Too often I hear moms battling it out over who works harder—the stay-at-home mom, the working mom, or the part-time mom. I’ve seen moms look down their noses at others for the time they put into their work, whether that work takes place in the home, in the office, at a computer, or at a variety of other professional places. As we celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, moms everywhere were heralded for their devotion to their children, for their unending love for the job at hand, and for doing the hardest work on the planet—parenting.
Despite all that celebrating, I think it’s time for moms everywhere to stop beating each other up. The bottom line is that being a mom is challenging, whether you’re balancing dishes or earning a degree or fighting for a promotion. As someone who has been lucky enough to experience all three aspects of motherhood, I’m sorry to say, there’s just no easy way out. No matter how you slice it, the job comes with its advantanges and its disadvantages.
I spent some long days alone when my kids were small trying to figure out how to fill the time from when my husband left in the morning until he came home at night; when my kids got a little older and I decided to work part-time, I had to balance the house, the kids, and the job; and, in 2008, when I became a full-time faculty member at a university, I had not only to balance the kids and the job, but I also had to go back to school to earn a Master’s of Fine Arts degree. To say I didn’t sleep much is putting it lightly.
Each and every one of those jobs requires a sacrifice of some kind, whether it meant giving up a good career to raise the kids and being a masterful juggler, to balancing work and home with a part-time job, to throwing myself into my work and hoping my kids will understand why I could only spend one day with them on the weekend as I pursued a career in the field of education.
Ladies—moms everywhere—it’s time to stop beating each other up. In this wonderful United States of America, we have the divine privilege of choice and what works best for our families. If your family relies on your salary to keep the family afloat or if you are a career woman, then the choice may be to work and bring in an income and advance your career. If your family needs a little money on the side or you just want to stay busy in a part-time capacity, then that choice may suit you. Or, if you have the wonderful luxury of staying at home with your children, you may decide that meets the needs of the family best.
The bottom line? Who are we to judge another woman’s choice? What we should be doing is praising that woman for all that she does for her kids and her family. We all make choices in life—some good ones, some fair ones, and some really, really bad ones—but ultimately, it’s that mom’s choice and not ours.
Mommies everywhere, here’s my advice: if you want to be happy with the decisions you make to raise your children, stop comparing yourself to others. You are uniquely you and your family is uniquely yours.
My kids love me just as much now with my full-time job as a professor as they did when I stayed at home and played with Legos or took them to the park; and, when I worked part-time in different capacities I had to balance “office time” with “play time.” Between my husband and me and along with some wonderful grandparents, we have always found a way to make things work. My children have seen what it takes to be committed to something and want to succeed in a career. They understand the sacrifices I have made and continue to make sometimes. But they are loving, good kids, and luckily for me, they totally get it and understand.
It’s time to adopt the attitudes of our kids and respect and encourage one another instead of trying to tear each other down.
If you don’t believe this is a real discussion that can rip friendships apart, I’m here to tell you otherwise. It can. It has. It does. Plus, all you need to do is GOOGLE working moms vs. stay-at-home moms. You’ll be amazed at the multitude of articles that continue to barrage the Internet.
In closing, from me to you, whether you work full-time, part-time, in the home, or perhaps are retired and are enjoying motherhood from a different perspective, Happy Belated Mother’s Day.
In case anyone hasn’t told you today, you’re doing a great job.
Don’t let anyone allow you feel otherwise.