My kids are taken care of…by others. So it’s not my idea of stellar parenting either but what is a working Mommy Friend to do? Torn between work and family, the story of my life. I see the positives and negatives of working versus staying home and I respect each decision equally. I guess what it really boils down to is which choice is ultimately better for your particular family. Not every family is faced with the same circumstances or has prioritized matters in the same fashion, so it is terribly unfair when either camp rallies too hard for their side.
As I have only ever been a working Mommy Friend, I know the positives include: income (and thus, less financial stress on your partner), medical benefits, 401K, pension plan, and career continuity, or, as summarize, security. Negatives include: strangers caring for your child(ren), staggering daycare costs, severe scheduling limitations and utter exhaustion.
I would never stand high on my soapbox and tell a Stay at Home Mother (SAHM) why her choice is wrong. Unfortunately, in my experience, I have met SAHM’s who feel the need to crucify the working mother for her failure to appropriately sacrifice for her family. As I have only ever been a working Mommy Friend, I can tell you the working mother is expected to manage every facet of her personal and professional life simultaneously and her boss is less than sympathetic if something goes awry.
About a year ago I was on the freeway and I saw a license plate frame that said, “Get a Real Job. Be a Stay at Home Mom!” As I was about to run this Mommy Bitch off the road, I wondered what gave this SAHM the right to put her personal worth above mine or even the man supporting her lifestyle? The choice is individual, neither is better or worse. We do what we have to, plain and simple.
I am so thankful in recent years that many of my friends have been able to be SAHMommy Friends, and fantastic ones at that. I honestly wonder how they maintain their sanity working the same job 24/7, it is a choice to be admired and respected. These amazing SAHMommy Friends are the real deal. They are serious, compassionate and treat their responsibilities with the same fervor and zest they once reserved for their careers. To that, BRAVO SAHMommy Friend! My SAHMommy Friends’ lack of judgment toward me for going the alternative route has been most effective in healing my working mother’s guilt. They understand I still love my kids, do homework, take off work for my kids, keep a clean house, cook and do the laundry. And while I may not be a classroom mom or a member of the PTA, my devotion to the security and well-being of my family remains my primary focus.
For this Mommy Friend, the benefits of working far outweigh the benefits of staying home in our particular situation. As an added bonus, my oldest son is beginning to understand that Mommy has obligations and responsibilities outside of him and his desires. In my absence my kids may not fully understand they sit at the top of my priority list but I know they do. They are the singular reason I’m at work, working to secure their future.
Either choice is to be equally respected, so long as you are appropriately dedicated to it.