It seems that every few months, a new article or book or blog post reignites the age-old "working mom vs. stay-at-home mom" debate. This week, it's this post that appeared on Huffington Post. Personally, I liked it. I thought it was reasonable and thoughtful, and she attempted to communicate without passing judgment. Then I read some of the comments and started shaking my head. Although there were some supportive words, there were far too many of the judgmental and or even downright mean ones. Why can't we all be secure enough in our own choices to allow others to do the same? When will we realize that there is no right answer for everyone? There is only the right answer for each family, and even then that answer can often change with time and circumstances.
I've been a mom-who-also-works-in-an-office for years, and I recently joined the ranks of the stay-at-home-moms. I've seen both sides, and I understand the positives and negatives of both, if only in terms of my own experience. I also understand that there are so many shades of gray in-between. I have friends who work part-time, or who work different shifts from their husbands so they can alternate who stays home with the kids, women whose husbands stay at home, moms who have parents or siblings close by who can help, single moms who make it work, women who work because they have to, and women who work because they want to... And even when a family finds something that works for them, situations can change. Imagine how a family's choices may change if they find out a child has special needs. Or if one of them loses their job. Or if they have to start taking care of their elderly parents. Or if that mom or dad is offered an exciting job opportunity. Or if one of them has to start traveling more for work. Every situation is completely unique. I would never presume to know all the nuances that go into deciding what is right for someone else's family.
I also know that the world is a better place with women doctors, senators, teachers, CEOs, nurses, filmmakers, artists... Thank goodness there are so many women out there who are able to take on these jobs, regardless of whether or not they also decide to have children.
This endless debate is tiresome to me. I plan to continue to do what's best for me and my family. I'm going to hope and assume that everyone else out there is doing the same. Can we just leave it at that?