stay-at-home vs. working moms

Today while Hudson was napping, I was getting some things done around the house and turned on the TV. The Dr. Phil show was on and he was talking about Stay-At- Home vs. Working Moms. (We don’t need to get into whether or not anyone likes or approves of Dr. Phil. That’s not the point of this post.)

I’m a a SAHM and most days I am very happy with my job. I love spending the day with my boy and there are lots of moments that I get to experience and I can’t imagine if someone else got to experience those things with him instead of me.

There are also the not-so-good days. I don’t think it makes me a bad mother or an ungrateful mother because I admit that there are some bad days. Some days he is just fussy and can’t figure out how to get happy. I can’t figure out how to make him happy. By the time my husband gets home I am exhausted and just need to go to a room by myself and relax. I’m not complaining about my child and I know it’s not his fault if he has a bad day. I still wouldn’t go back to work just because he had a bad day.

There are some days when I would like to have a real lunch instead of a lunch where I make something as quickly as possible and eat it while doing something else. This is just the reality of the life I have chosen. Again, I think I’m allowed to say all of this. It’s okay that I’d like to get dressed up for a fancy lunch one day and have adult conversation.

In the episode today, there was a very extreme SAHM who said that all women should stay at home and that all children are better off if his or her mom stays at home. I can’t understand why one woman would make such bold statements about another woman’s choices and another woman’s children. Why can’t women just support each other for how they’ve chosen to live their lives. Unless their kids are in serious trouble, they should just butt out.

It’s a personal choice. I know that some women would never like staying at home and that doesn’t say anything about their parenting skills or about their children’s happiness. I don’t have any opinions about how anyone else chooses to parent. And I hope that no one judges me for my choices to stay at home.

I am educated. I worked for 5 years and used that education. Maybe someday I’ll go back and use it some more. I also use my education in a volunteer capacity. But those are my choices.

The women that choose to go to work every day aren’t working just so someone else can raise their children. One of the extreme SAHMs on the show today said, “I don’t pay someone else to love my husband. Why would I pay someone else to love my children?” How awful is that statement?!

My mother worked and my brother and I learned so much from her experiences. There were definitely times when I wished that she was home with us and I’m sure there were times when she wished she was home with us, but that’s not how the cards played out. The experiences that we got from her job as Director of Admissions at a University were wonderful. We got to know so many people, learned a lot about the working world, and learned to appreciate the time that we had with our mom. (My dad worked, too, and we learned a lot from him, but I’m talking about moms here.)

Here’s my point: All stay at home moms are not out to get the working moms. And I’m pretty sure the working moms aren’t out to get the SAHMs. I think if you have to make bold statements about the women in the other category then you’re probably not confident enough in your own decision for your own family, and feel like you should attack the other group to make yourself feel better.

I have only been criticized once for my decision to stay home. On the other hand, I admire and look up to the other women that I know who stay home with their kids. I also really admire the women who go to work every day and still manage to do so much for their children.

I’m very fortunate to have Hudson on a waiting list for an amazing day care that I’ve found. He’ll start going there 2 days per week as soon as we can get in. I’m also very fortunate to have a mother in law that lives five minutes away and will stay with Hudson so I can go have a fancy lunch if I need one. My own mother is not close enough to run over for lunch, but any time I’ve needed help (hello, post-baby surgery), she has been on a plane to come stay with me while I recover and need help taking ย care of Hudson. The other thing I’m incredibly grateful for is this blog and all of the support, points of view, and people that it has exposed me to. Blue-Eyed Bride keeps me constantly connected with the “outside” and I think this job could get pretty lonely during the day without it.

The mom job is much harder if no one is around to support you. I think it’s really important that moms support each other. It’s a hard job no matter how you choose to do it. But it’s always rewarding and I know that women in both of these categories experience all of those rewards!

ETA: This also goes for the choices women make regarding childbirth. But don’t get me started there. Just support each other instead of tearing each other down.

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  1. says

    I hate the whole SAHM vs working mom feud. We are ALL moms – let’s support each other not break each other down. I think we all make choices that we hope are best for our families. I love staying home and I’m SO thankful that I get to (and it is NOT easy – you are right) but I NEVER for a minute think I’m a better mom than one that works. In fact – I wonder all the time how they do it and admire that they can and not be plum crazy! ๐Ÿ™‚ (I DVR’d the show since I saw you twittered about it and we are an hour behind).

  2. says

    This sounds infuriating, and you get it exactly right – why in the world do some people presume to know what is best for everyone else? I do not understand the SAHM “versus” working mom thing whatsoever – everyone just tries to do the best they can for their children and themselves. The woman you quote sounds truly awful, and more than that, absolutely blind to her privilege. I hope a working mother in the audience who would love to be at home but can’t afford to leave her job told her so.

  3. says

    I get really frustrated hearing people extreme thoughts without taking our individuality into consideration.

    I am a working mother. I am choosing to work and to hire help for my almost-19 month old. That is what my husband and I have decided and I truly believe that my decision is not going to hurt my son in the long run. Of course, there are some days that I wish I could stay home every day. Maybe one day I will. But for now, this is my choice.

    What a well written post. You always have great thoughts and opinions that are shared very tastefully.

    Cheers to all Moms… working outside and WORKING-at-home ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. says

    This is an age old battle, I think.
    I remember people talking about this on talk shows when I was little and here we are in 2009 still talking about it. I honestly cannot believe that in the 21st century there are people criticizing each other about their decision to work or stay home with their children! I think what these radical SAHMs like the ones on Dr Phil today need to remember the state of our economy and the fact that a lot of moms who previously were able to stay at home simply can’t anymore.
    To me, it is such a personal decision for a husband and wife (or just the mother) to make and it’s for no one else to question. Nobody knows the exact circumstances of our lives but us, therefore we cannot presume to judge why someone makes a certain decision they make.
    I say, let everyone do as they wish and let it alone!
    I had the benefit of having my mom work at times and stay at home at times, just depending on the financial situation our family was in at the time and I can honestly say that I learned a lot and loved both circumstances. I stayed with my grandparents while my mom worked when I was little and I wouldn’t trade that time I had with them for the world.
    I enjoyed hearing your point of view on the subject!

  5. says

    I think this is one of the most classic debates among women and no matter which path you choose to take, you will probably feel a little defensive and guilty at the same time. I hate that we are so judgemental towards each other with this big decision. Thanks for having such a level head on your shoulders about it….to each her own, and whatever works! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. says

    Nothing gets my goat more than when someone feels the need to force their opinions and beliefs on other people… whether it’s the topic at hand, religion, politics, whatever. Get over yourself. Just because you feel like your opinions and beliefs are right doesn’t mean they’re ALWAYS right. Ugh. It’s so detrimental and negative to act in such a way.

    Be strong in your decision and know that your decision is exactly that… yours! Love you girl!

  7. Susannah says

    Oh girl, sooo many things to say. First of all, WW with a kid is HARD! I’m doing it too-some days are just craptastic! Now, on this mom thing-I have never heard more crap in my LIFE about the war between working moms and SAHM’s. Seriously-ridic. All women need to support each other-I am currently staying at home and have to go back to work in 16 days. I am sooo not ready. It makes me nauseous to think of the lady who will keep her getting to see all the cool, precious stuff. BUT there are “those days” like you said, where I am dying to have a routine, work, adult interaction, etc. I’m a teacher though, so…..yeah. ๐Ÿ˜€ When we have #2, I will stay home b/c financially it doesn’t make sense to pay 1300/mo for daycare. Will I like/love it? I don’t know-but a year can’t hurt! If I hate staying home, I can go back to work. But, I think I will love being with my babies! People just need to love each other ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. says

    This was an amazing post! I agree with you 100% and I’m so glad you wrote this post! I’m not even a mother, but I hate how judgemental women can be and I think this needed to be said. You are very articlulate, excellent post!

  9. says

    It’s so interesting- one of my best friends lives on a plantation in the middle of the Delta in Mississippi- there is nothing around. If she did not run a local bank’ s internet, she would see no one but her toddler all day long. Her brother has a child the EXACT same age. He and his wife live in Knoxville, where there are tons of SAHMs and an excellent social network for that lifestyle. In both instances, the babies are happy healthy and well adjusted as are the moms. However, it might be otherwise if my Mississippi friend did not work because she would be lonely and lacking social outlets, which would in turn affect her relationship with her family.

    Whew. Sorry for the super long comment!

  10. Natalie says

    This was an amazing post. I have a 2 1/2 year old and would love to stay at home but right now we don’t want to alter our way of life to the extreem to allow me to be home. Maybe after my husband has a few more promotions:) I honestly do like my job but there are many days I wish I was home with Brooke. But I don’t like to be critisied for my desision. It is an ongoing battle that will never go away. I think its good you are going to put Hudson in daycare 2 days a week, he will love the interation with kids! And daycare will teach him alot. My daughter was even potty trained in 1 week , 2 months after her 2nd birthday. Everyone has to make there own decision. I am so glad you put this out there.

  11. jessica says

    I have definitely found the people who are always up for this debate are really not happy or secure with their own choices and have to tear other moms’ decisions apart to justify the decisions they have made for their families. I have never presumed to know what is best for any family other than my own and definitely resent it when my decisions are questioned or judged. (and I LIVE (without shame) for fancy lunches!) I am glad you do, too!

  12. says

    Thanks for posting this Erin (:::clapping:::). I won’t even get in to how strong this debate is in NYC and the battles it causes…you said it beautifully and I hope more people read this.

  13. says

    I don’t know why this is always such a heated debate. Those crazy SAHM’s that criticize women for working are just ridiculous. There are PLENTY of women who WISH that they were able to stay at home with their children, but for financial or other reasons, they just cannot do that. On the other hand, there are also a lot of women who would prefer to work, which I will admit that I used to not understand at all, but I think I have a better idea now that I’m older. In my opinion, SAHM’s are the lucky bunch that are able to spend that special time with their child(ren)!

  14. says

    Great Post! I commend you for being a SAHM because right now in my life I don’t think I could handle that. I would love to be a SAHM but there are lots of days that I just think I could handle that. That might change once I actually have a kid but I need adult interaction, more so than what my husband can provide. Also he wants to be a fulltime Fireman and that just will not support us in some of the area’s that he is applying. There is nothing wrong with being a SAHM or a WM.

  15. USCEmily says

    This is a great post, Erin. Although I am not a mother in any capacity and don’t plan on being one anytime soon, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that mothers should support each other as a whole without putting down those that don’t do things as they do them. Each person and each family is different and should be treated as such and supported in their decision to stay at home or go to work. Nobody can know what another person’s situation is and what is best for that family, so casting stones does no good.

  16. says

    Thanks for posting this. As someone who is a few years younger than you, sometimes I frankly get scared to have kids because of feuds like the working mom v. stay at home mom feud. It is good to know that there are women out there who support people no matter what they choose!

    I’m in law school, so if down the line I choose to stay home, I feel like I would be judged even harsher than people who did not go to grad school because my peers would think that I am “wasting” my education. It will be a hard decision but the key is to just do what makes you happiest. Great post!

  17. says

    I saw that too! I never watch Dr. Phil and just happened to see the title when I was scrolling through the channels-I had to watch!

    I completely agree with you. The thing I remember getting the most upset about was when people would find out about my choice NOT to breastfeed. I didn’t want to do it, plain and simple…I didn’t even try it and I won’t with my 3rd….it just isn’t for me and I’m okay with that-others? NOTSOMUCH!

  18. says

    I saw the whole show. That one SAHM was extremely judgemental and rude! How awful! Some people don’t get the luxury to be able to stay at home and they should definately not be judged for having to work, and vice versa. To be as bold as to say that some women should “rethink” their choices about having children if they are going to work was infuriating! I think every mom does what is best for their family!

  19. says

    “I worked for 5 years” Don’t kid yourself girl…you are STILL working ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just as much as the rest of us, if not MORE so! I get to come home at 5:00 and turn work off. SAHM’s work just keeps going and going and going…:)

  20. says

    Great post! Way to rally the troops together rather than make it a SAHM vs WM thing!

    I think one key point that is sometimes left out of this “debate” is that it’s not a CHOICE for some women, but an economic necessity. To say that women who work outside the home are less concerned about their children is ridiculous.

    I think so many working moms (OK, ALL moms are “working moms,” but here I mean work-outside-the-home moms) feel unnecessary guilt over not being there enough. If you are happy and feel good about yourself, your kids will benefit. Doesn’t matter where you work!

  21. says

    I think most women would agree that our first job is always MOM whether you work away from home or not. The rude lady on Dr. Phil needs to remember that. I did the stay at home thing for a while and it just wasn’t for me or Ellie. I’ve always been jealous of my friends that are able to stay home with their little ones until just remind myself that this is HIS plan for us. I think its wonderful that you are SAHM for Hudson too!! XOXO

  22. says

    I’m not a mommy, but, I couldn’t have said it better. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Moms (and women!) need to be supportive to one another–we’re all in this together.

  23. says

    It’s such a controversial issue, and you’ll find women out there from each side of the fence that have their opinions. It is frustrating to me that they try to make others feel bad for their choices, and I don’t agree with that at all! I think it doesn’t make you the best mom either way…for those of us who are working, maybe that’s what makes us a good mom for whatever reason whether it be, because we need to provide a better living for our little ones or to get some time away from the house and with our coworkers. And for those that SAH, maybe that’s why they are a good mom, because they can be with their child everyday. I’m not sure, but I definitely think that it’s a person choice and one that people should be able to make without the opinions from others and not be criticized for their decision.

  24. MaryBeth says

    I had to turn off Dr. Phil. My blood pressure was high just listening to these women attack each other. We must support each others as moms. I have done both (working and staying at home) with my children and they are both hard jobs! There were days when I was working full time that I just didn’t know if I could do it anymore. Now that I stay at home, there are days when I am equally as stressed and frazzled. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this today ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. says

    It makes me incredibly sad to see things like this – the whole Type #1 Woman vs. Type #2 Woman (whether it be SAHM vs. Working / My Birth Plan is Better Than Your Birth Plan / Budget Wedding vs. Platinum Wedding, etc, etc, etc). Why, as women, do we insist upon dividing ourselves up into categories and pitting ourselves against each other? After years and years of not having ANY options, shouldn’t women as a whole be celebrating the fact that now we have so MANY options??!! Think of all the things we can learn from each other and all of the experiences we can choose have for ourselves. Immediately dismissing another woman’s choice just because it doesn’t coincide with our own is unproductive to the advancement of our gender, stifling to the growth of our individual minds, and limiting to the amazing friendships we can form with people who are different than ourselves.

    I’m SO sick of the girl-on-girl mud-slinging! Didn’t we all get the memo that Mean Girls was set in High School?

    Great post!

  26. says

    I missed that episode and probably glad I did. I am a working mom and often feel guilty about it. I knew once i got pregnant that I would have to work. I love my job. It is very fulfilling to teach 5 year olds how to read. I am grateful that I am in an awesome school and have awesome students. I never realized going back to work would be so hard. I literally cried the first 2 months (she was 3 months when I went back and is 5 months now). I am just now coming to terms with it. I would LOVE to stay at home with her? Could we make it work…probably. We would have to downsize our home, cars, etc and couldn’t ever take vacations. My husband builds homes and makes a very good living, however he is self-employed. I am Type 1 diabetic who needs AWESOME health care. I get that from the school system. It would cost us over $700 to carry good healthcare for our family. Add to that our mortgage and car payments??? I am very happy with Lilly’s daycare setting. I cried everytime I would read another person’s blog saying they decided to stay at home. I feel by working we can provide things for her that she would never have if we didn’t. I am fortunate to get out at 3:00 everyday and have summers off. It makes the night time’s even more special with her! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. says

    I’ve been both. I have enjoyed both. I have profited from both. My family has benefitted from both. Neither is easy. Being a mom is the toughest but best job in the entire world. Your words were right on. Thanks for sharing. Come share a slow cooker favorite for Crock Pot Wednesday whenever you get a chance.

  28. says

    Amen! I was SHOCKED when I was pregnant and entering into the world of motherhood and witnessed the judgement among mothers. I have to remove myself from the situation or conversation when the toxic discussion of “boo on SAHMs” or “boo on Working Moms.” In my opinion – we’re all WORKING moms. The law requires a lunch/break time for moms who are in the workforce; but, I’m a SAHM and sometimes my daughter doesn’t nap and does her typical two-year-old behavior and I don’t get a nap. We don’t have family in the area and haven’t found a trustworthy babysitter – it’s work to just keep myself from going cuckoo, and try to teach my daughter life-skills like manners, counting, and ABCs. I completely agree with your post and appreciate you sharing your life (the funny and the challenging) with all of us; it’s a stress-reliever to do the same, and to realize that there are others out there in a similar circumstance and experience.

  29. Shannon says

    Just curious, why are you sending Hudson to day care? Are you working part-time or just need some free time? I have been thinking of getting a nanny a day or two a week, so I can actually get errands done!

  30. Stephanie says

    That lady on Dr. Phil (the SAHM) was ridiculously judgemental and, in my opinion, not all there to think what she was saying was okay. If a person has to or wants to be a working mother they don’t deserve or shouldn’t have children? Really?

  31. Becky says

    I agree that we should be more supportive of each other. Can anyone think of any issue like this that divides men into two camps? For instance, sports fans vs. non sports fans? Pro hair transplants vs bald-n-prouds? I don’t know why women can be so catty! Men seem to be much happier. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. alli says

    loved the post. I agree we all need to let people be free to make their own decisions and live their lives how they need and want to. It really is sick making how competetive motherhood seems to be now. people do look down on you if you dont breastfeeed, opt for c section etc… who cares what is important are the children. A healthy child needs a happy mom. Good luck with your own son. I am struggling with a decision to stay home now with my new baby girl. sometimes i think women had it better when they were not expected to work and do it all

  33. says

    AMEN SISTER! I love this post! I think its wonderful. There is too much Mom-on mom bashing now a days. Everyone does what they can and what they think is best. There is no “right” or “wrong’ way!

  34. says

    I’m no where near being a mom, but my mom worked and I can’t imagine doing it any other way. I learned so much from her for that, and know what I want in life. I’m pretty sure I’ll be a working mom, but that’s my personal decision.

    Great post – right on the money ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. says

    Well you already know my opinions on it, via Twitter. I was that awesome working mom talking about being in law enforcement. You need to do what is best for you and your family. People have no right to judge. And Yes, I had to sit on my hands. I went there with a friend, another blogger. You should have heard our conversation the entire way home. We went to this taping in mid-August. I’ve had this information in my head for two months.

  36. says

    Great post!! I don’t see why anyone would think they can judge someone else for how they want to raise their family or anything else really! It’s insane to me!! Everyone’s different! I admire you for staying home to be with your baby! It’s such a wonderful time you two are going to have together.

  37. says

    I have never commented before, but i really liked this post. I am a working mom of a 7 month old baby boy. It is an internal struggle everyday to leave him at daycare, but i know that in this moment, I am doing what is right for my family and for myself. I would love to stay home if the option was avaliable but right now it is not. I admire all stay-at-home moms and working moms. We all have such a hard job ahead of us. I think you are right on the money when you say we (women) need to support one another and not tear each other down. Great post!!!

  38. Maggie says

    I really appreciated your insight in this post. I live in Canada, but work for a US company so only get 12 weeks maternity leave, unpaid no less. All women here qualify for a year and get unemployment insurance where that option isn’t available for me. Luckily my husband can get a few months parental leave from his Canadian employer so we are taking advantage. I constantly feel like some of my peers here are judging me for going back to work so early, but I don’t really have an option. I agree with you that no matter what our decision we should be supportive of one another!

  39. says

    Personally, I was raised by a stay-at-home mom and always thought I would do the same, however now that I am an adult I realize that may or may not be something I am able to do (I don’t have kids yet.) I think it is sad that women judge each other for this choice, without knowing anything about that person’s situation…in fact, although none of my friends have kids yet we already had a big argument about this one night.

  40. says

    I wholeheartedly agree with you! I honestly could not have written it better. I don’t know which I will choose when I have children someday…a lot of that will depend on our financial situation when we get to that point in our lives. But I have never understood the women who berate other women for their choices….its not bad parenting. A bad parenting decision would be to let your child play in the street..not putting them in daycare or choosing the opposite.

    Thank you!

  41. says

    What a great post. I’m not a mom, but my mom was a working mom and my husband’s mom stayed at home. I admire both of them so deeply for all they do for their families and all they have accomplished – and they couldn’t be more different.

    I thought this point was particularly well-said: “I canโ€™t understand why one woman would make such bold statements about another womanโ€™s choices and another womanโ€™s children. Why canโ€™t women just support each other for how theyโ€™ve chosen to live their lives. Unless their kids are in serious trouble, they should just butt out.”

    Thanks for writing such a level-headed point about this touchy topic!

  42. says

    I learned a long time ago not to judge either group of moms. I wanted to be a SAHM and wasn’t able to, I was the “bread-winner”. Then, I got the opportunity to be the SAHM, and did so for quite a while. What I have realized over the last 6 year of motherhood is that even though I would love to stay home with my daughter, it’s not for us. We are both very social creatures, and she loves to be at school {well, now she has to go!}, likewise, I love to be around other adults. She thrives more when she is stimulated by activities, her surroundings, and other people. And I know this doesn’t mean that I’m a bad mother, or I can’t give her what she needs, it simply means she needs more than only me daily. Which is fine. We love our time together, and I have a job that allows me to be there for every important event or occasion in her life. I never thought I would be a “working mom”, and sometimes I have a slight pang of envy that I’m not at home. But, I did what worked well for us, and Caroline has thrived beyond my wildest dreams { I won’t go into brag mode here! LOL!}. We had a good balance of both worlds, and I can honestly say we both loved it.

    Bottom line… have to find what is the right fit for your family. Not what someone deems right. So, I no longer pass judgment over the 2 sides of mommyhood! Good Luck to you and all mothers!

  43. says

    Since becoming pregnant I have been surprised at how much I hear about this debate! There are kids whose moms stayed at home who are perfectly normal and there are kids whose moms stayed home who are completely screwed up – and the same goes for working moms’ kids! Hello people, your decision to work is not going to direct your kid’s future. I don’t begrudge anyone for having their opinions, but I do get annoyed when people shove their opinions in my face.

    Some moms are not the SAHM type and I think if you’re not that type then why stay home? Let someone else care for your child during the day so you can be there 100% for your child at night. There are also some moms are who not the working mom type – and I say if you can’t balance it all then why work? Stay home with your kid and be sane!

    I think the working women who criticize SAHMs are just feeling guilty about continuing to work, while the SAHMs who criticize working women are feeling insecure about their decision to discontinue paid work. I’ve rarely met a criticizer who isn’t really insecure. With that in mind it is easier to take people’s comments in stride!

  44. says

    I could not agree more. I am a working mom, but that is what is best for me and I would never impose it on anyone else. I am lucky enough to have a grandmother that is willing and loves to watch my twins 3.5 days a week so that I can work and not worry about the cost of day care.

    I just recently wrote a post about how women judge each other because it is really easy to let it hurt your feelings. I outlined all the choices I have made and been judged for and then explained them a little. I think it is important that as mothers we embrace each other and support each other.

    P.S. My twins are not much younger then Hudson so I know all about the fussy days that you just can’t make them happy and just needing to get out and have a lunch with two hands (or a warm lunch!). Bravo to you for knowing that this doesn’t make you any less of an amazing mother!

  45. EN says

    Great post! Nothing makes a woman bristle up more than being judged by another woman. I used to work with a lady that I considered a friend of mine. When I came back to work from maternity leave, she was very vocal about wanting to be a SAHM when she had kids and criticized the day care my child was at (which was great). I would have loved to stay home with my baby but financially at the time it wasn’t possible. I finally had to realize that someone who would make such statements to me was not my friend.

  46. says

    shame of doctor phil for instigating and thereby pitting women against women. this type of dialogue does nothing to help the situaiton. some women would prefer to stay home but don’t have that luxury, such as widows, or the countless millions affected by this terrible economy. and like you said, some women would go nuts being at home, which would in turn have a negative impact on their children because kids can totally pick up on stress and resentment. our society really needs to work on concerning themselves less with the goings-on of others and leanr to live and let live.

  47. says

    Oh, how I would LOVE to be able to stay at home with my Lulu when she arrives in a few short months… Unfortunately, sometimes finances dictate more than desires. And even though daycare is unbelievably expensive, it will still set us back less than if I didn’t work.

    And oh, how I CRIED when a woman I knew (a new mom as of April) started lecturing me about how I would want to stay at home, and how I wouldn’t be able to leave my little girl, and how it’s ridiculous to even contemplate working after the baby. And this from someone who (used to be) a very close friend. I haven’t spoken to her since my tears abated, and I realized that my family has to make the right decision for US. No one else can tell us what is right or wrong.

  48. Gwen in FL says

    Great post, Erin. Very insightful and well-written. And I admire you for addressing such a controversial topic on your blog…and in a way that explains so well why it should NOT be a controversy at all!

    I am twenty seven years old. I am engaged and currently do not have any children, although my fiance and I plan to start a family once we are married and financially secure. Five years ago when I had just graduated college, his older sister had a baby. She had a good job, however she was extremely unhappy at work. Her husband made a good living and it was not a financial strain on their family if she stayed home with her baby, so she gladly did.

    I was horrible. I’ll admit it. I never said anything to her face, but the comments I made to my fiance (my boyfriend at the time) were malicious and rude…and just plain wrong. I said she was lazy, she was wasting her education, how I would never make that choice because I would feel like my brain would go to waste and I’d feel “dumb” if I wasn’t using it. Horrible, I know.

    The truth? I was jealous. Oh SO jealous. My parents could not afford to send me to college, so I knew I would be paying my student loans back for many, MANY years. I had living expenses, a car payment, I knew I’d be responsible for paying for my own wedding down the line. I knew that when the time came for me to start a family that I would not have a choice…I would have to go back to work. I was angry at that thought. It wasn’t fair. She had the option of staying at home and watching her child grow and mature and I wouldn’t even have a choice. So I took my jealousy and anger, and turned it into “judgement”.

    Fast-forward to today. We are still saving for that wedding! Hopefully we’ll be married soon, eventually buy and house and have children in a couple of years. I like my job, I don’t LOVE it, but I do feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from working. However…I’ve got babies on the brain. If we were able to, I’d start a family right now! I already love my kids more than anything in the world (I know that sounds weird…I don’t even have kids yet…but I already love them with all my heart)! I sit here at work and picture what my life will be like as a Mom…how many kids we’ll have, what their personalities will be like, the kind of Mom I’ll be. When I was younger, I always thought I’d WANT to go back to work…that I’d get bored being at home all day with my kids, and I’d actually be a better Mom if I was working. But the closer I get to actually having kids, the more I realize how much I would want to stay home with them.

    It’s amazing how much you mature over time. I know my frame of mind back then was so wrong, but it just shows I had a bit of growing up to do. And your post explains it so beautifully. Being a SAHM isn’t about being “lazy”! You are CONSTANTLY working! It may not be for a paycheck, but you are working! And no, SAHMs brains don’t “go to waste”! Again, referring to your post…your blog, volunteer work, etc….there is so much that keeps you connected to the world outside of your child.

    It’s a personal choice. It’s what works best for you and your family. For someone to say a working Mom is neglecting her kids is just SO wrong, too. Some Moms keep working because they want to, and some HAVE to (which will most likely be me)! Some families depend on both of those paychecks…so for a woman to stop working…and possibly not be able to put enough food on the table for her kids because she’s not working…isn’t THAT neglecting her kids?

    It all boils down to one theme…YOU should do what works best for YOU. Others will have their opinions and “two cents”, but your opinion and ultimate decision is the one that matters.

  49. says

    To me this is a pointless arguement. What I do is my business…… what you do is your business. (And I’m just using the word “you” in general I’m not speaking directly to you!) Do I tell you what kind of car to drive, where you need to live…..why should I tell you how to raise your child?!

    I agree with your statement that a mom who is so opposed to another’s choice feels guilt or jealousy. If a child is being taken care of and not mistreated/abused, no one other than his/her parents has a right to judge. I have to admit that I have the best of both worlds. I work but my mom keeps my little one. So, he’s not in daycare but still getting the one on one attention that I want him to have…’s just not me on an every day basis. My job is flexible in that I can take days off to spend with him and go on “school” field trips now that he’s in preschool.

    People who think their way is the only way annoy me like nothing else.

  50. says

    Great post! I agree with your statement that women need to support one another in their decisions and not tear each other down!! It’s all women do though- it’s sad how catty we are (I know I do it at times)! My Mom worked my whole life and managed to raise two daughters and I think we turned out just fine, but she longed to be a stay at home mom at times but it wasn’t an option. I think women who are able to stay home are so lucky and I only hope when we have children I can stay home with them at some point. Don’t ever let women judge you for your decision if you are fortunate to stay home with Hudson you should embrace that and enjoy it!!

  51. says

    Thanks so much for posting. I, for one, hate it when SAHMs think they are so much better for staying at home. Just because my daughter goes to daycare doesn’t make me any less of a mom. I wish more than anything that I could be a SAHM, but because of my husband’s working situation we just aren’t able to do it. We don’t live expensively by any means, but it still requires me to work to make ends meet. Thanks for posting this! Very well said!

  52. says

    Great post and very well said. I was the Mom that came on after Jessica and had no idea that the whole show was us agaist them. I am still shocked when women say crazy mean things to each other – men would never do that. My husband and his friends never compare who coaches a sport or who does not. What everyone needs to realize was it was an EDITED version of the show – this is the way the producers edited it. They filmed us for almost an hour and a half (could have been more but I was nervous, sweating and trying not look dumb on camera). To each is own I say….

  53. says

    Thank you. I agree. There are parts of me, honestly, that think the whole moms debate is being blown out of proportion by television producers, and people who just need more drama in their lives. I am staying home now with my son after working for years. I will probably go back to work at least part-time once he starts preschool or regular school. It was my choice, I was lucky to have it, and I was also lucky (in some ways) that I never imagined myself staying forever in the job that I had. It would have been a very hard choice if I had really loved my job (though certainly, I liked it). I would never judge someone for working, just as I would hope they wouldn’t judge me for staying with my son. But see, for me, that’s just it — no one has ever been rude to me about it. And I have never said anything about anyone else. So is there really a war? Or are we all just hoping we’re doing right by our children?

  54. says

    I watched the show and got SO irritated! I actually took a long mat leave (still on it right now) and plan to go back to work in Jan (I work from home) – I think they just had her on for tv drama/ratings I cant imagine most SAHM think like her.
    Any who great post and I always enjoy reading your blog! I agree 100% that blogging provides a huge outlet when you are at home with the baby!

  55. Allison says

    Yeah Erin! I love it and I agree with you 100%. I have been extremely jealous of the mothers who have been able to stay at home with their children for 12 years now! I have complained and begged to stay at home. BUT, GOD had me exactly where he wanted me because without the job that I have, I would not have been able to take care of myself and my children now (and you know what I mean). I would still LOVE to be able to stay at home and keep my house clean and volunteer at the kid’s schools but I am 1000x more thankful that He was in charge and I wasn’t….

  56. Maggie says

    I have the best of both worlds (3 days at work, 1 day work from home and 1 off) and I can honestly say, from both sides, that neither is “perfect”. when I’m at work sometimes I wish I was at home, when I’m home, I sometimes wish I was at work. Its about trying to find the right balance, which after 8 years and 2 kids is still a struggle. but it worked for us, we survive and thrive and at the end of the day we’re happy. Good luck with the daycare, I found one for my kids that I absolutely LOVE and so do they – it makes all the difference when you feel good leaving them and they feel good being there. Hope Hudson loves it and I hope you use the time for whatever makes you happy and balanced!!!!

  57. Katie says

    Great post! It is frustrating that there are still people out there demoninzing other women, what is the point? This is 2009 and we either choose to stay home and work or leave the house and work. The point is two-fold, we are choosing either way and working either way. Right now I am on maternity leave with my 12 week old and have a 2 year old as well (just turned 2 yesterday!). I have mixed feelings about returning to work in a month but for now it is the choice that I make. And it is a choice I make every day. Someday I will leave the business world but for now it works for my family.

  58. says

    Beautifully written post! I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement:

    “I think if you have to make bold statements about the women in the other category then youโ€™re probably not confident enough in your own decision for your own family, and feel like you should attack the other group to make yourself feel better.”

  59. says

    Ahhhh, don’t you just love people who can’t butt out? I am the same way, I try my best not to judge others because I don’t want anyone to judge me and my parenting choices (they are great, btw :)). And more annoying than that are those people who think they know everything and they aren’t even moms. They just have their opinions and feel the need to express them. *sigh*

    I admire you for staying home with Hudson and I wish I could stay home with our kids…but for now we need a double income to continue to live the lifestyle we do…nice home, nice vehicles, etc. Not that we are materialistic by any means, but we would definitely have to downsize if I didn’t work and stayed home to keep our kids. It’s hard! I am so very fortunate to have my mom keep our sweet boy (and the new baby in a few months) everyday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. says

    Erin, this is so well written. I think, though, one of the things we should remember is that even though–as you mention– it is a personal choice … but for some women, it’s not a choice at all. Perhaps a woman has to work for the health care or for other benefits — even if she could make ends meet without working. What a blessing it is to be able to have the choice … no matter what choice you make.


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