• sarahr

    Ah, we know that skit well- and Telly with his triangle fetish is popular around here too ;)

    Does any one REALLY believe that taking their child to daycare every day where he is one of 10 or more kids that a couple of adults are trying to interact with is REALLY equal to having a parent stay home with them? I think not. But there are a million ways that people justify dropping the kids off, the most popular of which: “We have no choice”, I think is true sometimes, but not most of the time. Most of the time, if there are two parents in a household, sacrifices can be made so that one can stay home, at least part time. But people are not willing to give up their fancy car or their gym membership or their cable TV in order to make it happen.

    The greater problem though is that in this society at this time, we do not place real VALUE on the idea of a parent staying home and actually doing the RAISING of their children. We have collectively created this (false) notion that the daycare alternative is OK (some would even say good) or at least EQUAL to being a stay-at-home parent because it makes us feel better about leaving our babies to go to work where we can have real grown-up conversations and go out to lunch and eat real food. And those who actually have no choice but to go to work buy into and perpetuate the idea too because they don’t want to think about the truth. The truth may mean that these parents walk around feeling guilty all of the time, but it’s still the truth and we shouldn’t deny it to make ourselves feel better.

    I wish more people would just say “Daycare sucks, my kid is not getting nearly as much as he would in every way possible if he was at home with me, but this is the choice we have made.” And yes, if you’re a crappy parent, then your child is probably better off in daycare, but that is a different conversation. So the “quality of parenting” argument isn’t really valid here IMO.

  • carla

    Yeah, I know what you can bring up in the conversation with Dr. Phil. Can you ask him if he’ll write me a note for work? I’d like another 12 weeks off with my new baby ;)

  • sharon

    I can’t comment on working outside of the home versus staying home because I don’t have kids, but I’d love to read/hear more discussion about why women are so hard on each other. That is the essential issue and it manifests in so many ways–the breastfeeding wars, “I’m home with my kids and you aren’t, you suck as a mother!” if you feed your child sugar/use disposable diapers/don’t have your two year old in preschool, etc. you’re an asshole, blah blah blah.

    I wanted kids and couldn’t have them, my loss. One I live with because that is life sometimes, learning to accept what you can’t control. I constantly meet women, women who don’t know my story, who immediately judge me because I don’t have children. They say things that shout of their hugely incorrect assumptions of what my childlessness says about me and none of it is good.

    This is just another example of women judging, and judging to negate, women whose lives or choices are different than their own. To me it shouts of a collective insecurity, self-doubt that projects onto other women. I find it endlessly discouraging.

    Obviously, this isn’t for your stint on Dr. Phil. But I wanted all of the wise women who read your blog and who may read my post to give these questions some thought: Why is it difficult for many women to not compare and to not compare to negate? Why are many women so insecure that someone doing something other than what they do or did rattles them to such a degree? I don’t get it. Life is hard. Fuck, most of us are doing our best and all of us are dealing with issues/losses/baggage most can’t see, so why not just applaud each other already and stop with the self-destructive and societal destructive judgment.

  • Anonymous

    Okay so I’ve stayed home for 6+ years… I used to be a 6 figure mistress of the corporate universe – left it all to stay home with the little pink cherub that entered my life.

    Now… said child is in school full time and I am lost. I want to lose my brain, my life has got to be more than laundry, and cleaning house. The thing is I am WAY TOO OVERQUALIFIED to be doing this.

    So there is that. And I’m not alone – I have friends just like me and we stare at each other and say NOW WHAT?

  • malin

    What about the effects of our guilt on our childeren. That thought makes my mind run in circles.

  • http://simplyblissful.blogspot.com tracy

    My mind reels when I even TRY to put my thoughts on being a working mother into a cohesive comment. I went back to work when my daughter was 6 weeks, and even though I have the great fortune to have my parents watch her, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I felt like abandoned her. I decided that if I ever had another kid, I’d have to figure out a way to work from home.

    My daughter is 15 months old, and starting in May, I have Mondays off so I’m a partial-stay-at-home-mom. And I love it. I felt like that extra day finally gave me the opportunity to get to know my daughter.

    That being said, I’m also exhausted come Monday evening & am often desperate for just 15 minutes when I don’t have to be responsible for her.

    Lately, I have also been battling with feelings of “what has happened to my life & how the hell did I get here”, when it seems I do the exact same thing, every single day. I feel SO guilty for feeling this way when in my heart, all I want to do is be with Ellis. I try to tell myself that these feelings probably have more to do with the fact that my marriage is currently in a state of turmoil, so one cup of crap is spilling over into a cup of sweetness.

    Anyhoo, that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of my thoughts on working & motherhood, but I’m going to go get some me-time before the kidlette wakes up from her nap.

  • Amanda Heilbron

    I love this topic – you’re so right, there is no right answer. My opinion is that you have to do what is right for your family. I quit work after my first child was born and now he’s 7. We also have two daughters, ages 5 and 21 months. THIS SHIT IS HARD. Just today, a Saturday, as the kids (yes, ALL OF THEM) were screaming, jumping from our son’s top bunk onto the floor, my husband says, Honey, I don’t know how you do it, and I say, Me either… except the glass or two of wine (not to mention my meds that keep me even-keeled) that I pour on the 4 o’clock dot really helps. Thank God that school is in and both of the older ones are gone from about 8 am until 4 pm. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and can relate, as I’m sure many other moms can. I CANNOT work without my ENTIRE salary going to the cost of child care!!! I have a blog but am unsure of the potential there…
    Love yours, though, and I’m totally envious of your photography!! I’m working on mine. I’m talking my husband into a nicer camera to work with.
    Thanks for all that you do and CHEERS!

  • Anonymous

    Frankly I feel no quilt about my life choices. I work outside of the home because I have to if my family wants to, you know, eat. But I love my job and I would probably choose to it or something like it even if I didn’t have to.

    As for the mommy wars, all I can do is quote the very wise Rodney King and say, “Can’t we all just get along?” We all make choices (or have decisions thrust upon us) and could at least work at not judging one another.

  • Laurie

    I work, my husband has been home with our 2 sons for 7 years. We looked at the list of stuff that needed be done- support family/be primary parent/grocery shop, etc. and decided who could do each thing best – I had the W-2, he is the Scout leader.

    Need more talk about parent-at-home, and not just mom-at-home. the at-home dads are really isolated and boy is it still a conversation-ender at a cocktail party – the eyes guh-laze over when he says what he does.

    And then – how to emerge back to work world/adult world? this is really hard. Really. Hard.

    Grazie – and break a leg on Dr. Phil (maybe literally?!)

  • Anonymous

    Oh FLIP! If Tuesday wasn’t the day MY maternity leave ends and I had to go back to work I would have been there in a heartbeat with my boy strapped to my chest in a sling. He and Marlo could have blown bubbles to each other.

    Regarding show: I like my set up. I have a flex work schedule and go in at 6am. Dad takes care of morning chores with kids – delivers them to school, etc. I pick up the afternoon shift when I get off at 3 — just in time for school to get out for the day. I have trusted daycare for my youngest, and I feel fulfilled with my work.

    …well, maybe “fulfilled” is too strong of a word …

  • http://cindysblogthing.blogspot.com Cindy

    How about how you love your kids but many many times you are just bored out of your mind by the minutiae of it all. And you feel completely guilty for feeling that way. Also, try doing it while being a Mormon. Brings a completely new and unheard of level of guilt to it all. Bet you’re glad you don’t have to go their now.

    Oh and I loved Telly Monster and his neurotic behavior too! I was also so happy the day I saw R.E.M. singing “Furry Happy Monsters” with the monsters and muppets on Sesame Street.

  • http://dinnersbyjodi.blogspot.com Jodi

    So many comments, I doubt you’ll have a chance to read this. This subject is important to a lot of people.

    No one ever talks about how a mom’s status can change due to economic decisions as the kids get older. I work part time now–and thus make less money than I could– because my kids are very small. But our youngest is about to start preschool, and I see a near future when our family will need the money I could be making more than the time I could be spending at home. (I know, I know. The obnoxious American, First-worlder materialism discussion is a whole other topic. Never mind: In my real world, there are braces and camp and cars and higher educations to pay for.)

    This change in the family equation means, for me, some very exciting potential for a whole new career phase. But the transition is scary, too. For the show, I think it’s important for people considering this issue to realize that any particular decision–to stay home, to work, to combine them–isn’t necessarily permanent.

    Thanks for reading.

  • http://www.mydogharriet.blogspot.com Meghan

    Years of time spent anlyzing the “mommy wars” led me to the conclusion that the unsolicited dispersal of damning judgement from one mother to another comes from a deeply insecure place.

    The reason the mommy wars are still alive and well is that all mothers suffer profound guilt and insecurity, pretty much no matter what they do.

    Some women are better at acknowledging their guilt and finding a way to accomodate it. They make peace with their own imperfection and understand that you can love your children and do well for them by being be a “good enough” mother.

    The blogoshpere was a place for me to commiserate with other mothers on the topic of our collective ineptitude. It has also been a place to find humor in the darker, lower and seedier corners of motherhood, and to not feel so isolated and rotten about our less then spectacular moments.

    Some mothers can’t seem to acknowledge their paralyzing guilt and they tend to be very vocal about what everyone else is doing wrong.

    That guilt and shame is what drives every diatribe about how, say, formula is poison and sending a kid to daycare means you must be okay with “someone else raising your child”. Those kinds of judgements are of no constructive use to anyone, and are more useful as a window into deep-rooted insecurity than anything else.

  • Kristi

    Okay…so I’m so in favor of it being a mother’s choice whether to stay home or not. I’m actually re-entering the workforce after a two year absence on Monday. While applying for this job, I was told that it hurt my chances quite a bit that I had “chosen to stay out of the workforce” during this time. I simply smiled at that perky boobed idiot and said, “Yes, well its difficult to breastfeed while caring for patients.” She laughed and said, “You don’t have to breastfeed.” To which I replied in my nicest South Texas twang: “Nope, but I had decided that since the rest of my body was put to work during the pregnancy, I thought I’d give these DDD’s a job.” I got the job, but have been told that I only got it because my resume was awesome and the other girl’s blew.

    Oh well, I don’t regret ONE MINUTE of time I spent with my daughter, and I hope that when she grows up, she sees that her mother is still there for all of the important things, especially when it comes time to pay for her college education. Yep, I can get in on that, because I “chose” to go back to work to support her. Now that’s novel y’all!

  • esther

    I guess my big thing is choice. Mothers argue back and forth about what is best for ‘the child’ and pretend that they, personally, have no choice. I choose to stay at home with my children because I want to. Chances are they would be happier, more stimulated, watch significantly less TV, learn more and have better role models in day care. It is my own desire/neurosis that keeps them at home with me. It also keeps us broke and keeps me in a very happy but total state of stress. It keeps my husband under a huge amount of pressure to be the sole wage earner and the poor bugger has to come home to chaos, every night, after a hard day at the coal face. We chose this life, not because it’s better for our children but because it’s what we want. Why can’t more women be honest about ‘the choice’. My sister works and she is an amazing mother. She spends quality family time with her son and he is a bright, sensitive and loving little boy. She works because it works for their family. She is successful and driven and loving and incredible and she made ‘the choice’. One that at times excruciatingly hard, met with judgment by ‘good mothers who stay at home’ but ultimately good for her, her family and her child.
    so there! rant concluded!

  • Lara

    All the wrangling among women keeps us from having to call out a spouse when we should — spouses who participate partly or (for some people) none at all. It’s really hard to push back when a male spouse’s life habits are the societal norm.

    Part of the reason some of us don’t do that is because we can discharge a lot of the energy of our frustration onto other women. I’m as guilty of that as anyone. If we stopped doing that cold turkey, I truly believe we’d see some sea changes in parenting in the U.S.

    The most obvious example is, whether you’re traditional or egalitarian, children need a present, participating father just as much as they need a mother. Established fact, as well as common sense.

    I support other moms! Whether we get paid or not, we all do the hard work of parenting and running a household. We are all on the same team.

    (For whatever reason I have a feeling I’m going to get flamed for this one. If so, let the roasting begin.)

  • http://shmaytalk.blogspot.com Tay Talk

    Dear Sarah #2 Commenter, I completely agree! The day I have a baby I will begin my ‘at home’ life. No questions asked. And yes, I am educated and have a great career. And yes, I will drop it all to be home for my children and husband. How dare I!

  • Jenny

    I’m sure you won’t read the comments this far down, but I think that the biggest dissapointment of my life was that I sucked at staying home. I wanted to stay home so badly. I thought it was going to be awesome. So I quit my job and stayed home, and I was AWFUL at it. My husband would come home, and neither me nor the kid would be in clean clothes, the house was a disaster, and the kid was eating spaghettios out of a can. and I just didn’t understand it, because when I was working, I was more than able to get me and my son up and dressed (in clean clothes. with makeup!), the daycare bag packed, lunches packed, and made dinner every night! Plus, most of the time, the house looked fine. Never spotless, but not the total disaster it was while I was home. I was great at my job, but a disaster at home….so I realized I had to go back to work. that sucked. Because I want to be a stay at home mom. my family has the means. but I, well I just can’t do it. For some reason. I don’t get it.

  • http://www.tweetakeet.wordpress.com Leigh

    I sooooooo wish I lived in LA still so I could come cheer yall on.

  • http://www.lifewiththemcdowells.blogspot.com Stacey

    I am a working mom of a 7 yr old, a 5 yr old and a 10 week old. I am going back to work in 3 week and our son starts daycare in month…I’m feeling guilty about that, but I also feel confident that he will be well cared for and loved when I am not with him. I’ve always felt that if I find the best childcare for my kids in my abscence, then I am giving them a larger group of people to love and teach them.

    Quality time over quantity of time. Even though we both work, we make sure our kids are given every opportunity to excel and to experience the world – museums, zoos, trips, libraries, parks…we make every moment count (or at least try to!)

    Staying home this summer on my maternity leave with the older kids on break has been rewarding and trying – I take my hat off to SAHMs that do it well.

  • Jen

    As a big sister who loves to spend time with my niece and two nephews, (ages 4, 5, 8) I have been there every painful, loving, exciting, scary and yep, guilt-filled step of the way. I do not plan to have children of my own; however I do plan to be as great of an aunt as possible, for the rest of our lives. More than that, I’ve found my role as a cheerleader to my sister is as part of my life as being Aunt Jen. If I’m not on the phone telling her what she should be doing, ummm, I mean, encouraging her… I’m consoling her fears, stresses and guilt.

    After reading your statement about ACTUALLY staying home with kids, compared to what you think it’s going to be like, I felt my heart sink. This whole time I’ve been from the perspective of “you have all day to be at home with them, why don’t you this, and why don’t you that?”.

    Now, of course I’ve watched them many times, but it’s for one night the most, and just a couple days, here and there. I always have some adventure planned, and by the end of my stay with them, I’m pooped! I didn’t take the whole feeding them three times, cleaning up after them, dealing with the bickering, and all the things they want and don’t want, into consideration. My sister deals with that, and a whole lot more DAILY. Even if she had a plan, she knows it’s never going to go according to it.

    I guess from my point of view, no one from the outside can tell you “what’s best”, only mom knows what’s best, and it’s subject to change at any time.

    One last sentiment, while I’m here. Raising children takes a community. My wish is that all who decide to have children also consider “the community”. Everyone needs a support system, and the better we treat, communicate and are respectful of the “community”, the better life is for each child.

    Oh! And yeah, totally say Dr. FEEEEEEEEEL! Hahaha!!! Love you dooce.

  • Carrie

    Hi Heather-
    I have done both. All I can say is staying home with my son was the best and hardest thing I have ever done. Whatever is best for your child is all that matters. If it means paying the rent and buying food, then working is best for everyone involved. Staying home is not a bed of roses, but parts of it are wonderful. Working outside the home has benefits also. I say do the best you can and let all the crap that people argue over go away. Have a fun trip!

  • http://www.kewp.blogspot.com Katherine

    I got tickets to the taping! But one issue I’d liked to see addressed actually came up during the conversation I had with the production guy. He wanted to know if I’m a SAHM or if I work. Um, well, it isn’t that easy. I do have a full time job, but it’s a somewhat nontraditional job, so I’m able to work from home quite a bit and tailor my work schedule to my daughter’s needs. He said something to the effect of, “well, I’ll just put you down as a SAHM then.” And thus my career as a full time pastor of a small Christian congregation was nullified by the CBS dude. I think there’s a lot of ways to be a working parent, including many ways that allow mothers to work from home and spend lots of time with their children. Isn’t that what you do, anyway??

    I’m looking forward to the taping.

  • Anonymous

    I just wanted to respond to several comments that stated staying at home is only viable for the wealthy, or at least, near wealthy. My husband and I unnexpectedly got pregnant just a few weeks after our wedding. We had no savings, my husband was just out of gaduate school with an entry level job and salary. We hadn’t bought a house (uncommon in our area), both had older cars, and basically were scraping by. But I felt that staying home was the only option that I could live with. 20 months after my daughter’s birth, we are still living without any luxuries, but I have been home with her the whole time,while supplementing with little jobs like writing for a local magazine,keeping a friend’s baby once a week, and other small jobs I can do from home. We will be delaying future children until my husband’s income can support us more comfortably. I know we are all different,and I’m not slamming anyone for choosing to work, but I find it disengenuous when some people say they “have” to work. Two incomes are the norm in this society, but it is possible to opt out of that system. If staying at home is what you really want, its all about priorities.

  • anna

    so not interested in dr phil, but can i come for marlo blowing bubbles???

  • http://theminivansoapbox.blogspot.com/ Kerrie

    By the way, I forgot to mention earlier (and by earlier I mean 300′ish comments ago) We’ve had “No, I’MMMMMM Dr. FEEL” Tivo’d for about six months now.

  • Michelle

    I wasn’t able to read through all 600 something comments to see if this was already mentioned, so forgive me if it has. I have been a Work at Home mom for almost 10 years. One complaint my best friend (also a Work from home mom) and I always had was that when you start working from home suddenly everyone you know thinks that this means you are sitting at home doing nothing and are free to run errands all day for them (including husbands). There is little understanding for the fact that we not only have to care for a child but also get our work done within a reasonable amount of time. This includes family and friends who drop in or call at all hours of the day because they know you are home (although this is easier to control if you are able to screen your calls).

    Good luck Heather. I’m sure you will be great!

  • Shonda

    I’m late to the game in commenting so not sure if anyone else mentioned this in the 800+ comments but to work or to stay at home is oftentimes not a choice for most moms because the U.S. is one of the few countries that does not provide any sort of paid maternity leave (and the only “wealthy” country that does not).
    I’m fortunate that my job is flexible enough that they allow me to work primarily from home. This is amazing because where I live (metro-DC) childcare costs are astounding – more than my monthly mortgage. At the same time, while it is a blessing to stay home with my kid, I also have no semblance of a home/work life balance. I don’t leave my job at the office because home is the office. And I don’t get to just shut off being a mom to get some work done — I’m at the mercy of my kid’s schedule. So go back to work, stay at home, work from home, there are pros and cons to all, but the lack of paid maternity leave in the U.S. really leaves many people *not* having a choice.

  • http://www.sparrowsky.com Natalie

    I’ve always been curious to know why the argument even exists in the first place. What’s with the us vs them debate? Aren’t we all trying to do the same thing? We’re all trying to provide the best for the people we love the most, as far as I’m concerned. To call out another parent on his/her choices is hypocritical. Truly, we’re all working or staying at home because it suits our families’ prerogatives.

    Is there really any sense in openly mocking/degrading another parent’s lifestyle simply because you don’t agree with his/her perspective?

  • Courtney

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with your new angle…the reality of staying at home is so much different than anything you might think about it beforehand. The main thing for me is the sheer monotony of it. I mean, yes, the kids change and do (slightly) different things from day to day but in the minutiae it’s hard to see beyond the thousands of diaper changes, burpings, incessant peek-a-boo-ing, and hundredth recitation of “Click Clack Moo”. And it’s hard to talk about that because a) it makes you sound ungrateful and b) it makes you sound whiny. Because everyone thinks you’re so “lucky” to stay home, “what a great opportunity” and all that. It is, but it’s not easy and it doesn’t always feel lucky. Your clients are incredibly ungrateful until they’re, oh, 25 years old or so. And I get tired of the implication that we’re so privileged economically if we’re doing it w/ one income…because the truth is it’s hard and we have made many, many sacrifices and hard choices to get here. One more thing…I found it difficult to go from contributing to the bank account to making no money. There’s a lot of value placed on earning money in our society, and it’s all there under the surface, even if one’s spouse is totally supportive of your being a stay-at-home parent.

  • http://littlefiggies.blogspot.com Nichole

    I would echo several other commenters who have pointed out that this is TOTALLY a question/problem/quandary that *SMACKS* of blatant classism.

    On a global level, this is simply a question relatively FEW women even have the luxury of considering.

    For those who insist that staying-at-home, full time, is the only way to be a good mother, what of the BILLIONS of women, worldwide, who work outside the home — many, many of them caring for other people’s children — just to feed the mouths that await them at home.

    Are they bad mothers, too?

  • http://www.thesinglesister.blogspot.com The Single Sister

    I wonder if Michael Stern’s email inbox just imploded.

  • Rachel E.

    Yes, please mention the shocker of realizing that you don’t matter anymore. In theory you matter. Ideally you matter. People tell you, you matter. But you don’t. Not compared to the needs of this child that you’re taking care of. No matter how much we try to prepare ourselves mentally for the arrival of a baby; no matter how much we think we’re prepared to sacrifice for him/her; no matter how many books you read or articles you peruse or talk shows you watch; no matter how mature and ready you think you are; you are NOT prepared to put yourself second (or third or fourth or whatever the case may be) ALL OF THE TIME. It’s exhausting and scary and sad and depressing.

  • Kate

    Best Sesame Street moment? Ernie asks Gordon to sing him a lullaby. As Gordon starts to sing “Rockabye, Baby,” Ernie tells him in the best tone ever, “Gordon, I am not a BABY . . .”

    I like working. I love my kids. I’m a good mom and my kids are really smart, and really happy, regardless of what #18 and sarahr think . . .

  • Nancy

    Can you wear a jersey on the show that says 26? Woot!

  • jillian

    #862–Anonymous, you are forgetting that the extra money might not only provide your family with the security it sounds like you need, but also, providing your child with experiences. Music lessons, not cheap. Travel, not cheap. Expanding your child’s horizons, not always cheap. Stay at home Mommy does not always equal better for the child. It’s kind of a competitive world out there, some of us realize that education and experiences make the difference, especially when negotiating a tough economy. If the only thing you can provide is a stay at home Mommy, I gotta question who you’re doing it for.

  • Anonymous

    Like #84, I really wish there would be more acknowledgement of the vast majority of moms out there who don’t have a “choice”. It’s kind of infuriating that more attention isn’t paid to this reality.

  • Jackie

    @Rebecca, (#42): “Researchers cautioned that the findings should not be a cause of alarm, since the effects of child care were found to be small.” That’s a quote from the NY TImes article you linked to.

    STOP POSTING ALARMIST CRAP ABOUT BABIES AND KIDS. And then go read Let’s Panic About Babies. Christ.

    We all know that everyone does what they think is best for themselves and their families – or at least that’s the idea. For me, I would not be good company for my 10 month old all day, every day. I work part-time so I can spent mornings and early evenings with him, and he gets fantastic care from a nanny who has 4 kids of her own and lots of experience and love to share. And that’s what’s right for us, no matter what anyone’s studies or articles or blogs say – and whatever you’re doing is, hopefully, right for you.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe bring up the fact that, for the most part, the whole ‘family-friendly workplace’ is a crock. Companies make token gestures to look good, but the reality most of the time is that working mums put their families a poor second so they can keep their jobs. It sucks. I should know. Been there done that, thankfully I am now finally a fulltime sahm.

  • Anonymous

    Is this a joke? Dr. Phil, really? I thought he only got the bottom of the barrel types these days. I think this is below you. I am so sorry to say that. Good luck, though. Hope it goes well for you.

  • Suzanne

    With the realities of today, lots of families don’t have the choice to have a stay at home parent. We *have* to have systems in place to support working families (not just moms.)
    If I am one more kids’ doctor’s appointment away from losing my job, how effective am I at work? Why are there no after school programs for my 11-year old who gets out of school at 2:30 when I get home from work at 6? These kind of things keep me awake at night.
    We need a real change in employers, schools, and child care. I hope the next generation figures it out better than we have, because we have a patchwork system at best.

  • Sid

    I think a mother should chose the option that works best for her WITHOUT ever feeling guilty or ever needing to defend her choice. There is no “one size fits all” right answer to this equation. Just because a mother is around her children full time does not mean she will be a better parent than the mother that drops her child off at daycare….my older sister and my mother are both shining examples of stay-at-home moms that have failed miserably in the parenting department.

    I chose to go back to work six weeks after my daughter was born. I actually couldn’t wait to go back and my daughter was in daycare from six weeks until she was a year old. I then tried the stay-at-home mom gig for the second year of her life. I eventually went back to work full time, put my daughter back in daycare and never allowed anyone to make me feel guilty for it.

    The amazing daycare staff did watch my daughter during the day, they did teach her things, but they were never there to replace me as a parent. Parenting involves so much more than the care a child receives in daycare. Today my daughter is an extremely well-adjusted 17 year old with high self esteem who has never once doubted that I love her more than anything else in this world. She’s well-behaved, extremely intelligent and goal-oriented. She also relishes the memories she has of being in daycare and in summer camp.

    Personally what I’d like to see brought up for discussion on this Dr. Phil show is why, when it comes to parenting, is it constantly about the mother? Where are the fathers? Why don’t we bust their balls for choosing work over being stay at home dads? The days of specific gender roles broke down decades ago, this is the 21st century after all.

  • Ann Dermansky

    Staying home is not an option for many women. Guilt is always an option. Mothers who stay home feel guilty and, sometimes, crazy. Mothers who leave the house feel guilty. And where’s Daddy in all of this? How come he never, no matter what, feels guilty?

    Hope you mention Ayelet Waldman’s book “Bad Mother.” Dr. Phil should read it. I bet you already have. Was glad to see you recognized in its pages.

  • jessicad

    I only made it through the first page or so of comments but I saw many saying how both sides are valid and we feel guilty no matter what we do, so true. I’m not the stay at home type, and I feel guilty about that. I love my daughter more than life and I’d do anything for her, but it’s still MY life as well as hers and I have to do what’s best for me sometimes too. I stayed home for almost 15 months with her before I went back to school and now work, it’s just not for me. I was anxious all the time and really depressed. Maybe I’m selfish and just need more time to myself but I enjoy going to work, it’s a break for me.I’m lucky that I have a friend with a son about the same age and I pay her what I’d pay for daycare. I do wish we’d stop judging each other so much, every woman is different and I don’t think people remember that. Just because something works for you and your family doesn’t mean it works for everyone. If you’re a stay at home mother it doesn’t make you better than a mom who works and vice versa.

  • Anonymous

    I got to stay at home for a year (thank you Canadian laws!) and can say, without a doubt, that working is waaay easier. I had friends who were also on mat leave with me but I was still quite lonely, and not so easy to live with. We now have a nanny we adore, my daughter adores and I am lucky to go to work with a clear conscience every day.
    Hmm, what is my point? Financially I don’t have to work, but I sure do for my mental sanity.
    So lay off the soap box ladies, be the best mom you can be, whatever that looks like for you.

    Congrats dooce, I guess i’ll have to watch that patronizing, exploiting lug of a ‘doctor’ for once!

  • Anonymous

    I felt guilty about not feeling guilty about going back to work. That might have been all those years in Catholic school though.

    My first day back a coworker looked me in the eye and said, “I know how difficult this must be for you today” and all I could think was, “Lady, you don’t know how NOT difficult it is for me.”

    I look forward to seeing the show! And the Dr. Feel skit is still one of my favorites to this day!

  • pregnant Sherri

    So, I am so stuck between saying “He’s gonna try to make you cry, DON’T GO!!” OR… “This is the most depressing time to have SHUT OFF MY CABLE!”

    I’m glad you’re going on Phil. He can be a tool, but it’s a successful show for a reason. He’s usually got a point, I mean…he did have a license to practice head medicine. And he was a guilty pleasure of mine for a while.

    To contribute to the Idea Pool:
    I think perhaps you should broach the topic of working/staying home in the light of WHY IS IT THAT WOMEN ARE THE FOCUS OF THIS DEBATE??? shouldn’t men be considered for the stay at home parent role? Why does no one judge them? BECAUSE. That’s why. It’s a STIGMA that needs to be dropped. Anyone who can afford to stay home and wants to:Good for you. I personally go nuts if I’m not working, but then again, that’s because I am the majority Bread-Winner in our household. BUT IF HE QUIT HIS JOB TO STAY HOME PEOPLE WOULD CALL HIM A “SLACKER”
    It’s BS.
    It’s no one’s decision but our own, as families, and as circumstances allow.
    Basically “It Ain’t NONEYA”

    As in…none ya buisness, BIATCH!

    And that’s how I see it.
    I dare you to call Phil a biatch! heehee

  • Stephanie

    I lost complete respect for Dr. Phil years ago when I caught an episode of his show about this exact same topic. Initially intriqued, I was turned-off as I saw that his questions only pitted women against each other in a very shallow and showy attempt to “answer the question.”

    Working and parenting choices are individual to each family and each situation and to create a t.v. program (or online article or book or magazine column) dedicated to WOMEN + PARENTING + WORK doesn’t strike me as sincere. There’s so much more to what makes a family tick…

    So, I’m afraid I’m reiterating many comments here: this is a discussion that should not be fueled.

    I’m a longtime reader of your blog and while I won’t watch the show, I’m sure you’ll bring a fresh and fun aspect to the program.

  • Cassie

    It seems to be such a hot topic. I think any woman able to raise her kids at home, and have a financially stable family, is blessed. Even with the stress that comes with being “on call” all day- watching you child grow up is an unforgettable and touching experience.

  • Maureen

    I am sure you will do us SAHMs justice. I just want to share that although I like staying at home (that is unless I am cleaning poop off the walls or feeling miserably isolated) I do have moments of guilt about that decision. I know that life would be financially more stable if I was working. There are things that we don’t have, and my children don’t have, because of our choice to have me at home. It is an emotional struggle for me sometimes on a daily basis. But we have clothing and food and each other. (even if we don’t have new cars or preschool or landscaping…)