Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

Because my anxiety needed a nudge or two

I remember the first time Leta ever saw an episode of Sesame Street, I think she was maybe thirteen or fourteen months old. She had woken up really early one morning, and in an effort to let Jon get some sleep before heading into his office job I took her out to the living room and turned the television to one of the kid channels. And all it took was one peep out of Elmo and Leta had found religion. Thankfully it wasn’t one that required she wear pantyhose for three hours every Sunday morning.

I AM STILL BITTER ABOUT THAT, YES.

I’m not at all ashamed to admit that Sesame Street taught Leta the alphabet. In fact, I didn’t know she knew her letters until one night just a few months after that initial exposure to Sesame Street she pointed to the sponge letters in the bathtub and identified each and every one correctly. It was a total freak show! I frantically called Jon into the bathroom and was all, DUDE, WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER? And he’s all, what? Is she breathing? And I’m all, BREATHING? I DON’T KNOW, BUT SHE KNOWS WHAT A Q LOOKS LIKE!

And then the next two years of our lives were Sesame Street all the time, every day, in the morning, in the night, until suddenly she graduated to the more annoying shows where the characters ask you questions and expect you to respond to the television. WHATEVER. AS IF. Leta actually caught on pretty quickly to that trickery, she knew they couldn’t hear her answers, so when Dora was all, WHERE ARE WE GOING? Leta would go, YOU KNOW WE’RE GOING TO THE TREEHOUSE, WHY ARE YOU EVEN ASKING THAT STUPID QUESTION?

God, I love that kid.

Anyway, it’s been a few years since Sesame Street was the background music in our house, and we actually miss it quite a bit. There were certain skits we’d quote to each other all the time, most of them involving Telly Monster and his incurable neuroses. And there was this one bit where a puppet was dressed up to look like Dr. Phil, except his name was Dr. Feel. And they had the actual, real-life Dr. Phil arguing with the puppet over who was the real Dr. Phil. Like:

“No, I’m Dr. Feel!”

“No, I’m Dr. Phil!”

“No, I’m Dr. Feel!”

And it goes on and on and never resolves itself. Totally hilarious.

I guess you had to be there.

We quoted that one to each other all the time, and I played Dr. Feel because of my Southern accent. So imagine me and Jon and Leta sitting around the table eating lunch, and Jon is all, No, I’m Dr. Phil! And I’m all, Naaahhh-oooooohhh! AAAHMM DR. FEEEEEEL! And Leta is all PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!

Is there a point to this story, yes I am getting there, hold yer britches.

I can’t believe I’m even attempting this, but Monday afternoon I’m flying out to Los Angeles to be on a Dr. Phil show that is taping very early Tuesday morning. And since Marlo is eating nothing but breast milk straight from the boob, she is coming with me. And since there is no way I could handle that kind of chaos by myself, Jon booked a ticket for himself. All so that I can participate in The Conversation of all Conversations, a dialogue or two about the guilt mothers feel when they go back to work, and should they stay at home, and who is right and who is wrong, and why can we not just get along? You know that conversation, it’s the one that never ends and probably never will. Because there is no right answer. OH BUT WE DO HAVE OUR OPINIONS, NOW DON’T WE.

As the producers were prepping me for the show I said, you know, some of us have this idea of what staying at home with our kids is going to be like, and then when we actually do it, when we actually Stay At Home With The Kids, it’s nothing at all like we imagined it to be. And coping with that reality can be devastating. So there’s that side of things.

Since I have this platform and your ears for a bit, is there something you think I should bring up in this conversation? Is there an angle you think needs more attention? Don’t we all sometimes feel guilty no matter what choice we make? Do you think I should at one point kick my leg in the air and go, AAAHMM DR. FEEEEEEL!

Also, if you’re in the Los Angeles area and want free tickets to be in the studio audience when I appear on the show that is taping Tuesday, August 18, you can email michael.stern@cbsparamount.com. And then stick around and meet Marlo. She can blow bubbles!

  • And right about now michael.stern@cbsparamount.com email is crashing

  • gwendolyn

    Mothers are such assholes to each other. Do what is best for you.

    Im sorry but Happy Mama = Happy Family.

    Im thinking “doctor” Phil will just try to angle towards stay at home mothers because ya know, who’s watching his show? Stay at home mothers.

  • Bring up the loneliness. Because no matter how big of an asshole you boss is, there is usually someone right next to your fuzzy cube wall feeling your pain.

  • Joules

    This dialogue is really making a hard one out of an easy one. Human beings (including women, right?) are different from each other. Why is it surprising that women make different choices based upon those differences? I love my sons fervently, but I found endless babysitting to be a bit boring for me, and so I’m happy to have an interesting job to head to in the mornings. However, I recognize that everyone feels differently about being at home and I respect women who have enough self-insight to realize that home with the kids is where they really want to be. Further, I feel fortunate that my kids are very healthy, because I’m sure it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pursue my interesting job if either child was chronically ill.

    The big issue is really how economic factors control our choices. We need to be careful that we recognize that many women have no choice at all — they must work and they must utilize whatever child care they can afford.

  • How about the guilt you feel that you are a terrible stay-at-home-mom and want to work outside the home because, really, IT WOULD BE EASIER!!

  • Kristi

    How about how you never get a mental break? Going to an office would allow me to not constantly be on the edge that is childcare. Even when my daughter is napping, it’s all, “when will she wake up? will she wake up too early? did I just hear her? what should I do while she sleeps? sleep, clean, read, relax? anything but doing work makes me feel guilty. etc., etc., etc.

    Being around kids is having your day spent in 15 minute increments. 15 minutes spent in the wrong direction can spell disaster for a kid who needs to eat, sleep, or just get the hell away from whatever is going on.

    So I can’t imagine going to an office and being able to focus on an activity for a long period of time, with no breaks except for a meeting that is scheduled or a voluntary chat with a co-worker.

    As you said, there is no right answer. And there is too much guilt. And oh, yeah, it’s because the world isn’t perfect.

  • I never knew I was supposed to feel mommy guilt until people like Dr. Phil and other mothers told me about it. Bullshit! Like, is there daddy guilt when they go to work instead of spending every minute with their kids all day? Even if they could afford not to?
    If anyone should feel guilty here, it’s the corporations that are taking more than their share of time from nearly every working family in the country, both from fathers and mothers. The companies that have made people believe it’s normal that they “have to” put in extra hours to ship products, the companies that see profitability rise and rise with “productivity.” It really pisses me off that our society is so blind to this point — almost every family I know has one parent working crazy extra hours and the other parent pulling their hair out trying to take care of the kids alone at home.
    Also, how about some meaningful part time work, corporate America? Oh, never mind. You can’t hear me anyway. WHY AM I EVEN ASKING THAT STUPID QUESTION?

  • Can’t really help with the questions, but I am totally voting for kicking your leg in the air and yelling, “AAHM Dr. Feel”.

  • Andrea M

    Remember back in school when our teachers told us to keep our eyes on our own papers? We all need to remember to do that as adults. It’s your life. They are your kids. We’re all different and life is definitely NOT one size fits all. Make a decision based on what’s good for you and your family, not on what everybody else is doing. If you need everybody else to justify your decisions, then you may need to tune into Dr. Phil for a different show…

  • Patty Grimm

    I believe some women are better at staying home with their kids than others, and if you are not one of those women, then don’t feel guilty.

    When our son was several weeks old, I agonized about going back to work (I had to, no choice there). “How could I ever leave my baby?? Blah, blah, blah” Then about at the two and a half month mark, he turned into monster child and I turned into “get me back to work now”. I went back at three months and worked full time until he was in the seventh grade, then I quit. Turns out I like to hang around with teenagers.

    I might have been ok with part time, but at this point it doesn’t matter. I’m taking him to college a week from today so any screwing up I did by working has been done and that’s that.

    Spend all your time feeling guilty about your choices and you miss the fun parts.

  • Ah, the mommy war. I really don’t think so many mothers spend their time “arguing” one side or the other. I’m pretty sure the mommy war is mostly waged against one’s self. The guilt, one way or the other, that’s the biggest enemy here.

    GL on Dr. Feel, erm, Phil.

  • Natalie

    I am a mom who works outside the home and I admire the moms who stay home – it is hard work to stay home and to have the creativity and patience to entertain and teach toddlers and preschoolers. From a financial standpoint, I had to go back to work but I also admit that I wanted/needed to for my own sanity. Having said that, I wish it was easier to have it both ways – just one day at home per week would be the best of both worlds for me personally. And I am still looking for the perfect situation to make that happen. Good luck next week on Dr. Feel.

  • Laura

    I am four days into being a stay at home mom of three school aged kids. I have been a SAHM for ten years. I hope your dialogue includes what happens to a woman when it ends – when you put your youngest on the bus for first grade and you are suddenly alone. It is worse than my PPD – by leaps and bounds. I thought I would just bask in the glory of being alone for awhile — or, just get a job and go back to work. Boy, it is hardly that simple.

  • OOOOooooo….bubbles…. ! 🙂

  • Laura

    Heather by the time my second daughter starts Kindergarten I will have logged 13 years (yes 13 years) as a stay at home mom and I would love for you to discuss expectations vs. reality because it has been a definite rollercoaster ride. The need to be the “superior wife, mother, nurse, housekeeper” haunts my every move; along with not feeling self worth because there isn’t a pay check received every Friday at 2 p.m.
    There are always plus sides; of course there are. I’m not punching a time clock for some corporate crab who monitors your every move; but I am by me; and I feel by teachers other parents and extended family measured by “how your child behaves, socializes, learns, excels at sports etc” because they have both been home with me day in and day out for the first 6 years of their lives….and ultimately, you hold the responsibility of the final outcome, that to me is the reality vs. hopeful expectations.

  • I’d love you to address what it’s like for one sister who stays at home and the other to have a full time job. I have two sisters – one who works outside the home and the other who works IN the home. There is a great deal of tension. There are strong opinions. Just trying to talk to my sisters is sometimes like trying to get an appointment. Most of my experiences with high-and-mighty opinions have come from family. I’m sure I’m not alone here. THANKS and have a great time!

  • I think that a nod should be made about the pressure we feel socially, especially those of us living in a community like Utah where SAHM is considered the “right” choice, to NOT go back as though regardless of how we feel there is only one correct way to be a mother.

    Our own guilt, if we have it, upon leaving our child in the hands of day care to return to our jobs is bad enough without the social pressure of everyone around us judging what we do even when it is the best choice for all involved.

    I am expecting my first in just one month and I cannot count how many times the men around me have said, “You’re not coming back to work though right?” NO I’m an un-wed mother-to-be that has found the magical easy button which allows to me to stay home and provide clothing and insurance for myself and my child with NO JOB! And then watching all my high school girlfriends stay at home and shake their heads sadly when I talk about my 8 week maternity leave. It’s not even guilt about what I want, it’s guilt about living up to the pressure around me. *WHEW* Anyway, I think that social pressure should definitely be part of the discussion.

  • I’m not sure if this has been mentioned but one of my big stay-at-home mom hang ups, is the fact that I work my ass off!!! I run two businesses from my house and I have a degree and I get totally pissed when someone treats me like I must be an uneducated baby factory because I don’t “work”.

    Just a little something that I think about sometimes 🙂

  • klate

    I don’t have kids, though I want them very much and think about this issue a lot, so maybe my $.02 is less…potent…but shouldn’t the issue be “please stop being so judgy!”? I get the idea of a parent feeling guilt whatever choice they make and that is, on balance internal, but it seems to be magnified exponentially by the frame of other people’s judgment.
    Don’t all Moms/Dads make the choices that they think are best for their specific selves and their specific children? Just because I might make one choice and you make another does NOT mean that you are right and I am wrong or vice versa. There always seems to be this awful game of “gotcha” going on. Again, I don’t have kids but I see it with some of my friends from time to time. They’ll cut one down because of some personal choice (oh my god can you believe she uses disposable diapers instead of cloth or plastic bottles instead of glass)to bolster the choice THEY have made.
    I don’t know. maybe it’s the 40th anniversary of Woodstock that’s making me all “give peace a chance”!

  • The main point, I think, is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for everyone. Some women want to work & don’t feel guilty – good for them. Some women want to stay home & love it – good for them too. It’s the in betweens: the ones who really want to stay home & can’t, or the ones who decide to stay home & then are miserable – those are the ones who need a little compassion and help.

    And seriously, if Dr. Phil starts going all judgy-judgemental-pants with his “and how’s that workin’ for ya?” bullshit, please in the name of all that is holy punch him in the neck. Please? I beg you. I’ll pay your bail myself.

  • I am a full-time working mom. Although I feel a certain level of guilt each day when I leave the house, I knew before having kids that I did not have the “skills” (ie: patience and bag full of tricks) necessary to stay at home full time. Lucky for me, my husband is overly qualified for that duty.

    Do I wish I had more time to spend with my son, yes. But I think we’re both better off if mommy heads to work for a few hours. Plus, we make up for it on the weekends.

    I look forward to you seeing your segment.

  • I would encourage mothers and fathers who are struggling with this to consider part-time work as an alternative if it’s feasible. I worked full-time when our daughter was born and just couldn’t get over the feeling of guilt and loss. But I also enjoy working and crave the professional stimulation (and the extra income is a big help). So I work three days a week, freeing up the other four to dote on my daughter. Of course, I still have plenty of guilt about the three days of the week when she goes to daycare, but I do feel my life has better balance.

  • Kim

    The only question I would have is to ask all women when we will get over being each others worst enemies and start just helping each other be the best parent we can be? How hard could that be, really?

  • If there’s guilt to be had in not staying home with your kids then the guilt should be spread equally between mother and father.

    When fathers are not discriminated against for choosing to take a full time role in raising their kids, then that guilt thing will either go away, or be shared equally. That’s a better topic that might drive some workplace change.

    So, I would ask Dr. Phil about his own parenting involvement. Did he and his wife have the traditional roles and did that put a strain on their marriage ever? Did he ever feel guilty for pursuing his career? I don’t know, maybe his wife worked?

    I think if you can get this beyond the mother thing and move it to a parent thing, you’ll get the discussion going in a very interesting and productive direction.

    Wish I was in LA to see the bubbles!

  • Suzy

    This debate rarely addresses those moms who HAVE to work. It’s always “oh, once you take out daycare and drycleaning, it just made sense for me to stay home.”

    There are a lot of women who are the breadwinners in their family. The guilt you can get for “selfishly” working outside the home is frustrating, especially since married women usually don’t want to reveal they bring in most of the income. (Another weird, old-fashioned issue, for another Dr. Phil . . . .)

  • Amy J.

    YES! My girlfriend and I were just talking about that this morning. How staying at home affects your relationship with your spouse, as in turning a perfectly modern day, feminist supporting guy who grew up with equal rights for women, into a retrovert to one of those men from the 1950s on Madmen!

    My husband, God love him, was in total support of women’s rights to choose everything…I am woman, hear me roar. Then I had a baby and stayed home, and when he came home in the evening it was all “where’s my dinner, why is the house a mess, what have you been doing all day and shouldn’t you be wearing makeup and kitten heels?” I kid you not. We had been together for nearly nine years and I had never so much as heard such a thing utter from his lips.

    He’s gotten better, sort of. Seven years later and two kids and he’s basically to the level of understanding that staying home like when you’re a kid in elementary school and staying home with small children all day are TWO completely different ends of the spectrum.

    So, I’d talk about dealing with being pigeonholed by some spouses into the stereotype of domestic goddess when you decide to not work, even though the modern idea of women is so vastly different than it once was. Men still, somehow, have this automatic vision of their wives staying home and raising kids and taking care of the house etc. Why?

    If you can find the answer to that one, I’ll by you a pair of kitten high heels and a starched apron!

  • I often feel guilty/jealous that I’m unable to be a SAHM, however, I have learned that while I am a good mother – there were definitely some things that I was unable to provide her. I could NEVER get the Play Dates/Mother’s Group thing down – Apparently I’M unable to play well with others. By having her in a good preschool/daycare she was exposed to other children and learned so much more than I was able to teach her. I truly believe that it’s all about balance. Good Luck on the flight out.

  • Jackie

    WOMAN HOW DARE YOU NOT TELL US WHEN THIS IS AIRING. I might be driving up to my college when it airs, but I don’t care, I’ll pull off I-95 and rent a motel room with a TV just to watch it. (Yeah, I’m kind of a big fan of yours, ma’am. Hi.)

    Love and support from the internets (all of them)!

  • sster

    Please, please, please bring up how the false debate between SAHMS and WOHMS diverts attention away from the unequal status of women, inadequate health care, and cultural isolation.

  • Well, not that I have children now, but I plan and when I do I am going back to work, but I have noticed some men I have worked with in the past look upon situations where children attend daycare with utter disdain (like, one even said to me, when I mentioned both my husband and I will work when he has kids, “Well, you shouldn’t have kids then”). Like it is a travesty that someone (mom or dad) is not home with the kid during the day, that daycare is *evil*. I feel like women, especially, may get a tough break on all sides – even if they go back to work, will their male coworkers think lesser of them for working? I feel like working moms have a hard time catching a break – no one seems to think they’re doing the right thing, aside from the working mom faction.

  • Nicole

    What I would love for you to bring up is the fact that some of us don’t even have the option to stay at home or not. Some of us HAVE to have two incomes to make ends meet and it doesn’t mean we WANT to go to work, it just means that we NEED more than one income to make sure the baby has formula and diapers and power, etc. While I do understand the Dr. Laura philosophy on this subject (in case you don’t know Dr. Laura says that you MUST be a stay at home mom/dad, child comes first, everything else second, end of story, no exceptions!) I just can’t help but realize that in today’s world most families need two incomes. Oh, is Dr. Laura gonna be there? After you kick the real Dr. Phil in the no-feeeel-good-place, can you bitch slap Dr. Laura! How fun would that be?!?! Oh oh, maybe Jerry Springer will show up????

  • Well said # 39. This is such a super charged, endless discussion, but I totally agree with your point that no one is expected to be ideally suited to any given profession, yet there is an underlying assumption that those equipped with ovaries should all have it in them to be a full time SAHM (if they choose/can choose). I am at home full time with my 2 young children because it suits my skill set, my temperament etc. But it comes at a cost to our financial security putting a lot of pressure on my husband, and that I regret.

  • Mary

    Of course there is the guilt issue, whether you are not contributing financially or you are away from your kids more than you’d like.

    As a mother who chose to go back to work, how about addressing the issue of lack of support from the common employer. Most women only get/take 6-12 weeks off and are expected to get right back into the grind of a 40+ hour week. Plus, you usually have to take PTO or some disability if you want any income during that time. You want me to believe that most babies are sleeping and eating great at that point?! If you want more than 10 weeks to spend adjusting to everything, then you pretty much have to quit your job! I’d like to see a discussion about more support from employers by offering flexible schedules, breast feeding support (pumps, designated rooms, etc) and the like.

  • deb

    Yes, there is a missing angle, and that is that this is a debate at all. Most of the conversations on this topic act as if going back to work versus staying at home is a great debate that all mothers face. It is not. It is, at best, a luxury of a choice among the wealthiest 5% of the population. It is, at best, a conversation well-to-do and somewhat well-to-do women have amongst themselves. For the rest of us–most of us–not working is not an option.

    And although this comment may sound more bitter than I actually feel on the topic (I’m pretty sure I’d work whether I had to or not because I like my work) to me it’s a blaring omission when coverage skips over the fact that the vast majority of women can’t afford to choose.

  • As a SAHM who is actually more of a work-at-home-mom, it is infuriating to me when people ask questions like, “What do you DO all day?” And in their (feeble) defense, before I had children I assumed that when I was home with one or more of them I would have all the time in the world to be the greatest domestic goddess on the planet. Now, as I groan at the stack of dishes in the kitchen sink, avert my eyes from the floor that needs mopping *again* this week, and try my best to give everything I can to my daughter, my husband, and both my husband’s business and my own, if I am asked that question there is a high likelihood that I will kick the person asking it SQUARE IN THE NUTS.

    It is also bothersome, as an educated woman who was moderately successful at her “real” job before becoming a mother, that people assume what I am doing now is time wasted and that I’m just biding my time until I can return to the workplace, where I’m actually contributing to something. Maddening.

    Now I’m getting blatherish, but on a more positive note, I see my time with my children as an investment in my future, their future, and honestly, the future of the world. For a fleeting time, I have the opportunity to change the world. What we teach our children while they’re young will stay with them forever, and if we can manage to make them compassionate, thoughtful, and honest, then their influence on the world around them will be even larger than the influence I could have on my own. When I think of how that will continue on, generation after generation, my sense of responsibility as a mother becomes overwhelmingly significant.

  • 1. I think it’s been touched on, but definitely the lack of respect that mothers have for other families to make a decision that’s best for them. We all project our own personal decisions onto other people and so many people feel personally judged by other mothers who are not doing the same thing. Whether it’s mom or dad staying at home, going to work, working from home, working part time – the judgment of others just never ends.
    2. Stay at Home dads also are often very judged – sometimes more harshly than women while they have seemingly less resources if they don’t want to hang out with women all of the time!
    3. I’m loving the comments on this post – it’s great to hear so many opinions!

  • Two things:
    1) Most of the women that I know personally (which I realize is not an excellent representation of the population at large, necessarily, but stick with me) absolutely, unilaterally support each other’s work choices (or understand each other’s lack of choices), but ALL of the mothers I know are aware of this “debate” because they have read and heard so much about it in forums like Dr. Phil’s, which seems to be where most of their guilt and defensiveness comes from. Maybe you could express this in shorter form, like, “SHUT UP DR. PHIL YOU’RE MAKING IT WORSE.”

    2) If you do not at least mention that your primary association around Dr. Phil is from Sesame Street, and attempt to recreate the sketch, I will feel sad.

    Otherwise, I think what you’ve got planned sounds good.

  • Anonymous

    I think that the guilt we make each other feel for our choices needs to be addressed. As if our self-inflicted guilt is not enough. Like one commenter who said that she chose to stay home because SHE puts her family first and it is her #1 priority. And that kids of stay-at-home parents are smarter and more well-adjusted. Those kind of statements are unfair, insensitive and exactly the type of thing that we need to stop doing to each other. It is totally possible to raise well-adjusted kids who know how much they are loved regardless which choice you make. We need to stop judging the choices (or lack thereof) of other mothers and families.

  • I totally agree with Katie (#16) that–if at all possible–it would be very nice if the show was not about “I made the right choice and you didn’t!” but about how it’s time to stop this endless guilt-trip women seem to be put on no matter what we choose. For some women the right choice is to stay at home, for others it’s to work. And even then, the choice may not feel 100% right all the time.

    Also, I think Katie’s comment #17 would totally rock, too.

  • bubli

    We are planning on having a child and the fighting has begun! We earn the same amount of money and have the same qualifications, but it is seen as CRAZY that I may want to continue working and want to share the one year leave we get in Canada.

    We finally found a fit for our family and that is all that matters. No guilt and no more listening to anyone else.

  • Shruti

    Heather,

    I am almost at the end of my beautiful pregnancy and I am about to have a daughter. I get only 6 weeks paid time off from work and since we bought a new house – I cannot afford any more time off. My mother is going to be helping out by staying with us for some time. One topic I would like you to discuss – is why are we setting “standards” for everyone to follow. Every child is unique and has different needs. Shouldn’t the mother be the best judge of that? My mom used to work all the time so that she could give us a good education and fufil our wants. I don’t resent it a bit that she had to make that choice. Here I am – 28 years later and I have learnt to do things on my own. I see children whose mothers have been at home with them and they have their own problems and are pretty successful too. Why do we need to worry about it so much. If “X” method works for you – great, it may not work for me so let me figure out what I need to do do. I never commented about which school/college or job you should be taking up or whom you marry to make your life successful – so who am I to judge what works for you where child rearing is concerned. The only part society should be playing is providing support to the mothers who want to make a “choice” – not making those choices for her. Here is where I feel we need to channel our energies. Whether it be asking for additional maternity leave to be with the child or providing support groups for new moms with all their needs. Thanks and good luck with the show. Love your blog

  • I think the angle you brought up to the producer is brilliant. It is SO different than anything a person could imagine, which is partly why being a SAHM gets so little respect, despite the lip service people pay to it being “The Most Important Job In the Wooooorrrrld” (yes, that’s always how I hear it in my head — filled with sarcasm and overblown).

    To me, the biggest, fattest, juiciest layer of guilt comes from juggling things and people. If I want a clean house, it comes at the expense of time with my kids (and I have a cleaning person every other week, BTW, so I don’t know how other women do it AT ALL). Running errands with kids is time-consuming and… well… it’s stupid. But if you wait until the weekend when the husband is around, then all your family time is sucked up running errands. I don’t know, people. I have help with sitters and cleaners, and I still feel guilty balancing the things that have to get done with the little people who need more than just three square meals and some diaper changes.

    Let’s not even talk about “me” time.

  • In reading some of the above comments, the fact that choosing to stay at home is a luxury that many women don’t have is also an incredibly important point. As is the fact that employers in the US make it a difficult choice at best, with limited-to-no maternity coverage and little support for mothers who would like to continue at their job with some leniency while their children are very young.

  • Kim

    When six weeks rolled around, I found myself not going back to work. I didn’t quit… I just didn’t return. Then it was 8 weeks, then 10 weeks, then 12. Finally I went in to clean off my desk. “I’m probably not coming back,” I told my boss. He said he knew that was going to happen. I just couldn’t do it! I couldn’t leave my baby at home, not even if Mother Theresa was babysitting him! Ultimately I still deal with a different kind of guilt, the kind that creeps up when you go to check the balance on your checking account and it says you only have $20. Guilt that kicks you in the pants when your husband asks if you can order pizza and you have to tell him NO WE’RE EATING ALDI FROZEN PIZZA BECAUSE WE’RE POOR. (Even though I love Aldi Frozen Pizza.) In the end it all worked out because Mama Bear stormed the internet for work-at-home opportunities and ended up finding a few things that actually worked. *sigh* It’s all worth it – my little guy is so friggin’ cute.

  • Laurel Lou

    There was a pretty heavy discussion on Dr. Phil a few years ago and when I watched it I had three questions:

    #1 – Why are we still discussing this? Thank you, pioneering feminists, for the choice. I’ll stay home for now, thank you very much.

    #2 – These women who go on the talk show circuit championing stay-at-home mothers – who is staying home with your children when you go on Dr. Phil, Oprah, Today, etc…

    #3 – And to the women who think women who stay home are robbing themselves, their children, society, blah blah blah – do they feel he same way about stay-at-home dads?

    Have fun!

  • Suzy

    OMG, I’m totally moving to Canada!

  • Traci

    AMEN! To #39: Kate, I’d like to be your friend!

    I feel great about my decision to work. I am a more patient and present mother for the hours I spend in my office moving paperwork, meeting deadlines and creating productivity I have never been able to duplicate at home.

    Certainly, we should be grateful for the ability to CHOOSE how we raise our families and understand that we are gaining NOTHING by the constant judging of other mothers’ decisions.

  • I kinda hope HE nudges YOU and says, “AHM NUMBER TWENNY SEEYUX.”

    Hey, when are YOU going be on Sesame Street? I think you’ve probably got the star power for it, don’t you? And how much fun would that be for you and your girls?

  • LOVE Dr. Feel. Makes me laugh every time.

    Anyway, my biggest issue with being a full-time mom is that my husband (and oh, everyone else) doesn’t understand that THIS IS MY JOB. And I don’t get coffee breaks. I don’t even get a commute, wherein I could be listening to my iPod or reading a book by someone who is less obviously on drugs than Dr. Seuss. I don’t even get to PEE by myself (most days). This job, it never ever ends. I get a couple of hours on the weekends to be utterly by myself, but that means I have to leave the house and I don’t always like to do that. There is never any downtime.

    That said, I am well aware that I am lucky enough to have this option. My temperament is such that I do not play well with others in a work situation, and my first thought upon seeing that positive pregnancy test was “Thank Jeebus, I get to quit my job!” And it’s not been easy, but it’s the best thing for our family. I see where #84 Deb is coming from, but I have to argue that my family is nowhere NEAR the top 5% of the population and we are about as far from well-to-do as you can get before you start hearing banjos. 😉

    But the sacrifices we have had to make have been worth it. I just wish the vacation plan for this job was a little more flexible.

  • First of all I remember that Dr. Feel skit on Sesame Street why I watched it I have no damn clue. But it was great, in a weird way of course.

    @JennaJenn – I’m 32 and have still watched episodes of it. Honey you are not alone 😉

    However I went back to work after my son was born and he is now 7 years old and since he started has been in advanced classes and ahead of all the students in his classes in math and english. For those who can stay at home good for them but I myself as a single parent have done an exceptional job at raising my son and am guilt free for going back to work. I think it all depends on how much time, love and attention a parent gives to their child regardless if you are a SAHM or not. Because I’m a working parent does not mean I love my child any less, he has everything he needs and more.

    I can’t wait to see the show and Marlo!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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