I know I have talked about my internal battles over being a stay at home Mom vs. working. I am so blessed to have this choice – I realize that. I know a lot of Moms can’t stay home for very long after giving birth, and I’m sure with this job market there are plenty of people who would like to be working Moms, but can’t because of the sucky economy and the high cost of day care.
Now… if you know anything about me, I have always been very pro-SAHM with regards to myself. (Just a general though: when I share what I think about something, it’s really how that thing fits into my life. As mentioned before, I know this isn’t the right thing for every one). Because of the way I was raised, in church, and in the military community (at least among my friends), the Dad worked, and the Mom stayed home and took care of the kids. That’s just how things were. Our Mom’s all came and helped with out fund-raisers and trips. My childhood probably seems very picturesque to some.
I recently stumbled upon an article about how Jillian Michaels is taking a year off of work to focus on being a parent to the child she is currently trying to adopt from Africa. At the end of the article were readers’ comments, and this one really kind of blew me away:
If you cannot ( if it’s financially possible) take at least a year off of work for your child, you are indeed a narcissistic, selfish woman who is only interested in her “fulfillment”!
Sad , pathetic and your children suffer. Obviously some HAVE to work, but I can honestly say 70% choose to do it for their own benefit. Children thrive with their parent at home. And yet another report stating that children who are overweight are usually products of moms who “work” outside the office.
Now I realize that, per my last comments on this topic, some people interpreted me as saying something similar. But I’m going to let you know… I am a changed woman. Changing the perspectives we grow up with can be a difficult thing. I spent a long time typing up different responses to this comment. But I didn’t really care what she has to say in return. Some of you may recognize these things as comments you have made to me before. Look! I learn and grow because of my readers! Any way, if I had replied to this commenter… it would’ve been:
- “Financially possible” is a completely relative thing. Do you expect people to sell their houses and move into a box?
- Fulfilled Moms, are happy Moms. My husband once shared some research he’d found (I can’t find it now, but I’m still looking), that showed that working Moms were more likely to be involved and connected to their children. I speculate that this is because they are burned out, they are enjoy their lives and what they do, and they make the most of the time they do spend with their children. I would think a Mom who spends 4-5 hours of good, quality time with their kiddo is probably doing better than the SAHM who’s kiddo watches TV and play alone for a good portion of the day (This wasn’t in the research, just my own thoughts).
- “Sad, pathetic and your children suffer.” Firstly… this sentence is awkward. Secondly, I recently read some research that showed that children who have significant attachment to more than one caregiver grow up to be more empathetic, well rounded, and able to deal with change better. That doesn’t sound like suffering to me. If anything it is a good reason to consider socializing your child often, regardless of your working status. And if a Mom feeling good about herself and lessening her family’s financial stress is “sad” and “pathetic” then I definitely want to be sad and pathetic.
- Where did this 70% number come from? Show me the proof. A child benefits from a whole family. A family that is not burdened by financial stress. Which, by the way, is one of the leading reasons for divorce. Stop making up numbers. I found a statistic that says “70% of Moms work outside the home” but that does not mean all of them do so just for the extra cash.
- Children thrive on interaction. It doesn’t matter WHO that interaction is with, or WHERE is happens.
- This last tid-bit seems intriguing, and I found the research that says this. The guess is that working Moms have less time to shop and prepare healthy meals. Of course, I know many stay at home Moms who are JUST as busy as working Moms. Which means that not every meal is healthy and nutritious, and it also means that kids end up spending more time in front of the TV than outside. I think this has to do with priorities. All Moms face stress. Whether that stress is a big cooperate meeting, or piano lessons followed by soccer practice followed by church all on the same night! But I feel like it is up to the Mom (and Dad) to make healthy eating a priority. When I was growing up, mostly as a teenager – I did a large amount of the cooking in the family. Not because my Mom was working, but because my siblings were at various activities, or she was helping some one with homework.
I would love to be able to stay home and snuggle my little baby all the time. But I also have a college degree that I don’t want to waste, and a retirement fund to fill, and a house to buy. I actually have the potential to make just as much as my husband does right now, and it feels like for me to put all of the financial responsibility on him is really… selfish. If I look at my family as a whole, what will benefit every one the most? If I’m working, my child will still be getting attention, and food, and stimulation (and it doesn’t matter if this comes from my husband, grandparents, or a daycare. All three are capable.).
If my family were rich and there was absolutely no need for me to work, then I would be ever so content to stay at home all day long (partly because I am the biggest home-body you will ever meet!). But we’re not rich. We still have bills to pay, and goals to meet, and if I can help my family be financially stable, and avoid the arguments that come from financial stress, then I think I am doing something that definitely outweighs the cons that might be attached with a working Mommy.
And because it’s Wednesday:
I really hate it when people think that what’s right for them is what is right for every one else.
This isn’t just in response to the SAHM debate, but could also be applied to religion, fashion, or even food. I don’t care how much you like Okra… I will not be eating it. But seriously. It’s wonderful if you have found something that works really well in your life, by all means, share that with the world, but don’t for one second think that it is the end-all, be-all answer for everyone. We are all different, in different phases of life, and in different families.
What’s right for you, is right for you, that doesn’t mean it’s right for me.