Thursday, October 15, 2009

Working Moms vs. Stay at Home Moms

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?


angel0199 said...

I'll skip the the whole SAHM vs working discussion and just say that I am disappointed in Dr. Phil for fueling it by even making an episode with that title. He is smart enough to know that this debate never goes anywhere productive and if he wants to cover the topic he could at least present it in a less combative manner.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see Dr. Phil but can only imagine the drama :o

I personally believe it's all based on insecurities. It's a continuation of how women act in high school. Jealousy? Why can't we all just love each other, drink beer and pat each other on the butt? Oh wait, another gender beat us to that role.

I enjoy your blog and am finally commenting. Consider this a "pat" lol

Piper of Love said...

*applauding vigorously* Bravo!

RobMonroe said...

Dr Phil is annoying.

Anny does not have a choice but to work. Period. Would we like one (no matter which) of us to stay home? I don't eve know that that is true anymore. Abby has learned so much from being a student since she was three months old. She crawled to keep up with older children. She walked early to do the same. She has a larger vocabulary than any 27 month old child that I have met.

(Yesterday, after a fall down our stairs, she deduced that "next time, I want to go down the stairs on my feet.")

Let people make the decisions that they are comfortable making, or decisions that they need to make. I don't make choices for you (cloth vs disposable, breast vs formula) so lay off, people!

(not aimed at you, just seconding your opinion!)

mwiesjahn said...

I agree with Moi. I think that people criticize others decisions to feel as though what they are doing is right. No one wants to feel as though they are a bad parent for working or for staying at home. The reason that they do is to make themselves feel as though they are doing the right thing and everyone else is doing it wrong. That way they can again feel as though they are doing the "best" thing for their child, which any good parent would do anyway.

Have the T-shirt said...

I didn't see the show, but how sad, after all these years, that we're still having this same debate?

I know SAHM who are terrible parents (and I don't throw the term around loosly)...their kids would be better of in daycare instead of at home being ignored, yelled at and abused by their unhappy, dysfunctional mothers.

There are working mothers who ache to be home with their children, but can't be.

Like you said Amy...why can't we be supportive of each family's individual decisions, because, in the end, most parents are making decisions based on what works best for their family.

Charlotte said...

I didn't watch that debate on Dr. Phil (I avoid his show), but I agree with everything you said.

Every family has different needs (financial and otherwise) and has to do their best to what's best for their family.

Well said, Amy.

RobMonroe said...

(oh, and if you watch SuperNanny you might notice, as we have, that all of the families have SAHM's!)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Goodness. I wish Dr. Phil would give it a rest. My best friend & I graduated from law school together. She works & I'm a SAHM. It's not something that she or I chose (working vs. not working) b/c of any reason other than it is dang hard to find work as a "Mommy lawyer" out there if you've been at home for any length of time. My best friend kept her toe in the "legal pool" & I did not. I really believe that there are a very small minority of women who are so hardcore about working full time or being a SAHM. Everyone is just trying to get by in this economy the best they can and care for their family. Who are these people that Dr. Phil dredged up to speak for all of us?! I'm kinda mad about this. Gimme a break.
BTW, love your blog!
Kim @

Anonymous said...

From a full time working mom who feels guilt - AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
(Don't know how I stumbled upon your blog long ago, but I love it!)

Anonymous said...

I have no choice, but to work. If i want to stay in my house and be able to feed my family, I need to work everyday - full-time. This does not take away from my children - I give them my love, support and attention. I volunteer in their schools, I make "special time" with each of them (I have 3) and I have a wonderful relationship with them. I hope that my drive, energy and dedication to my family, my home and my work is setting a good example for them. I also manage to exercise on a regular basis and maintain a healthy diet - for our whole family. Yes, I am tired (and i look forward to being able to catch more than hours of sleep at night)-but I am proud of all accomplish everyday.