Yesterday a friend of mine posted a question on Facebook asking why moms have to be so mean to each other.
Apparently her question was spurred on by Anderson Cooper’s show that pitted stay at home moms against work outside the home moms, against each other. Over the years, I’ve heard this argument being played out over and over. Sometimes on TV and sometimes in real life.
As you can imagine, yesterday’s show sparked a great deal of controversy. This is a touchy subject with almost every mom I know. And too many of those moms have had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with ‘mean moms’ attacking their choice personally. Why? What gives anyone the right to judge anyone elses choice? Why is it that one choice has to be ‘better’ than the other?
I don’t get it. But I do think that the foundation for the argument comes from something we all have – mom guilt. It’s my belief that we all experience mom guilt in some fashion.
“Do my kids eat enough vegetables?”
“I can’t believe I let them watch an entire movie so I could get a few minutes of quiet.”
“I should spend more time doing homework with my son.”
Whatever it is, whatever age, there is always some form of mom guilt. Work outside the home moms may feel guilty for being away from their kids. Stay at home moms may feel guilty for not helping earn an income for the family. The point is, you can’t get away from the guilt, no matter what the choice, so why make it worse for each other? Sadly, I think some moms feel like if they justify their decision by putting down the opposite choice, they can assuage some of their guilt.
But the thing is, I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer. Stay at home, work outside the home, work FROM home…ultimately do what’s best for YOU and YOUR family. And all of the rest of us should respect that decision and support one another, helping each other through the hard times that will ultimately come with any of these decisions. Guilt and all.
Personal story time- When I first got pregnant I had every intention of returning to work. I was still young in my career. I loved the challenge of going to work everyday and I had always considered myself a ‘career woman’. No one, including myself, could ever imagine I’d even want to stay home. And then we found out we were having twins. All of a sudden everything changed. Twins was definitely not part of the plan. As I mentioned, I was still young in my career. My salary wasn’t much. The cost of daycare for two kids would barely be covered by what I was bringing home after tax. It didn’t financially make sense for me to go back to work. The decision for MY family at that time was to stay home. It worked for us.
In order to make ends meet I started working from home and in one form or another I’ve continued to work from home ever since. Does that have its own struggles? Yes. There are times where I miss the outside working world terribly. And there have been sacrifices for our decision, both financially and personally. Just as there would have been sacrifices had I made a different choice. But ultimately, it’s the choice that works for us.
The point is, we all make the choices that are best for our families. That is our number one job as mothers, to do what is best for our children and our families. PERIOD. What’s best for one family won’t work for another family. It isn’t a one size fits all solution. There is no right or wrong answer. I don’t think my children are better off than the kids down the street whose mom goes to an office every day just because I’m home. Just as I don’t think she’s a better person than I am. At the end of the day we are both moms doing the best we can for our families. And THAT is what should unite us.
What about you? What are your thoughts on this hot subject? Come on, I know you have them!