Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stay at home vs. Working

I am a huge supporter and believer in the importance of stay at home moms. In another post, I'll explain why, and why it was the right choice for me. However, this post is about that always heated argument, who has the harder job: SAHMs or WMs. My opinion is that they are both equally challenging, and they both offer unique benefits.

I would never put down a working mom, or belittle the challenges that arise from the work/home-life balance. I nanny for a wonderful working mom, and I admire the balance that she has created in her life. However, her job allows her some freedoms and benefits that my job as a SAHM does not. For instance, she gets child-free time alone in the car. I know a lot of working moms use this time to conference call, but they get to do that without little ones yelling, fighting, or screaming in the backseat. And they have the option to end the call and have some moments of peace. I never get quiet in the car in the middle of the day, to be alone with my thoughts or listen to non child friendly music. Secondly, when she finishes work, or on her lunch break, she can run to the mall/grocery store/target etc., by herself. (If her job hours and daycare/nanny hours allow.) That is HUGE! That means no little person to take in and out of a carseat and cart, nobody to entertain/keep from tantruming in the middle of the store, and nobody to argue with on whether or not certain items should be bought. Again, I never run errands in the middle of the day with this kind of freedom. Working moms also get lunch and or coffee breaks. Or they get to go on business lunches where, yes, they are working. But they aren't also picking up thrown food from the floor, ensuring that their child isn't screaming in public, changing a dirty diaper in the middle of a meal, and cutting pieces of meat into miniscule pieces. Lastly, I think the biggest thing is that these moms are not home all day. That means that they are not picking up the same toys and books from the floor a million times, trying to constantly think of ways to entertain their child, aren't preparing and cleaning up from two snacks and a lunch during the day, aren't cleaning up potty accidents, dirty diapers, crumbs, etc etc. When they get home, their house is in the same state that they left it in that morning.

Now, that isn't to say that there aren't parts of my job that are easier than a working moms. The most important being that I get to be with my children all day, every day. This is a major blessing for me, because I get to be their primary care-taker. I get to witness each and every milestone, and serve as my child's first teacher. I get to do fun activities with my children every day, even if that just means giving a bath and splashing with toys in the middle of the day. This eliminates the mother guilt that often arises when working moms worry that they aren't giving their children enough of their time and attention. I also get to use nap time to clean the house. (When I'm done preparing and eating my own lunch, because I never have time to do that when my daughter is awake!) When my child is sick, I don't have to worry about calling out sick from work and juggling meetings. If it's been a long night, I can spend the morning working in my jammies. These are all things that wouldn't be possible if I had a job outside of the home, or even if I was a work from home mom with a job other than mothering and caring for the home.

I think the purpose of this post is to highlight the unique benefits and challenges that are part of each job. They are both important, and it isn't fair of either type of mom to put down the other. What bothers me the most is when I hear "Oh, I have it so much worse than *insert opposite job of speaker.* Because it's simpply not true, and those moms are just looking for attention. We are all mothers, plain and simple. We all work, even us stay-home moms!!

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