• rb

    I’m a working mom. I don’t know any working moms who have anything against SAHMs (if fact, most of us have managed some variation of it, even if for just a few months) but there are so many SAHMs I meet that feel the need to denigrate the fact that I work outside the home. I can’t tell you how often I encouter those “I chose to RAISE my child” kind of statements.

    There seems to be this conception that working moms work because we choose to, because it’s our identity, or whatever. That’s pretty unfair to those of us who work out of financial necessity, which is true for the vast majority of us.

    No one at the PTA has ever been snotty toward my husband for having a job.

    I’m not sure if it’s insecurity or defensiveness or if there is just a greater proportion of the at-home mom population that are naturally total bitches, but it’s not productive, it’s not helpful and it doesn’t make me want to volunteer for your stupid PTA committee.

    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest!

  • http://jens-space.typepad.com Jennifer

    Tell Dr. Phil that the topic has been over done and can you and him re-enact the Sesame Street skit?

    I’m a SAHM who has become a WAHM. I don’t care what other people choose to do with their families. I’m too busy taking care of my own!

    I do live in Southern California and I have gone to a taping of Dr. Phil in the past. They gave us all free hot dogs and soda. Wheeeeee!!

    oh my RE CAPTCHA is Jones frontal :P

  • http://ridinginahandbasket.blogspot.com Mary Lynn

    Also, can I just mention how insanely short American maternity leaves are compared to many other countries? Here in Canada I got a whole year off after the birth of each of my two children. I could have gone back to work earlier if I wanted to, but I chose to stay home. I can’t imagine how tough it must be to go back to work when you have a child at home who may still be exclusively breastfeeding (my daughter absolutely refused to take a bottle till she was 11 months old). With my son the issue was sleep–I was exhausted till he was 8 months old and finally started sleeping for more that a maximum stretch of 2 hours.

    I don’t know how I could have handled going back to work in such circumstances. Perhaps the pressure of that would have led me to decide to stay at home, too. As it was, I had time to settle into motherhood and was totally ready to return to the workforce at the end of each of my one-year maternity leaves.

  • Anonymous

    Dooce, the biggest thing (and I am sure it’s been said and I think you’d agree) is that YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR OWN RIGHT ANSWER FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

    With my first son, I would have climbed the curtains if I’d stayed home. With the second one, I would have killed to, but my husband got laid off about the time we could have considered it financially and I had to support my family for quite a while. And the looks I got in both situations, from vastly different people, were really pissy. Women should support each other!

    Lastly, I do love both of my children VERY MUCH. But what was the right answer for me, and them, varied in the years between their births.

  • http://mommysaidwhat.wordpress.com julie

    There is no right answer and you know it.

    Just do us all a favour and preserve your dignity, don’t get dragged down into the muck and make us all look like a bunch of “women.”

    In other words, count to 10 before you respond to any questions.

  • Angela

    Hi! I’ve never commented before! I first wanted to say thank you for your blog. I suffered postpartum depression after I had my daughter and you cannot underestimate the benefit of knowing you are not alone. As far as the Dr. Phil show I think the heart of the matter is compromising what makes you happy with what works for you family. If you are going to stay at home you have to be present. If you are going to work spend quality time with your kids when you can. And please, please, please do not judge anybody else’s choice. We are much more similar than we are different.

  • Jacqui

    One thing I always bring up with regard to the issue — since it’ll be the only viable opinion I can have, since I don’t have kids and don’t want them — is that my mom went to work full-time when I was seven. And we LOVED IT. Not only because it made us more responsible (granted, that was back in the day when you could send a three-year-old up to the corner store to pick up your pack of cigarettes and not worry about her being stolen — true story, my mom did that with my sister), but also because, even at that age, we were PROUD of having a mom who in our eyes, you know, actually DID stuff (from our perspective, anyway). Of course all the stay-at-home moms were busy, and took care of their homes and their kids… but to US, at that time, in our kid minds, our mom was cooler.

    Not that we really thought less of the other moms for staying home with the kids… but there was genuine pride that our mom did “more”.. that she had stuff going on that was beyond just our lives. She was able to come home and tell us stories about her day. That made her a more interesting person, I guess. We didn’t feel like she existed just to be our mom, like the other kids’ moms. She was also “herself.”

    I dunno… I just always think that’s something that gets lost in those discussions — the kids’ view of the mom, and what that tells them about the world. And the question of does that affect the kids’ priorities when they grow up… because I can tell you that my sisters and I work our butts off to be successful and self-supporting, but it seems like all the friends I have who’d had stay-at-home moms are less driven. Is that a coincidence, or is it a repercussion?

  • Anonymous

    I wonder who the hell ever told you that you were a good writer or even remotely funny? Your writing style sucks and your blog posts are the same crap over and over.

  • J in N.C.

    I work full-time and it works for me AND my 20 mos old daughter. I work from 7:30 to 4pm. And when I’m with her after work, I’m WITH her. Going to the pool, drawing, going for walks, reading, whatever. But she has all my attention from when we leave daycare to when she goes to bed. I stayed home for 10 weeks before I went back to work after her birth. I totally LOVED that time, but I love my job, need the income (my husband is gone)and personally need the things I get from my job – interaction with people, etc. My perfect world would be to work 7:30 to 2:30 so she wasn’t in daycare quite as long and when she starts school I could meet her bus. But what we have is pretty cool. She LOVES her daycare and is smart, confident, social and wonderful. No situation is perfect, but this one sure works for us.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve already commented (#593) but I had an “and furthermore I think Carthage should be destroyed” moment:

    Why are you lending your fame and awesomeness to Dr. Phil???? Augh. It kills me. And legitimatizing the BS idea of “Mommy Wars” to boot???? You’re way too cool for this. I’m not advocating violence here, but if you’re subversively going on to kick his teeth in, well then I’ll watch and approve.

  • http://thepapertreehouse.blogspot.com Embee

    I’ve been a SAHM for 19 1/2 years… I have two kids a boy 19 1/2 and a girl 16 1/2 and I’ve made life so Un-BE-LEEVABLY comfortable for them they’re NEVER going to leave home… Did I say Never? I mean NEVER!!! (and yes, the extra exclamation points ARE necessary.)

    Maybe I should’ve gone to work, they would’ve had to do more for themselves. Instead I’ve spent the last 19 1/2 years being their maid, chief cook & bottle washer, camp counselor and taxi service. I should add that even though they’re teenagers, they love me to death and are grateful for all I do… They just don’t EVER want to have to do it for themselves.

    Even though we’ve (my husband and I) spent the last several years ‘preaching’ independence and responsibility, I don’t think those lessons have sunk in. I think perhaps as CEO of my own little corporation of this household and raising these two kids I’ve micro-managed everything to the point that the two of them have been rendered incapable of doing for themselves… And for THAT, I beat myself up every chance I get!

    So maybe there’s a different perspective for ya.

  • MichelleRenee

    On Tuesday and Wednesday and every other Thursday, I LOVE staying home with my children and feel grateful to have the opportunity to focus every moment of my attention on them.

    On Monday and Fridays and every other Thursday I HATE staying home with my children and wish I could escape to an office where everyone would just LEAVE ME ALONE.

    “the grass is always greener on the other side.. “… ELMO

  • Beth

    Dr. Phil? This is the first time I say to you “Why?” Why.

  • http://kitkat4real.blogspot.com Katherine SOLO dot MOM

    Yes I am with VickiJ…. just kick him :)

  • Kellibean

    …oh, and another thing…how come public discussions of the trials of working motherhood rarely touch on the challenge of finding and affording quality childcare? In my circle, this is HUGE and yet every book or magazine article I read about working vs staying home seems to assume loads of money and an easy supply of wonderful nannies. Who are all those kids in daycare? Not every double-income family is rolling in money. Duh.

  • http://bethalea.blogspot.com just beth

    I’ve done both… when I had my eldest (now 13), I worked 20 plus hours, went to school full time and tried to take care of him, his father, and our house.

    It was hard, and it sucked, and at the time I felt like if I had to stay home all day with the baby I would go insane.

    Now, I have a three-year-old and a sixteen-month old and I stay at home. It is hard and sometimes it sucks and I feel like if I had to be away from them to work or have the schedule I had before, I would go insane.

    Sorry, I know that wasn’t any sort of answer to your question, which is coming up, I swear.

    I would love for you to talk about how important parents’ happiness is. The healthy interaction between husband and wife is so important for children to witness. I think the focus is so intent on the children sometimes that we can forget how important our spouses’ happiness is. Are you going to be happy going to work? Or would you be happier with old cars so you can stay home? Either way, the happier the parents, the happier the kids, I think. I am a part of some mom groups where the focus is so ENTIRELY on the children, I wonder about the relationship between the parents.

    My husband and I work very hard to make sure we connect every day, as often as possible. Our kids will grow up knowing what a loving relationship looks like.

    xo

    b.

  • http://.3giraffes.net Chris

    Please please please do not say (or let another person say and get away with it) “a mom who works out of the home gets to be with adults all day and then comes home and gets to leave their work at work.” I call bullshit on that oft repeated sentiment. As a partner in a law firm, I work with the most egotistical and childish people (men partners, ahem) you could imagine. It is not ALL ADULT conversation. Instead it is hours upon hours of passive aggressiveness every day. And? Then I come home and do the mom thing- soccer practice, dinner, music lessons, etc- THEN I GET TO OPEN MY LAPTOP AND WORK UNTIL WELL AFTER MIDNIGHT.

    I’ve done SAHM, WAHM, WOHM and every other acronym out there. They all have difficulties and they all have their terrible days. Like most people, I’m just sick of other moms trying to tell me I have it “easier” or that someone else has it easier. Whatever. Don’t we all just try and make it through the day?

  • Dana

    My advice to my friends who are embarking on having their first child and are planning to go back to work full-time is always this… Don’t feel guilty when you enjoy it. I love my two kids (under 3) and working full-time. And, I always love coming back to work on Monday morning. Work is a cake walk compared to motherhood! I’ll take a tough client any day compared to my children having co-meltdowns!

  • Ashley

    Ohh, I love when I go to a conference call and come back to new blog posts! Totally makes work worth it.

    Sorry, I have nothing to contribute to the Dr. Phil/Stay at Home Mom conversation, seeing as how I’m not a Stay at Home Mom, or a mom at all (except to two crazy dogs, but I think that might be different…) but good look on the trip!

  • Cassie

    Mostly I want to know how he’s gone on so long without getting punched. Good luck not punching him! ARGH.

  • Karen

    I think that one of the hardest things for me about staying at home is the loss of that other part of my identity. My son is 4-1/2, and it’s only recently that I don’t have to actively fight the knee-jerk reaction, when people ask “what do you do?,” to tell them what I used to do. I loved what I used to do and — I’ll be honest — it impressed people and it was interesting. I have a PhD, I taught at a university, I worked in urban schools to get more kids into college. If I answer that “what do you do?” question with “I’m home with my son,” for a long time I felt like that person wasn’t learning a single thing about me. I’ve come to accept that that answer does tell them something about me, but not everything. And I’m still mourning the loss of that side of me (publicly, anyway).

    So I guess what I’m getting at is that it’s very difficult to be generalized, essentialized, stereotyped, reduced to a single role and, in the process, left devoid of the full identity I know I still have. It’s very hard to adjust to, no matter how certain I am of the choice that I made.

  • Maggie

    My twist on this is a total downer (sorry):
    I’m still waiting for someone to speak to how elevated the decision to stay at home vs. work is after having lost a child. (because, you know, I can’t do anything w/o someone else doing it first)

    I lost my first child at birth due to lethal anomalies. And here I am mere weeks from giving birth to my second (seemingly healthy) child.

    Every day, due to my history, my heart tells me this: “omgz you have lost the most precious gift — so to receive it again and to not relish every moment by staying at home is nutso.”

    No matter what I decide though, I fear I’m destined for a ticket on the crazy train. My heart & history tell me one thing, but what is everything else telling me?

  • Katie D

    I’m a SAHM and I get harrassed by some working moms – both for “How can you stand your kids all day?! Don’t you miss your paycheck?” to “You’re so lucky, I wish my husband made the kind of money to support me.” But you nailed it on the head when you said it’s a hard adjustment being a SAHM. It’s not all bon-bons and daytime TV. In fact, it’s NEVER either of those things. I worked as a mom and I actually think being a working outside of the home mom is easier. Would I change my decision to stay at home with my kids? Never. Do I think mothers that choose to work (or have to work) are bad mothers? Never! We all have to choose what will work for our families and for ourselves. No answer is the right one, it’s just what’s right for you.

  • Anonymous

    As you point out, there is no right answer to this question and while I trust you to make that point clear, I don’t at all trust the Dr. Phil show not to try to rile up women’s deepest insecurities causing them to unmercifully judge other women’s choices. It seems wholly unfeminist to me to tear each other apart on this matter, WHICH is why I’m thrilled that you will be on the show. Save us from Dr. Phil, Dooce!

    I have chosen to stay at home with my kids, which is a function of my trying to mirror my own (relatively) happy childhood, being married to a workaholic lawyer and not having found a career that has been more fulfilling than staying home has been. But the thing that kills me about this “debate” is that they always seem to make it out as thought the choices we make for one, or two, or five, or ten years are permanent and that we are therefore permanently defined as “working” or “stay at home” moms. I have worked part-time on and off since having kids and intend to weave work into my life as my kids get older. Worrying about defining myself as one or the other kind of mother seems downright silly – life is so much more fluid than that.

    I’m glad they’ve got someone who thinks in a sublte layered way to speak on behalf of mothers. Make us proud, Heather!

  • http://alienwarfair.com Danielle

    If you could mention something about life changes necessary to be able to stay home with your kids. I think at least one parent would if they didn’t put themselves in a situation that would not allow them the financial freedom. I would and I’m working to get there.

  • http://www.freckletree.com Joy Martin-Malone

    And while I was pumping my breasts and listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs after 13 hours of taking care of my seven month old twins I had a panic attack because I read comment number seven where Ashley wants to be a stay at home wife because she is lazy. I confused the word wife for mom. Then left my head, hyperventilated and reminded myself that I can take a happy pill after I pump. Just breathe.

    Maybe you should discuss how mothers need drugs when they feel underappreciated.

  • http://yvetteshomesweethome.blogspot.com/ Yvette

    You hit the nail on the head when you said there is the idea of staying at home and then the reality of staying at home. They are polar opposites! And it is alarming when you discover this, even depressing at times. You go from earning your OWN money and a life of some independence to relying on your husband’s income and having children (in my case two) depend on you night and day. You don’t really understand the whole concept of no break (EVER!!!) until you stay at home with your children. Most husbands don’t see work as a “break”, but it is. It is a reprieve from being with your children. It gives you the opportunity to actually miss the the little rugrats ;) ! I notice that now that I am home with my kids I feel a lot of guilt if I take some time out of my day to do something for myself. Although I tell myself that I deserve this time, there is a constant nagging voice that says, “You should be doing something constructive around the house, not idling your time on away.” Do I regret my decision to stay home? No way! The thought of leaving my kids to go to work is like a knife through my heart. I know that I am fortunate to have this opportunity because not everyone does. But it took me several months to get over the shock of how different life as a SAHM is rather than what I thought it would be.

  • Kelly

    Spent months in counseling (expensive) coming to grips with this life at home. Have my MBA, a Top 10 Undergrad education…and now what am I? Who am I? I was so extremely driven and accomplished so much just to do what any not-even-high-school-grad can do and what somebody does, whether at home or a daycare center, for every single person in this world. Hardly exclusive or impressive.
    And then there’s that drive–hardwired in–contantly frustrated with the SAHM job’s repetitiveness and neverending nature. Do the laundry. (any idiot can do it). Do it again. Do it and three seconds later you’ve had yet another blowout and have to do it again. It’s not like organizing an event where it ends, you get recognition, and you do not repeat. It’s rather an endless loop…and driving hard doesn’t get you around it any faster…or better…

  • rb

    I wanted to add one other thing. My husband was a SAHD for several years. One, I got no credit for this with the mommy community. Two, he never did make any real friends because the mommy community is pretty exclusive. Three, I gained an appreciation for how stressful it is to be the sole provider. There were times when I was worried about losing my job and I would feel overwhelmed with guilt and terror. So when I read some of your commenters saying that being a SAHM has been hard on their marriage, it doesn’t surprise me. The moms at home feel undervalued and unappreciated, and the husbands are stressed out about providing. We totally had that, just in role reversal.

    When my youngest was finally old enough for preschool, my husband and I were both SO happy to have him back at work. It’s a little less pressure for me – I’m still the breadwinner by far, but we have some breathing room – and he’s a much happier dude. AND NO ONE MAKES HIM FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THIS!

  • Jennifer

    I think that there’s the whole “working mom” and “choosing to stay home mom” – but not a lot of attention is paid to the people who HAVE to work.

    My husband and I live on Long Island, NY, one of the most expensive places in the nation but this is where our families are. To live here, we have to work. Both of us. Sometimes I think my friends forget that.
    Of course the grass is always greener and sometimes they are envious of me, other times they don’t know how I do it (I don’t- I have a breakdown every few weeks, ask my daycare director) and other times well, they don’t get that I don’t want to go out for girls night – until maybe it’s 10pm and my kids are long asleep because I don’t want to miss one minute away from them when they are conscious and looking for me.

    I try to make up for my working – by being present and there- when we are together. And, I won’t even THINK about attending functions where there are no kids. My kids come with me, no kids – no party.

    I just think in this great debate, that’s a thing that is ignored. And, since you have the whole breakdown behind you and you know that people sometimes say bad things about you, tell Phil – because I know there are others like him, that say “you can stay home if you try hard enough” that I simply cannot. That fact breaks my heart every day. I simply cannot. I work to make sure they have a nice house, and a chance at growing up in a neighborhood with good people and not to mention the chance to see their grandparents every weekend. That requires me to do this and not for one second, not even one, do I really choose that. I miss them every moment and every Monday morning is a new heart break. Cutting out the cable or phone service is not going to help (because yes, I’ve had people say that to me) we need my salary in a big way and I hate that fact.

    In fact, sometimes I think about having a third child, just so I can have three months off to spend with them. Now that is a crazy thought.

    Tell em Heather.

  • Suzy

    @Sarahr

    Wowee, you are judgemental! It must be delightful for your kids to be around you all day!

  • Sarah

    I like to think that I have the best of both worlds. I have 8-month-old twin boys, and an employer who is understanding enough to allow me to work 2 days from home, and 3 days in the office. I know how lucky I am to have this arrangement, and I truly love it, but I feel guilt, too (of course). When I’m working from home, I feel guilty because I’m literally trying to balance motherhood and work. When I’m at work, I feel guilty because I’m not spending that time with my boys (although a good friend of mine, who I trust very much and who the boys adore, watches them during the day). And even on Saturdays and Sundays, I feel guilty when I want to do something for *me*, rather than spending every single minute with my kids. So I think the guilt is inevitable. But I wish more employers would be as flexible as mine, because I love the balance and wish more people could have it.

    And, I agree with the commenters who have said that some of us don’t have a choice. I have multiple sclerosis, and for this I take drugs that cost (literally) $2,500 per month. My health insurance covers my prescription relatively inexpensively, and my husband’s health insurance has a ridiculously expensive premium for spouses/family and comes with a $10,000 deductible that we can’t afford to pay every year. I’m not choosing to work because I want cable (don’t have it), an iPhone (don’t have it), a gym membership (don’t have it), or a fancy car (definitely don’t have it). I’m working because I need my health insurance.

    Anyway, I guess I’d love it if you could promote the idea that it IS possible to have a balance between work and motherhood, and that more employers should offer it. Can’t wait to see the show, and wow, do I wish I lived in L.A. so I could see Marlo blow bubbles! Such a cutie!

  • http://www.fosterhood.tumblr.com Fosterhood

    My circle of friends, who include working and stay-at-home moms, talk a lot about our guilt over feeling too educated for the monotony of motherhood.

    We know we should cherish every moment of sitting and feeding our babies, yet after years of higher education, it can feel terribly unproductive and uninteresting.

    Rebecca

  • KP

    -Maggie (#874).

    I am so sorry for your loss. I’ve been in your shoes and know exactly how you feel. We lost our eldest to unexplained pre-term labor at 23 weeks (after years of infertility treatment, and IVF to boot). As my due date approached for my second pregnancy, my mind raced on the same topic. We welcomed the most amazing perfect gift, then motherhood continued. I thought I wanted to stay at home, not only for her, but because I knew how precious this was. Life is funny though, and time taught me that I’m a much better, more patient parent, when I talk to adults about something kids for at least 4 hours a day. When the time comes, you will make the right decision for you and your family. You will relish every moment of this new gift, no matter what.

    Best wishes for a peaceful arrival for your miracle!

  • http://www.circlingtowardsthesun.blogspot.com MrsBagley

    I would love to stay at home with my baby boy, but for some, that’s just not an option. So, take breastfeeding for example. I work a 40 hr week in an office where I close my door four times a day and pump til my nipples turn purple just so my son can have the “best” (and once before bed for good measure). If I were a stay at home mom, breastfeeding would not be nearly as challenging, nor would I be chanting “just til a year, that’s all I ask” because heaven KNOWS a baby is more efficient than a freaking Medela. It’s not fair but that’s the way it is.

    Of course, if I were a SAHM, my husband would probably divorce me because I’d choose to play with my son every second rather than, you know, do housework.

  • http://cootiechronicles.blogspot.com Monica

    For the first two years of my daughter’s life I managed to stay with her at home and work full time running a business as an event planner. Yes, I gots me a touch of the crazy, combined with a big dose of cheap.

    Finally I wised up and now she’s in preschool in the morning and daycare in the afternoon and I see her maybe 3 hours a day on weekdays.

    Had I discovered the joy of daycare when she was younger, maybe I wouldn’t have forced my husband into a vasectomy at such a young age.

    I love my kid, but I love her much more in small doses.

  • http://www.catholicdems.blogspot.com Ami

    Two things here:
    a) mothers who make different choices tend to eye mothers who make the other/different choice warily b/c we are all so afraid of messing it up, this parenting gig. I think people who are busy judging other parents choices are doing so b/c they fear that they have made the wrong choice, or that by choosing the other choice, the other parents are making an implicit (and often imagined by the offendee) judgment of them, b/c they are so busy judging themselves.
    b)mothers have a cultural and societal and often familial expectation of being the person who provides everything except the money, but you can’t fill someone else’s well if your own is empty. I work outside the home part-time because it allows me to fill my well. I do not assume, however, that all women need or want to work in order to do so.

  • http://pelicans1.wordpress.com charles

    Nice stuff here.

  • karis

    Is there Daddy guilt? Can we talk about that?

  • athena

    I didn’t read through the comments to see if this was already mentioned, but something that gets to me is when career/working moms say they have no choice, they HAVE to work for financial reasons. I don’t agree. My husband and I made a choice. We could not survive on his social worker’s measly pay (another of my soapbox topics, don’t even get me started on that one). BUT I almost always figured out a way to bring in money-babysitting, paper routes, helping at a daycare so I could bring my kids along with me, and even taught myself medical transcription and begged a company to give me a shot even though I had no experience. I also cut coupons, only buy at the grocery store what is on sale and I have a coupon for, never go on vacations, have old old cars, etc. There have been times my husband has been out of work too, and we’ve made it work. Yes, we’ve run up some credit cards during those times. But honestly if it is important enough to you, you will make the sacrifices and make it work. *BTW, if you ever need babysitting for the girls I’d be happy to! I’m in your area (and I’m not LDS either!)*

  • http://myownbeautifulblog.blogspot.com/ Jacqui

    Wow, I’ve wondered if you can even read all 630 comments to your blog posts. I guess, if I ever got that many comments to my own blog (or even any), I would read every single one of them. The first time it happened, at least.

    But here goes. I am looking at this “working” mom vs. the (“non-working?”) SAHM from the opposite side of life from where you are, and here’s what I figured out. Whatever works for your family, and whatever is best for you, is the only right thing to do, and it’s nobody else’s damn business. And why on earth would somebody judge someone else’s decision about this?

    But I confess that I didn’t always see it that way. My sister chose to devote a large part of herself to a career that required she be away from her children a lot of the time. EVEN THOUGH my own family’s situation made it impossible for me to do this, even if I had wanted to (my kids had a number of medical and other issues that would have made it impossible for me to hold down even a not-very-demanding job)I used to listen to comments from my mother, such as, “I like to brag about my daughter who has TWO Master’s Degrees (my sister),” and “She’s just another woman whose children are her life (me).”

    Man, it just hurt. But I used to console myself with knowing that MY children were going to grow up and be “better” than hers were, because I had been present for every single moment of their lives, while SHE had been at work…

    Well, guess what. My sister managed to raise very fine children. And, so far as I know, she never had the experience of awakening to a phone call at 2 a.m. and seeing County Jail Inmate Phone on the caller I.D. Guess who did.

    My kids are generally fine; her kids are generally fine. And here’s what I know now: No mother says to herself, “Well I could be a better Mom, but I choose not to.”

    I wish we Moms could put this issue to rest once and for all and quit judging each other and just help each other out. I think it would make every one of us saner, and couldn’t hurt our kids any, either.

  • Amy

    I would redirect the conversation so that it’s not stay-at-home vs not-stay-at-home but focuses on empowering women (and men) to build the lives they desire. Remember: what unites us women is far greater than what divides us.

    Let’s face it, the typical 9-5 job isn’t good for raising families for moms or for dads. Is it good for kids to have a SAHM but only see their dads a few hours a day (or maybe, some days, not at all if the kids are young and the dad has long hours, a long commute, or travels)? What men missed during the women’s movement was the opportunity to refashion their lives, too, so that they could become more involved with their families. I always wondered why men didn’t seize the opportunity to work less as women started to work more.

    And, don’t forget that kids do grow up. The SAHM vs non-SAHM discussion usually focuses on families with young children. However, families should plan for different phases of family life. I see a lot of lonely moms of older kids…their kids are fairly autonomous and their volunteer services aren’t in such demand at school, leaving them with the chores of a SAHM (cleaning, calendar management, errands) but not the original focus (child rearing).

    The health insurance point someone else raised is vital. Insurance keeps many people shackled to a job.

  • Katherine

    The thing that saddens me is all the people–men or women–who say it’s a waste of a degree for SAHMs to stay at home instead of “use” them. That shows the national tendency to think that degrees are only good for getting you jobs, and beyond that, a waste of time and money. Of course, that’s one huge primary reason for getting a degree, but it doesn’t have to be the only one.

    And people who work and DON’T have degrees aren’t useless either. I know a lot of people don’t take college to its full potential, but I did, and no matter what choices I make in the future, when I have kids or not, I will NEVER regret getting my degree. It was one of the best things I could ever spend money on, and I learned more than just job-acquiring skills.

    So, regardless of whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mother, the choices you made are probably in the best interests of your families and yourselves. And I can honestly say, in the end, that I don’t think your kids will turn out any better or worse than other people because of those choices.

  • Anonymous

    I think that you should discuss how important it is for new moms (staying home or not) to get out there and make connections with new moms in their area when their babies are little. I had a lot of difficulty breastfeeding and went to a breastfeeding support group where I met the group of women I now call my co-workers. 4 of us stay at home and we spend a lot of time together. We have been that social interaction that would have been missing in our lives after leaving our jobs. We always discuss the challenges of our job as stay-at-home moms, but we also talk about how frickin’ awesome our job is. Some days you can’t beat it!

  • http://grapplesauce.wordpress.com/ Grappleseauce

    I’d love to see the conversation be about Parenting, not Motherhood.

    Including the amazing roles that fathers can play, in different kinds of families in the discussion would be amazing.

    Good luck with the trip!

  • Anonymous

    You can have it all . . . just not at the same time.

  • Cris

    Yup, totally kick the air and go “AAAHMM DR. FEEEEEEL!”

  • AW

    This came up recently in my life when I posted on FB that I was starting to feel “old” and like it was too late to be all the things I dreamed of being when I was younger. My MIL pointed out to me that I am “the most important thing any woman can be: a mother.” While I appreciate her trying to make me feel better, it also made me say, out loud, “But I want to be more than just a mother!” I have stayed home with my 14 month old son and have just gone back to school for my masters degree. Just because we choose to have children doesn’t mean we have to lose the desire to ever be anything else.

    I think you have to do what makes you the best mother you can be, and that is different for everyone. And the sooner people stop judging others for their decisions the better off we’ll all be.

  • http://www.webcoynes.blogspot.com weBcoynes

    just another twist to the whole convo (because you need more)… I am a college-educated SAHM and between 8-10am and 5-7pm EVERY day, I feel guilty about what a bad SAHM I am! I would rather eat my left arm than play cars/lego/barbies for more than 5 minutes….

    I mean, just because you CAN stay at home, does not make you a good one. I often feel like I would be a better quality parent to my kids if I worked outside the toddler/baby boredom/chaos that we call home. In addition, I am a SAHM saying, just because you stay at home, it doesn’t mean your kids will be any better in any way… AT ALL.

    Also, since I have you here…. I have a 6 mo old and I swear by Gerber medium flow nursing pads. Seriously. I wear them all day every day inside my padded bra and no leaking. EVER.

    EVER.

    and to Comment Person #1 (2? 3? 4?) whatever. Moms is just moms. No apostrophe. Unless you, as a mom, own all the other moms and then that’s just rude.

  • jessicad

    #862 I totally agree! Many of my friends claim they have to work. They drive huge suv’s, live in houses big enough for 3 families, and buy ridiculous clothes for their children. Who gives a shit if you have all that stuff? That’s so materialistic in my opinion.