The debate of “Working Mom” vs. “Stay at Home Mom” has been going on for centuries.
Starting with the cave women, I am sure that Betty resented Wilma, who got to stay home while Betty was out foraging for food and supplies, all because Barney was too busy trying to invent the wheel, or making fire or goofing off at that Buffalo Lodge.
Fred meanwhile was climbing up the Rock Quarry ladder, getting ready for the next promotion. Poor Betty, always in Wilma’s shadow.
This is an age-old issue that I personally don’t have a clear stance on, because I am a mom that has done both at several different stages of my children’s short lives. I flip-flop on this topic constantly. However, to rip off Oprah, this is what I KNOW FOR SURE, not my neighbor, nor my best friend but WHAT I BELIEVE the realities to be. Did I make that clear enough? I’m not going to get attacked by some right wing conservative mom militia now am I?
As a Stay at Home Mom
- I had a ton of guilt if I wasn’t turning out the laundry as fast as stealth bomber or whipping up gourmet meals a la Mario Batali, and if the house wasn’t sparkling like the Chrysler Building, I’d go into hysterics. Okay, so let’s be honest here – this is what I thought I was doing. However, I’m not sure if I really lived up to these expectations ever or just constantly had guilt about it.
- I thought that my entire existence was to be a mom and wife. I 150% felt exactly like a 50’s housewife sans the crazy updo. I’d cater to my kids, wipe tushies, and make sure there was a cold martini waiting at the door for my weary hubby after a hard day of work. Is this the absolute truth? See last sentence of my first note.
- I felt extremely guilty buying anything other than cleaning supplies or food. Gosh forbid I buy a $7.99 T-shirt at Target; the guilt would consume me. I’d start turning tricks to make-up for the loss of income thus spending more time away from my sons… which in turn created a serious vicious cycle of guilt, STD testing… you know the drill (this is a joke, by the way. No tricks have actually been turned).
- The guilt was even more overwhelming when I went to the gym. I felt that I was dragging them around, and if didn’t spend the time engaging, playing, and making sure they were entertained at all times I deemed myself a terrible mommy.
- I totally used the “I can’t take these kids for another minute” tirade way too often.
- I became extremely selfish about “me” time, and in some instances, took the opportunity to roam around Target by myself so I could escape everyone. I didn’t care if I just had to buy tampons – it was a welcome opportunity, and I took it and ran!
- I became a fashion don’t, for sure! I had the same get-ups for each day of the week, the only variation was the color. Nothing new came into the rotation, and if it did it’d throw the entire universe out of whack; yes the ENTIRE Universe! I am sure you felt the tilt! I did make sure that I was ironed, showered, and had a dab of make-up on. JEESH…give me some credit.
- I never felt RUSHED… ‘cause I never had to be anywhere, and if I had plans, or had to cart the buggers around to activities, or doctor’s appointments, I had all the time in the world to get there. It doesn’t matter that I was late 90% of the time; the fact of the matter is that I had the time to get there in time.
As a Working Mom
- I am not doing most of the above, and I have more guilt about it than a Catholic girl kissing her boyfriend… times 1,000,000.
- I really miss my boys. I miss hanging with the little guy every day (even though he most definitely drove me to drink), and I miss picking up my 6 year-old from school, and helping him with his homework. And I really really miss screaming at him at the top of my lungs for him to stop horsing around and to finish that homework.
- I get to speak to adults all day long, and use my brain. Although sometimes, I do feel like my children are way smarter than some of these people. At least I’m not wiping their tushies… well, I guess in some ways I am, but thankfully it’s not literal!
- I went from a Fashion Don’t to a Fashionista! Well, not really. I did buy new clothes, however, and came to realize that now I have a rotation of work clothes – just in different colors – with a few cool pairs of shoes; it was nice to go shopping!
- I work for a cross between Mr. Pitts and Michael Scott, who idolizes Charlie Sheen, and Ari Gold (a fictional character, I know). No need to elaborate.
- I get up anywhere between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. to exercise so I don’t rock the apple cart. I hope to eliminate some of the guilt about going to work, and doing something for myself. Therefore, I need to get to bed between 9 p.m and 10p.m.. And to keep that up, I hardly watch any of the TV I love; its how I unwind, so I never unwind, EVER. I’m wound up like a freaking clock ready to explode.
- I get absolutely no “Me” time, other than dragging my ass out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to sweat. I am dying right now. Can’t you hear me gasping for air… gasp, gasp, gasp. I totally cherish the car-rides to work.
- I don’t have time to do JACK – not for myself or for anyone else, and it blows like Shamu, or the previously mentioned Catholic girl.
- I have no guilt about buying anything anymore, and it’s a liberating feeling. I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder running through those fields on Little House… cue music, see me running down a flowery hill.
- I am completely rushed 100% of the time I am awake. I have two hands in the air at all times, much like a circus act spinning plates, if one falls, I’m screwed, and the crowd will gasp… or so I think.
- I cherish the weekends!
I can literally add something new to my lists on a daily basis; the fact of the matter is I feel the GUILT in whatever full time occupation I choose.
A few years ago, I went out to throw a few back with some friends. We got onto this topic, and this one gal, whom I LOVE said that there is no way you can do both jobs well. I kept my mouth shut for once. But I felt extremely sad, because at that time I was a working mom with lots of guilt, and always doubting myself. How could I not? I have one son reciting animal facts like Rain Man and the other one climbing out our windows.
Nevertheless, life dictates what we need to do for ourselves, our families, and our lifestyles, there is no definitive answer as to what’s best, and frankly, it’s no one else’s business but your own. With that being said, guess who’s working full-time, and has her children in daycare? ‘Nuff said.