Monday, September 27, 2010

Moms

Not too long ago, I was reading an article about working moms versus stay-at-home moms, the pros and cons of both, how women feel about one or the other, how experts and non-experts alike think this affects children, and on and on. And on. And no matter what the content, the main feeling that I get from reading these types of articles is this: competitiveness.

And I just don’t get it.

I mean, why do women feel the need to defend (quite angrily, I might add) their lifestyle when it comes to raising their children? When you and your partner decide what you think is the best way to raise your children, how does this concern Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So who live down the street? It doesn’t. On the flip side, how is it your business how Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So are raising their children. It isn’t.

So.

Why is there a constant tug of war between stay-at-home moms and working moms? And why do the debates between these two groups resort to some rather ugly mudslinging from both sides? Why, why, why do working moms criticize stay-at-home moms for trading in their ambitions for a broom and dustpan? And why, why, why do stay-at-home moms criticize working moms for choosing their jobs over their kids?

Don’t both sides realize that neither is right or wrong? Good or bad? That ultimately the best choice is whatever works for you and your family? Furthermore, women should try to understand, support and empathize with each other, not become rivals. A mother that works full time is just as loving and dedicated to her children as a stay-at-home mom. And a stay-at-home mom has just as many ambitions and dreams as the working mom. Both have valid reasons for the choices they’ve made regarding the raising of their children. And neither has the right to criticize or degrade the other. Every choice is the right choice – as long as it works for you.

A woman cannot be a good mother is she’s forcing herself to endure a situation that she’s not fond of. For example, a stay-at-home mom that resents being at home and would rather be working isn’t doing her children any favours because while she may be providing her kids with a lot of her time, she won’t be providing them with quality time if she’s short-tempered, depressed or frustrated. Similarly, a working mom who would rather be at home with her children will also experience negative emotions about her own situation, which she’ll inevitably demonstrate at home to her family. In the end, no matter what type of mom you are, if you’re not satisfied with your situation and doing what’s comfortable for you, it’s the children that end up paying the price.

So stop fighting, moms, and respect each other. Make a decision based on what works for you and don’t apologize for it. In addition, don’t criticize another mom’s choices; stay on your side of the fence and mind your own business. Whether you choose to work full time, or whether you decide to be a stay-at-home mom, it’s all good. It’s not how much time you spend with your children; it’s how much quality time you spend with them.

5 comments:

  1. I know! It's almost as heated as the breast feeding debate, which I won't touch with a ten foot pole... the funny thing is many mothers don't HAVE a choice. Whatever they WANT to do is subservient to life and financial circumstances. The illusion that everyone has a choice is vast.

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  2. The breast feeding debate is even worse. Women get really vicious with that one. Personally, I think people should learn to mind their own business. If you breastfeed, good for you. And if you use formula, good for you. But don't impose your decision on someone else. I'm sick and tired of people trying to force their choices and opinions on everyone else.

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  3. Amen, Martha! Wonderful post...thank you. I never have understood why women, as a whole, find it so hard to support their fellow women's choices. I chose to stay at home with my children (in part because of my son's autism and his need for one-on-one care). I have NEVER, EVER criticized or judged another woman's choice, but I have sure gotten an earful of snide comments, ALWAYS from other women, those who have chosen to work. Things like, "Wow, what do you DO all day??" I used to try to explain what I did all day, but then I realized that they weren't really interested. So I started saying, "I eat bon-bons and watch soap operas in my pajamas all day. What a life!" Which, of course, isn't true, but it usually left them open-mouthed. We made huge financial sacrifices for me to stay home, but I don't think my son would have progressed as far as he did had I not stayed home. I have never regretted it, but I sure do wish that we, as women, could support each other rather than tearing each other down. What a positive force we could be if we did!

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  4. Martha, my sister is talking about parenthood issues as well. http://charlottesfancy.wordpress.com. I think people should be less judgmental, but that's just me.

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  5. Ha ha... Beth, I love your answer! Yes, when women ask a question like that, they don't care about your answer. They're mostly being mean or critical. Sadly, women can you quite vicious. Your decision was the right decision. It worked for your family, and it's no one's business, anyway. I've done it all - worked full time, part time, been a stay-at-home mom, been a single working mom, worked from home running my own small business, etc... It's all good as long as it works for you.

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    Yup, Liza, you got it; people should be less judgmental...AND mind their own business :) Thanks for the link to your sister's blog; I'll check it out. I'm always looking for new blogs to visit.

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