their families.

    • Sarahstired

      This is a wonderful article.

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    • Janet-the-Planet

      I am fortunate that I was able to grow up with parents who ran a small business a short distance from home. I was able to spend every day with both my mom and my dad, and both were “working parents” also able to help keep the family fed. I wish I could do the same for my kids in the future, but there are just no easy choices these days for moms in this economy. Perhaps there never have been easy choices for moms. Raising a kid is hard whether you’re a stay at home mom or career woman. I’ll never understand how some woman can even be single parents, it seems almost impossible!!! So high five to all the different moms (and dads) out there. :)

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    • sueshe

      thank god im not a mom, id like to keep it that way