I have been seeing and reading a lot of blogs lately about stay at home mothers versus working mothers. Not to imply that stay at home mothers don’t work, mind you. Because I am one (a SAHM) and although I don’t collect a pay cheque for caring for my kids, I work damn hard. Just as hard as any mother who works outside the home I am sure. Just in a different way.
I am so sick of mothers being pinned against one another- which mom is better, the stay at home mom or the working one? We are all moms. We all do what is best for our kids. That is what makes us supermoms. Not what we do for a living or how much money we bring home.
Being a stay at home mother does not mean I, or any other SAHM, love my kids more than a parent who works outside the house. That is just absurd. No one should be made to feel guilty for working, just like stay at home mothers shouldn’t be judged or made to feel ashamed or be asked ‘what do you do all day?” Seriously? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else but I tend to start my day at 11am (I let my kids fend for themselves until then) and then I sit on my ass all day and do, well, nothing. Sometimes I paint my nails too. HA! The reality is, my day is all kinds of hard. Even if sometimes it is fun, silly, and crazy. It is also hard, long, messy and almost always involves tears, tantrums and attitude. This job is mentally, physically, emotionally draining. It has its rewards no doubt, but it’s hard.
I have been both- a working mother and a stay at home mom. There are pros and cons to each. As a working mother (when I only had Aiden), I hated dropping him off at the sitter’s house every morning and him screeching for me not to leave. It was the worst way to start my day. I also hated missing out on special moments. I hated when he was sick because I wanted him to be with no one else but me, even if it was just a runny nose. It also posed a huge problem because it meant either myself or my hubby had to take time off work to care for him. I hated that I had to place so much trust in someone else to care for my child and just hope that she was doing things the way I would want. I loved going to work and feeling like Sonya, not mommy. I loved adult interaction. I loved having a life outside of my house. I loved not having to worry about nap times and bum changes for 9 hours out of a day. I loved feeling like I accomplished something and got paid for it. I loved going to pick up my son after the end of my work day and have him run into my arms. I appreciated our time together even more, because we had time apart.
As a stay at home mother, I get to see the special moments as they happen. I know what kind of care my kids are receiving, and what they are being fed. I get to see all the smiles, watch them grow and learn, and get more than my fair share of hugs. I miss nothing. My boys love having me home, and I enjoy being home with them. I can’t deny that being able to leave on my yoga pants on all day isn’t a perk. And I am most definitely saving money on makeup (and shampoo! Haha). I get to enjoy the sunshine and hide from the snow.
BUT I miss adult interaction. It is most definitely a huge downfall to being at home. Often times if I make a phone call, I find myself lingering a bit too long, perhaps there is something else the customer service rep at Bell wants to talk about. “Is there anything else, Ma’am?”. Well yes, there is. Let’s talk….. (totally not trying to promote Bell here, that just happens to be there slogan. Haha). I miss leaving my house for longer than an hour or so at a time. I miss leaving my house alone.
I can’t help but think that because I am home all day everyday with my kids, they aren’t getting the best of me. Not 100%, not all the time. I get tired and cranky and quite frankly need a break from them, and I don’t get it so I may be a little too irritable with them. I may lose patience too quickly. I can’t help but wonder sometimes, if I wasn’t around them all the time, would I be more patient? Less irritable? I don’t always feel like I am being the best mom that I can be because my exhaustion has gotten the best of me. But I am fed up with fighting over the same things every single day. If my son wants a banana, do I take the peel off it for him or not? I have a 50-50 chance of pissing him off and causing a tantrum. So I always be sure to ask. Lord help me if I forget. Same goes with apple. Or straws in yogurt. Or opening a package of crackers.
Sometimes it would seem easier if someone else had to worry about these things during the day- whether or not the fruit has peel. It would be easier on me if I went to work, used my brain in a different way, challenged myself, and let my kids have a break from me and be around other kids, other adults. So I tried looking for a job. I have a business degree and was hoping to put it to use. Turns out it is hard to find a job in a small town that actually allows you to bring home a decent income, leaving you with more than two loonies after you pay for full time childcare for two kids. So yes, some women choose to work because they need the income and can’t afford to stay home. Some women stay home because they can’t afford to work, it would cost too much to pay for childcare. Some women want to stay home with their kids, some women don’t. It’s a personal opinion that shouldn’t be open for debate.
For whatever reason you decide to work or stay home, it shouldn’t matter as long as you are happy. That’s what matters. Because a happy mommy makes for a happy family. What you do for a living (whether it be outside the home or not) does not dictate how much you love your child.
We need to stop beating ourselves up (me included) about how we all live up to the standards of being a good mom. If your child is loved, happy and safe, than you are doing a good job and it won’t matter to him/her what you do. To them, our only title is ‘mom’.
Hugs & Smiles,