Who has it better? Two moms state their case.
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.
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.
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?