Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm Guesting on Mom-In-A-Million!

Rebekah from Mom-In-A-Million and I decided to do a post-swap about being a working mom (Rebekah) and being a stay-at-home mom (me).  There's always all this hoopla about some "Mommy War" thing in the media, and I'm just not buying it.  Never once has a working mom asked me if I've been sitting on the couch watching Oprah and eating bon-bons all day.  I just don't think the Mommy War is real.  I think it's a myth, like being caught up on the laundry.  I don't know a single mom who isn't far too exhausted to worry about that kind of stuff.  I could probably come up with a better defense of my position if I wasn't so busy staring at the coffee maker waiting for it to finish brewing.

For the rest of the post, click over to Mom-In-A-Million!

24 comments:

  1. I've done both. And I'm way too busy sucking on this mountain dew, trying to wake up, get the sleep out of my eyes, and chase the little devils to the school bus, to even try to argue either way.

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  2. I don't know that I would call it a "war," but recently an employed-for-money-mom (all mothers are working moms) asked me when I would be going back to work. I told her that I might never return to full-time employment, and in a gasp of horror she said, "But you have a master's degree!"

    That comment tells me what? She thinks stay-with-my-kids-moms (we are seldom at home)are uneducated? Not too bright? Lacking ambition?

    No, it's not a "war," but you do encounter women who are employed and women who are not who have a lot of insecurities about their own decisions. So, they defend their decision by making assumptions about the "other side."

    Just a thought.

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  3. @Susan -- I've genuinely never had that happen to me! That's pretty sucky.

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  4. One of my very closest friends and I have virtually lost touch because I choose to be a stay at home mom and she chooses to work. I support and understand her decision to work, but she just repeatedly kept making snarky comments about how boring my life must be. Our husbands are employed at the same place and last year at the Christmas party in front of a table full of our husband's co-workers she said, "You really need to get a job, even at Starbucks or something because you really need to get away from your son more". On a whole, no I do not believe there is a great debate or war over this issue, but the world is still full of morons...insert mind punch.

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  5. SRMM--You've never had anyone say something like, "I could never be a stay-at-home-mom because I am too social/educated/organized/talented/intellectual/etc?" Um, like those of us who elected to stay with our kids aren't? Man, I would love to live in your world. ;^)

    Amybelle--I think that employed-for-money-moms just assume that spending the day with their children would be boring and unstimulating. They don't always understand that we do have our social and intellectual outlets because so much of their social and intellectual life revolves around the office. When I worked full-time, I thought that way (but I would have NEVER said that aloud to a SAHM!)

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  6. I'm not so sure it's a myth, because I have a mental war going on in my head, but of course I don't dare to get into it with any of my mom friends--I respect them all, SAHM or not.

    I really don't mean to get into any wars, but I'm sorry, it gets my goat to hear some grievances that SAHMs have that their jobs are comparable.

    I work full time, and on the days off I have from work, I hang out at the playground all day with the other SAHMs, giving me a glimpse of what my life would be like if I were one of them.

    Those moms get to do whatever they want on any given day--playground, zoo, museum. I don't. I'm at work. I don't think it's fair to compare the two. Are they both exhausting? Are they both hard work? Yes! But being a SAHM is arguably a helluva lot more fun!

    My favorite is hearing a SAHM say she's bored. BORED?! Aw, poor baby! What we working moms would give to be home with nothing to do.

    What about all the chores that a SAHM mom has that a working mom doesn't? Uhm, unless a working mom can afford to hire super nanny, we still have to go home and clean and cook just like SAHMs do--the difference is we don't have all day to do it. Just a couple of hours, hours that we'd prefer to spend with our kids or watching TV.

    And don't even get me started on the difference between both our "jobs" once all the kids are at school most of the day!

    I have two kids, and one has autism, which is a full-time job in of itself, but that's another post and possibly another war, LOL). Homework takes a really long time, and I have to start it after 5. I wish we could start earlier, after school.

    Let me repeat--I am in no way trying to mitigate the hard work of being a SAHM...frankly, it sounds exhausting and I am not a good enough mom or patient enough to do it! So for those who do, you're awesome!

    I simply dislike the comparison that your job should be viewed the same way as ours. Come on, you're having fun with your cute kids at the zoo. It's not the same. Can we at least agree there?

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  7. oh no, I was just making a video on this! I need to make sure not to read your articles yet so my brain doesn't borrow anything from them.

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  8. Whoa, whoa, whoa! Apparently there is a war, and it appears to be ON! Luckily my friends are kind and supportive and keep their interior rants interior, so I am oblivious to the war.

    Regarding Elyse's comments: I'm all for saying that two things that are different are different. I've been a working mom, and now I'm at home. We make choices. They're different.

    We struggle with our choices and constantly compare ourselves to others. I thought Lawmomma wrote a great post on this: http://www.law-momma.com/2010/09/we-cant-have-it-all.html. Sometimes we don't have the flexibility to choose one over the other (day care for more than one child is expensive!, but sometimes staying at home is just not financially an option, either).

    Elyse, you ARE mitigating SAHM's by putting us in the group of people that you roll your eyes at and look down on during the weekends.

    I'm not bored at home (I'm never bored!), but I do struggle to make sure I'm not on my knees all day speaking in tongues with my pre-toddler and beckoning the next existential crisis. When he's cranky all day, I'm with him, but I wouldn't trade it for my crazy days running from the office and throwing a frozen meal in the oven.

    When he was in daycare and I was working, it was nuts. I was exhausted all the time. But my purpose was always crystal clear and measured in performance objectives; I could wear necklaces and gain the respect of adults; and I could afford to get sushi for lunch.

    The irony in all this is that the kids turn out just fine either way (certainly kids struggle and need more or less care, but overall they are going to still feel loved if we work or not), it's the adults who are constantly critical and we women--in general--are particularly cruel to each other.

    Stark Raving Mad Mommy, thanks for the thought-provoking and very funny post! Loved it.

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  9. Huh. I am never bored. I have also never spent "all day" at a playground, but I agree that there are more moments of fun and joy in my day when I'm home than when I worked.

    I know that I am fortunate to have the choice. The choice I've made works for me and for my family.

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  10. @Mompetition -- Hearing that you're working on another video just MADE MY DAY. I can't freaking wait.

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  11. I honestly think it's more about supporting each other. I think it's hard to be a mom, no matter whether you work outside the home or work inside the home.

    I've been both places. I had a very nice career going. But, when I worked, I was worrying about my daughter while I was there and when I was at home, I was worrying about work. It was very stressful. I was lucky enough to have a husband who helped with the chores at home during that time.

    When my daughter turned two and was always getting sick from daycare, I decided to give up my career and stay home. We gave up a lot in order for me to be able to do it. Now that I'm a SAHM, it's just expected that I will take care of my daughter and do all of those chores that used to be shared by myself. As it should be. I'm here and my husband's at work. I'm also busy driving my 82 year-old mom around to her appointments. It still can be very stressful.

    I have been talked-down-to by several "working moms" who apparently don't feel I am educated or have a brain, since I decided to stay home. I'm not sure where that comes from. I worked for 21 years before I decided to stay home. I had been a computer data analyst for the last 10 of those years. I certainly have a brain.

    Let's stop pointing fingers at each other and support each other...

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  12. I thought the Mommy Wars were a myth until I read these posts. I have been both a working mom and a SAHM. When I was working I always wished I could be with my kids. Now that I am home I I never wish I was back in the office. Everyone is different.

    I don't think this is about momvs mom. In think this is about judgmental people passing negativity out to the world. Kind people don't judge others. Just sayin'

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  13. Trina -- I feel like I've been living in a bubble. A bubble of awesomeness, because I have friends who work from home, friends who work outside the home, friends who work part-time, friends who stay home. Seriously thought it was a myth. I'm supremely sad that it's not.

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  14. Thanks for the fabulous post-swaps! There is so much humor (and insanity) to find on both sides of the "Mommy Wars." As having served on both sides of the trenches - currently stationed at SAHM post . . . I have to tell you this is so much harder than when I taught full-time.

    I hesitate to even address some of the perpetuating myths that have been mentioned above, such as "having fun with your cute kids at the zoo," but I feel I must. I get to go the zoo with my kids the same as most moms that I know do, on the weekends with my husband, or when I accompany the one class field trip a year. We're rarely ever home (I have no idea who these "stay at home" moms are - I've yet to meet one!

    Like all of the moms that I know - the working for money moms and myself, none of us has any time. Between school, soccer, gymnastics, dance, church, family and friend obligations, not to mention laundry, groceries, cooking, staring at the coffee pot and slowly banging my head into a wall once they're asleep . . . I'm exhausted. And, although, the perception might be that I have more time, as I don't "work" outside of my home for money, I do run my daughter's Cooperative preschool (a full-time unpaid position), volunteer at my son's school, teach Art at my son's school, teach Sunday School, and I'm earning my (second) Master's Degree. I work all. the. time.

    We've all made our own choices. We are all dealing with the repercussions of those choices - little time with our kids, little money, little sleep. But, I have never, NEVER, commented on one of my working for money Mom friends decisions, but I have had several comments sent my way. Specifically, comments about . . . "but you have a Master's degree." ARGH. . . . "actually I have two (almost) and I think my kids are pretty darned lucky to have such a smart Mom reading to them . . ."

    I have no idea why the competition between women has to be so reductive and piercing . . . it takes a community to raise our families. It takes the interconnectedness, ingenuity, and laughter of women from different experiences, backgrounds, and abilities to create a world worthy of our children. Hopefully, somewhere in my days between the coffee, the laundry, and preschool meetings, what I'm doing is just as worthy as every other Mom I know!

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  15. I don't think you can compare the two at all - they're both hectic, stressful, and make you want to rip your hair out. They also both have their boring moments and their rewarding moments. You can't compare racing a deadline with mopping up puddles of toddler fluids because they're so totally different.

    The only thing I've seen that's similar with both choices is tantrums - bosses and customers have them too... the only problem is that you can't put THEM in time-out!

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  16. I agree! I've never heard moms in real life arguing that they're superior because they work, etc., etc., etc. If anything, moms who SAH are a little envious of the moms who work and vice versa. We're respectful and understanding of each other's choices and know that there are benefits and problems with either choice!

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  17. Envy is ignorance. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Those who bash the "other side" are jealous and ignorant. There is no reason to generalize an entire population of mothers because they have a different lifestyle and chose to raise their children differently. Each way of mommy-hood will have its perks and its cons.

    When it all comes down to it, we're all trying to raise our kids to live in the same world together anyway.

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  18. I wish I could say that the Mommy Wars are a myth. I've had heated debates with a few "friends" after comments such as "women who don't want to be SAHMs should not have had kids" or "isn't it a shame that a woman would choose to leave her kids everyday".

    I wrote about it here: http://cremcd.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go/

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  19. I tend to think that it is such a personal, hard choice that in a way we can't help but believe (for our own sanity), that our choice is the right one (somewhere in the back of our minds), and that what we have chosen to do is best.

    even if in the "front of my mind" I respect all choices....

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  20. Momsicle - I was in no way rolling my eyes at SAHMs, I thought I was clear, but I'm sorry if it came off that way. I've been one too, so it would be stupid to roll my eyes at myself. When I was a SAHM I sat around and watched daytime talk shows in the morning and felt guilty about the cleaning I should be doing. Now that I work, I work while feeling guilty about the cleaning I should be doing. I am far from perfect, so I am not putting down anyone. I was simply lashing out at the ones who I feel complain a little too much. Not a generalization by any means, just specific women.

    I too have a very tight moms group with various work situations. I'm very lucky!

    Heather--my zoo comment was specific to my area, I guess. We have a zoo not too far away and with an annual pass, many of my friends go at least once a week when the weather is nice. So again, sorry if I generalized, didn't mean to. It's not like I was making myths up! I've been on both sides and think both are worthy of respect and understanding. No one should be on their high horse.

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  21. women are caddy b%&^#s. why is anyone surprised that someone has an opinion and willing to judge either side of this issue? 1. are they jealous that they have to cook dinner and clean after 6p? 2. are they jealous that they aren't in charge of more than breakfast, lunch, dinner, and making productive members of society? My answer (having been a working mother, SAHM to 5, and then a working mother again...) is yes to both! I'd like to start a thread complaining of those SAHM's with cleaning ladies... :-)

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  22. When I went back to work after having my twins, I had a lot of jealousy toward SAHM's. My situation is different because my hubby got to stay at home with the babies while I had to be the "breadwinner." I found myself daily wishing I could be home with my babies and hating any mom who complained about being home with kids, not having any adult contact, etc. Since then I have taken a different job and while I still work full time, I work a few nights and an occasional 24 hour shift, giving me much more time at home. I think that it is so hard to find balance as a mom, and whichever position we are in we are likely to have at least a little secret longing to be on the other side of the issue. What we need to do is respect each other as mommies and know that when it all comes down to it, it's about our kids.

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  23. This has been an interesting thread on both posts. The Mommy Wars have been around a long time. I worked the whole time my daughter was growing up and was the main breadwinner in our household. It was the right thing to do for us. When I first had my baby I joined a neighborhood babysitting cooperative. Little did I know that these women basically traded babysitting during the day only. I was totally looked down upon for working and leaving my child with other caregivers. It was the least nurturing situation for me, a tentative new mom who had so much to learn from other mothers. Eventually I found other friends, but have always felt sad about the fact that these particular SAHP's couldn't accept the choice that I made. I really try to respect everyone's choices to do what is best for their families.
    physicsmom
    P.S. WV = sityden, as in SRMM told me to sityden and listen to some home truths.

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