Mommy wars aren’t just fueled by moms against moms, but the war is precipitated by society against moms. There is absolutely no happy medium if you are a mother, and most of us feel like we have to constantly defend our choices. For many mothers one of the most difficult choices they will make is if they work while they raise their child or if they stay at home to raise their children. Society has us set up to lose on both fronts, and this has pegged those that stay at home against those that work.
Both parties FEEL defensive.
If you are a stay at home mom, you will hear all kinds of comments from people. The comments will range from mildly offensive to just down right mean.
“I wish I could stay home and have no responsibilities.”
“Well, you have the luxury of doing all the things you do because you don’t work.”
“Don’t you feel bad spending money when you aren’t working?”
“Don’t you want to do more than just raise children and be a housewife?”
“It must be nice to have a husband that can afford to take care of you and your children!”
For the working mom the stings are no less painful, and for them the guilt is even more powerful. Most mothers, given the choice, WOULD spend as much time as they could with their children. Many mothers don’t have the option to stay at home. They may be single, widowed, divorced, or they may be married but have to work due to their financial obligations. Making the choice to work after having a child, tugs at the heart of most mothers. I’ve not met a single mom on my journey that doesn’t have conflicted feelings about working. I was once a working mom, and I know the struggle of managing the guilt kept me up at night. Mothers that are employed hear insensitive comments all the time. “You aren’t really raising your children. They spend all their time with other people.” “Don’t you feel horrible that you have to miss so many milestones because of work?” “You must have a husband that doesn’t value having a parent stay at home.” “Having to work for financial support is an excuse. You just need to budget smarter.” “Working outside of the home is a selfish choice as a mother.” As you can see, neither of the mother’s feel GOOD about the constant barrage of insensitive and thoughtless comments. The messages we hear fuel the guilt inside of our hearts, and they make us feel terrible as mothers. These messages also pin us against one another. Instead of respecting that every family is entitled to make their own choices, we feel compelled to defend our own positions by putting others down. Most of us don’t even mean to do this to each other. It just HAPPENS.
Instead of paying attention to the comments, and feeling like we need to defend our position we need to just accept our place. If you are a stay at home mom, you are absolutely working. There is no need to feel like you are less than anyone else because you aren’t contributing to the “corporate” world. In fact, I challenge you to rock your place in the word. You are not just a “STAY AT HOME MOM.” You are a CEO in charge of the well-being of the home. Not only are managing the day-to-day activities of your home, you are often the chief financial officer. You manage budgets, pay bills, and ensure that the house is clean. There are many aspects of your role that supersede the title of stay at home mom. In fact, a lot of times you aren’t even home. You are shuttling your child to and from school, appointments, and activities.
When someone asks you, “Are you just a stay at home mom?”
Respond proudly, “I’m not JUST a Stay at home mom, I’m the CEO of my child’s care.”
When you are a working mom, the guilt you feel for leaving your child is very real. There are days that you wish you could be present for the milestones, didn’t have to miss the events, concerts, or activities, and wish you could be two places at once. However, you’ve made the choice to work and that doesn’t make you selfish or any less than a mom. In fact, it’s you that makes the decision on who helps to care for your child. You are the one that is arranging their transportation. Often you are sacrificing your time off to care for your child, and you rarely take vacations because much of your time off is spent on sick days for your kids. When you wake up each day, you are not just balancing the needs of your child but also your employer. Many times you feel spread thin, exhausted and alone. No one should make you feel bad for doing the best for yourself and your family. Being a working mom makes you no less a mom, and it makes you no less involved in their lives.
Next time someone says something snarky to you about the fact that you work and raise children simply ask them:
“I have two full-time jobs. My day job and my MOM job. What is your super power?”
Every mom has a right to do what they feel best is for them. Whether it’s staying at home, working, or working from home while raising kids, it’s up to each family to make that choice. Don’t ever feel bad for your choice, and if you do feel bad, make a change. Absolutely no person can steal your joy. Don’t let others opinions change your pride in your choice. As mothers and women, we can all be helped by just being a little bit kinder to one another. No one needs to have a stupid fight about something so trivial. The truth is no one really cares what you do for a living. All most people want is for you to be happy, and for you to raise your children to not grow up to be jerks.
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