Friday, February 4, 2011

The Great Debate: SAHM vs. Working Moms

Please bear with me. This rant is going to be a lengthy one!

Typically I don't allow the whole "working" mom vs. stay-at-home mom controversy/argument/opinion/nonsense bother me, but today I happened to come across a comment on Facebook that totally got my goat. (You may need to click to enlarge this to be able to read this better, especially if your eyes are on the wrong side of 30 like mine are).

I know Deb (she's a SAHM with three boys) and I know Ann. I do not know Rebekah and I'm pretty sure that I'm okay with that. And I have a feeling that Rebekah does not know Ann, because if she did, she would have been aware that Ann is a working mom with two young boys, and may have thought twice about making that comment. (I say "may" because I doubt that she really would have. She doesn't strike me as the type of person who would think twice before potentially offending someone).

Wait. Time out.

Before I get in trouble with any stay-at-home moms out there, I am not trying to offend anyone by using the terms "working mom" and "stay-at-home mom". I am not trying to imply that moms who stay home are not in fact working as well. It's just a simple way to differentiate between moms who have jobs outside of the house and those who are at-home caregivers. Are we good? (And if you're wondering why I even took the time to address this topic, or amazed that someone would be offended by that, take a look at this post over at Mom-101).

Okay. Time in.

Now, maybe I am being a tad sensitive myself after reading Rebekah's comment, but I was slightly offended by her insinuation that moms who choose to work do it for the money (I'm not going to even touch on the whole religion side of her comment). Let me clarify that, right now, I am technically a stay-at-home mom who works 1-2 times a week, if I'm lucky, as a substitute teacher. I love being home with my sons, but if we're being honest here, this wasn't entirely by choice; I would prefer to be working. Bring on the firing squad if you feel the need, but let me explain.

I went to school to be a teacher. I went to graduate school to receive my master's degree, as is required by New York state to teach. That was six years of college that I put myself through to be able to do what it is that I love doing. I love literature, writing, and all things English. I love teaching. It's what I want to do with my life. Yes, I have also always wanted to be a mother too, but that doesn't mean that I have to instantly give up on my career to be a mom. Being a teacher is as much of who I am as being a mother is. And I don't feel that it is fair to be expected to sacrifice one for the other.

That said, the reason I am a stay-at-home mom is because I have yet to be able to land a full-time teaching job (which everyone in my life will tell you, as they have told me a million times, is "happening for a reason". What that reason is, I have no clue. And really, if I have to hear that one more time, I will scream). My reasons for wanting to work has nothing to do with money (actually, that's not entirely true, but I'll get to that in a moment), but more so because I love working. Yes, I love being home with my children too, but honestly ladies, it's tough being a stay-at-home mom. I give all of you who choose to do it kudos to the nth degree! I just don't think that I'm cut out for it. Maybe that's selfish of me, but I really feel that I appreciate my kids more when I am able to return to them after a day of work. Choosing to go to work every day does not mean that I love my children any less. If anything, it means that I am providing them with a better, happier and less-stressed mommy.

I realize that this probably makes me sound like an awful mother and moms everywhere are shaking their heads in disbelief, but this is who I am. And who are you to judge me? Why do we have to judge each other at all? I have nothing bad to say about women who choose to stay home to take care of their kids. That's really great that they want to do that; I commend them for it. And obviously I have nothing bad to say about women who choose to continue with their careers either. I don't understand why these two "sides" feel the need to berate, belittle, begrudge, beset, beleaguer, and bedevil* each other. What is the point? We are all moms doing what we think is best for our children.

Now back to this issue of moms working for the money. I understand that some mothers do not have the option to stay at home because, for whatever reason, they really cannot afford to. But there are some of us who can afford it, and still choose to work. Yes, I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to stay home with the boys, but it still costs me something.

First of all, I have six years and nearly $40,000 (the majority of which I still owe) invested in a career that I have essentially done nothing with. It just doesn't make sense to me to give that up right now. Secondly, Daddio and I are not married (for reasons that I do not feel comfortable sharing here), therefore, I do not have insurance. I do not have direct access to the money that Daddio makes, nor do I have any indirect access to it (which is why he is the one doing the grocery shopping). If I am not working, then I have no money to cover my own bills, (my school loan is not going to pay itself) or to be able to run to the store to pick something up for dinner if I need to. If I need anything, I have to ask Daddio for it, which I never do because it is such an awful feeling to be financially dependent on someone else. I feel like a child asking for some pocket money to pick up some new socks. And I hate it.

Maybe I'd feel differently about it if Daddio was more understanding about it, but he's not. He is constantly harping on me about not having a job, and complains any time he has to spend money on something that I need (like $30 for a pair of maternity pants. I thought that was a reasonable price. He thought that it was outrageous). Obviously, we have some major issues in our relationship, probably ones that go beyond what most parents are dealing with.

So I guess what I'm saying is that to all of the Rebekahs out there who feel the need to judge moms who choose their career over staying at home with their children, or vice versa, maybe you should just leave your opinions to yourselves because sometimes there are reasons and motivations that you just don't know about or understand. And stop criticizing other mothers, because the last I knew, nobody is perfect.

Too much?

* is my best friend.


  1. "Everything happens for a reason" (and other versions of this bullsh* saying) is bullsh*. I want to slap people every time they say sh* like this, because they are implying that there are greater things at play that are influencing our lives, when in fact, the reason things happen is because there was an initial cause, and the "thing" that happened was the effect. Not because something better is going to happen down the line.

    Sorry for the rant.

  2. This here's a free hamlet. Rant away.

  3. OMG, a smug-stay-at-home-moms* rant AND something going off on the "happens for a reason" line of nonsense thinking?

    Love it.

    *Smug sahm as opposed to regular stay-at-home-mom. They're a special breed.


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