Monday, September 20, 2010

SAHM vs. Working moms: Let Mortal Kombat BEGIN!

Ok.  I swear I'm not one to start battles, but I read a post by a fellow blogger, My Little Life, and it just struck a nerve. She titled it "The Refeminization of America"and called for an "anti-feminist" movement.  Though she is a working mom herself, she thinks all moms belong in the home.  OUCH.


I'm in a hostile environment. I'm totally unprepared.

As I read the comments, I was very surprised at how many of the commenters agreed with her. So, before I start my rant, I want to set my own ground rules:
  1. I am all for both stay at home moms and working moms.  In fact, I don't know why we are so often on the "opposing sides." Why can't we just get along and be happy for the decisions that other mothers have made?
  2. As this is a semi-political post, I welcome any comments that are well thought out.  I'm quite open-minded.  However, any trolls or attacks will be summarily deleted.
IT HAS BEGUN!
I'm a full time working mom.  I work not because I have to -- because I want to.  Because I'm a better mom and a better person by working at a full-time professional job. I graduated with honors from a top college;  I got my Masters degree in a technical field. I have always wanted to work and pursue a career;  I have also wanted to have a family.  I do not see these as in conflict. Neither does my husband.  He also works full-time at a professional job.  No, we do not need both of our incomes;  we could survive on one.  But, this is the best situation for us.  And it is not about stuff, though the extra income does provide us more choices for our children, and we use it (college savings, preschool, life insurance, etc.).


Prove it?

It would not be good for my children or my mental health for me to be a stay-at-home mom.  Anyone who knows me personally would agree. I would go crazy at home with my kids all day. I give kudos to stay at home moms!  You have a very hard job. My brain does not function well on toddler time.  I say this honestly; some people are better fit for this kind of work.  I'm better fit for working with business people, programmers, and various other IT geeks.  I don't see this as a character flaw. I think I'm an asset.

Does this mean that I'm not a good mom? I think I'm a pretty good mom.  Better than most, in fact.

We -- my husband and I --  love our children and we work hard to make the best decisions for them.  So, we found a wonderful at-home daycare.  Then, we found a wonderful Montessori preschool. Then we found a wonderful full-time day camp during the summers between school sessions.

We make it work.  For us.  I wish the business world and society was more supportive of us working moms, but we still make due.

We are not alone. 

Now, it seems the response to this is that we are -- or specifically I am -- allowing someone else to raise my children;  I say no.  My husband and I are raising our children. My kids know who is in charge and who loves them -- mom and dad.  They also have lots of wonderful adults around them that mom and dad have chosen to influence their values and education. I don't think it is a problem to have other reasonable adults influencing my children; in fact, I think it is a good thing. Also, mom and dad are actively involved with the caregivers to make sure that our wishes and concerns are forefront.   

Case in point:  I have just exchanged 3 long emails with my daughter's first grade teacher over a teasing incident at lunch. I'm less involved with my kids just because I work full-time? Please.

I made a choice. This is OUR tournament, remember?

Why is someone else going to tell me that I should have stayed home?

Would that really a better decision for me?

I don't think so.  

Why else would I have chosen such a disreputable-looking cretin?

By the way -- my husband is NOT demasculinized.  He happens to be a 5th degree black belt;  if that's not masculine, I don't now what is.  And yes, he respects me.  And yes, he even brings me flowers -- for no reason at all.  Just because he loves me.  Awwwww.

Fatality.
Now, back to where I started.  When moms, even another working mom, start saying things like "moms belong at home" then that is a moral value call on other mother's decisions. Why can't we just stand by each mother's right to make whatever work decisions she feels is right for her family?

My story is just one.  There are also single moms, mixed families with step kids, military moms and multi-generational homes -- just to name a few!  There is no one size fits all, so let's not pretend there is. And let's not pretend there is even one "ideal." There is not an ideal, when there each family must make decisions based on the situation they are in.

Why are people still making up this silly "war" between moms when we all have made decisions for our own reasons.  We are all on the same team!

Follow-up

My inner-nerd has been unleashed.  With statistics.  Enjoy.

Are working moms at fault for the world's social ills?

10 comments:

Michelle said...

I've been on both sides of this one - in terms of being full time working mom, SAHM, part time mostly working from home mom and once again a SAHM.

For a good long while I was really good at the working part because it used a part of my brain that needed using that simply can't be used with small infants and toddlers. Now? The wee ones are bigger, and I can remain challenged with them - and yet they still go to school and allow me to keep my brain working doing other things, too.

I have to feel in some way that people aren't comfortable with where they are and who they are when they feel the need to make such harsh judgements.

That One Mom said...

Your post is well written and so right on. Had I not been laid off 3 years ago, i would have NEVER considered staying home with my kids. I think that every family needs to decide what is best for them and their circumstances.

Jill aka Fruit Loop said...

Okay...I followed your instructions :-) I walked away from the computer and tried to think of a well thought out comment. Let's see if this comes out right?

I am a stay at home Mommy and a working Mommy (two days a week although my kids never really leave me). I like it this way. Yay for me!

And Yay for you and your family for finding what works for all of you! (no sarcasm)

I am not one to rock the boat or start battles.

But when it comes to children, our children, I think we all should rock the boat.

I don't know if Mama M is right or wrong...this is the part I'm having trouble with.

I agree with both of you...not just to be agreeable, but because I do. Mama M has a good point...our society needs help and it's not bad reasoning that the decline started when Moms left their jobs as SAHM to look for better paying jobs.

I agree with you that we are in this together. And I love the fact that I have the RIGHT to make my own choice...work at home as a Mom earning hugs and kisses or work somewhere else making money.

Since I do think we're in this together - I wonder what we could do. Because there is obiviously a problem, don't you agree? (And I'm not saying there is a problem with your children...I don't want that to come out wrong. Just the children in general...obesity, teenage pregnancy, gangs, violence, etc)

Kristen said...

Thank you! We think alike. I am now following your blog. I am a working WOMAN and a MOM - two seperate things that a strong woman CAN do.

Rachel said...

I agree with you, KT. There is no one-size-fits-all. Working parents can be involved in their children's lives, and stay at home parents can be neglectful. It's not really about whether or not you earn a living. It's about making the best decisions for your family.

alessandra said...

Hmmm, I am a part time working mom, I decided to stay at home on afternoons, because as a kid I had a full working mom (single mom) and I must say that I suffered a bit that she wasn't at home.
I couldn't stay at home full time, as you said I'd go crazy.
And we need a double income.
I assume that Mama M said what she said, thinking about the general well being of children, not judging the morality of a personal choice, since she works too.
Just my opinion, however.

alessandra said...

Only another thing, children need love, children need to feel important for their parents, children need also presence.
If we don't want to give this to our kids, what's the point in having them?
I'm not saying how or how much, but we brought them in this world, so it's our responsibility to give them the best we can, agree?

kt moxie said...

Alessandra -- Totally agree. I think the difference that working moms balance is quality over quantity. And the studies back this up. :
"Working Moms Need Not Feel Guilty: Children Do Just as Well When Mothers Work Outside the Home " http://www.suite101.com/content/working-moms-need-not-feel-guilty-a42841#ixzz10CAdW5JB

Booyah's Momma said...

This is a topic that gets my proverbial panties in a bunch. Do you love your kids? Do you spend quality time with them? Are you involved in their lives? Then you're probably doing just fine as a parent.

I read the blog you referenced, and I'd agree that there is an increase in crime rates, divorce, drugs, etc. But to tie this in with the dawn of the working mother seems, um, pretty far-fetched to me. It's interesting that this came from a working mom... now that's one I hadn't heard before!

jessicaclarke said...

Love this post I am currently a SAHM but I have been a full time working mom, and part time working mom. I think it's all about what works for your family, I think whether you work or not has no reflection on what kind of parent you are it's about the time you do spend with your children and how you parent. I know I will need to return to work at least part time for financial reasons, but that won't change what kind of mom I am. By the way, love Montessori I used to be a Montessori preschool teacher.

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