Career Mom vs. Stay at home Mom… Why the fight?
So I could be crazy, but I always feel like there is this invisible line that has been drawn in the sand between stay at home moms and career moms. In my head I picture a boxing ring, and that loud obnoxious announcer yelling through the speakers, ‘…and in this corner we have the full time Career Mom. Challenging her in the opposite corner we have the Stay at home mom. Good luck. Let’s get ready to rumble…’
Why does one have to be better than the other? Do we really need to be doing the whole ‘shirts’ and ‘skins’ competition? Okay, I realize that we are all wearing shirts…well most of us… but you get what I’m saying. Going to work and staying home each have their benefits and drawbacks and I could write pages about each. What is more important than anything else is that we respect one another and our choices as mothers. What’s great about this day and age is that we have the choice to do what we want and what is best for ourselves and our families.
There seems to be a lot of ridiculous stereotypes that come along with being a stay at home mom. Like that it’s somewhat an easier task than going to ‘work’ all day. I remember reading once that if they looked at all the job duties of a mother from morning until night, it would be deemed worthy of a id="mce_marker"20,000 salary. I have no idea how they came up with these numbers, but I found it entertaining. So, just in case anyone out there reading was under the impression that there was any ‘bon bon’ eating and ‘soap opera’ watching going on… I’m pretty sure most stay at home moms would disagree. One thing I struggled with the most while I was at home was the lack of interaction with other adults, and feeling unmotivated and uninspired during the day. I didn’t have an outlet for my ideas, goals or opinions, especially in the early years when there was no time to do anything except care for my young children.
I’m not sure if there are as many assumptions about career oriented mothers, but regardless, this too is a very difficult job. For a mom that works outside of the home there are many challenges that I feel get overlooked. For instance, the meal planning and household chores are forced to be done at night when moms are exhausted, or in the morning when chaos is at its peak. And then of course there is the whole scheduling and morning routine to contend with, in addition to trying to look somewhat presentable for a day at work. Not to mention that many families deal with shiftwork and crazy schedules for sports and other activities. The biggest hurdle for me was guilt. I felt guilty about wanting to go to work. I felt bad about missing out on milestones or important events. My kids never seemed to be bothered by any of it, but I certainly was.
So, I know… I’ve missed a million and one things for each type of mother. But here’s the thing, we’re all moms and that’s all that really matters. We need to be united and always playing on the same team. There are so many obstacles for moms to contend with, that the last thing we need is to be contending with each other. I remember someone saying to me that I wasn’t ‘raising my children’ when I went back to work full time. When I was at home exclusively, it was also stated many times that I should have lots of time because I was ‘just a stay at home mom’. Are you kidding me? Both comments are absolutely ridiculous.
I think at times, a lot of the comments and tension between mothers comes down to jealousy. I know when I was staying home exclusively I was so jealous of not having that interaction with other career driven adults. When I worked full time, I was always envious of the moms who got to be home with their kids all day. Jealousy is a very powerful force and sometimes we don’t even realize that it leads us to say hurtful things or treat others badly. As mother’s we need to recognize our own insecurities and be sure not to react with judgement towards others. For me, I’ve found what works best for our family and that’s all that matters. I don’t assume what works for us is what every other mom should be doing. To all the Career Moms and Stay at Home Moms alike, you’re doing a great job and try to stay out of the boxing ring.
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By Lisa Owen