Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Great Mom Debate

There is an ongoing war involving moms everywhere.  It's a war that I know I won't settle here, but I feel I must address it.  A couple weeks ago my friend, BethAnnDoddKoehn, mentioned on her facebook page that her oldest was starting preschool, and how happy she was for him to go.   Well,  he was actually going BACK to preschool, because he was at daycare when she was working.  Then she quit work to stay at home and take care of her two kids as well as another little girl, to make some extra cash.  She needed her son to leave some days though.  Trust me, I understand this.  One of her facebook "friends" commented that she was dreading the day her kids would leave to go to school.  She said that's why she stayed home with them, because she couldn't stand being away from them.  She pretty much implied any mom who went to work went because she didn't want to be around her kids all the time.  To which I say-DUH?!  Who wants to be with their kids ALL the time.  Crazy people that's who!  Anyway-it sparked a debate about stay at home moms vs. working moms on Beth's facebook wall.  Oh boy.  So I thought I'd throw my thoughts out there since I do fall distinctly into one category, but know moms on all sides of this debate.

Before I had kids I knew that I wanted to do whatever it took to stay home and take care of them myself.  I knew that even if I had a career or job I loved, I still wanted to do that.  Thankfully, I didn't leave anything I loved.  In fact I was more than happy to tell the company I was working for at the time, thanks for holding my job, but see ya later.  Luckily, Andy has a job that allowed me to do this. 

 Now, that's not to say I don't EVER want to go back to work.  I do.  Not sure doing what, but something I like, preferably.  I'm hoping this writing thing might be a jumping off point, but that remains to be seen for now.  There are working moms out there, who for some reason, think those of us who stay at home don't WANT to work.  Are you kidding me??  Do you think I WANT my bosses to be 30 years younger than me and yell at me on a daily basis?  Do you think I like not contributing money to the family, especially with the economy so crappy right now?  Um, no.  I just don't want to work right now.  I  like being able to see my girls take their first steps and say their first words first, and not just have someone tell me when they did it, so it's a trade off.  

Now, for those moms out there who do work, please don't start cursing me yet.  I have total and complete respect for you.  I have to get 3 kids fed and dressed every morning, and most mornings we don't all have to be somewhere at a specific time.  If I had to get everyone out of the house to actually go somewhere every day,  I would lose the rest of my mind.  I spend all day feeding and cleaning up after them.  I can't imagine having to go to a job, in the middle of doing that, EVERY DAY.  

There are those of you out there who have to work, to continue to support your family.  Not because you want to drive a BMW or have a million dollar home, but because you need to put food on the table.  Maybe you would even prefer to stay home, but it's not an option for you.  I understand that and commend you.  You may not be there for the first step, but you're there to provide for your kids and that is essential. 

 There are also those of you who still work because you love your job and you need it.  That doesn't mean you love it more than your kids, but it makes you who you are.  I get that too, and somewhat envy you.  I wish I had a career before I had kids that I liked that much.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure what else I'm good at besides being a mom.  You still love your kids and you're showing them what a strong and independent woman can do, and that is also very important.  Some of you may fall in between these two categories.

Then there are the moms who work 13 hour days all the time, don't need to, and never see their kids, ever.  These are the kind of kids who prefer the nanny to mom.  Okay, I guess THESE moms I don't get.  Why have kids if you're not going to raise them at all?  Just my opinion, but I'm sure most of you would agree.  This is a small percentage of moms though...I hope. 

Oh and I mustn't leave out the stay at home Dads.  There are not many of you out there, but you're numbers are growing.  My brother-in-law does it, even though he does work from home as well.  I commend you too.  You are most out of your element, only because society makes it that way.  We always hear about women working in a man's world, but can you imagine what it must be like to be a guy dealing with us moms on a constant basis?  Talk about wanting to lose your mind.  You Dads rock.  

I think the best of all worlds would be to stay at home with your kids and work from home.  Although, part of my envy for those who work, is that they do get a break from their kids.  
Some days I would much prefer an adult boss and coworkers, than the five year old who insists that grilled cheese sandwiches are healthy, and she should have as many as she wants.   

I think we all need to take a step back and realize we are doing what we can to raise our children the best we know how.  We need to stop being so judgemental toward each other and know that just because a mom stays home, doesn't mean she hates work, or thinks of nothing but her kids.  Trust me, this is the hardest job I've ever had, and some days I'd like to have a day all alone.  On the other hand, just because a mom does work, it doesn't mean she loves her kids any less.  The bottom line is, we all have to make a decision that is right for our family.

Remember, the extremes aren't good either.  If you find that your kids don't recognize you come Saturday, perhaps you should cut back on your hours at work.  Stay at home moms, you need to get out too.  If leaving the room to shower causes your four year old separation anxiety, it may be time for pre-school, or at least a babysitter sometimes.  There is a happy medium to every situation.  We just need to know how to find it for ourselves, and be tolerant of someone else's.  After all there's no right way to raise kids.  If you're around all the time or never home, kids are still going to grow and learn.  It's what we teach them that's important.  So for the sake of kids everywhere moms, let this debate go.  You are doing what is right for YOU and so is your friend, sister, or cousin.  So whatever their choice, support them and hopefully they'll do the same for you in return.  

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