Monday, January 23, 2017

Stay At Home vs. Working Mothers - Why the War Must End

Stay At Home vs. Working Mothers - Why the War Must End


Yesterday I was compelled to write this blog after witnessing a female professional criticize a mom for choosing to stay at home with her children.  Even after being part of the amazing Women's March in NYC and meeting so many strong, caring mothers... it kept me up all night.  It is shocking to me that this is still an issue that I feel the need to write about.  As a professional turned stay at home mom who does some freelance work on the side, I'm always open to both sides.  I'm sympathetic to the working mom who worries she is missing precious time with her kids and I also understand the stay at home mom who gets lonely... constantly worrying that she isn't contributing to society.  I have friends on both sides of the debate and what I do know is that every mom has insecurities.  No matter how we choose to parent, as women we should be more supportive of one another rather than add to the stress that every parent feels. 

When I was pregnant with my son I was working at my dream job with NBC.  Making the choice to walk away after all the years spent in college, grad school and internships was the most difficult decision of my life.  I wasn't throwing a party for myself because I could finally stay home and have a man keep me up.  I was devastated.  Living in New York City is extremely expensive and many people are paying college tuition prices in order to keep their children in day care or with nannies.  Financially, it just doesn't always make sense to go to work if you're going to spend your entire salary on childcare.  Luckily, I have a husband who's job is enough for us to live comfortably and I'm able to stay home.  It took me an entire year to feel comfortable in the stay at home mom role.  I constantly felt disrespected and looked down upon.  All of a sudden I wasn't a college educated female making a difference in the world.  I was just a mom that was SO LUCKY to get to stay home.  Some days I would cry and some days I would be able to appreciate it when I would look at my tiny baby and see how much he needed me.  "Maybe I was lucky," I would tell myself.  That being said, I know everyone doesn't have that same option.

Some families need both parents to work and can't get by without a dual income.  Others live in areas with more affordable childcare and choose to keep working.  There are too many situations to fit every household in one category.  Some mothers feel strongly about staying home with their babies and they find a way.  Others would lose their mind staying home even if they could and find a way to make it work.  We struggle enough just trying to keep our kids alive and trying not to fuck them up. Why do we need to add the extra stress of feeling judged on whether we choose to stay home or not?

Even in tight groups of friends you will witness hostility, albeit in less obvious ways, but it's still there. I have mom friends that are career women and will occasionally make a remark about how they work and I don't. They don't have time to be on Pinterest or watch Real Housewives marathons all day because they are so busy in their careers. Conversely the stay at home moms pointing to the relationship between a child and it's caregiver, stating that they could never let someone else raise their children knowing the baby is bonding more with the nanny. It's a pack of mean moms who instead of discussing their insecurities of parenting find ways to take it out on each other.  Every parent struggles with the thought of whether they're doing the best for their child.  The last thing a mother needs is other women making us question ourselves even more. 

 We need to lift each other up and voice our concerns openly, without fear of judgment.  We need to admire our peers and remind them of what an amazing job they are doing to provide for their family.  We need to respect the moms who immerse themselves in the important role of raising children.  Our arms should be open to each mom and her daily successes and struggles, be they at the office or the home.  The truth is that we are all doing the best that we can and all have the same mission... to care for our children and give them the best.  Way to go, Mom!!!  MOM POWER!!!!!