And the wheel keeps on turning and turning, and thanks to Dr. Phil we're back to the working vs. stay at home mom debate.
Just so we all know where I stand, I'm both. I am home with my kids most of the time. However, when they're at preschool (7.5 hours/week) and when Allison is here (10 hours/week) I go to work. I also work from home.
I call myself a Hybrid Mom, because I'm hip and trendy and good for the environment like that.
I used to be a lot more sanctimonious about this issue, like Jessica on the show (the same woman was recently cruel to a good friend of mine on Twitter, and my personal opinion is that she needs a muzzle, but anyway...). I had listened to a little too much Dr. Laura, honestly, and was a bit brainwashed.
I think most people will agree that the optimal situation is for a parent to be at home with the kids until the kids reach school age. I also think that there are few people, particularly in this economy, who have the financial ability to stay at home with their kids for 5 - 10 years.
Research supports that up to 20 hours a week of outside-the-home-care for kids aged 2 and older is actually beneficial to the kids.
Research also supports that being able to, oh, I don't know, EAT is good for kids.
In my personal situation, it would not be possible to hire someone else to do what I do. I have too much control, and if we brought someone else in to do my job, that person could clean the business out. It would also take a lot of time and effort for me to train someone, and BJ wouldn't be able to trust that person the way he trusts me. It's just not going to happen. If we want our business to succeed (and our kids to be able to eat) I have to keep doing what I'm doing.
Furthermore, in my personal situation, I look forward to being able to go to work and do something other than the mom thing. It restores me. It's hard, because I never really get much of a break, but it's also rewarding.
It works for our family, and frankly it is none of Jessica's business.
Honestly, what purpose is served by this sneering at each other? "I'm a better mother than you are because my kids are in outside-home care HALF the time yours are!" "I'm a better mother than you are because my kids have never had a babysitter!" Really? Is that productive? Wouldn't all of us, and especially our kids, be better served by all of us helping and supporting each other? Instead of letting Dr. Phil pit us against each other, can't we finally agree, once and for all, that there is no single solution to the working vs. SAHM thing that will work for every family and every situation? I know plenty of working moms who would LOVE to stay home full time, but can't because of insurance or money or debt or whatever. I know plenty of stay at home moms whose careers have never recovered from being out of the workforce for a decade or so (I used to interview them when I worked at the temp agency).
We all make choices. All of our choices are limited by our own individual situations. Rather than pointing fingers and acting like sanctimommies, let's talk about how we can make the workplace friendlier to all families. Let's talk about making maternity leave longer than 6 weeks in this country. Let's talk about flex time and telecommuting and all the different creative ways families are making it work - whether they're living on one income or they're working opposite shifts to minimize daycare time or whatever. Let's talk about solutions.
And let's remember that small minds talk about people, average minds talk about things, and great minds talk about ideas. Let's talk about ideas, and stop giving the floor to the small minded people of the world, please?