Friday, September 26, 2008

Mommy Wars

On The Flipside Guest Blogger: Megrynsmom from Look It's Megryn's Mom.

Megrynsmom wrote this post on September 1, 2008 and I asked her to repost it here On The Flipside because it is a great topic. Read this post and then offer your opinion/answer in the comments. And ... don't forget to go over and visit Megrynsmom's site - she has a great blog and beautiful family. Thanks so much Megrynsmom!

Mommy Wars

Appropriately, it all begins on Labor Day. The great debate of whether to be a SAHM or to continue working outside the home.

There are no right or wrong answers here. Sacrifices are made on both sides of the fence and neither of the two choices should make a mom feel superior or inferior.

My mom was a working mom long before I was born. She worked out of necessity while raising two young boys on her own. When she married my dad and had me, she could have easily become a SAHM, however she continued working nights to contribute financially towards the well being of our family.

I have worked since I was 14 years old. I married, worked, had a baby, took a six month leave, returned to work. I worked part time, had another baby, worked part time again. Divorced, worked full time, back to part time, full time yet again. I started working at home out of necessity. When Big Mouse started college, I also took on a part time job to help with tuition and I loved it. Until I got fired. But that cloud had a silver lining as I was able to collect six months of unemployment and take a look at the bigger picture.

A lot happened in that six months, the biggest and bestest being the birth of TOF. Six weeks later, Augie Dawg returned to work, out of necessity. She has entrusted me with what I consider to be my greatest blessing, the day to day care of TOF. I'm working at home again and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Mothering is hard work. No one can make this decision for you. It comes down to doing what is best for your family and I applaud you for your choice.

So tell me how you feel.

Are you a SAHM or do you work outside the home?

What were some of the factors that lead to your decision?

Posted by Megryansmom at 9/1/08 8:20 AM

Please leave a comment/answer and please go over to my sidebar and participate in the poll on this topic.


DysFUNctional Mom said...

I stayed at home for around 2 years of each of my kids' lives. If I could change anything, I'd have stayed home the whole time until they were in Kindergarten. I don't put anyone else down for their choices, but for me, staying at home with my kids was the right thing to do. I would'nt trade those years for anything. That's also one reason (2nd) hubby and I chose not have a child together; financially I just couldn't SAH with another child and that's not something I'm willing to do.

dani said...

i was an engieering consultant before katherine was born. being a consultant, i was able to arrange my contracts to expire a couple of months before she was born.
i stayed at home with her until she was three. then went back to work parttime until she was 9 (she went to work with me when she wasn't in school).
during her fourth grade year, i became a kids hope usa mentor/volunteer and did that for a couple of years.
i've been home since then.
all this to say... i think if a woman has the luxury of having the choice, she should weigh the situation along the way and do what's best at the time for all involved:)

bermudabluez said...

I always worked full time as a professional outside of the home while my daugher went to day care. My husband and I divorced and I became a single mom which made working all that much harder. I remarried and remained a full time worker until my daughter was in middle school, when I was able to go part-time at the same job. Yes, I took work home with me, but it still allowed me to be home more for her. I was forced to leave the workforce when I was only 40 due to health issues. I have never gone back to a full time professional job because I am not able to. But it all worked out for me in the end. I think in today's world, it is almost a necessity to have two incomes for families with children. But then again, it is a very personal choice!

Courtney said...

For our family, we have to have two incomes to be able to save and have some extra spending money. I wish that I could be a SAHM, but right now, it is not feasable. My kids are in daycare full time and it is what works for our family!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I was a SAHM of 4 for 18 years (I did work a part-time job of 5 hours a week). I just couldn't imagine anyone else spending the day with my kids--there was nowhere else I'd rather be.

My husband and I planned for me to be a SAHM since the day we were married.

Now that the nest is almost empty (2 high schoolers left at home), I'm at school full-time working on my teaching credential.

I expect to have a fulfilling career of 20 or more years once my kids are gone.

That said, my choice was for me only, everyone should do what he/she wants when raising their family.

Melissa said...

I'm a SAHM. Thankfully we are in a position financially that we can afford to do this.

If things were different I would be working fulltime just like A LOT of other mothers I hang out with.

I think there are good things that come from both situations (WM and SAHM).

georgie said...

I worked up until my oldest bean started Kindergarten...then i realized how much i had missed out on working when they were that I NEED to go back to work I feel it is even more important to be a much more goes on during the tween teen yrs...I dont want them to be latch key beans and i dont like depending on others to get my beans to one practice or another...ima controll freak!

common mom said...

I am a working mom. I worked full time until my firstborn was 3 . . . then I had #2 and started working part time. I went back and forth between 36 hours, 20 hours, 34 hours, etc . . . I've finally settled on 30 hours per week and it's great. My kids had a wonderful in-home daycare provider and absolutely loved their preschool.

What factors in? Hubby is a pilot so gone a LOT! I need adult interaction that doesn't involve talking about the kids or playdates, etc. I love my job and I love what I do . . . quitting would be tough. I would love to find part-time contract jobs so I could work at home (I telecommute once a week now).

Some people have the gift of mother . . . like the lady across the street who homeschools her 7 children while her husband works in his office upstairs. I am not one of those mothers. I think I am a WONDERFUL mom . . . but I could not have stayed at home with my children all day 24/7 while Hubby was gone flying for a week straight. I really admire women who can do that . . . without screaming at their kids, which I would surely do daily if I were with them all the time without adult interaction or a hubby who came home in the evening.

With that said . . . I would LOVE at this point in my life to be a SAHM. I'm already home when the kids go to school and get home . . . but I'd love to have the day to do the stuff I need to get done so I didn't have to drag them along on the weekends or in the evenings after soccer and gymnastics and whatever else. I want to have that time to play.

We just paid Princess' last tuition bill (she's in private kindergarden) . . . and Hubby got a promotion. So maybe, just MAYBE, by next summer we can swing me being a SAHM without giving up any of the fun things we like to do.

Wow - guess I hijacked the blog with my comment - sorry!!!

Ellyn said...

I stay home with our kids. I had a great job before kids and the workforce will still be there when they are in school. For now this is what is best for our family. I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything. We are so fortunate that my husband can earn enough to support us without any income from me.

Stella said...

My main motivation was money. We just could not swing one salary. It would not work. I don't work to pay for daycare. It comes close to that, but not completely!

My other motivations come from the fact that I really do enjoy working. I enjoy being out of the home and bringing home a check. Staying home is not something I would enjoy. It's not something I want.

That being said, I'm a teacher. I have the best of both worlds. I am home for chunks of time that give me the opportunity to be a stay at home mom. By the time Summer is about to start I'm ready to be home with my kids. And by the time it ends, I'm ready to be back at work!

Toni said...

I am a SAHM and I opted to be because I hated my job and was pregnant. I didn't make that much and my husband received a big raise to cover my wages and it seemed like fate. Nearly 9 years later, though, I long to have something of my own and have worked long and hard to get a degree that I will be completing in the is hard, I think, whichever route you choose.

Jaina said...

I'm not even a mom yet, but I do have some opinions on the matter. My mom was a single parent until I was about 5 years old. Naturally, she had to have me in daycare so she could go to work. Don't get me wrong, I did fine, but I know it killed her to have to do it. She worked until my first brother was born when I was 11, and worked part time a few days a week for just a few months before stopping. She has been a SAHM ever since, and I now have two little brothers. She just recently started homeschooling the boys (for a large variety of reasons...they absolutely love it) My mom always regrets that I had to be in daycare, and has asked me before if it bothered me that she is able to be a SAHM with my brothers. And you know what? It doesn't. I am so thankful that our family is in a place where she CAN be at home. I think my brothers really benefit from it.
I want to be a SAHM when the time comes.

R Grigg said...

First I want to say that I am amazed at how tactfully and respectfully everyone has commented. There are heated debates about this topic and for all of the women on this blog to comment with so much class is impressive.

I worked prior to having kids and was crazy ambitious (youngest candidate for EVP of my division). My husband and I were coasting a long engagement when we found out that we were expecting (I also had "planned" on not having any children).

The oldest was born, I went back to work, my retired mom stayed with the baby.

Weeks before our baby's first bday life took another turn and we ended up moving to TX - a mere thousand miles away from my mom (sniff sniff). So, my husband made the decision that I would stay home.

What's that? you say, HE made the decision? Yes, at first he did. He had a job right off the bat, I did not. I agreed with him that we knew nothing of the reputations of local day cares and it made sense for me to stay home.

Here we are three years and a second child later and I'm still home. I'm working VERY part time in the field I wanted to work in the first place (yoga / pilates - NOT corporate money making like I fell into before).

I really love my situation and wouldn't trade it in - but my BF back home is mom of two, EVP at her company and completely content with her place as well.

Ladies, I appreciate the respect you have shown one another and I commend you all. If only there were ladies like you on tv when they interview panels of women about this topic instead of the defensive and out right rude women that go one those shows to represent American moms, working or staying home. But maybe we make for boring tv.

Michelle said...

I was a full time working mom with a more than full time job. I literally didn't see the wee ones during the week.

Then I quit and did the SAHM thing, which was 180 opposite and really hard for me to go from 60 to 0 with two mobile and VERY young children who didn't get having me around all the time (nor did I get how to do it).

Six months later, I went back to work on a part time basis, and I'm still doing that today.

BUT if I could justify giving up my salary, I'd stay home with them. They're so much fun now and there are so many things that they and I want to do... and so many times I ahve to say no to things I don't want to say no to.

I have a good balance, but the grass is ALWAYS greener.

Brittany said...

I'm a SAHM and a full-time student. I really feel that this is a family by family, and very personal decision. Some families need both parents to work, just to get by. Some women NEED to get out of the house, and working is the way to do it.

We are very blessed that my husband has a job that allows me to stay at home. Maybe someday I will have to go back to work? Maybe I'll be able to homeschool. Who knows? For now, I am just grateful and glad that I can be CEO of our home, and the full-time mommy of two great little boys! :)

Ann(ie) said...

I'm a working mom. And it's a fit for our family. I didn't have my first (hopefully not last) baby until I was 35 and I had established a career that I adore and didn't want to leave behind. I think working helps me be a better mother. I have more patience and love and attention to give to my munchkin and I'm fulfilling my thirst by day. I grew up with a working mom and it's just what I know. It's a juggling act like none other, but it's one I'm getting pretty used to. I do have to applaud the stay at home moms. They have to really work in the trenches and it's got to be exhuasting. And I think it's pretty cool we know who we are and we follow our gut on what we need to do to raise our family the best we can. Great post!!!

Rosemary Bogdan said...

I am an at-home mom. I never expected to be one. But when my first was born I took one look at him and decided it was out of the question. I was fortunate that staying at home was a financial option. I did not want to entrust the job of caring for him to anyone else. It just seemed to me I had only one chance to do this job right and I did not want to risk giving any part of that job to someone else who loved him less than I.

forgetfulone said...

I work out of necessity, mostly financial. If I had my "druthers" (maybe you know that expression), I'd stay at home. Not that I think one is better than the other. Simply because I'd rather.

Karen MEG said...

I never expected to be a SAHM. I was quite ambitious before I had my son, but it was a long road for us to have both our children. I went back to work (a 4 day work week) when he was 8 months old. And when I finally got pregnant with my daughter and had her when I was 39, I lucked out with work and was able to choose to stay home. The plan was to stay at home until both kids were in school.

My baby started junior kindergarten just 3 short weeks ago; and I actually started a little consulting on the side, taking only a couple of projects at a time. To be honest, it's been a huge confidence builder for me - I do enjoy being at home, but because I was a career person for so long, I still grapple a bit with what feels like a loss of the other part of "just me". Even now, because I've had to put my daughter into daycare two days a week to make time for client meetings and actually work at home, it eats me up a little bit with guilt.

So the consulting gig is working out just perfectly now. The intent is to grow this business more when both kids are in full days. But for now I just love the flexibility of being able to volunteer at the school and be here for the kids when they get home. And that flexibility is something that I do not wish to give up. After all, kids are only kids for so long... I need to take advantage of the fact that they still want to hang around me before they hit the teenage years.

Sorry so long winded. This has been cathartic ;)

Anonymous said...

I believe that the person should decide if they want to be a stay at home or working mom, then make the financial commitment either way. I don't think it should be the reverse. (i.e. I don't think parents should feel like they have to work if they don't want to.) I am a SAHM and we live in a metropolitan area. My husband makes about $70K gross a year. We have 4 kids, one's a baby, and 3 are in private school. We just make it work - our kids don't do "extra" things like ballet or karate. They do get to do things like Girl Scouts and music lessons through school. Quite often, things are tight but we are committed to making it work. We drive older cars. We pay off our credit cards every month. Also, we have made a conscious choice not to live in places we could not afford for me to be a SAHM, like in California. I agree - it is too expensive to live there without 2 incomes. All the more reason for y'all to come out to the midwest! I would just hate it if I wanted to stay home and couldn't. I would feel like my actions were showing that material things were more important than my kids.

But if you have a meaningful job that you love and is very fulfilling, I entirely understand that. Just for me, no job could be more fulfilling that being home with my kids. Teaching (my profession) comes close, and many days I miss it, but being a MOM still is the best career for me.

Kate said...

I'm a stay-at-home mom to my twins mostly because my salary where i was working woul dhave been entirely eaten up by daycare, so what the heck would have been the point?

I'm VERY lucky in that I am a journalist, and as such, can work freelance from home, so i can still bring in a little bit of cash that we can squirrel away. (Though the girls' increasing appetites usually eat away at that savings...)

This is such a hard topic because I know of so many moms who would love to stay home, and can't, and conversely, moms who have no desire to stay home and would prefer to be in the work force. It is a very personal decision that sometimes, unfortunately, is made by finances, and not the parents.

As a matter of fact, my sister-in-law would love to stay home with her soon-to-be born baby girl. But they cannot afford to live on one salary. So I have volunteered to watch the baby since I'm home anyway. For them, it is a little bit of consolation knowing the baby will be with the family, but still, she wont be with her mother. And that is upsetting.

I will never, ever forget the day in my mother's daycare when three children she watched (all one family) cried and cried when Mom came to pick them up because they wanted to stay with Karol. It was heartbreaking. They spent five days a week, from 8:30 to 5:30 with my mother, and they did not want to go home at the end of the day.

I feel very lucky to have the option to avoid that, but I also respect those women who want to work and do so. There is nothing wrong with putting your kids in daycare, if that is what you choose. It just isn't what WE chose.

Megryansmom said...

Ladies, thank you for taking the time to read my guest post and for your thought provoking comments. I appreciate that not one of you left rude or spiteful remarks. The decision for day to day care of children is a very important and personal one. We all do what we think is best when it comes to our kids and our best is all that we can and should do.

Kellan, thank you again for the opportunity to guest post on your blog. It was an honor.

Smiling Shelly said...

I work outside of the home. I’ve never considered it a choice; it’s just something I have always done. I don’t think I was ‘built’ to be a SAHM and while there are times when I wish I could stay home, it is not anything I would want to do on a regular basis. I’m an extrovert and I enjoy the interaction of others, my job provides me with that adult conversation that so many SAHM’s crave and my peace of mind. If my circumstances were different - if I didn’t love my job or if I didn’t have a close relationship with the people I work with or if I didn’t have the worlds most wonderful in home child care provider – then I might feel differently. I don’t think one is any better than the other, they are both equally hard; but all things considered, I am doing what is right for me and my family.