Archive for September 15th, 2009

The Great Debate

Stay at Home Mom. Work at Home Mom. Work outside of the Home Mom. Who has it the hardest? Everybody thinks their plight is the worst. Everyone in each of those categories thinks someone in the other catgories has it the easiest.

I’m sick to death of this debate.

To some extent, I’ve done each of these roles – in various capacities. None of them are easy. None of them are impossible. Each has its unique challenges, and each has its own rewards.

I remain firm in my rather unpopular position that no matter which role you hold at any given point in time, you are always a full time parent. My children are, above everything, my number one priority, and they know it. I work extremely hard in the job that sends home a paycheck, and I work twice as hard at my full time job as a parent.

I’m tired of hearing how much harder SAHMs have it. I’m tired of hearing how much harder working moms have it. The fact is that being a parent (Mom or Dad, these days, not just mom, thankyouverymuch… my husband works just as hard at this parenting thing as I do… mostly) these days is a challenging.

We all love our children. We all want the best for our children. We want the best schools. The best activities. The best healthcare. The best therapists, when necessary. The best friends. The best clothes. The best toys. The best everything.

When you’re a stay at home mom, especially with more than one child, but even with one at a time, you have to carefully plan how you’ll do the simplest task. How you’ll run an errand, even… will it fit around nap time? Cranky time? Lunch time? How do you get coverage for your kids if you need to schedule your own doctor’s appointment? How do you get all the housework done while you’re trying to stimulate your children all day? How do you respond to all those people with the misconception that as a stay at home mom you have “all this time on your hands”? How do you keep yourself from going mad without adult conversation, intellectual challenges, time to pursue your own interests outside the home, and so on? You worry whether you’re giving enough attention to each of your children. You worry about whether you’re stimulating your children appropriately enough. You worry about whether you’re scheduling the right kind of playdates, buying the right educational toys, cooking nutritious enough meals, or getting them outside enough. You worry. That’s what moms do.

When you’re a working mom, you have to leave your children every day. You have to figure out how to manage your schedule, find care for your children, figure out what to do when your kids are sick, when childcare fails (the nanny is sick, day care/school is closed, etc.) you have to either take off of work or find back up. When your kids have appointments, when there are school conferences, when there are field trips to chaperon, or whatever, you have to take time off of work. That means when you’re sick, you go to work instead of staying home or going to the doctor, because there’s no time left to take off. You miss out on some milestones. You know you’re under the microscope by your boss, your clients, your coworkers for the time you have to take off for your kids. You worry if you’re spending enough time with your kids. You worry if you’re putting enough hours in at work and doing your best work. You worry. That’s what moms do.

And yet, our children thrive. Our children grow, whether we’re at home or working. Whether we’re working at home or outside the home. Our children turn into little people right before our eyes. We all work to be the best parents we can be, no matter what challenges we face in our day-to-day lives.

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