For YOU, Kids, Life

Mommy vs. Mommy

April 12, 2012

Sigh. I really didn’t want to go here but I’m feeling a little sad today. I know we all think the grass is a little greener on the other side and that the other woman is a little luckier…sometimes we even judge a little bit (ok maybe a lot). I’m talking about the never-ending battle between the stay-at-home-mom and the working mom. And I’m sad today because I just overheard a mom at the grocery store complaining to the cashier that, “It must be nice to be at home with your kids and not have to rush around like a mad woman after work everyday”. Hmmm. I dash around like a mad woman all the time and I don’t work…outside my home. And no lady, it isn’t always “nice” to be a SAHM. I’m sad that this specific conversation continues.

I consider myself very lucky to be able to stay home. But it isn’t like I didn’t realize what it would really mean to 1) depend on Jose’s salary for everything that I consider a “need”, 2) put my career on hold and 3) give up a lot of personal creativity and growth that came with my career.

I have to admit that I have been jealous at some moms who can admit that for them it is easier to go to work than to stay at home. It takes a lot of guts to admit that! But secretly I feel proud that they recognize that my job is hard. I feel jealous because I think it takes a lot of confidence to say, “I rather go to work”, as if I haven’t achieved that sense of confidence to say to a working mom, “I rather stay home with my kids because it’s easier”. I have the confidence to speak up but it’s not like I go around saying in public, “how nice to sit on a train for an hour after work and unwind…without kids.” It’s just something I have to admit, we must all think these things but should we express them? Furthermore, is either option really easier?

Women can make their own decisions now and that is why comments overheard like that don’t sit well with me. When will we stop judging each other? Forget about women who can choose to work or not, what about women who really need to work? I’m talking about real middle class women who need the two incomes to make ends meet, the single moms, the divorced, or the widowed…the rest of us owe it to them to respect each other’s choices.

There is a great book out there that I have, The Mommy Wars, a compilations of short-essays written mostly by professional writers who defend their choice, that I recommend every mommy should read (edited by Leslie Morgan Steiner). It gave me a great perspective on the need or choice for a woman to leave her children under someone’s care and continue her career path. Once I read the perspectives of the women who chose like me, it empowered me and validated my decision to stay at home. Judging aside, why are we still unhappy with our choices?

The cartoon above caught my eye because it expresses exactly how a lot of us feel. As I listened to that mother complain to the cashier, I understood she felt down, defeated, that life was unfair…the way I feel many, many days. I’m learning every day that it isn’t easy either way. The more I surround myself with both SAHMs and working moms, I understand both perspectives. Sure, some days I feel blessed (especially on Monday mornings) that I don’t have lesson plans to turn in or chapters to read before class, but some days I miss that mental stimulation that only your chosen career, your passion, can offer you. And some days I’m just counting my blessings and promise myself to see the bigger picture.

What do you think about the mommy working conflict? Almost a world war or just a small battle for you? Love to know what you think!

Your friend,

Update: Interesting how last night’s comments in the political world are making huge headlines this morning! About this!!!!! I can’t believe this conversation is taking place!!!

The book once again!! Click on it!!

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  • Reply Malinda Caudle-Saito April 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Great entry Betty! As you know, I’m one of those mothers who HAS to work. I don’t have a choice. I think there’s still this stereotype that SAHM just sit around in their pearls and live a life like Donna Reed. But thing that people don’t realize is that Donna Reed worked her ass off! Don’t get me wrong, there are those SAHM who don’t put in the effort and expect the help to do everything. I believe this is the image that is plaguing SAHM. Its a small battle if we act and work together as mothers, but it can defiantly turn into a war if we don’t stop fighting each other.

  • Reply Bertha April 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Hot Topic Ms. Betty!!! I feel for both women! There are days when I wish I was at home more, cleaning more, cooking more, spending more time with Daniela, spending more time with my mom and the husband. I’m not sure if those things would be done if I was at home! I’m the one who brings home most of the income, so my income pays for most of the things at home, including the mortgage! But I sometimes thank my lucky stars for coming to work and having a job I truly enjoy. I know it sounds horrible, but on those awful mornings when Daniela is not in a good mood, I’m glad I’m dropping her off at Preschool! I love days at work when I’m the only woman in a meeting and loving it more when I’m the only hispanic woman in a meeting! I take pride in that! Yes, I wish I can have it both ways, but this is what works for us. Every mother has a different situation, I don’t think SAHM’s have it easy at all…it can’t be easy with kids!

    • Betty
      Reply Betty April 14, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Yes Bertha! I’m sooo proud of Latina women like you…I also feel that giving Diego opportunities where HE is the only Latino boy in whatever he is doing comes with the effort of me taking him and being with him anywhere that is of interest to him…exposing him…Jose could have not done his Asia stint without my support…of staying home with Diego. 😉 This is why we shouldn’t JUDGE each other and we must stop feeling guilty for our choices! Embrace! Love ya! x

  • Reply Liz A April 13, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Loved your entry Betty and yes it’s a very delicate topic. I think the expression on both women in the picture you posted speaks for itself. Both look like they need a break. The job of a mother is never easy and will never end. I went through the same dilemma after the birth of my second child. Actually a little after I got over my mild post-partum blues (I didn’t realize I went through it until months after), but anyways that’s another topic of discussion… I do have a choice. I decided to work for many reasons and the extra income is a bonus for our family. Most days I get home from work tired and want to just lay down and forget I have a family to feed and needs to take care of, but instead once I see my Ellie and Andres, I can’t help myself and feel the emotions of what a mom feels for her children and I smile and enjoy that moment. Maybe it’s the guilt of being away for hours but I try my best to replace that time away with quality time. As a mom we want (at least I hope all moms do) what’s best for our family. Whether we want to be a SAHM/Dad or Working Mom/Dad is a choice that we make as the head of household or as a family decision, depending on our circumstances. It’s part of life to search for our own happiness and once we find it we are at peace and when we lose it we look for it again. We can become very judgemental and opinionated about how we see the world and sometimes we forget to respect people and their decisions…it’s about finding the right balance 🙂

  • Reply Yvette S April 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I myself would love to have both. I would like to have a part time job and be able to see my kids more often. Especially being able to drop them off at school and pick them up. Sometimes when I go to the schools I do feel a little akward because I don’t know the parents. I know the names of her classmates. I know the teachers. I just don’t know the parents. I make up my time with them during the weekends. I take my days off every now and then when they don’t have school. No matter what though I am happy that I was able to have 2 great kids.

  • Reply Sleeping Mom April 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I read a few books and studies (of course I can’t reference them, urgh) that said that in an ideal world, kids actually *do* benefit from one-on-one interaction with a SAHM. If a mom can’t stay home, then the next best thing is a mother-substitute, like a grandmother.

    But here’s the thing: nothing is ideal. You could have a SAHM or grandmother who isn’t in their element and doesn’t thrive as a daily caregiver. Perhaps that SAHM would thrive if she worked, even if part time, so that she can give all of herself when she *is* at home with her kids.

    I work full-time, although I’m fortunate that I have a flex schedule that lets me stay home with my toddler for a few days a week. Perhaps that’s what is keeping me happy; this sort of balance. In my ideal world, I would probably stay home with my kiddo, because I feel like I would be in my element that way, and I would probably do a terrific job. But who’s to say that this is the same situation for everyone?

    I feel like moms need to stop feeding the “wars” stereotypes that people love to jump on the bandwagon on. If a mother is doing something that we wouldn’t do, why can’t we just support her, and assume that she’s doing the best for her family? Why does it always have to be “You should do this because I do it this way”? It’s really terrible when I hear mothers bashing others for parenting methods that don’t agree with theirs.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty April 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Hi Sleeping Mom!
      Yes, I wrote this before the whole Ann Romney attack and wrote it because I felt a woman made a statement that generalized, that was meant to be hurtful, etc…I can’t handle that. Back home I have a lot of working-mom friends, here in the East coast, I have a lot of SAHM friends. There’s a lot of cultural and economic reasons for their choices. Who am I to make general comments of the women who choose differently than me? A lot of my working mom friends are first-generation professional Latina women…a totally different circumstance than the Ann Romney’s..etc. I’ve learned so much through this debate and thank you for your feedback. Rock on! Just checked out your site…Love it!

  • Reply Jenny April 15, 2012 at 4:54 am

    I worked with my first daughter because I had the insurance. It was hard to leave my daughter with my mom. Nothing against my mom. I nursed and working at Sportmart at the time was hard. I had to pump in the security guards office. When i heard a baby cry I wished I was home with Alex. The thing i hated working in retail was no set schedule. I called off a few times because my daughter was sick and we only had one car to take her to the doctor. They gave me such a hard time because I had to take breaks to pump. In the end Juan and I decided that i would stay home. He had a job with insurance so I didn’t have to worry. The first week wasn’t so bad. After that I hated being home. I felt like a bad mom. I had no one to talk to our be around. My friends were in college or working. A few months after I quit I was pregnant with my daughter Ashley. I was so exhausted with that pregnancy I was happy to be home. I didn’t stress out about money because Juan made decent money. I was able to enjoy this pregnancy and not have to worry about hanging clothes and going into labor at 6 months again. We moved into our townhouse when my daughters were 4 and 2. We moved from cicero to brookfield. I cried because I had no family that lived 2 blocks away. Don’t get me wrong its not super far but not in walking distance because my mom doesn’ t drive. We put alex in preschool and I felt like an outcast. I stuck through it. When my daughter went into kdg I became involved with school. I became the lunch lady, librarian, coach, athletic director, aftercare provider within those years I was there. I was able to drop off and pic up. I knew every person that went to that school along with 95% of the parents. If one of my daughters was sick I was home with them. I still stay at home and I feel like my chores are never ending. Sometimes I don’t make dinner because I am just too tired to make something and fast food it is 🙁 I babysat on and since alex was one. The extra money didnt hurt. I sometimes think about not quitting because I have applied for jobs and being home I am always question why I didnt work for 9 yrs. i tell them to take care of my kids. The thing I miss the most is socialzing with adults. I don’t think there is anything wrong with working or sahm. Sorry so long.

  • Reply Maggie April 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I loved this entry, and coming from a mom that was a single mom for many years, and still doesn’t depend on anyone, it has been hard to leave my boy, I definitely empathize with both situations. I have so much respect for SAHM. I am grateful now to able to have flexible hours and to be able to be there for my boy.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty April 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks Maggie for your input! I can’t even imagine…it’s hard WITH dad around!!!
      I hope that the conversation continues so that people can’t stop making judgements. We always think “she” has it easier…

  • Reply raquelito April 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Working mothers, can easily put judgement on a SAHM but it not fair. Some make the choice to work FT, PT or stay at home and it’s something we should just respect. I feel those that judge other for there “work status” could possibly be due to the fact that they didn’t have the choice . Financial hardship is a huge stressor and some mothers hold hard feelings towards those mothers than CAN stay home. I plan to work PT in hopes to see my child develop more then I do now. I work so hard at work that by the time I drive the hour home I’m exhausted. But overall it’s a choice we’ve made for the time being. (Really advocating me working PT but it also means demoting myself =( ). I give you credit for being a SAHM. I sometimes go looney and it’s just the weekend! But I also yearn the zoo/park visits during the week when they are fewer crowds, taking her to a activity class with a few kids because it’s not on the weekend. I feel that working is obviously fulfilling my career goals but I think it’s also time to dedicate more quality time to Emma. Keep up the great work!

  • Reply Leticia June 25, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I really love your blogs. I’m not one to quickly judge because I HAVE been all of those “woman”!
    Between 18-23 I was an off and on again student with 2 jobs working any and all hours provided to me.
    I became pregnant with my 1st son at 24 and was a single mom by 25 when I gave birth to him. I moved back to Illinois with my parents and had to find work when he was only 3 months only. I worked 35-40 hrs, enrolled at College of DuPage and managed to go out on the weekends, with my son by my side the whole time.
    I currently have 3 boys, 1 girl, a part time job and have reecently graduated!
    It has been a very long journey and stressful for both my husband and I but we are making it happen.
    It is sometimes easy to judge and point the finger
    but you’ll never know unless you’ve walked that line.
    I will be taking the summer off from looking towards work in the career that I just studied as to regroup and spend time with the kids. I have put them through a lot the last 12 months, it’s only fair that I give them time now.
    Thank you Betty! I know your doing your best and we are not who to judge our peers. Keep up the great work as I too continue to fertilize my yellowish grass! 😉

    • Betty
      Reply Betty June 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Thank you Lety and bravo! You really have worked your butt off! At the end of the day I know you are doing it all for them. They will be so proud to learn what mami has done throughout her life. Congrats on your graduation and take the well deserved time off to recharge! xoxo

  • Reply What Do You Think When You See This? | My Friend Betty Says… September 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    […] that I say BRAVO! This was her journey, her personal journey and she succeeded. I say ENOUGH to us mothers judging each other, enough with the comparisons! DO WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD!!!!!! If Maria wanted a six-pack after 8 […]

  • Reply Maria September 24, 2012 at 11:28 am

    This is a super hot topic and I agree, there should be no judgements. If you want to stay at home or if you want to work, as long as you own your decision no judgements. Whether you stay at home or work, neither task is easy (I’ve done both). I think the issue is that there are SAHM’s that live that life of “luxury” and spend their days not doing much and they give the truly dedicated hard working SAHM’s a bad reputation (I know some of these as well). It’s not easy being “stuck” at home all day and it’s also not easy being “stuck” in an office all day, but we all do what we need to do which in the end is the best for our families. I have the luxury of being a remote employee, so I work from home every day. Albeit I never leave the office, and sometimes I do find myself checking email at the dinner table, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I find myself very lucky that I can stay at home with Daniella when she’s ill or don’t need to take a day off when there’s a snow storm. I’m grateful that I don’t have to take time off when I need to shlep her, or myself, to a doctor’s appointment and can just finish my deliverables at then end of the day. I’m so happy that I can pick up, and drop off, my little girl from school every day. No matter what your situation, I think we need to be thankful for our kids, families, and what we have. Being a mom in general is hard so we shouldn’t judge others for the decisions they make just because they’re not aligned to ours. Not everyone has the benefit of having grandma and grandpa nearby to watch your kids, while you work. Not everyone has a partner who earns enough so you can stay at home, or not everyone is willing to make the sacrifices of not having the 2nd salary. Whatever the reason, as long as your being a great parent, involved, caring and nurturing towards your child then there’s no need to judge.

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