Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Different Kind of Mom

I've had this topic on my mind for a little while now, so I decided to take some time and write about it. It is the endless battle of stay-at-home mom versus working mom, better versus worse, guilt-free versus guily, self-less versus selfish; whichever way you put it, it does not sound good.

Why does there have to be such a competition; why is one good and one bad; I do not understand how we can call such harsh judgments about such an individual choice? How come we feel justified in condenming one persons choices without knowing any circumstances? Not only is the condemning other women wrong, but also the self righteous attitudes with which the condemning is done! Now I know that these are generalizations, but I find these attitudes prevelant in a LOT of different mom circles!

If you have not guessed yet, it's the stay-at-home moms (SAHM) that seem to pass judgement on the working moms and that working moms are lesser mothers than SAHM's. I am a SAHM myself, or more specifically a work-at-home mom (WAHM) to two children and two daycare children. My view on these criticisms, as a mother, if you are doing what is best for your family and your children than you are doing what is right for your situation, do NOT feel guilty or any less of a parent. I believe that sometimes a mother working out of the home can be the best choice for a family. Got your attention? Think about it - single parent? there is not really any other choice for a single mom! There may be many situations, the father can't get a job, but the mother can; should the family become homeless because "Mom HAS to stay home"? Especially in these difficult economic times, it's becoming a reality for a lot of families that both parents have to work in order to support their family.

I think it IS ideal if a mother can stay at home with her kids, but it's not always possible. As long as in the situations of a working mom that she is not making her choice because of greed or selfishness but rather due to the best interests of her family. Sometimes this can even include a mother's sanity. Not all women are domestic engineers by instinct and have a hard time emotionally/mentally with all the duties that are required. Not to say that they should just give up on staying at home, but sometimes a little reprive can do a lot, sometimes that reprive is in the form of a job. Which is better the better mom, the mom that stays at home all day with her kids but is a negative influence, and resents her kids or the mom that goes to work and when she comes home can spend positive, relationship building time with her kids?

Staying home with my kids is something I am glad that I can do but it doesn't make me any better a mom than the mother that drops her kids off at my house for me to watch. They are trying to do the best for their family as I am trying to do the best for mine. Why do us women have to be at odds and discriminate against each other when this is the time in our lives that we need each other's support the most! Next time you SAHM's see a working mother, instead of judging her, be glad you had the opportunity you did to make your choice and try thinking of what you would do if your situation was different!
**I'm also going to do a post on the value of a SAHM - Occupation: Mom**


Stacey said...

This was a good post Ellen :) I tend to see it a little differently though. I don't want to miss out on the things my kids do everyday. I want to be available to them when they need me. Even when they are in school. My mom worked for a lot of my life, at least part time, and I really missed having her there for me.

Also, I believe that if we bring these children into the world, it is our responsibility to raise them, not passing it off to others from 9-5 every day.

Now, I totally understand your point though, that it all comes from the motivation behind the decision. If it is truly going to benefit your family, then it's the best choice for your family. In the majority of cases though, this is not the basis of the decision. It is out of either selfishness or wanting more stuff than one income can pay for. I honestly don't think that these women are making the right decision for their families, but like you said, I can't really judge, can I?

Ellen said...

Thanks Stacey :) I agree with you, I too want to be there for my kids and be able to experience their every developement!
So in your experience do you think your mom made a selfish choice or was it best for the family?
Yes there are a lot of women that chose to go back to work when they could stay at home, but I think there are just as many that don't have much of a choice. They are being responsible for their children by providing for their physical needs. Either way, I think that my biggest issue is the divide that's been created, and the animosity, like on type of mom is better than another. There are enough obsticles that we deal with as mothers, lets not let this be one of them! I think that it's sort of like not judging until you've walked a mile in someone elses shoes type of thing.

Stacey said...

I think my mom had to go back to work when we were young because of financial reasons, so it wasn't selfish at all. But then it just sort of became the norm once we were older, and she found a job she really liked and has been there ever since. There were a few years in between that she was home, but my memory is a bit faded.

Ellen said...

(I was no way insinuating that you're mom was selfish, I hope you didn't take it that way) I am glad you can stay at home with your kids! It is such a wonderful privilege!