The Portrait of a Working Mommy Friend

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.

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Comments

  1. ok, I admit, I secretly hate on the SAHM’s as well out of pure jealousy. I have a friend who is a SAHM and she always calls me (at 10am after I have worked a 12 hour midnight shift and just got to sleep) to tell me about how bored she is. I want to be bored! I keep it to myself though, maybe my grumpiness can be attributed to lack of sleep 🙂

  2. Brava! I’m a working mom too. It’s what works best for us and I resent anyone who suggests I’m less of a committed mother because of it.

  3. I admit, I sneer at SAHMs. But I do it out of jealousy more than anything. I agree that if you go either route, be dedicated to what you’re doing. I have always worked, and recently became a working mom and have been mulling over whether to take a year off. Factors include being honest with my ability to use that time wisely. Thank you for this post, it helps my decision.

  4. My dear Mommy friend….I must say that your honesty and openness is quite refreshing. I have a working Mommy friend who is pregnant with her third kiddo. She felt the need to explain herself the last time I saw her and I told her that there was no judgment here. I admire the fact that all the normal “Mommy” things get done and you still have a career. I have very much enjoyed my time at home with the kiddos and wouldn’t change a thing, I come now to a time where I don’t know what to do once my girly goes to school. I have no degree and to do school now, well I am terrified actually. I would love to do a culinary route but have no clue where to begin. See, we all have our “stuff” that we will deal with and will do the best we can for the situation we are in. Oh and as for BooBoo….he will come around. I thought many a time about selling my girl to the gypsies and praying they could do something about her…but she amazes me these days with her kindness and her zest for life. She, well all kids, have to stretch their wings and although spitting, punching, and all of the other fun things that happen at day care, is not okay, it’s the sweet times, the glimpses of wonderful where we see that they are truly one of the coolest people we’ll ever get to know. Love you Mommy friend and I am excited to read more of your blogs.

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