Naomi sent me this article to post on our Facebook page which I will do… but first I have some things that I would like to say on this topic. I wasn’t planning on writing a post today so this might be a little ranty.
Working Mom (WM) vs Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)
I work. Darby goes to day care that is about a half-mile from my office and maybe 2 miles from my house. Before I had Darby I was 100% certain that I wanted to work after she was born.
My maternity leave was three months long. When Darby turned two-months old it hit me that I’d be going back to work and would not be with her all day. The thought of sending her to daycare made me cry — just, like, out of the blue I would think about it and cry. (You know you did the same…) I think there is often the assumption that moms who work want someone else to care for their baby for part of the day. They want to be free of the responsibility and burden of caring for their baby 24/7. Or they need the money. For me that was not the case. I loved having that time with Darby during the day. Like any mom, I needed a break and having my husband come home from work gave me that. Working had nothing to do with whether or not I wanted to be with Darby. I love my job, I work for a very family-friendly organization, but mostly I wanted time in my day to be me. And FOR ME, working was the best way for me to do that.
***Emphasis on FOR ME***
I think a lot about how being a WM impacts my family and our future. My salary is decent and is more than the cost of daycare but that may not be the case once we have two kids. Should I keep working? Is it about the money? Is it about how much I love my job? What’s best for my kid(s)?
Here’s the big picture FOR ME: I want Darby to be proud of me. In seventh grade when she has to write a paper on the person she most looks up to, I want it to be me and for good reason… not just because I’m her mom and because that is easier than researching Abraham Lincoln. I want her to recognize that part of being a good mom to her meant being good to myself. FOR ME, being good to myself means feeding my brain and challenging myself by working. I want her to know that being a good wife doesn’t have to mean being Donna Reed, but it can mean being a breadwinner while also being the bread-maker.
I sit around and think about what I want for Darby and it all comes back to one thing: I want her to be herself. How can I give her the tools to always be herself if I’m not giving myself the tools to do the same? FOR ME being myself means working.
Then there’s the whole Dad issue… this isn’t only about working/stay-at-home MOMS anymore. My husband has a higher earning potential than me so he most likely won’t ever be a SAHD. But… he also has a higher earning potential than where he is now. We — together — chose a certain lifestyle in favor of money at least for right now. He could go earn the big bucks but it would mean long hours which would likely mean missing dinner time and bath time and play time… FOR US, this was the right choice. It has never been and most likely will not ever be an easy choice.
I did say that money isn’t the reason that I work. But if money were the issue, rather than sending my husband off to earn lots of money and lose time at home, I would continue to work to pay for daycare so that my husband didn’t have to miss out on family time. No question.
Now… I’ve stayed pretty cool through this whole post. (Hooray, Me!) But I need to lose my cool for one second. Few things make me more angry than hearing one parent judge another parent for making a decision that they think is best for their kid(s). To the judgey WMs and SAHMs (both are guilty): You. Have. No. Right. SHUT YOUR FACE.
Ok. I’m cool.
FOR YOU the best thing for your family might mean being a SAHM. Everyone is different. I would never say that being a WM is better or being a SAHM is better. I know what was best FOR ME. It is a personal choice and, you know what? Babies in BOTH situations turn out just fine… and if your kid turns out to be crazy, most likely your being a WM or a SAHM had nothing to do with it. It may have to do with how you spend the time you DO have with your kid(s).
How do you feel about your choice to be a WM or a SAHM?