Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Great Debate (that I don't understand)

It was probably over a year ago, and I remember seeing a commercial for an Oprah episode that caught my attention. It was going to be about working moms and stay-at-home moms. For some reason, I thought this would be an informative discussion about the trials and tribulations - plus the benefits and positive side - of BOTH roles. I thought it would go something like this:
















Working m
om: I enjoy being able to do my part financially for my family. I enjoy using the skills I learned through the education I received at the University I attended. I love my career and know I am making a difference at the company I'm working. I know my children love their daycare and are learning many life-long lessons there. It is sometimes hard to try and get ready in the mornings because I, myself, am also trying to get ready, but we make it work. I do think of them and miss them, and I enjoy seeing them at the end of my work day.

Stay-at-home mom: I enjoy raising my children in my own home. It is great to go to the park whenever we want, and I'm thankful to see many of their milestones first-hand. I am able to te
ach them they way I want them to be taught, and it's great to spend time together. While I am not providing anything financially to our family, I know that I am saving us daycare cost and other financial obligations (gas to drive to work, new clothes I would need if I worked in an office, etc). It's hard somedays, but I am happy with my decision.

Boy, was I ever wrong. Instead of a friendly discussion of each woman's role that she chose, there was a nasty debate on who was doing the right thing. Each woman attacked the other. The stay-at-home mom accused the working mom of not really loving her children since she sent them away each day. She called her selfish. I cringed.

The working mom told the stay-at-home mom that she was setting a horrible example for her daughters since she did not use her college education and JUST STAYED HOME. I cringed again.

What I don't understand is why this is even debated. I don't understand why woman question other women for the decisions they make for their families about this topic.

I want to stay home. We have made it work financially. Other women enjoy their jobs and love the daycares or in-home sitters that they have found. Why would I presume to know the heart of the mother who is working...like I have some sort of crystal ball that tells me that she doesn't lover her children and she loves her paycheck more? Or why would a working mom question me as a stay-at-home mom...to think that I'm not setting a good example for my children each day because I have a bachelor's degree but decided to take time off to raise my family?

When we had Caleb in 2004, I wanted to resign from my position in the IT Department at PCRMC. But at that time, Josh was bringing home around $1600 a month as a first-year teacher. I kept crunching the numbers, but it was just not going to happen for us. We worked to pay down debt. Josh took on coaching. He taught summer school. All things we did to try and get things in order for me to stay home someday - but that's because that's what I wanted.

While I was working, though, I loved what I did. I enjoyed my co-workers. I loved my director. I loved my place of employment.

I'll never forget what one woman said to me at my church back home that really hurt. Did she mean it that way? I don't know. But at that time, I was a working mom, and it really upset me. I was holding Caleb, and as she walked by she said to him in a cutesy, baby-talk voice, "Oh, I bet you sure miss your mommy when she goes to work each day." The reason I took offense is because this woman stayed at home with her son. I assumed she was trying to get a jab in on me.

Why do women do that?

We all love our children. We are doing what we feel is best for our families. I stay home. You might work. You cherish the time you have when you come home. I cherish the time when I'm "working" at church, doing something productive outside the home.

I do understand both sides. I wish all women did.

5 comments:

kimberly anderson said...

I agree with everything you said. I am in awe of the women that stay home all day and week with there kids. I consider myself a part-time stay at home mom. And I love it. Our situation is the best for our family emotionally and financially. I wish others would be more accepting of each others life styles and not judge others.

Nel said...

I feel like so many people make their entire life a race that they have to win... they want everyone to think that what they do is best, what their kids do is best - while like you said we all do what works best for us and what makes us happy.
I know I personally want to please everyone... but deep down I need to make myself happy to except everyone elses lifestyles.

Mrs. Haid said...

I heard a phrase that works really well for when people say any comment that is critical, even if they think its constructive criticism : "What we are doing is working really well for our family. We will continue to do this until it doesn't work for us anymore."

accesskas27 said...

AMEN!!!!! I have respect for working moms as well as stay at home moms, both are very tough.... Hopefully someday women will have respect for one another.

Dionna said...

Great post. We need to encourage one another not tear each other down.

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