Monday, March 10, 2008

SAHM vs. Working Mom

I know I'm stepping into a HUGE pile of poo here with this blog, but what the hell...I just took my first Grad school exam and COMPLETELY forgot to answer an essay question - I mean completely forgot - how does that HAPPEN??? Anyway I get home and am so pissed off I decide to peruse the Internet and chill before settling into bed and the anxiety that will surely keep me up all night.

So I stumble upon a Newsweek story about some new reality show for stay at home moms and they discuss the whole "battle" between SAHMs and working moms. I then started reading the message boards and I have to say I got really insulted. So I am going to ask the age old question that all of us working moms ask....

"Am I a bad, selfish mom for working, rather than staying at home and raising my kids?"

Listen, I have enough guilt in my life about the way I raise my kids without trying to figure out the answer to this question. But I can tell you this - June Cleaver I am NOT! But it begs the question, Where does all this come from? What stay at home mom feels validated in telling me that I shouldn't have had children if "someone else" was going to raise them? Who the hell does she think she is? And what working, career driven mom thinks she's any better than someone who stays home? Having a career doesn't necessarily make you a "more complete" person any more than having kids does. There has to be a balance.

And look at me!! I have been going to school for longer than my kids have been on Earth and now I decide to start a graduate program which will take even more time from them on top of working! My kids think everyone's mommy gets on her laptop at bedtime and works on homework while the kids cuddle up as close as they can and watch Sponge Bob before falling asleep. On weekends they break out their own "play laptops" and do "homework" right next to me. This is NORMAL for my kids, you know?

I work to bring home money to help pay the bills and provide my family with the perks they are used to - a nice house, nice cars, dance lessons, the occasional weekend at Chuck E. Cheese, nice vacations, college funds, retirement funds and new clothes when they are needed. And of course, all the therapy bills I will feel compelled to pay for my girls when they talk to some therapist 20 years from now about how their mom spent alot of time working and going to school.....

I have a career for ME. Yup - that's right - my career is all mine. Same with school...and I want to succeed. I accept that it's selfish. Do I hope that my girls see me as a positive role model? Absolutely. But that's really not why I do it. My career, my education - that's MINE - no one elses . And you know what? There is something very satisfying about that. I'm not a "I don't want to ever have to depend on a man for money" kind of girl. Yes, it's nice to know that I am independent enough and driven enough that I could make it on my own in some fashion, but money isn't it. I depend on my husband for other things, so that argument, while valid, doesn't work for me. And a lot of SAHMs are financially able to be SAHMs, because their husbands make more money than God.

So what's the answer? I don't know. I love my kids with all of my being - they are everything in this world to me and I feel it in my very bones. Every decision I make regarding my lifestyle and my career is made after they are taken into account. I struggle on a daily basis with whether or not I am hurting them by working outside of our home. There are days I want to chuck it all and just stay at home and BE with them. Forget the career. Forget the higher education. But when it comes right down to it, financially I can't unless there are some serious lifestyle changes and quite frankly I don't want to.

I look forward to seeing them at the end of every day. I look forward to our weekends when we can be together all day. And my kids are good kids (no matter what I might say sometimes) and they are smart kids and they are wonderful, beautiful, intelligent and independent girls who still love their mommy and daddy. I don't think I'm doing that bad of a job frankly.

So ladies, here's the deal. Let's make a pact - you won't tell me that my kids will turn out bad and that I am a bad mom because I work. And I won't look at you and wonder why you complain so much about never having any time to yourself or how hard your job is and think "Yeah, right! Walk in my shoes sister!". We both have hard jobs. But - working mom or SAHM - we both have the same goal and that is to help our kids enjoy life and try to create little productive, loving, beautiful creatures for all the world to enjoy. Our kids come first, we want the best for them and we love them with our hearts and souls - bottom line.

We have more in common than anybody will ever admit. Any idiot can see that - so why can't we?


Michael & Sarah said...

Hey Debbie -- I surfed here by way of Beth's blog... You are doing the BEST thing for your kids by continuing your education. My mom graduated from college (the same one I did!) one year after me -- and I felt almost the same sense of pride for her as I did for me graduating! You're doing the right thing, teaching your kids that school is important, so when it comes time to buckle down and do homework on the weekends, they'll already think it's normal! :) (this is also coming from someone who figured out about week 6 of her maternity leave that being a SAHM was NOT for her -- I think it takes a very special person to do that, and I am not it, sister! :).) Just keep pressing on!

Deb said...

Thank you Sarah =) I REALLY appreciate the encouragement.

And I so enjoy your blog (which I also found by way of Beth's blog!). Your Sydney is gorgeous. And my Sydney was ALMOST a Sydney Elizabeth. My husband chose Sydney Alexandra at the last minute...And I was on drugs from a C-Section, so frankly I was OK with his choice of middle name.

Thanks again and take care!

Mrs.C said...


Some of us just aren't meant to be "SAHM". I whole-heartedly believe I would be doing my boys a great disservice by staying at home with them. I don't have the patience or the intellect to properly prepare them for the demands of a school, and I am fully aware of this simple fact. Does that mean someone else is raising my kids? HELL NO. I am the one who corrects them, loves them, and educates them on what is right and what is wrong. Yes, daycare/caregivers have a huge impact on our children, but as a child who was partially raised by a SAHM who eventually returned to work for part of my childhood I can honestly say I didn't lose out on anything. I find little, if any difference, in daycare and school. These SAHM that want to say we let someone else raise our kids better be homeschooling their kids before they make that statement, otherwise they are just a bunch of hypocrites.