Thursday, October 1, 2009

Working vs. Staying at Home

So.

Some people with kids work. Some don't. Who cares, you say?

Well.

Apparently, a lot of people. And whichever side you find yourself on, you have no doubt felt the sting of a snarky comment from the other side of the fence.

You stay at home? Wow! You must have so much free time!
You go to work? Well, I'm not sure how you do it - I could never leave my kids with someone else.

I know I've been the "victim" of some comments that made me want to slash some tires. Like, YES I leave Olivia with a sitter and she sees her more than me on those days. YES I miss a lot of things. NO I don't really feel guilty and I don't care if you think that makes me sound shitty. NO I don't wish I could be at home. YES, I think you should promptly shove your opinions up your ass.

And, oh, I know it goes the other way, too. You threw away your education and career to just stay at home? I could never stay home, I would be too bored. I worked too hard to get where I am. As if you just gave up something great to sit around and watch Blues Clues all day.

Rude. Rude. Rude! Or...not? I don't know.

I think it really has to do with your audience and your delivery. Just like anything else. You can say something and mean one thing, and that person can take it a completely different way. Any way that you describe your choice, you are automatically giving reasons why the alternative is the lesser choice.

Why do I work? Because I would go crazy if I was at home all day. I would eat nonstop and I would watch TV, and I would probably make Target verrrrrry profitable. I need adult interaction. I WANT my paycheck and all the benefits associated with my job. So does that mean that I'm saying that stay at home moms don't want all of those things? Or that I think they just watch TV all day and shop and falalalalala?!

One point that came up was asking where a working mom takes her child. Which seems to be an innocuous question, but we all know that the delivery is everything. Let's say that I, as a working mom, ask another working mom, "Hey, where does your preshus baybee go during the day?" I'm sure that wouldn't come across as rude, but just as an inquiry.

But, how about someone who doesn't work? Who says something like, "Where does your preshus baybee GO during the day?" And you think, what the hell do you mean where does she go? Why, I leave her in her crib all day with a few bottles and a chainsaw! Duh!

Here's what I think about being a working mom: It's freaking hard. It's busy. When Olivia is awake, I spend every moment with her. I play with her, I feed her, I take way too many pictures of her. Here is my workday routine:

5 - 6 a.m. Wake, shower, COFFEE, dry hair, dress, makeup
6 - pack daycare bag, pack lunch, load car, walk the dogs
6 or 6:30 - Olivia wakes - change diaper, dress baby, give meds, bottle, play
7 - 8 leave for sitter, drive to work
8-4:30 work (M,W,F workout at lunch; T,Th run errands)
5 - pick up from sitter
5:30 get home, walk the dogs, feed Olivia and play, start dinner, bathe Olivia
6:30 put Olivia to bed
6:45 - 9 see Mark, finish and eat dinner, make bottles, set out clothes (me and Olivia), return emails/phone calls, run errands/pay bills/blog/whatever the hell else.
9 - bed.

Rinse. Repeat. And I am lucky enough to have a husband who cleans the entire house and helps with laundry and takes care of the yard. I can't imagine being single or having a lazy sloth of a husband.

I really don't care if people stay home or work. I also don't really care what people do all day when they stay home. I assume they do a LOT. When I am off for 3 or 4 days in a row, and I am with Olivia that whole time, I am EXHAUSTED. So I imagine it is exhausting to care for your child (children!) all day every day.

People say that they don't care - that they don't judge, do what's best for your family, puppies kittens rainbows. But the reality is that we DO judge each other.

I am not going to sit here and say that I haven't thought some really rude things from time to time. Not about a stay at home parent in general, but about particular situations. Like, if you can't pay your mortgage, but you still go on vacation and buy all the new Gymboree outfits because you had a coupon? I'm judging you.

And I find it really hard to believe that people don't take issue with working families - you know, the whole leaving your kid to be raised by other people thing. Because if I REALLY wanted to stay at home with Olivia, we could make some serious lifestyle changes and make it work. But I don't want that, and I guarantee that there are a lot of Internetters out there calling me selfish.

Tell me, my dear Internet friends. What do you think?

(Don't be assholey in my comments section, mkay?)

109 comments:

Amanda said...

I *think* that balancing a work life and family life sets a great example for your children. I think boys benefit by having a strong female presence in the house and girls see that they don't have to choose between family and career. I think that's a terrific lesson to teach your children.

I'm a female engineer and it annoys the hell of out of me that I'm the only female engineer in my office (and very few in the entire company) and the only fulltime woman. I know I'll be giving up a lot when I go back to work, but honestly, we need my income. I won't feel guilty when my family is taking a vacation somewhere nice or my kid can afford college because we've put away for it (things we wouldn't be able to do if I didn't work).

liz said...

Great post. I plan to return to work after my child is born in December. I'm the primary breadwinner so I don't have much choice. But out of self-interest, I do get frustrated when smart, talented women in my field (I'm a lawyer) leave to stay home with kids. That means that there are precious few women at the top levels who make it possible for the younger female attorneys to get things like promotions and reasonable maternity leave.

Mrs. Higrens said...

This is one of my biggest concerns - I've always assumed I'd be a SAHM, but what if it's really better for ME and kiddo(s) to have some time apart - me with adults, kiddo(s) with other kiddos???

There are no easy answers. And I suspect the grass is greener for both sides looking over the fence.

mrsosborne06 said...

Do you have a spy cam in my head??? In the end choosing to do one thing or another is a personal choice, you kind of just have to do what you think is best for your family and ignore the digs... And I 100% agree that no matter what people say there is judging going on, on both sides!

Jaci said...

Warning: I'm bitter because Grandma the Moron gave Elizabeth a God awful haircut while I was at work, and now my daughter has a cross between a bowl cut and a mullet.

I want to be at home again. BUT (this is sort of big) I don't have some awesomely amazing career that pays big bucks--I'm a secretary. I hate my $10 an hour job. That extra $1,000 I bring home a month isn't worth it to me--especially when I come home and my kid's hair is fucked.

(Sorry I cursed on your pretty blog. I'm just so mad right now.)

If you're at a job you worked hard for and you love...why not keep working? And just because you went through a LOT to have your baby, that doesn't mean you're a selfish whore for going back to work.

Jo said...

I am a stay at home mama and yes I am busy all day and no I don't watch Blue's Clues all day (only a half hour of it.) LOL. I realize that I judged people's parenting techniques much more before I had a child. Now I get it. I understand. And even though we all do things differently, we do what works for us. Ahh, the little game called life and offspring. You know a woman in our playgroup doesn't feed her 10 month old baby solid foods?! OMG, who cares. :)

areyoukiddingme said...

I don't have the temperment to stay at home with my child. She also needs the independent social interaction that daycare brings - otherwise she would become cripplingly shy. If I were to just take her to a playgroup, she'd cling to me the whole time.

Liz's point about not enough women at the top to influence reasonable maternity leave is striking. I was lucky, and got to do what I wanted - through a combination of careful planning, decent employer options, and the help of family, I was able to be mostly off of work for 15 months, without sacrificing any of my seniority. When I hear of women who have to return to work at 6 or 12 weeks - full time - I cringe. That's barely enough time to get your hair combed.

I don't judge the SAHM's. I envy their creativity and endurance. The ones I know keep their judgements about me to themselves (or I am completely obtuse and don't notice or don't care).

Strawberry said...

I think people should keep their judgments to themselves :) Whatever works for your family is the best thing to do.

I've been staying home with my son these past 11 weeks on FMLA. I watched a lot of tv and got lonely some days. I have mixed feelings about going back to work, but I want to. Like you, I want the adult interaction, my own distractions and that paycheck.

Luckily our mothers will be watching him (and we're paying the grandma who is doing it 4 days a week). If we didn't have that, we'd find daycare.

We don't get comments from others about us both working, though we do get comments on how lucky we are that our mothers can provide daycare.

Dawn's Recipes said...

I don't think there's a wrong answer. I think families should decide what works best for them. That said, I do judge people sometimes. (Hey, I'm human too!) Your example with the mortgage and Gymboree clothes is exactly the kind of behavior I judge!

The Thai Family said...

I'm a SAHM only because my income would have been squandered away on daycare (I worked in a daycare and almost all my income would have been paying for daycare) so it didn't make sense financially for me to go back to work. I admire working mothers who get it all done. As a SAHM I don't think we have tons of free time. Sure I have more than working mothers but our lives are busy too just with other things that are all day occurances. But as a working mom you have all those worries of your child and taking care of them on top of working full time or part time. You may not be caring for her directly during the day but you are the only one who can organize what she needs during the day. I believe you have a busier day than I do. I admire working mothers for all their hard work on top of their 24/7 job of being mommy too.

Emily said...

Excellent post. I could not agree with you more.

The reality is that working vs staying at home is really just another rung on the "mommy ladder." Did you have a natural childbirth? Did you breastfeed? Does your child meet all of their developmental milestones early? It's just another way we use to judge each other.

You know what I'm for? I'm for women having a choice and being able to do what they feel is best for their family, without guilt (is that even possible?) or judgment.

Allison I. said...

This was a great post. I just recently found your blog and have never posted but I felt inclined to do so on this one. You really made me feel better. My husband and I don't have children yet and part of the reason is trying to determine how we're going to handle caring for said child once born. We are both college-educated and have great jobs. I'm in the engineering field and I love what I do and have hefty loans to show for it. My mom stayed home with me and I've always pictured myself a stay at home mom. However, here in NJ, with our enormous taxes and home prices, to give our child a nice home with a yard and hopefully a vacation and some extra curricular activities, I NEED to work. Actually, who am I kidding, I need to work now!!!! With no kids!!!!!! I've been having a really hard time accepting this, but you made it a bit easier. Having children and working in a professional environment is possible and my child won't hate me because I wasn't there for every little thing. I also appreciate your little daily break down of how you get your day going. I find myself running our the door 5 minutes late constantly and I wonder while I speeding to the office how the heck I'm going to get myself and a baby ready and to the sitter and get to work all by 8am! Sorry thhis turned into a long-dragged out sob story.....but in short - This post was awesome!

Jen said...

I think people need to do what is good for their own family, be that what it may. With my first, I worked and it was a little crazy (for me), very similar schedule to yours except both my husband and I are night owls, so bedtime wasn't until midnight or so, but a similar wake so we were always tired LOL. With our second, I arranged to work from home 3 days and my life is much more sane, but I know not everyone can do that. Plus I live downtown where both our jobs are so close even when I'm in the office the commute is maybe 7 minutes (it takes 20 mins to drop off both kids at separate places and get to work). I hate debating about why I work, whether I have to or want to, because really does it matter? To me when working the key is to find quality childcare, and when not working, provide quality activies at home. It all depends on financial circumstances, temperaments, desires, whatever, its just a choice.

CKHB said...

Heh. For a while I worked part-time, which meant I could get BOTH levels of judgment from people in the same day! I think the worst comments come from people who are insecure in their own choices, and therefore are trying to convince themselves that they've the the right -- best, only! -- decision. It's about them, not us.

And, I think I'm a better mom if I do some professional work.

Amy said...

I guess my situation is a little different, in that I WANT to work AND be with Lexi. The biggest thing with me is I don't have an opportunity to take her to playgroups and swimming classes and all the things I want.

Mel said...

I am a work at home mom, so I guess maybe I get the best (nd worst) of both worlds with double the exhaustion? I know my situation is special and not a lot of moms get the choice to do it this way. I think that there are awesome positives to both and it ultimately boils down to the heart of the mom. Different options exist for a reason, because deep down inside we aren't all the same.

I have a hard time believing that we don't all judge each other because even when we say we don't, we really do. At least I do. But I'm special like that.

B and D said...

I worked at the same company for over 10 years and made the decision to leave while 6 months pregnant in order to get some home projects done before our baby is born. That right there sent off a whole round of gossip (like why I didn't stay to at least get my maternity leave benefits, etc...). Truth? I hated my job and had been trying to figure out an alternative for the last 2 years. I felt like my contribution in a large company really didn't fulfill me and I want to find something where I can see and feel the difference I'm making. For now, that difference will be to our son when he is born next month and I couldn't be happier with the opportunity!

Do I judge others for not doing the same and staying home with their kids? Absolutely not! It is such a personal decision and I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. It is what works best for the individual and their family. If I had a job I truly loved and was passionate about the decision could have been much different or harder to make. In the end, you (as parents) will be strong influences and role models in your child's life and I don't think that you are better one way or the other.

Melissa said...

Great post.

Comments like Amanda's bother me, to be honest. I feel lucky that my son gets to see a strong female (me) choosing to stay home with him and his sister every day. I feel blessed that I did not have to "choose between family and career", like she mentions ~ as I had a wonderful career before I had children, and should I choose to once my children are older, I will again. I feel like I got both, just at different times. Luckily due to financial planning while we were both working we are still able to take our children on vacations and to save enough to pay for their college education.

I will say that I don't understand the need to put down others choices when one is confident in their own.

I love being home with my two (and another on the way). I love the adult interaction that I have with my fellow educated and insightful and kind SAHM's ~ and I love the time that I get to spend with my children during this short phase of their life which I find to be passing much too quickly. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I miss the paycheck and praise :)

Mostly I find myself grateful for the abilily to have a CHOICE ~ something so many women did not have for generations upon generations before ours. That is all that I wish for every mother ~ The ability to choose what works best for them and their family and to hold their head high and take pride in whatever choice they made, without feeling insecure enough to have to denegrate the choices of other Mama's.

Genie said...

For me, with my three year old, working is a good choice -- but I'm Canadian and had a full year off with him, and he's in my subsidized and excellent work daycare, only five minutes from my office. I'm lucky with the situation, and I think I'd have had a harder time with it had I had to leave a tiny baby instead of a 15 month old with daycare, or if the daycare wasn't close and well run.

It's a hard decision, but for me I do like working, I think I'm a better mom and a better example for my son. This is not to say that it is the same for everyone!

And I appreciate that I'm not so vulnerable as well. Stay at home moms are really vulnerable to poverty if something (God forbid!) should happen to their partners or their marriage. I think of working as insurance for my child -- I'm protecting him and his interests, because I'll be able to support him if something were to happen to his dad.

Anonymous said...

There is no right or wrong answer. You have to do what is best for you and your family. As long as you are doing what you are supposed to do and YOU are happy, then that's what matters. Who cares about what other people think. The old saying goes "What works for one won't work for everyone."

Being a SAHM I do miss adult interaction and I am over exposed to the kid world. Too much of a good thing can cause insanity. Especially when you have a 6 year old that would explode if she had to stop talking for more then 3 minutes. Most of my friends that live close by work and by the time my hubby get's home, he has interacted with more people in one day then he wants to so all he wants to do is sit on the couch and watch Tv. (he would have to work long hours even if I did work). Plus, all the money I was earning at my measly job was going towards gas and daycare. What money I did have leftover wasn't enough to piss on much less do anything major with. So I quit and we made a few expenditure changes.

Now I feel like I work harder then I did when I was working. My hubby seems to think that since I don't have a job that I'm responsible for EVERYTHING that goes on in this house. His only job is taking off the trash and he's been paying my 15yr old cousin to do that so he technically has nothing to do but go to work, sit at a desk and talk on the phone all day and then come home and sit on the couch and watch tv (talk about lazy sloth.)

I miss working but I would miss my kids if I left them, regardless of how much shyt I talk about how I spend way to much time with them I would still miss them. They'll be choosing my nursing home when I'm older so I need to spend as much time with and be as nice to them as I can be!

No matter if you are a working mom or a SAHM you are going to sacrifice something. It's either going to be time with your kids or time with adults. You just have to choose which one you want less of. Sometimes it's a personal choice, sometimes it's a necessary choice. As moms we should support each other and not judge. Now if you kids are filthy dirty, smell bad and look malnourished then I'll judge you. But other then that we have to stick together!

Lastly, I can say, that no one ever layed on their death bed and said they wish they would have spent more time at the office.

Nic said...

I would love to have a mixture of both, poss work part time and stay at home some days a week. I worked bloody hard to be a vet and spent 5 years at vet school, I do not want to give my career up but I would want to be with my baby sime of the time. I think if I could choose and money was not a problem then I would work 2 days a week as a vet and stay at home for 5. I may change my mind once I have a baby though, I cant judge anyone as I am not a mum and everyone is different.

Loretta said...

Great post. I am planning to be a SAHM if at all possible. My husband and I are currently very comfortable but we're planning to make some fairly substantial life changes in order for me to be able to SAH. For me, I can't see any other way. I have a graduate degree and a good job but in my heart I know I can't work and be the kind of mama I want to be. But other women can. Other women (like you, as you've said) probably SHOULD work. I have no judgement for either choice as long as you choose for the right reasons (the well-being of your family).

BrandiH2007 said...

Love the topic as it is one I'm torn on. I HAVE to work, no choice. I "bring home the bacon" as they say. Hubby works and works hard, but he gets laid off in the winter and doesn't make what I do. My ideal situation would be to work from home or only work part time. So far I haven't found a way to do either.

I made a comment to my husband once how I thought it was funny that I have Lillian as the background on my phone and how he has a picture of him and a fish/deer. He got upset and said "so you think that means I love her less?" Not what I meant at all, I just meant I think it's weird how we express ourselves. Same thing on the delivery though. I think its great you work. And yes husbands like yours (and mine) are amazing!

Katie said...

A lot of the same things Melissa said (well said).

I feel fortunate that I'm able to do what I always wanted - stay at home with my children.
I'm also happy that there are many mom's who work -- my sons' teachers, their principal, my OB-GYN, just to name a few.
I'm glad it's not all or nothing. Now or never. Every woman (family) should be able to make their own choices (without feeling guilty or defensive).

Jen, I've never commented before, but I always love your posts -- hilarious, insightful, well-written.

Alyssa said...

First, I think your day looks almost exactly like mine, except for a few changes, like my preshus baybee wakes at 5 a.m. and goes to bed at 7. So I completely understand wanting to spend every waking minute with your little one.
Second, I used to judge the hell out of stay-at-home moms. I honestly did. I thought all of the things you listed. And then when I was off on maternity leave, I got an idea of what it is like to never ever get a break from your child. And while you love that kid, sometimes...you need some time apart. Some days I think I've definitely got it easier as a working parent. Some days I wish I could just stay home. But man, while I always hated people who said "When you have a kid, you'll understand and change your mind about (fill in the blank)," I totally did change my opinion of moms who stay at home. I totally ate crow. It was delicious.

Kitty said...

I'm making up a new category here - moms who WANT to go to work (and feel the guilt about "wanting" to miss things with the baby) but who for whatever reason (our crappy economy, for one) can't find work. I moved for my husband's job, and I'm having trouble re-entering the job market, and of course I now feel like I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom FOREVER. And while I should just be glad that we can afford to have me at home, and yes, I recognize that that is very nice, I still want to go to work. I think it would make me a better parent to miss my kid just a little bit more. Do I love that I get to see and be part of all of the "firsts?" Yes. Do I love that my son loves me more than any other caretaker? Of course. Do I feel like stabbing myself in the eyes when he looks at me with adoration and I'm sitting there thinking, "You're cute. I need a job." YES. Jeez, it's complicated.
You do what's best for you and your family, period.

Stephanie said...

As someone who just went back to work last week, I can certainly see both sides. I really like my job, but I've been having a lot of trouble (and, I'll admit, guilt) with certain aspects of returning to work. Like the fact that I suddenly have to supplement formula because I can't produce as much milk by pumping (I feel like an industrial dairycow). Or that my baby suddenly isn't sleeping as well (is she hungry? missing nursing? what's wrong?). But I have to readjust, I guess, and she's happy at daycare. I liked seeing your schedule -- it really is all about having a regimented schedule with babies? I'm figuring that out pretty fast. Thanks for the post!

Aunt Becky said...

I think that every family is a special snowflake and no one should sit there judging anyone. Seriously. I've been in both places now, and it's bullshit. People need to live their OWN lives and not worry what someone else is doing.

Kara said...

When I first started this motherhood thing I was all worried about the positives and negatives of each (working or staying home) but the longer I'm a mom the less those things bother me. I guess I'm more confident in my role as a mother making good choices for her family now, and I think that's really what it takes. To hell with what everyone else says/thinks/feels about your life and just do what you think is best for your situation.
As always, love your posts.

kmc said...

I am a SAHM mom of 3, a three yro girl and 6 mo old twin boys. I work 10 times harder now than I ever did when I was a first grade teacher ( my previous job). Now I "work" 24/7, with no paycheck, no feedback, no outside recognition of any kind. I find it Hilarious when people/moms who work call staying at home "the easy way" . Riiiiight. Come spend 24 hours, or even 12, i beg you to spend 12 hours just watching me do what I do all day, I wont even ask you to help. Just watch me. And to all those moms who don't have twins and have two at home or even one kid, or more , and are at home all Day, not getting to have lunch with adults , not getting to even eat when you are hungry, or even pee when you need to, ( although being a teacher I was used to that already), having to deal when naptime fails, tantrums are constant and your spouse is late or out of town again, YOU KNOW that this is not a permanent date with your DVR and shopping trips to Target. This is the hardest "job" you have ever had.

Lauren said...

I always enjoy your posts, and this is a really good one. I can't speak from personal experience, not having a child and whatnot, but I admire you and all the other moms out there who deal with this constantly. I'm to the point in my life where I'm just beginning to really realize the potential of myself (it took a while), and while I'm busy in Me-land, all my friends are getting married and having children. All of the parent's situations are different, and all of them do one hell of a job. What is right for one is not going to work for the other, we weren't made to be same. Becoming a mother should just ADD to who you are, not MAKE you who you are. You know, like you're still the person you were before your baybee, with interests and wants and dreams. I hope that came out alright...sometimes when I try to be supportive I wind up digging myself a hole, lol.
ANYWAY...long story short, I admire and am in full support of you and all the other moms out there. You're a stronger woman than myself. You have a tough job and you deserve respect.

Dora Q. said...

Thanks for raising this topic. Been thinking about it a lot lately. I had my son at around the same time you had Olivia -- in March.

I recently went back to work full time. It's the right choice for me for a lot of reasons.

I think the work/home issue is just another way women all judge each other -- and I am certainly guilty of this as well, even though I try not to. We all say we don't judge. "I don't mean to judge, but . . . breastfeeding is best." Or not CIO. Or staying at home. It's endless.

I think the reason we all do this is that there are so many choices -- and we have no idea if we're making the right ones, just trying to make the right ones for our families. So, when another woman makes the same choice, it validates us. If they make a different one, it's a challenge.

I've been working so so hard on not judging, and just being confident in my own choices but it's hard. Thanks for giving me a place to think out loud!

Megan said...

I agree with everything you say here. Your choice has to be what YOU want and it has to be left at that. Nobody knows each other's personal circumstances so judgements just aren't fair. The grass will always seem greener on the other side; but we all know better to make the best of our own decisions. I, for one, choose to support the decisions of my fellow mothers as long as they are healthy and safe and out of love.

FSD said...

I think a mother's choice is a mother's choice, whatever that choice may be. Personally, I'm a full-time working mom (corporate attorney), and I hate how busy my life is and how limited my time is with my baby girl. I was fortunate to have 6 months off, so I really miss having the extra time with Zoe. BUT I don't want to sacrifice what's required in order to stay home, and I want to give Zoe the world....yet not spoil her. Also, I want Zoe to see a mom that's providing an example of "having it all" in the event she wants to follow suit when she's a mom. As such, I'm looking for a happy median. I'm in the process of going part-time with my firm, working Tu-Th only. I will take a 30% cut in pay, but I'm still on partnership track and I'm still earning a really great salary. FOR ME, I think it's the right mix of career satisfaction, extra time with my baby love, and getting the intellectual stimulation I need.

It's really tough being a mom. There's never an easy answer or solution. But I think the most important thing is for mothers to support and encourage one another even if our paths differ.

Great post.

Beverley said...

Excellent post! I wrote a similar one not too long ago had someone comment that if I REALLY wanted to stay home I could make it happen, she did it and even though they foreclosed on their home, at least she was home with the children. WTF?!

Other people told me that we could never travel, own only one car and see our home and live in an apartment and then at least I would be at home.

You do what works for you. I work really hard during the week and spend every moment I can with Lucy. I wish Rob had the job stability for me to stay home, but he doesn't. I'm the one with the steady, well-paying, benefit giving job. It is what works for us and our family right now.

PS. post more Olivia pics.

Heather Rodriguez said...

I think it would be worse for your child(ren) if you stayed home when you didn't want to. The people that watch your child(ren) during the day do so because they want to. Stay at home moms should stay home because they want to.

"Like, if you can't pay your mortgage, but you still go on vacation and buy all the new Gymboree outfits because you had a coupon? I'm judging you. "
Me too.

Bradi Nathan said...

Selfish? On the contrary. You only work part time so the topic of selfishness need not apply. We, as mothers, can have it all! I work my ass off (wish literally) while my kids are in school and then race home for the bus everyday! Rinse, repeat. Working makes me a better wife and mother at the end of the day.
I have lived on both sides of the grass to understand that it is most definitely a personal decision but I will offer this piece of advice: Working or not... Don't lose yourself in your kids.

e.k. said...

Thank you for this post! I'm in the position of staying home longer than the average maternity leave (7 months), but still having my job there to go back to. I'm simultaneously looking forward to and dreading going back to work in equal measure. I don't love my job, and we could survive without my paycheck if we had to. I *could* make it work as a SAHM. And that fact, honestly, gives me a lot of guilt. But if we want to maintain our lifestyle - an important part of which is travel, and other "extra-curricular" enrichments - then my half of the income becomes vital. And MY GOD this SAHM thing is hard to do every day.
Above all, I agree with previous commenters that the mere fact that we have this conversation is wonderful, and that women's liberation has given us the power of choice. We shouldn't be forced or coerced or guilted or judged into any one decision after we've come so far to get here. It's counter to our own cause - as women - to make others feel as if there is only one right way.
I admire how you make your family work. And I admire how SAHMs that I know, and who have posted here make their families work. We all make the world a richer place.

...and right on cue, someone has woken from his nap. break time's over!!

andrea said...

we already talked about this last weekend - but I agree with every.single.thing that you said.

I do it because I want to. (I mean, at the moment, I HAVE to as well, but regardless I would work)

just another reason why i love you!!

HereWeGoAJen said...

My thoughts have always been that it appears to me that about half of people want to work and about half want to stay home. And then about half of each of those gets to do what they want. So half of everyone is happy and half aren't. I'm one that would have been happy being a stay at home wife before the baby was born (but didn't get to) and I am perfectly happy staying at home with the baby. And I would be miserable if I had to go back to work. (I still haven't even left the baby with a sitter yet. But don't worry, I realize that I am the crazy one here.) But I don't care if you want to go back to work. ;) Help yourself. Hehe.

PJ said...

I love my job as a teacher, although I bitch about it because society has really screwed up my profession with standardized tests and mountainous bullshit like paperwork and people creating work for me to justify their jobs... but what the hell ever. It's part of my identity and I get a deep satisfaction in molding young minds, as in... I am teaching them things they may use for the rest of their lives and somehow impacting the future in a positive way. Hopefully.

And I like to eat.

I like Target too.

I get REALLY bored in the summer.

Don't know if I'll ever be a mom at this point, but I think if I had some ideal world where money was no object and I could pick and choose my hours... I'd work three days a week. I see that as ideal. But whatever! Whatever works.

I know those parents who really REALLY do a good job at it and work too, invest themselves in their kids. It's about quality, I think, more so than quantity. It is completely obvious every day who makes sure their kids' clothes are clean, packs healthy lunches, READS to/with their kids, and helps with homework. SO important. I think a lot of people don't have a clue how much work kids are.

Totally rambling...

Love the post Jen!

Nicole said...

I think about staying at home. I have a stressful full time job that pays reasonably well. I could make some big changes (like moving to the suburbs) but frankly I like my life. Child #2 will be in school before I know it and then what would I do with myself. Of course I would love a part time option. It kills me to know that my children spend more time with other people than with me.

Kristin said...

Well I must admit I had to learn how to stay at home w/my kids AND not hate them. I always worked, I went back to work when Amriah was 8 mos old and I LOVED my job. I would kill to go back to it, but having my second and then not being able to go back after having him (long boring story), to this day I would kill for it. Not only b/c I did the school thing and fought to finally get a great position close to home blah blah crap crap.

It's really hard to find balance when all you feel like is the cleaning lady. I signed up for life time of service not servitude. I miss the adult interaction like nobody's business.

I would never call anyone selfish ok except for the dumb ass hippies that won't let the build a Target close to me! I swear it's over a 35 minute drive to a Target for me but that's another story. You do what's right for you and your family, the rest can bite me in the middle crispy creme!

I will say that I want to slap anyone that says "Being a Stay At Home Mom is the hardest job", blow me. It's not a job, it's a lifestyle choice. A job you get appropriate feed back on how your doing, you get raises, you only have to work 8 hours, you kiss ass you don't wipe them.

Miss O ain't blue today, you did an amazing job!

Two Moms, Two Monkeys said...

Love the blog, just found it. One thing I've learned once we became parents is: People always have advice/opinions and you just have to learn to tell them to shove it! I'm so over being polite.

As for SAHM vs. Working mom... who the hell knows whats best. I wish I could be a SAHM sometimes because I love being home with my boys, but on the other hand I did go to school and have a job I love, with good pay and benefits, etc. that I'm not willing to give up. I like our lifestyle and want to keep it! ha! Call me selfish!

I do have the perk of having my mom watch the boys, so I don't worry as much but still, there are tons of good sitters out there so its not unheard of to leave your kids at daycare...geez people what century are we in??

I also have to deal with the fact that she will get more time with them than I will once I go back to work M-Th, but what can you do about that...

Sandy said...

I know many, many women who are SAHMs (I hate that acronym by the way, but there you go). Many of them seem very happy and content. It's what they've always wanted and they are very good at it. But many women are not fulfilled by it and do it out of guilt, fear, etc. The create their entire identity through their children, which can be wonderful until the children leave home.

I think that as women we need to set an example for our kids (and for society) by creating our own identity (even while staying home with kids), of not through paid work, than through some pursuit that is not child-related. I think blogs and the internet is making this more possible for some women.

Sandy said...

OMG! Horrendous typos! That's the last time I dictate my comments through Oscar!

Anonymous said...

I just made the extremely difficult decision to stay home with my daughter. Yes, I was in a senior management position. I made a lot of money (am posting anonymously, so NOT bragging), my benefits rocked, and we would have been able to afford the best schools and vacations for our child. I loved my colleagues, the challenges of corporate america, and the leadership skills I was honing.
This decision was the hardest I have ever made. Every day I wonder whether I did the right thing. Every day I wonder if my daughter would be better off in daycare with socialization. Every day I beat myself up thinking, "if only I were tough enough, smart enough, organized enough - I could have it all". I want my daughter to know she can conquer any career in the world if she so chooses - but am I setting a crappy example?
I am trying to take deep breaths every day, realize my decision is made, and just enjoy the time with my precious little one (which, admittedly, we ARE having a lot of fun). I miss my cleaning lady, Ann Taylor clothes, and impulsive Zappos purchases. I miss kicking ass on a deliverable at work, mentoring others, and learning new things.
But, all that aside, I am loving being a mom and am so happy with her every day - and just pray that that will translate to her being a happy child (happy mommy = happy baby, right?). I can't imagine juggling the insane hours of my job, the travel, and maintaining the demanding pace while adjusting to motherhood and really enjoying every second as I am able to now.
The point of my ramble is - are any of us ever completely content with our choices? Are we ever completely removed from guilt about this decision or that? Probably not.
Women need to stick together to do WHATEVER it is that makes each of us happy. we need to support each other and take pleasure in others' happiness, and cheer on our friends' decisions NO MATTER WHAT.

Shauna said...

I think people can just be assholey no matter what the situation.

I have to say....I think in addition to the "work or not work" assholers.......there are the "breastfeed or bottlefeed" assholers.......

I thought after adopting my son, that I wouldn't have to deal with the constant picking of the breastfeeding fanatics....pick pick pick pick....but I was wrong.

Oh...did you know that you could still breastfeed even if you adopt? It is SOO good for your baby. They will be smarter, stronger, healthier, and end up the president of the united states one day! there will be no stopping your little breastfed genius! Oh but you adopted....well, you could still try - there are things you can do to produce milk.....whatever.

I happen to take medications that would pass thru breastmilk anyway, so I have an easy excuse for the la leche nazis.....but the TRUTH is that I would NEVER breastfeed anyway. Even if I had my own baby and was on no meds and had boobs busting at the seems with the "milk of life" ---- I would still NEVER breastfeed. I'd still make my weekly $25 donation to Enfamil.

Why you ask??? Why am I such an unfit mother as the breastfeeding militia make me feel??? Well....the truth is I am NOT a bad mother because I would choose not to breastfeed. I have my reasons just as the breastfeeders have theirs.

I think this is the same type of argument that you illustrate in your post.

I say instead of fighting against each other (to prove we are the "better" mothers)....we need to stand UNITED and support each others decisions. Listen with open ears, closed mouths and open minds. Learn from each other.

Thanks for the venting space :)

ps. I also get the work vs not work slack from people. And I work part-time! I get "I can't believe you can leave your baby" to "Well you have the princess work schedule don't you?" --- It's HARD. No matter how you slice it. Working, not working,.....babies are HARD work. As long as we are doing what we believe and know in our hearts to be the best care and protection for our children that we know how to give....then other people should just keep their "assvice" to themselves.

:)

Anonymous said...

I wrote a similar post a while back. It's tough, moms are judged no matter what they do. I fortunately have the best of both worlds and own my own company and I just work part time. But I have to add something funny. My mother-in-law always worked full time and her children went to daycare full time. She calls it "babysitting" when women stay home with their children. She has actually said to me, "So you are babysitting this week?" Ha!! The first time she said it I thought she meant that I was taking in other children to care for. NO LADY I'm being a mom and caring for my son!!

Good Egg Hunting said...

Great post -- and a timely one for me, as I just had conversations with my managers yesterday in preparation for my own preshus' arrival in Jan. If you know yourself, then you know what you're capable of and what will bring you contentment -- which will rub off on your kids. If that's staying home and you have the means to do it, more power to you. But heaven forbid you be bad at the job of SAHM. I had a SAHM who complained endlessly about the life that she gave up to stay home. And now I'm in therapy. So you tell me if it would've been better for her to work!

I have grappled with this a ton personally...it's interesting because I think IF adds even another angle to it. Where I've come out on it is that I want a balance -- some work, some time at home. Luckily, I'm in a field that could allow that, and I made a proposal along these lines at my current organization. We'll see what happens.

The bottom line is that these judgmental comments come from a place of insecurity. If you're really happy in your own situation, why do you give a hoot what anyone else does? Honestly, we as a gender should really get past this. It's a choice, ladies. We could go back to the era of men giving us the (one-option) choice, but who wants that?

Leah said...

I don't see what the big deal is. I don't have kids yet, but I have friends that work and friends that stay home. Poeple dowhat's right for them and I don't get all the judgement. It seems like women are trying to create these cliques like when we were in high school. Too dramatic if you ask me. Those are my 2 cents.

freckletree. said...

I am a sahm of 8m twins.

I am on medication to make it through the day.

I don't want to work and leave my child with someone else.

But being a sahm makes me effing crazy (or maybe it's just the twins-- or maybe it's just a chemical imbalance??).

I don't have a lot of friends, so I don't get a lot of criticism . . .

Maybe that's your problem: you need to get rid of some friends.

You're welcome.

Calliope said...

I am in weird place of being a single stay at home mom. motherhood came (fucking FINALLY!) at a weird time in my life where I was relinquishing the care of my Grandmother to a nursing home. I think it will be hard for me to go back to a Career (with a Capital C) after all of this time being one person focused. But I am actually looking forward to it. someday...

MDZ said...

This is a great post! I feel like I had a little bit of both worlds. I was able to take 6 months of maternity leave with my son and felt like a SAHM during that time. The first 3-4 months were GREAT and I was so happy to be home with him and get to know him. But then I started to get lonely. And I would look forward to Tuesdays when I went to play group and could talk with other mothers. And I think I walked down every street within a 3 mile radius of my house. By the last 2 months of my maternity leave, I was gritting my teeth and getting through it because I knew that if I went back to work early, I would always regret that decision. But now that I've been back at work (3 weeks now), I'm super happy. My child is having a blast at day care (despite the constant colds) and when I see my husband at night, I can talk about something other than poopie diapers. I miss my kid when I'm at work. I try to leave the office "early" at 6 pm so that I can breastfeed my son and see him for 15 minutes before he goes to bed. And I try to make the best of our weekends together. But I'm just a happier person now that I'm back at work. I worked hard to be where I am (attorney) and it feels good to be doing what I do best.

Erin said...

Ahhh, the great daycare debate. Well, here's my stats: I'm a working mom and have 2 children in daycare. I write a check out for $900 a month to have strangers raise my kids. But you know what? I'm proud of it! I have 2 sweet, healthy, friendly, outgoing, well-rounded, kind, smart, disciplined kids. How can I feel guity about that? MONEY WELL SPENT PEOPLE. And how can I not absolutely LOVE and appreciate my daycare and the women who treat my kids just as their own? These are amazing women, and yeah, they only get paid $8.00 an hour, but they put their heart and soul into those kids damn it. Now, I realize I'm extremely lucky to have a great daycare that I love because there are a lot of shitty ones out there.
And for the record, I used to be extremely ANTI-daycare. Like HELL NO, GET AWAY FROM MY PRESHUS YOU STINKY DAYCARE LADY!! But, I changed. A lot!
And you know, props to the SAHMs out there because you moms rock. Really, you do. I couldn't do it in a million years or for a million bucks.

Delenn said...

Sorry, I am so late to the comments here! This was one of the best posts I have ever seen on this subject (granted that is partially because I see that this is going to be discussed and look away from the snark).

But hey, I totally totally have the same reasons for working--Target would be very profitable, etc.

I was recently unemployed for 4 months--and while there were some points where I just was so happy to have the time with my children--oh gosh was I SOOOO happy to finally get a job!!!

Kudos on those SAHMs, but I just could not do it.

In the end, my whole philosophy,is that it takes many types of families to make familes--whether that is talking about gays, straights, people who adopt or whatever--there is so many ways to make a family. And the best of them have one major thing--that the parents are HAPPY. And if that means they work, then they work. Whatever works for that family unit--then its all good. :-)

Paranoid said...

I've been at home since I was pregnant with my first daughter (she's now 3.5, and I have a daughter five days older than Olivia). Before I had her, I was an associate at a large law firm, working 50-60 hours on slow weeks and commuting an additional two hours a day. I loved my job, but the lifestyle was thoroughly incompatible with the kind of family life The Boy and I wanted. So we delayed having kids for about 3 years while we socked away as much money as we could, so that we could choose to have one of us stay home. We also moved to a much cheaper state when I was in my second trimester.

For me, being a SAHM isn't exactly easy, but it sure ain't hard. Our life generally moves at a relaxed pace, as there are very few places we need to be on any given day. Most days, we meet up with friends and I get a good dose of adult conversation while M gets some socialization. We spend hours at the park or the pool or other fun places. I have time to plan, shop for and cook real meals, and until I had #2, my house was generally reasonably clean (now, I'll admit, it's a mess. I still haven't figured out cleaning around a 7-month-old with separation anxiety and a death wish). It's a nice life, and 90% of the time, I'm quite content.

There are things I don't love about this gig -- there is no time off and sometimes it seems like I have someone needing me all day, every day. But the way I see it, I have the next 30-40 years to work, but I'll only get to be the mother of small children for a few more years. And so, I choose to spend my days soaking up that time, at least until DD2 weans. Selfish? You betcha. But at least I am aware of how lucky I am to be able to be this selfish right now. And for some reason, The Boy thinks it's good for the kids for me to be the primary caregiver. So it all works.

Oh, and I'm the first person to admit that I'm lazy. Give me a day off, and I'll spend the whole day on the sofa reading and watching TV, with only occasional breaks to forage for more junk food. But realistically, that kind of sloth isn't possible when there are kids in the mix. For one thing, once they get to be about 8-9 months old, they start paying attention to what's on the TV and what kind of food you've got. For another, they have this annoying habit of wanting attention. Television and books fall by the wayside very quickly (though, luckily, computer time is quite easy to wrangle if you can type with one hand and hold a nursing baby in the other).

Anabelle said...

I've been on both sides of the fence... working with a high paying career... and now being home.
They're both rediculously hard.

Being a parent is rediculously hard.

Nuf said.

MagaliesGarden said...

I read this post and have tremendous respect for the respect you have for both sides...thank you for that.

I was one of those who chose to stay at home, leave a very high paying job and making those lifestyle changes you spoke of. As in, we used to visit fancy restaurants, I used to buy clothes and I used to have a hundred bucks in my checking account at all times. Now we are struggling financially but all our bills are paid in full each month and we have NO credit card debt. Target is a fantasy for me. We buy the essentials, and for us essentials are NOT satellite or cable TV, highlights for my hair or other things we took for granted before and things my friends still have.

In the same strain, I have learned that staying at home is a LOT harder than I expected, with a colicky, refluxy baby that never sleeps during the day unless you hold her...and I struggle to get the laundry done, a meal cooked or other basic life skills like taking a shower and dressing in something other than jeans and a t-shirt.

I miss being valued for my thoughts, adult conversation, career achievement, and the other stuff besides the cashola...I miss it far more than I thought I would and was really tired of the rat race when I left my job. I have struggled since my daughter was born with feeling "worthwhile" outside the confines of my 3 month old warden. I feel isolated and poor...but,

I also get to see her smiles, coos, and all that other stuff I would miss. Some days it feels worth it and other days I honestly wish I could just call someone and escape my house, put on some goddanged khakis and sport a fresh haircut and push some paper around and make things happen magically at the office. I long for pats on the back from a boss that speaks in adult words and doesn't cry.

It's rough. I am in the midst and sitting on one side of the fence knowing it's no better on the other side and also no worse.

Thanks for bringing this up, I feel better getting it off my chest. :-)

Aimee said...

You forgot the third kind of mom...the one that works fulltime from home while having a baby there. This is what I do simply because I didn't fit into the other two options. I couldn't financially stop working and emotionally I couldn't leave the baby.

I revel in my decision to work from home. I truly feel like I have it all. When necessary, I can bring him to daycare when I'm swamped...but those days are few and far between.

I defy anyone to make judgements about my decision. I think when you create a solution that truly works 100% for your situation, it doesn't matter in the least what others think.

Amy @ Six Flower Mom said...

I always enjoy reading your posts because they seem real ... I have a great respect for that. This is a debate that I have had ... I work at a daycare (taking my children with me) until my third child was born, for the past eight years and three more children I have been home.

I have great respect for families that make it work, however that is BUT I do love to debate and so I pose these questions ...

In making the choice to have a child, should we not also be prepared to raise that child? Does it seem that our society has really changed since there is no longer a parent home caring for their children? Are these changes positive?

Just something to think about! I really enjoyed reading all the comments because a good debate is my favorite!

Faithful Infertile said...

Okay, I've done both. I was a SAHM for a a few months, now I am going back to work. I totally agree that every situation is different. Do what's right for you & screw the critics! I personally LOVE what I do, I'm an accountant & financial advisor. For me, I think it makes me a better parent to have a little time off. :)

Anonymous said...

I have done both. With my first, I worked. All the time. With my second (6 years younger), I am a SAHM. There are simply positives and negatives to both. For me, with my first, I didn't get to see enough of him, for my tastes. With my second, I do miss the intellectual stimulation I used to get from my job, and of course the paycheck. But, each time I did what was right at the time. And one of the reasons I feel comfortable taking time now, is that I established a career to go back to before. I do wonder if people are more inclined to choose work or SAH dependent on their stage of life...

Kristin said...

Jen,

I forgot to mention in my too long boring response that I do judge people but usually they are the stupid people I judge. I mean I hate that they reproduce so easy when you (and I too) had to work so hard to have our children and they are well, just stupid i.e the can't make a house payment but shop till you drop at Gymboree people! Gwad I want to slap them!

DD said...

I'm pretty much in the same boat as MagaliesGarden...almost...

When my oldest was born, I was so torn on the decision. We had buried twins the year before that were born too premature to survive and then when my now oldest daughter came along, I just couldn't leave her. We had waited 10 years for this and buried two along the way. I could not do it. But, I wasn't completely sure until the day I was due back from maternity leave. Thankfully, my boss at the time was totally understanding.

So, I gave up a very good paycheck and awesome benefits. I worked hard to get to where I was...in some ways I had to work harder then most because I didn't have a degree to back me up. I just worked hard and did my job well.

My husband was doing fantastic at his commission sales job and things were such that with some lifestyle changes, it was no problem for me to stay home. So, that's what I did.

And then I was pregnant with my youngest and the economy tanked. The great sales job suddenly wasn't so great and my husband was laid off...just one of three times in the last two years. It's been financial hell for us and I constantly look back and think "what if I had just gone back to work back then...?" I have been looking for a job, as well as my husband, but there's not much out there...especially for someone with no degree.

We are not lavish people. We haven't taken a vacation in over 5 years (when it was still just the two of us). We even cancelled a vacation that my ILs paid mostly for because we couldn't justify going on vacation with my husband currently laid off. I shop at consignment stores (for my kids...I buy NOTHING for myself) and I memorize the weekly grocery sale ads before going to the store. It's been quite a rough time, but I tell myself that I will look back someday and treasure this time I had with my girls.

I admire moms who work. I admore moms who stay at home. It is very much a personal decision. I always said that if I had a career that I went to school for and was passionate about, I would have no problem going back to work. I didn't have that. I had a job...a good paying one, but just a job. Not a career. I guess that made my decision easier (at the time).

The only beef I have in the SAHM/WM debate is when people refer to daycare as "school"... School? For a 10 month old? To me, that's just someone that went back to work that didn't want to and feels a need to justify it by undermining the SAH lifestyle. Just a minor pet peeve...

At the end of the day, people have to do what's right for them. Why can't we all just get along?

Anonymous said...

Love this post!

I honestly find the people that vocally judge others (especially in the passive-aggressive way you site in the post) are people who are un-happy with their situation.

My friends that want (wanted) to SAH and can't, can be assholey. My friends that wanted to work, but find it to make more sense to stay home, can be assholey. My favorite friends are the ones that do what works for them and their families and are happy about it. No, it's not always what we plan. My friend that works, always knew she would work, admits it wasn't as easy as she thought, but after a few months, she knew it was the right decision. I don't work, knew I wasn't going to work and it wasn't (isn't) as easy as I thought, but is the right decision.

The people who can't have what they want and can't accept that reality, have been the biggest PITA's in my experience. Not everyone in that position is PITA. I just think that bitterness plays a big role. And feeling judged. Some people I really feel for. Others, not so much.

natalie said...

Always interested to hear both sides of this debate...especially in a non-hostile way. When I had my daughter (now 7), I remember feeling pretty restless after 5 or 6 weeks at home. I needed (craved?) a little more adult interaction. Not that I didn't feel guilty as heck sometimes taking her to the sitter. I am expecting child #2 in January, and I already feel so torn about what decision to make. I'm pretty sure I will be going back to work. I think it will work better for the whole family, and I know my paycheck is necessary in order to live the way we'd like to. Not lavishly, but comfortably. I have the greatest respect for SAHMs, and working moms. It always comes done to, you have to do what works best for your family, regardless.

uncomplicateme said...

Why do people leave comments anonymously? I don't understand.

Anyway, the topic at hand. I'm totally with you. I decided during maternity leave that I'm completely not cut out to be a SAHM. I applaud and envy those that are. I crave adult interaction. The few times I've been able to work from home while B was sick or our daycare lady had a holiday, I struggle between playing with him and wanting to get work done. Everyone is wired differently, every family situation is unique, and the fact that moms are crummy to one another on both sides of the issue makes me want to vamit.

LibbyinCT said...

Hi! Love this topic!
I'm pregnant for the first time and DH and I plan for me to continue working once the twins arrive. I have a good job, a Master's degree, and frankly, our family will have more opportunities if I continue working. However, at only 9wks pg, I'm ALREADY hearing about it from people! WTH?! This is no longer 1950, or even 1980! Women outnumber men in the workforce now. There are plenty of wonderful child care providers that are well educated and are very talented and nurturing. I don't understand how whether I'm planning to leave my children with a (carefully chosen) childcare provider is anyone's business, but I definitely will not be apologetic!

I'd love to hear more from you on this topic. I think it's emotionally charged for both sides and people are probably overly sensitive to comments because no matter which option you choose I imagine there's always some element of wonder whether it's the right decision...

Lara said...

I have done both, and honestly, I see the pros and cons to both sides. I feel like you just have to decide what is right for you and your family and go with it. And sometimes it will change, as it has for me.

I will never a judge a woman for her choices, I figure that she has thought about it carefully and chosen what works best for her. Not my business. :)

I do wish people would stop with the snarky comments, though! Do your thing, and I'll do mine, and we'll all live happily ever after!

Milla said...

Very pleased to find your blog, great post. As an IFer with 0 babies I ponder on this, hypothetical-for-me, issue whilst covering maternity leaves for my colleagues and watching their choices (as disenfranchised part-timers and as bitched-about full-timers whose working-at-home days don't seem to result in much work).

I have a secure job, the pay isn't the issue but my husbands job is in a very unstable industry. If we get to have a baby we will need the security. However, as the years tick past of waiting I have started to think that if I could take a parenting 'break' from work I might, this could be all down to wanting a metaphorical break between working whilst going through IF cr*p however, which does something to take the shine off all corners of life.

Aimee said...

Hi...I'm leaving another comment. What about the woman who want to see you fail? I get this all the time! I'm asked constantly how things are going and if I'm ready to go back into an office. I'm so sick of it. I swear women love to see each other fail at what they want to do. Oh and this comes from a supposed "friend".

What I'm doing isn't easy, and I shouldn't have to make it look like a walk in the a park...and today alone I've wanted to have a few breakdowns.

But none of it means anyone should want to see me fail.

Women are rotten to eachother.

Fluffy Windover said...

Jen, I envy you because you are happy with your situation. That is what's most important, I think. I work 3 days a week but am unhappy about it and wish I could stay home full time. It's not possible financially, so I should probably instead find a way to be happy about the way things are and stop envying everyone else! Besides, I'm sure I'd last about a week of being at home before I'd start wishing I could drop my son off at daycare for a while! ;)

Nikki said...

I do not have children as of yet, so perhaps I have no right to voice my opinion, but too bad, I'm going to.

I'm not on either team. I think you have to do what is right for your family. I, personally want to be a SAHM, but I am aware that financially, I may not be able to. That's reality.

If you CAN stay and home and you CHOOSE to, good for you. If you need to work, or you choose to work, good for you. I don't think any one side is better than the other. The bottom line is: Love the kids, take care of the family. Be happy with your choices and your situations. If you're not, change them.

Julia said...

NONE ASSHOLEY COMMENT:

I've been at home since I was 8mo pregnant and have loved most of it. There are days were I wish I could get dressed and leave the house (alone) and do something productive. But the reality is I would miss being at home. I recently started watching my friends 19mo old. I have a whole new apprecation for both SAHM and working Moms. Lets face it. MOMS are the sh*t!

Jen said...

The one thing I didn't know about motherhood is how judgemental we women can be. I think it is because to some degree we all feel insecure in our choice, because contrary to women's lib you can't have it all. I chose to be a working mom, and I don't regret it and I won't apologize for it.

KristenWiley said...

I always saw myself as a SAHM. Theeeen, I became an adult, realized that money does not grow on trees, and decided that I will probably have to return to work after bearing the fruits of my loins. See, in my situation, I work for a family business, and there are perks, but right now, my husband could quit his job much more easily that I could.... and that WILL NOT happen. A SAHF he is not. His idea of parenting a baby is strapping the carseat to a tree so he can fish. (I wish I was kidding, but his parents did it to him!) So I will have my preshus baybee, and be off as long as boss/dad allows me, then enter the work force again. Because, I have to pay my bills. And don't want my baybee strapped to a tree.

Kitty said...

So I'm commenting again, after reading lots of other comments...
A pet peeve of mine is people who "congratulate" stay at home moms for their ability to do so. I'm assuming that besides the financial ability, they are alluding to the "mental ability" of a SAHM, because they don't "need adult interaction." EVERYONE needs adult, or peer, interaction. It's how we function as humans. I dare you to find a woman who stays at home who does not need interaction with her peers. If she exists, she is bizarre and I don't want to be friends with her.
I think there are a few underlying issues at the base of this debate. One of the most important is that women in the U.S. don't get nearly enough maternity leave. I don't know about you, but I barely felt like I had gotten my feet under me when my baby was 12 weeks old. 12 weeks! That's crazy, when other countries give women 6 months to a year. If we had more paid (or unpaid, with job security) leave, we wouldn't always have to make these heart-wrenching decisions.
On a related note...having found a part-time job, I started the hunt for reasonable in-home day care, and OMG, the first place I visited was TERRIFYING. I just could not leave my son there. I wonder if people have more faith in at-home care vs. established, "chain" day cares?

ktzap said...

Wonderful post! I had to leave work 3 month early last spring due to preterm labor. I am going back in two weeks. After 6 months off, yes I loved spending time with my twins, but I need something else in my life besides family. My friends think I am crazy to want to go back to work, but I feel so isolated at home. It is difficult to go out with 2 infants so I spent the summer either walking the streets with them, or sitting at home watching them sleep. It gets lonely, frustrating and overwhelming quickly. Teaching 120 6th graders history is going to be so much easier! And I think being able to have something of my own will help me become a better parent.

I love your blog, it great to hear that someone else can look at IVF (and motherhood) with such humor and understanding. Keep those posts coming!

Anonymous said...

i have the best of both worlds. i'm a teacher. i've got great hours, vacations summers off, fog and snow days, etc. no snarky comments about teacher please. you made your choice. most days i'd love to stay home, but then i realize the kids would be there too. i love my kids (2 boys, 4 & 7), i'm just tired.

Lauren.Furrer said...

Regardless of what choice you make, you end up feeling guilty.
Go back to work: Someone else raises my baby and they won't let him have his pacifier at daycare because they're assholes.
Stay home: I deprive him of interaction with other kids and turn him into a weirdo because the only example of human behavior he gets is me. And I'm a total duchebag.

Rebecca M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca M. said...

I agree with Kitty most of all -- the main issue is the ridiculous lack of real maternity leave in this country. All women should be able to care for themselves and their infants for a reasonable amount of time after birth -- and 6-12 weeks is not reasonable.

I personally do not understand the choice to have someone else raise your child(ren) when you could afford to stay home. I understand some women are the breadwinners for their families, or haven't planned well enough to be financially stable, or are single moms, and can't stay at home if they want to. That's unfortunate, but I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about you and women like you. I don't understand how you could want a baby so badly that you tried for years, spent all that money on IF treatment, just to leave her with someone else all day, every day. You literally see her for like 2 hours, 5 days a week. I'm not saying that's the wrong choice for your family, because you obviously have decided you could not be happy as a SAHM and have no respect for those of us who are. So no, your daughter would not be better off having you stay at home, shop online, watch TV, and pout all day b/c you'd rather be at work. But on an emotional, gut level, it doesn't make sense to me.

I'm confident that I'm doing the right thing for my son by being a SAHM, so don't think that I'm just insecure in my choice and therefore attacking you. (Not trying to attack anyway, just stating how I feel.) Those who say "the kids will be fine in daycare" or "they won't hate you for working" -- is that all we want for our kids, "fine"? I know that I personally missed out on so much because my mom had to work (due to my dad's financial irresponsibility). So I can't and won't do that to my kids.

Yes, I have weighed the consequences of "opting out" -- what happens if my hubby loses his job; what happens if he dies or we get divorced and I have to support my son; will my son know how smart and capable I am (I don't worry about this point too much, b/c my MIL was a SAHM and my husband knows how smart, strong, and hard-working his mom is). But those are "what ifs" that might or might not happen. To me the consequences of not staying home with my child(ren) are much more tangible, real, and immediate.

I always wanted to be a SAHM. It happened a few years earlier than I'd planned in the timeline for my life, but it still wasn't that hard to quit my job -- I didn't like it very much, my co-workers weren't that great, and I knew we would barely miss my sad little paycheck. But that doesn't mean it's all sunshine and rainbows to be home every day. Raising my son is a full-time job, and it's hard work. I make sure we go out so he's stimulated and experiences new things. I take him to the park and to playgroups so he has social interaction. I take care of my need to interact with other adults.

So I really take offense to your attitude that SAHMs don't work. You can backtrack all you want and say that you know we work hard, blah blah blah, but it comes through in several things you said in this post -- you think our lives are less busy than yours. We're doing all that stuff you listed -- working out, running errands -- AND we're doing OUR jobs -- being mothers to our kids. Yes, it is a job. No, it doesn't have a nice fat paycheck or 360-degree feedback from other adult co-workers. But why have a baby if you don't want to raise him/her?

Jen said...

Rebecca M - I could not disagree with you more, and think you didn't really even read this post before commenting.

However, major credit to you for posting under your name instead of anon. I tried to email you, but you don't have an email on your profile.

I don't think you could sound any more insecure in your decision to SAH if you tried.

Rebecca M. said...

I most certainly did read the post, and all the comments. I even revised my post b/c I realized that I didn't express myself clearly the first time.

I think you perceive hostile as insecure. Am I hostile toward the attitude expressed in your post? Yes, a little bit, because I think you showed disrespect for SAHMs, despite claiming otherwise.

Am I insecure about my decision to be a full-time mom? Not at all. Am I 100% awesome at it all the time? Of course not. Sometimes I feel "insecure" about whether or not I'm doing a great job as a mom. But never about whether this is best for my son.

I will send an e-mail to your address if I can find it on your site. I thought my e-mail address would show since I posted under my Google account.

Lauren.Furrer said...

Wow, maybe I SHOULD stay home. I'm not nearly as big a duchebag as I thought. Thanks for raising the bar, Rebecca M.

Lauren.Furrer said...

And in defense of mothers like me (ok, just in defense of me) who could stay home but choose to work and let daycare raise my baby during normal business hours mon-fri (run on sentences are my favorite thing) let me just say that I let them raise him because: *put on your judgement pants* THEY ARE BETTER AT IT THAN I AM. That's right, I said it. I stayed home with my son for about 6 months (when he was six months to a year) and here is what he learned from me in that time:
1. how to carry laundry
2. that getting chased by the vaccuum cleaner loses it's excitement after about 30 seconds.
3. that if he falls down, he doesn't have to get up himself. Mommy will pick hims ups cause hims the baaaaybeee.
4. some awesome wrestling moves
5. Mom sucks at all the "dad" games.
6. That being with mom 24 hours a day 7 days per week gets a little weird. And by a little, I mean a lot.

Now here's what he's learned at daycare:
1. Don't bite your friends
2. Other kids are so much better to play with than my lame-o mother.
3. Fire safety day at the fire department is awesome.
4. Seriously, don't bite your friends.
5. What it's like to see another kid upset or crying. Oh, empathy, that's the word I'm looking for. Because mom is a bad ass and does not cry.
6. Awesome art projects that mom would have never thought of or been able to figure out.
7. The social skills and interaction that will shape me into the future president of the United States.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I'm an anon comment from earlier...making the point the the most assholey people are those not happy with their choice...but, Rebecca M.....you kinda make the "insecure in her own decision" post for me. Thanks for the help, however bat sh** crazy.

Yikes.

P.S. I give kuddos to both sets. Working moms and stay at home moms. Different strokes, kwim?
And, after the 100th time through head, shoulders, knees and toes, I'm sunk. Rebecca M., maybe more adult interaction would teach you social skillz...

Shauna said...

OMG --- I had to read back to read the "Rebecca M" saga, I haven't been keeping up.....

WOW --- what a douche!

Rebecca: you made crappy comments such as: "haven't planned well enough to be financially stable" what an assholey thing to say. Really. Are you living under a rock or did you not know that this country is in a RECESSION????

You also said that Jen had a rude tone about stay at home moms....actually she didn't. I think if you re-read her post (with a non-judgmental mindset) you will see that she very clearly states that both situations (stay at home vs working) are HARD and are indeed WORK. She couldn't be more clear on that.

Rebecca --- wow, I don't know where you get your hostility about working moms.

Really.

Stay at home moms are NOT better than working moms.
Working moms are NOT better than stay at home moms.
Part time working moms are NOT better than full time working moms.
Get it?????
No one is better than anyone else....we are all doing the best we can.

And I take exception to the comment you said about "But why have a baby if you don't want to raise him/her?" That is bullcrap....pure bullcrap, and you are a total douche for throwing working moms under the bus like that! What about when your kids go to school??? hhhhmmmmmmmm???? When they are gone from 7am until 330pm EVERY DAY???? Will the teachers be "raising" your kids? or are you going to HOMESCHOOL them and shelter them from ALL outside interactions?

What is the difference if a child goes to daycare while a mom works (unless it is a slummy daycare run in a meth lab with a crack whore and an alcoholic watching the kids) or the kids going to school all day?

Trust me on this - working moms take very good care to spend QUALITY time with their kids. Just as much as stay at home moms do. The time we spend with our babies is QUALITY - never wasted or taken for granted. Never.

I can't believe you would treat other mothers like that in your response Rebecca. Especially pulling out the infertility card! how rude and behotchy.

by the way --- they do teach respect for others and basic manners at daycare centers. just putting that out there.

minnie said...

Well I think you are made of awsome sauce. *nods*

Anonymous said...

It's your baby, you can work if you want to!

I personally chose to stay home with the twins. Not just because I want to be run to death by two little people all day long, but because at the ho-hum job I had, I would be working ONLY to pay for day care. Not gonna work if I make only enough to pay for day care, unless of course I heart my job, which I did not.

My two older sisters bring home the bacon. And their kids are F-I-N-E, well adjusted little people. My sisters love their careers/jobs and are good at them.

I stay home and my house is a wreck. If I worked, my house would be even worse. I applaud those of you who can have a baby (or two), work, AND have a functioning household. Tis amazing.

Smooches.

April said...

I think that what works for each individual family is individual. And you have to do what works. As parents, we can only do our best when we take care of ourselves as well.

Puppies and rainbows, do what floats your boat.

Left you an award at my blog...could not help myself since I pee half the time I read your stuff.

Aimee said...

Lauren F. I love your list. Cracked me up. My kid is doomed cause all he's learning is what color to paint his pad from HGTV.

I'm going to start a new trend. I'm going to send my kid to daycare AND stay home myself. Then I win and he learns how not to be a little shit.

Anonymous said...

Reflecting back on my time as a sahm of four for over 15 full-time years all I can think now at my middle age is that it all went very fast-

Everyday as I drive home from work now I think, "Hey, I still have 20-25 years to work and earn the big bucks, but nothing could be as rewarding as being a full-time mom was."

It sounds trite, but if I live to a ripe old age of 85 and I'm laying on my deathbed I doubt that I'll wish I had earned a paycheck for those short, wonderful 15 years when I could be focused on my career as a full-time mom.

All I'm saying as I approach 50 is life is short, paychecks get spent, but time spent with your child cannot be taken away.

Deanna said...

Wow! Great topic! Lauren.F. - will you be my friend? I was laughing so hard!

I'm the primary bread winner in our family. I work full time in engineering. Hubby works full time. Our 2 year old has been in daycare since I returned to work when he was 12 weeks old. I hated leaving him at daycare. I hated the guilt that came with it...guilt for putting him in daycare...guilt for the feeling of FREEDOM when I walked out those doors and headed to my job. I was depressed for three months while on maternity leave. Stuck in the house, in the middle of winter, with porno sized boobs that would NOT quit leaking despite the fact that I only breastfed for 5 days (5 days, people...WTH is up with that?), no time outside, no freaking clue what to do with baby other than rock him in his colic-y state, going abso-fricking-lutely insane. I loved my baby, don't get me wrong...more than anything I thought possible. But staying at home everyday was not in my make-up...and I was truly surprised to learn this about myself. When I say "kuddos to stay at home moms", I'm not being condescending...I'm truly impressed and envious of what they can do because I just can't do it. Give me more than 2 days of staying home 24 hours a day with my son when my hubby is having to work a weekend rotation and I'm a tad cranky by Sunday evening.

Daycare...we have a great place with ladies who love him so much. He has severe food allergies and they know every single ingredient in every single product and hover over him to make sure there's no cross contamination. He gives them hugs and kisses, but he also comes running to mommy and daddy at the end of the day. He goes bonkers on the weekends when there's no one his size to play with. He's learned so much at daycare that I never would have thought to teach him at this young age. They do arts and crafts that I look at and can only imagine what kind of mess they made - and then am glad they did it there and not at home!

And I can guran-damn-tee you that when I do pick up my child at the end of every work day, I make sure that the time we have together is solid quality time. No ifs ands or buts. I live my life now so that I'm not looking back in 50 years wishing I had done something different. We make the best decisions we can right now with what we know and what we have and with a lot of praying.

Anonymous said...

I think what pisses me off is that we as women judge the crap out of each other. We're WOMEN. We ALL want what's best for our kids. I don't know one woman who says "who cares about my kid, it's all about me". So whatever decision you make or in some cases is made for you because of financial reasons, etc. is done in the best interest of our children.

I just we as women would stick together more and say "way to go - we're all raising our kids and working hard doing so" and stop the judgement. Being a woman and a mother is hard enough without our OWN KIND judging us!!

MamaMonkey said...

I think this entire "debate" is too high-school.

This is not a competition. This is life.

I've been a SAHM, a single mom, a part-time working mom, a full-time working mom, etc. What I know for sure is that YOU don't know my particular situation, and I don't know yours.

Bottom line is, this is my life; the number of people I hold myself accountable to resides on one hand. Guess what? YOU aren't one of them.

You wanna tell your story? Great. You wanna confer and compare experiences? Great. You wanna empathize and seek support? Great.

You wanna be a whiny/ pissy/ entitled/ judgemental asshat? Guess what? I could not care much less if I tried. Your opinion of me? Yawn, You're not on my radar. I have children to raise. I'm certainly not raising them to feel they have to win the approval of anons on the internet.

What I can't get my head around is that you're all expending so much time and energy justifying or attacking positions.

We all have to be lemmings to collectively feel good about ourselves?

Anonymous said...

Not to been mean, critical, or anything else anyone could through in, but....... I didn't have kids for someone else to raise them. But to each their own. I don't have a problem with other ladies choices, but this is what works for us. I want/need to be home for the formative years. I will go back to work when they start kindergarten. As we all know, these days are fleeting and they will be 18 before we know it.

Anonymous said...

Not to been mean, critical, or anything else anyone could through in, but....... I didn't have kids for someone else to raise them. But to each their own. I don't have a problem with other ladies choices, but this is what works for us. I want/need to be home for the formative years. I will go back to work when they start kindergarten. As we all know, these days are fleeting and they will be 18 before we know it.

Deanna said...

Excuse me? "I didn't have kids for someone else to raise them."? For not meaning to be critical, you just made a statement that sounded very critical and really p*ssed me off. Congrats.

Shauna said...

i'm curious what you do for a living anon? that you can take 5 years off and then return no problem.

i am a nurse and if i took 5 years off - i would never be able to return and function very well. Things in healthcare change too fast to be able to take that much time off.

So, before you go putting others choices down (ie: having "someone else raise your kids") maybe you could think of that. Think of all the women out there with professions that help YOU (nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, and many other professions i am not thinking of) -- these people can't just take 5 years off without there being SO MANY CHANGES that it would be impossible to go back. Think of how many of these people in these positions are mothers. Think of all the people you just put down.

Maybe you have a job where you can leave for 5 years and go back to with no problem......but a lot of us don't. And, if i may add, if all of us took 5 years off with babies - then wouldn't that be a huge hit on society? Think of the consequences.....

Just think before you speak.

I think so many times certian groups are so quick to judge. I would never (as a part time working mom) tell you "you are harming you kid by keeping them at home" --- just as I would never as a formula feeding mother tell a breastfeeder that they are doing harm. However you as a stay at home mom (which i think is GREAT if you can do it) feel it is OK to tell working moms that their choice is wrong and "someone else will be raising their children."

Boo to you anon ---- really. Think before you speak.

Anonymous said...

First off, Im Rebecca, I dont have a blog so that is why I picked anon. Secondly, Im not going to bicker anymore after this comment with angry ladies on this girl's blog. That's ridiculous. I did think before I WROTE. The author of this blog asked for opinions and I gave mine. These are my feelings as Deana and Shauna, etc, etc...have their own. Sounds like Deana is being critical, oooh. My husband and I waited 7 years before we decided to have our kids. Fortunately, as the way we planned, I am able to stay home with them. Of course, if we had them in my early twenties I would have had to work and I, personally, would have felt guilty. I am an accountant and in 5 years I will have a job. Calm down girls. My opinions weren't directed to you or anyone else for that matter...they are just statements.

Jen said...

I was thinking, too, about RebeccAnon's (I like to combine words if at all possible, as you can tell) comment.

Not really the Other People Raising my kids thing, because that is an idea to which I DO NOT subscribe, but if that is what someone thinks of a working mother, so be it. We all know that people think such things, right? Just like RebeccAnon knows that some people think she is wasting her career to stay at home (not me, but other people who need to shit all over someone else's choice because they chose something different).

But, about the whole All Women Taking The Formative Years off work. That would be a hell of a lot of people leaving the workplace! Especially if you have 3 or 4 kids - you are looking at 10+ years out of your field. Dare I say that a lot of places would not survive a mass exodus of women from the workplace?

My coworker and I just had babies this year, and our maternity leaves overlapped for one month. And not to make us sound overly important, but HOLY SHIT HITTING THE FAN, BATMAN! We are the only two people in our department, so it was crazy to come back to the chaos caused by "outsiders" trying to cover. And if we were gone for five/ten years?! We would be so out of touch with the laws that apply to our job that there is no way we could just jump back in.

(And Rebecca, if you are still reading...do you worry about that at all with accounting? I'm just curious, not being bitchy. I have an accounting degree and am familiar with the frequent changes in that field.)

I don't really think it's that easy. I can't see me taking off 5-10 years and then still being a competitive candidate for a job in my field.

I know, I know, I'm just begging for more "your kids are more important than your career" talk, but it is a valid point.

And while I typically try not to comment in my own comments, I would like to point something out about my choice to work as it relates to infertility.

If I didn't have my job, I would not have Olivia. We absolutely would NOT have been able to afford two fresh IVF cycles. My job happens to provide KICK ASS insurance with an IVF rider.

If I decide to stay home with Olivia and live paycheck to paycheck on my husband's salary? We won't be able to have any more kids, because we won't have that coverage and we certainly won't have an extra $13k laying around.

I think it's bullshit that infertility should even be mentioned in this conversation. Who cares how long I tried to get pregnant, or how much I wanted it? Playing the infertility guilt card is L-A-M-E and really doesn't even make sense.

DD said...

Actually, Jen, I don't think it's lame or an excuse at all to bring the infertility angle into the conversation. IVF is freaking expensive and if you know that you want to expand your family in the future, then damn straight it plays a role in the decision if your employer offers good coverage for that. Sad as it may be, the financial implications of infertility are right up there with the emotional and physical.

The job I left to be a SAHM also had IVF coverage (which I used...oh did I use). And, I can remember when my husband and I were having the discussion on whether or not I should return to work, we rationalized that since we had a hoard of frozen embryos, we could take the risk of me not returning for the coverage. $1500 for a frozen transfer is a much lesser gamble then $15,000 for a fresh cycle. So, we paid out of pocket for our frozen transfer for our youngest and it worked out ok...until my husband was laid off...three times...in the last two years. Oy.

But, anyway, I just wanted to say that I don't think you're wrong to factor the IF coverage into the equation. At all.

Rock on. And, Olivia is about as sweet as she can be. :)

Cryss said...

Ok Jen- You aren't selfish for working. I'm not lazy for being a SAHM. I left my $8hr job to stay home with kiddos because ALL of my money would go to daycare. If I would have been making enough money to pay daycare and have a sizeable amount leftover I wouldn't have left my job (that i absolutely LOVED!!) It's whatever is best for your situation!! : )

Bekah said...

I haven't read through all of these comments because I don't want to get angry by any of them.

I have mostly been a stay at home mom, but I did have a short bit of time that I went back to work full time after maternity leave (and then I got laid off). While I enjoy being a stay at home mom, I can totally see why a lot of women like being working moms. The adult interaction is great. The time you have that your child is not attached to you is great. Those are the things that I enjoyed when I worked. It was still stressful, of course, but not the least bit guilt ridden. I had a good sitter who I trusted.
Now that I'm home full time, I'm actually thinking about taking him to a sitter for a few hours a week just so I can get something done in this house. And so I can have some me time. I think each situation has it's own challenges and benefits.
And you're right- of course we judge others. I judge other sahms that live off food stamps and buy really expensive foods with them. Maybe I shouldn't, but I do because wth? I don't qualify for gov't assistance, but I live on rice and beans half the time. It's probably just jealousy. Anyway, there's my 2 cents.

lori said...

i'm waaaaaay super late commenting on this post, but i just have to say stuff. it's theraputic for me.

i have been on both sides of this fence, through it, over it, under it, and around it. i still don't have the right answer...not for me or for anyone else.

i tried working when my first was 6mo. i had terrible guilt. i had a terrible daycare situation. my work was treating me like shit. i quit. i stayed home. i was happy. i went back p/t when she was 16 months old. i did a p/t contract out of the house and in the house (with her home) for 6 months. working with her in the house was hard, but the two 1/2 days i got in the office were awesome and made me feel human again. i picked up another p/t contract for another 6 months and had a similar setup. i was happy but SICK. i was pg with my 11/08 baby, and i apparently had no immune system b/c i got every virus possible and was sick, sick, sick for my first 4months of that pg...and that was after 8 weeks of IVF madness in which my body responded VERY differently to the regimen than the last time i went through a fresh cycle.

i did not work again until 4 weeks ago. i have been MISERABLE. i feel like a servant. my "D"H does NOTHING in this house and takes EVERYTHING i do for granted. as does my 3yo. the baby does too, but i can't hold that against him since he is a baby. with two kids at such different ages and stages, i get no break. ever. my 3.5yo DD is a serious, serious pain in my ass...mouthy, rude, mean, dramatic...and none of the discipline methods we've been using for the last year are working. she has her good moments, but they are far outweighed by her bad moments.

i have been unhappy...bordering on seriously, seriously unhappy. there's a lot going on and into the way i feel that is related to my kids, but also not (terrible complications with my last child that took months to recover from and left me unable to safely have another child led to a pretty big depression for me. then my youngest was wrought with terrible reflux. then my dog died (seriously). i've just been buried.)

i have reached a point that i think it would be better for everyone if i went back to work. i think. i think the guilt might kill me (totally a personal thing...MY guilt), but then again there are days i just can't stand to be around my daughter and don't know what to do to make the situation with her better.

so, now i'm doing some freelance work...enjoying it...finding it hard to get anything done with the kids in the house, but still enjoying it. when the job market rebounds, i think i might head back in. i think i need it.

oh, and to the commenters who mentioned damage to a career being out...yep. suckage. and teaching your kids (especially daughters) that there's more to life than changing diapers, doing chores, and cooking...haven't figured out how to teach that yet when that's all my DD sees me doing.

being a parent is effin' HARD!

Modern Mama said...

First time commenter, new reader. :)
About to return to work after experimenting with staying at home. Did work for three years, stopped for a bit, desperate to get back to work in a bad economy. But now I have A JOB. And have come to the conclusion that you have to know yourself and do what makes you happiest. Either way it will be best for you and your entire family. I know I will be a better mom of my two baby boys when I am back in the workplace!
--MM

AP Strong said...

Am I fashionably late to the blog? I just saw the article in Star, so please excuse my tardiness.
Oh, what a hot topic indeed! I always tell my friends, "I don't discuss politics, religion, and stay home moms." I have been on both sides of the fence. With my first child, I worked. Five years later, when my second came along, I had just begun my final year of business school and was working 60 hours a week at a bank. A co-worker actually woke me up, at my desk, one evening to remind me I had class. Once our daughter was born, I chose to become a real estate agent so I could have more flexible hours. My bank had been bought-out and after working my ass off for 9 months, to the point of going into labor during my finals, I wasn't keen to wasting more of my life in a promotion-less world. The year, unfortunately, was 2008. Needless to say, I became a at home mom. I learned whomever coined the phrase "at home mom" apparently never was one. I was exhausted and running all day long. I would cry, in my car, whenever I saw a group of people coming out of O'Charlies, laughing, at lunchtime. Then...my husband got laid off (he worked in an auto plant :) I went back to work for a mortgage company while he became a stay at home dad. DID NOT WORK OUT WELL. Took him a year to find another job and we had to relocate from Alabama to Eastern PA. Now, he's out of town 80% of the time, I have not local family or friends, and kids that are in school, but still too young to stay alone. I’ve tried all the things housewives try. I made jewelry, volunteered at the school, and joined a gym. I learned I'm not good at making jewelry, I don't have the patience to work around the children of others and I loathe going to a gym. I was rocking in a dark corner under a blanket until I began writing a book about marriage and the recession, and, most recently, a blog. Getting back on topic, I find pluses and minuses to both. My son, who grew up in daycare, is now in middle school and pretty academically advanced whereas my 6 year old daughter, who stayed home, is downright hostile about being “stuck in school all day." I'm not thrilled with my current, stagnant situation, but I have to accept that I’m where God and the universe want me to be, so I’m now trying to utilize the free time I have to find what makes me happy and fulfilled, which just happens to be writing :)