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Switch! Stay-at-Home Mom Vs. Working Mom

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Who has it better? Two moms state their case.

working mom and stay at home mom

"In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms," Dr. Laura Schlessinger's most recent parenting book, has quickly climbed to the top of best-seller nonfiction lists since it hit bookstores in early April.

Could it be that SAHMs are finally getting the recognition and understanding they deserve, or could it be the mass amount of recession-caused layoffs has forced working moms to reluctantly take on this role?

Always a heated topic, momlogic reveals personal stories from two moms who have experienced both sides of the debate, two best friends (whose daughters were born just two weeks apart) who unintentionally switched roles when one left her job of ten years at the same time the other was lured back to the office after a six-year hiatus.

Liesl says:

When my daughter Mia was born seven years ago, my husband and I both agreed that I would stay home, as we felt it was essential for at least the first five years. It was tough at first. I felt isolated since the majority of my friends worked, so I joined the local moms' club, which was a lifesaver.

I was an actress with a day job, so my pay wasn't substantial enough to miss. We had to make big sacrifices, such as put off buying a bigger house, after my son came along a year later.

I continued to freelance and do an occasional commercial. But the gigs were few and far between. By the time my daughter entered kindergarten, I was feeling a bit restless, so when a great opportunity came my way to return to work at the newspaper, the timing was perfect.

The first couple of months were very challenging. I was worried the kids would think I had abandoned them. We all cried a lot at drop-off, and I couldn't wait to pick them up at the end of the day, but I knew it was important for their sense of independence as well.

I hated missing field trips and class parties and wasn't expecting to be so upset when my husband took my daughter to her six-year checkup. That was my job! I had to learn how to share those important milestones with him.

After a year, I was lucky enough to be able to adjust my schedule to pick them up from school and eventually work from home a couple days a week, allowing me to help out more at school.

I actually like going into the office and enjoy the interaction with my co-workers.Days are tough, being pulled in both directions. Am I doing my best at my job? Do I have enough energy to give my kids after all the running around?

I do feel like I've struck a positive balance, and feel very fortunate to be able to have both a job I love and still be active and present in my kids' lives.

Amy says:

After nearly ten years with the same company at a job I loved, I resigned and started the best and most challenging journey of my life: raising our daughters. Emily was five and starting kindergarten, and Maddie was two and a half and starting pre-school. Though I enjoyed my job, I grew miserable not being with the girls. I was spending two hours a workday commuting, half my salary went to the caregiver, and I felt like I was missing their lives. I was completely exhausted by the end of the day and not giving them 100% for the two hours we were together before bedtime. I felt disconnected and wanted to be home with them.

As expected, so many concerns came to mind before this decision: would leaving a successful career path affect any future job possibilities, could we afford it, what sacrifices were we willing to make, would I feel inadequate without contributing financially to the household, would I lose my identity? Then, even harder questions: would I be a good mother, would I be able to give them the constant attention they need (since I was only used to two hours a night and weekends), would they love me as much as I love them?
It has been more than a year since I left my job and it was the best decision our family ever made. With my husband's support and understanding, the transition was incredibly easy.

Financially we made it work with sacrificing and budgeting. I satisfied any career concerns by growing a stationery business. My relationship with my girls has become one I only dreamed of once having. Our love and friendship with one another is much closer than when I was working. I love being a part of their everyday experiences and guiding them on the right path.

The biggest challenge has been learning to balance all the different responsibilities of a stay-at-home mother, wife, and home business! Even when there are hard days, I could not imagine going back to an office job.

Are you a stay-at-home mom or working mom? Would you switch roles if you could?


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64 comments so far | Post a comment now
Dennis September 8, 2009, 1:38 PM

Hi all. Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it.
I am from Bahamas and learning to read in English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “Amedure’s term pioneered the traditional part and the tone was taken to stand them submissive million.”

With respect :), Dennis.

J September 14, 2009, 9:56 AM

To me, this is always a stupid question. No one asks men this. You simply do what you gotta do for your family to thrive. No two families are alike, each has different needs.

My husband has had vision problems and declining hearing. His earning capability has never been able to approach mine. So it makes much more sense for him to stay home, especially since our “home” would likely be a cardboard box if we had to depend on his income.

One size fits all solutions are stupid.

Michelle September 25, 2009, 10:22 AM

(By the way, can we evolve past saying “working moms” and “stay at home moms”? ALL MOMS WORK! There has got to be a better, more current, hipper term for that.)
I think this article is helpful for women trying to make a tough decision. It’s not for pinning moms against each other. We can communicate about differences, can’t we, intelligent women?

Nita November 1, 2009, 3:59 AM

I have always been a working mom. Staying at home was never a true desire for me. I have four kids, and they all did very well with the childcare providers we had for them. In addition working allowed us to both have viable income when my husband’s job laid him off. We had health insurance and income which allowed him to start an at home business for 4 years. When our youngest turned 3yrs he sold the business and was happy to get out of the house working again. Although I work my kids always knew who mommy was, and always had my attention. In addition they also did well with the transition to school after being in a structured environment.

Independent Woman April 27, 2010, 8:35 AM

I think a woman should be able to have a job and not have to stay at home and raise the kids while the husband is working.

lee September 24, 2010, 7:39 AM

I think it is important for every women to be independent. We all want to be there to witness our kids growing, however working is important and your kids will admire you and be proud of you when they are older.

Kim September 24, 2010, 1:21 PM

I am a working mom. I work because my parents worked hard to put me through school. I work and use the education that they provided me because I know the sacrifices that they made in order for me to better myself intellectually and financially (yes, they paid for my ENTIRE undergraduate education). My mother was a SAHM until I was in 5th grade (my sisters were in 2nd and kindergarten). I don’t feel slighted from that point in my life on in any way. My parents were always available to me and NEVER missed any type of game, band concert, banquet, etc. I do the same for my children. There are days that are SO overwhelming and there are days that I envy a SAHM for their ability to participate in classroom parties and field trips. On the other hand, I am proud to be able to contribute to society. There is no right or wrong role (working mom or Stay at home mom). It’s what ever works for you and your family.

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boyswillbeboys November 13, 2010, 8:47 PM

I have been on both sides twice and I can tell you that the side that wins is the side that you feel happier in. If you’re staying home but wondering what it would be like to have a nice career and miss your office days when you used to work then it’s not a good setup and also if you’re working but hate every minute of everyday that you’re away from home and stress too much about it then you’re on the wrong side too (Iam only speaking of women who have the choice) As for me I am currently staying home again and will go back to work after my second baby is 2years old. Why? because I feel that securing my retirement so I won’t need their financial help in the future and finishing paying for their college( I already finished the prepaid college for my first while I was working) are things that will be appreciated by them in the future as they won’t have to struggle with student loans (I intend to set up accounts for all other college expenses…books, car etc) or have the burden of paying for an aging parent’s health care and other expenses and so on. This works for me but for somebody that has money for all these things without having to work then they should do what feels right to them. I enjoy my time at home but I also know that I am very good at juggling work and family with a little planning and thinking outside of the box to spend time with my kids (try taking my oldest for breakfast at starbucks before taking him to schoolonce a week…I just wake up half an hour early on that day)when you don’t have quantity of time you have to take the quality a few notches up.

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