January 30, 2013

Doing What's Best...

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?


  1. yes! whatever happened to "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all"?

    I stopped reading one of my favorite blogs awhile back because the writer made a comment about how stay at home moms sit around in sweats watching talk shows.

  2. Hello :-) Oh my goodness I think it is fascinating. I too have looked at this from both sides (twice) and I too have my views. I read the article and nodded throughout as so many of those statements have been said to me. Also I notice that I actually work for one of the top 10 'working mother' companies on the list! So all in all - yes, I wish there were less hate coming from each camp of mothers and I agree - everyone should just accept that we all do what we do for a myriad of reasons. I have such enormous empathy for every working mother because I have been there, but I too have empathy for women who don't work. Neither is easy.

    What I do notice is that people change and times change and those staunch working mothers may morph into stay at home ones and vice versa. It is, as you point out, all to do with the facets of someones life at the time. One thing I keep coming back to lately is to do with daughters. I see many stay at home mothers really pushing their daughters academically, as if it is essential they achieve incredible results and go to incredible schools and universities. Let's assume those daughters grow up and have their own children. What then was all that academic pressure for? As one assumes that the original stay at mother (who by this stage will be a grandmother) will advocate that their very clever and well and often expensively-educated daughter give it all up to stay at home! Hmmm...

    Phew - epic comment...but as you know, a topic we have often mulled over together!
    Lou x


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