Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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!

  • I feel most guilty that my college degree is not getting any kind of use. At all. And I feel guilty that I always feel like I have to explain to strangers, “Oh, well, I USED to be a teacher! Swear! I have the certificate to prove it!”
    Because most strangers that I meet in the middle of the day with my kids naturally assume that since I’m home with them, I simply must be uneducated or some type of religious zealot. But when they realize that I actually had a career before, the first question is always, “When are you going back?”
    Answer?
    When I’m good and damn ready.
    Why do I feel the need to justify myself? That’s what I wrestle with most. I stay at home because it’s what I WANT to do right now. It makes me happy. That should be enough, but it never really is.
    Sara–Stay-At-Home Mom raised(very well, thank you) by a working mom.

  • Kellibean

    I think something that gets ignored in a lot of these discussions-turned-debates (all too often framed as stay-at-home vs career) is what drives us to talk about it so much. I think we’re all at least a little torn about whatever arrangement we’ve cooked up, and when we’re less than honest about our own misgivings, we’re tempted to judge anyone who’s made a different choice–or made the same choice but is unhappy, or is blowing it, or whatever.

    Another motivation to talk about it so dang much might be a hope that by hearing about others’ experiences, we’ll be able to make better choices for ourselves, and I’m not sure that holds up–there are too many variables and each situation is profoundly unique. What’s more valuable, I think, is to hear what others are doing and what’s working and not working for them about it–which yields insights and strategies for making our own arrangements more satisfying.

    But please, let’s stop applauding or decrying one model or another and agree that it takes diff’rent strokes to move the world. Yes it does.

  • 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.

  • malin

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

  • 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?!)

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • anna

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

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Suzy

    @Sarahr

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

  • 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.

  • karis

    Is there Daddy guilt? Can we talk about that?

  • 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.

  • Cris

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

  • I don’t really have anything to add to the discussion, not being a mom, I just have to say that when I first read:

    “…I’m flying out to Los Angeles to be on a Dr. Phil show…”

    my initial reaction was “Aaahhooohhh Goooo-uud Chraahhiist” and before my eyes got any further in the story, I had mental images of a Dooce vs Mormons throwdown or a Tom-Cruise-Crazy vs Dooce-on-the-side-PPD cage match.

    I was much relieved when I read on. You know…unless they pull the old switcheroo and ambush you. Good luck. 🙂

  • I especially love #59.

    I’m pregnant with our first and struggling with finding a good daycare person right now. And it sucks. But it doesn’t help having people at work getting all judge-y about the route we’re choosing. We are all doing what feels right and works out OK for everyone involved. Just because I can’t afford the extra $40 per day to go to the center affiliated with my workplace is not making me a bad parent. BEFORE THE BABY IS EVEN BORN! Sheesh.

  • So I totally just emailed that dude about tickets. I’ve been living in the south so freaking long I forgot I could actually do stuff like that now that I’m back in So Cal.

    I just thought I’d make that totally useless comment. I have absolutely nothing positive to add to the discussion of SAHM vs. Not Stay At Home Mom.

  • Anonymous

    #57, Carrie, Amen sister! You nailed it for my family.

  • You’re going to be on Dr Phil! That’s pretty exciting. He’s kinda cool, but one of his eyes always seemed off to me and now I cant stop wondering if maybe its glass? Anyhow, good luck. And I love sesame street.

  • I think you should totally say “AAAHMM DR. FEEEEEEL!”

    I also think that the SAHM/WAHM/WOHM discussion is sort of like the proverbial dead horse … it just keep being beaten. People do what works for them, either financially or psychologically (or whatever-ally). Why do we have to criticize, berate, or feel guilty for the choices we make for our families?

    Have a fab time in LA!

  • KimW

    How about the fact that some of us don’t feel guilty at all for choosing to work?
    I don’t feel happy about it all the time, and I would prefer to work fewer hours, but I still want to work.

    But, if I stayed home, I wouldn’t be happy about it all the time and I would prefer to spend more time alone.

  • Stacie

    When my son was born I knew it probably would be good for bonding and nurturing to home.

    However, I value my sanity and knew I would either hate my kid or become a woman I didn’t want to be.

    You have to bring it up. That discord between vision and reality is what sent me back to the work force.

  • Elise

    Perhaps this is already clear, but I think there is a distinction between mothers like you who work from home and thus are able to have your kids with you, albeit with the use of childcare, and mothers who have given up their profession/occupation in favor of being a full-time caregiver to their children. It seems that the needs and challenges of these two types of SAHMs are actually very different. In comparison to a traditional SAHM, a working-from-home mom hasn’t given many of the important characteristics of a working mom to be at home with her kids, such as the intellectual stimulation of work, a paycheck and the status as co-provider in the family.

  • Me

    Each mom is different. Each dad is different. All kids are different. All dynamics are different. Some parents get divorced. Some parents have long-distance relationships. Some parents are of the same gender. Some parents are truck-drivers. Some parents are in graduate school. Some parents are pursuing their under-graduate degrees. Some parents have some professional degrees. Some parents have many professional degrees. There is no one best solution that can possibly fit all families. Each family, whether nuclear or not, ultimately knows what is best for everyone involved. So therefore, my opinion on the SAHM/WOHM/WAHM/SAHD/WOHD/WAHD is this: everyone is unique. Celebrate that.

    *CELEBRATE. THAT.*

    🙂

    ~me

  • Nikki

    UGH! Good luck with that argument. I stay home and have found it IMPOSSIBLE for anyone who works to understand what I do all day. I don’t think anyone understands the other side of it.

    Oh… I have a 16 month old and the Dr. Feel episode was the first one we watched with her! We DRV’d it and still watch it! LOVE IT!

  • I watched 5 minutes of the primetime Who Wants to Be a Millionaire this week and the contestant was a dad who stayed home with his kids and Regis said, “oh, you are a stay-at-home mom? ha ha ha…” and I wondered if I was the only one bothered by that and thought that was insulting? STAY-AT-HOME-DAD, Regis!

  • Pandora

    I DARE you to do the Dr. Feel bit. In the end it will probably be the only interesting part of the show…. such shows always seem to get watered-down, sound-bited, edited, and just tend to skim the surface or re-hash the same tired (false) dichotomies and paradigms.
    So, get yer 2 cents in, then just relax and spaz out, do Dr. Feel, preface all assertions with “As I am number 26…”, sing, and whatever you do…
    Have FUN
    Also, remember, you probably reach more people with your blog than with dumb ol TV, and your readers are clearly, obviously working on the need for new expectations, definitions, and functions of family life.

  • I’ve been a stay at home mom for almost 14 years and I have to tell you what…I’ve never regretted a day of it. I’m my own boss, I do what I want when I want and that is so much better than someone else telling me what to do and how to do it.

    Of course…I don’t begrudge a woman for going back to work after she has kids at all. Being a stay at home mom is not the most glamorous or easiest of lives. I know it’s not for every woman and I would never hold it against anyone who decided work was where they wanted to be.

    Having said that…I do want to see you do the Dr. Feel bit. That would be awesome.

  • Anonymous

    First, congratulations on being on Dr. Phil. I was a working mom and am now a stay at home mom. What drives me nuts is that when I was a working mom, I had to defend myself and choice to work. Now that I am a stay at home mom, I have to defend myself and choice to stay home. Why is it that we are always under attack? Why can’t we just make our own choices about what is best for OUR families without someone else getting all up in our business?
    Oh, and good luck!

  • JubbJubb

    Then there’s quitting lucrative Wall Street job and staying at home and becoming so caught up in baby the marriage falls apart. And then going to get a doctorate so you can still mostly work from home. Then baby eventually leaves home, still angry at you that daddy went away. But that’s ok because you are teaching philosophy by then and you like that better than Wall Street or home, frankly. Then baby is grown up and has gotten over it and everybody’s happy — except of course the daddy who went away… but that is his own stupid fault!

  • I am in the same boat as TishaMarie (#23) – I work full time from my house, and take my kids to daycare. There is no other option for us – our house is tiny and my “office” doubles as my dining room so I’m in the thick of the action. Even if I had a nanny here I would get nothing done if the kids were home, so daycare works out really well. The best part is that I don’t have to deal with a commute – so my kids are in daycare really only for the 8 hours of the work day, which is a definite benefit.

    Heather – I believe you and Jon are sort of in that situation where you both work from your house and the kids are there too (when Leta isn’t in school), correct? Maybe you could talk about how you make that work (e.g., nanny, daycare, trading off baby duty, etc.) as I think there are a lot of parents who work from their houses and have to juggle kids in one way or another.

    People often ask how it works to have the kids at home while I’m working, and when I explain that they are in daycare, the response is often surprise and often judgemental. I get so tired of having to defend my choices to people like my mail delivery person, who has no kids but wonders on a weekly basis why the kids aren’t here with me during the week.

    Anyway – just another angle to the story. And, you totally have to re-enact the Dr. Feel skit (totally know that one)! Or – just lament the overall judgement of moms with the iconic “can’t we all just get along?” lament…with your southern accent turned up to full twang of course!

  • Sam

    Nice, i would also like to share this with you http://www.techmasher.com

  • If you accomplish anything, you should talk about how the stay at home moms and the working moms need to find a way not to turn on each other. Yes, working moms treat SAHM’s like they are brainless or too lazy to go out and get a job, and SAHM’s treat working moms like they don’t care as much about their kids, or are choosing a career over raising a family full time. If anything, try to get across the fact that none of us know what is going on in another persons life, and that what works for one cannot or will not work for another. I have been on both sides of this subject, and both have their ups and downs, but the thing that shocked me the most was the judgement calls made by other women, not men. Feminisim wasn’t just about giving women the right to work, it was about giving women an equal wage if they chose to work, among other things. I don’t remember anyone saying that meant that it was your duty to work as a woman, or to stay home. We need to learn to respect each others choices and our right to make the one that is right for us and our families.

  • sybann

    Oh baby, he does love to stir up the nest of fire ants with his pointy stick, does he not? Tool.

    Look – all women work and not all work is rewarding – in the home or out. But taking a superior attitude about your personal choice is just nucking futs. My bestie is stuck at home raisin – I’m stuck at work with a barren womb and what do you know? We STILL LOVE AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER. Sheesh. It ain’t that hard when you grok what really matters.

    She forgets stuff I tell her and I forget stuff she tells me because our lives are completely different. Sometimes she tells me she’s jealous and I usually counter with “your job is more important.” And it is. But that doesn’t mean she can’t think my job is more glamorous because it doesn’t come covered in bodily fluids.

    Do what you love – and don’t ever think that gives you the right to pick on your sister’s choice. Got it bishes?

  • Petri Dish

    I think Rachel #99 hit it on the head. When my husband comes home he wants to veg on the couch b/c he had a hard day. I ask him about his day, he mentions he took a luxurious one hour lunch where he sat in his truck and listened to Radiohead while eating his delicious gourmet Chick-fil-a sandwich. I am reminded that I hate left overs from last night, that I cooked, and that I wiped dirty butts all day, made breakfast, lunch and dinner for others, cleaned, did laundry, ran errands and probably didn’t even get to shower by myself.

    I have to remind my sweet husband that I don’t get a lunch break, or a commute to and from work, or birthday cake every other week, or free massages on Friday’s, or golf with the big-wigs. We quickly remind ourselves that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, that he often comes home after the kid is asleep and that kills him. He sees me in my pj’s from the night before and assumes I had this relaxing day on the couch when in fact I had every intention of putting on a bra, I just couldn’t find a free 2 minutes to do so.

    I wouldn’t go back to work (outside of the home) for all the money in the world, but I still envy the adult conversations he has Every. Single. Day. Showering has now become a luxury instead of a God-given-right.

    I don’t punch a clock or get sick days or vacation. I don’t get to leave early on Friday’s or when the big boss is on vacation. My job is 24/7 b/c even if the kid gets sick in the middle of the night, I’m on duty so my husband gets enough sleep to be on his ball game the next day. I don’t resent him or our roles within our marriage, but if he comes home and tries to take a nap and then mumbles something under his breath about Wonder Pets being too loud on the tv, so help me, I think I’ll fork him to death!

    Venting, complete.
    amanda

  • We love Sesame Street around these parts. I mean, I could do without Elmo (though the toddler could not) but I think Sesame Street is one of those rare birds that’s funny to parents AND children. (I love the Dr. Feel sketch — also Preschool Musical and the song “Pear” sung to the tune of “Hair” and Kim Cattrall teaching the word “Fabulous”)

    So, SAHM vs. WAHM

    1) It’s OK if moms want to work and don’t just do it out of financial necessity. IT’S OK FOR MOMS TO BE HAPPY TOO. IMAGINE THAT.

    2) It’s not always “the best thing” for the kids for the mom to SAH with the kids. My MIL has been watching the toddler for a year and while she is a nutjob and a half she adores my daughter and does things with her that it wouldn’t occur to me to do. The kiddo gets parents on evenings and weekends (and during the week when we’re worrying about scheduling pediatrician appointments instead of working — I mean, it’s not like I stop being a parent) and other inputs, too. She’s starting daycare when she’s 2 and I’m thrilled about it — I think she’ll love the playtime and hanging out with other kids. Also, because both my husband and I are with the baby about the same amount, we’re really coparents and can tradeoff parenting duties equally. I mean, it may be the “best thing” for your family, but my kid is happy and healthy and bonded to both her parents and knows her alphabet too.

  • Jennsa

    Ugh. As someone who has a background in counselling, I have to say this. GREAT that you’ve been invited to be on the show. But I SOOOOO won’t be watching. IMHO, I cannot look to Dr. Phil for insight into anything. Not where to go for dinner and certainly not for insight into how to fix my life. He’s a total fraud and a sell out. He’s really quite full of himself, but mostly full of shit.