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Can't We All Just Get Along?

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I'm a work-from-home mom. Where do I fit in? I notice there's this weird vibe between "stay at homers" and "9 to 5ers." Can't we all just get along?

Georgie Hocket: I was at the park one day with my daughter and she instantly fell in love with a little boy swaying on the swings. Always trying to promote friendliness, we tootled over and I said hello to the boy's mother. We chatted and laughed, compared mothering stories, and I thought maybe I was picking up a new friend at the park too.

mom working from home with daughter

Since it was three o'clock in the afternoon and I was hanging out in the neighborhood commons, the new mommy friend said, "So I assume you're a stay-at-home mom ... ?"

I smiled and said, "Well, sort of; I work from home."

And then, it was over. The mommy mojo was gone, like baby powder in a cool breeze. And it's not the first time this has happened to me. I've hit the Internet in search of play dates/mommy groups, and in the descriptions some say, "for stay-at-home moms only." Where's the love?

I think being a stay-at-home mom is one of the toughest jobs out there; equally as tough as being a work-from-home mom. But it's not about comparing who has it the toughest, because I haven't even mentioned our sisters: single, working mothers.

Maybe we just naturally, as humans, like to compare our situation with others ... which, when you think about it, is silly. Life works out how it works out, and if fate leads you down the stay-at-home mom path, the working path, or somewhere in the middle, chances are you're on that path because you're tough enough to handle it.

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16 comments so far | Post a comment now
kate May 5, 2009, 9:12 AM

What about moms who stay home all day then go to work at night to save the cost of daycare. I was a 9 to 5er til I got laid off now im pursuing something more nightish so we can save and make money. Where do I fit in? Great discussion!

victoria May 5, 2009, 9:17 AM

Yes, yes, yes…this article is so true!
Don’t all parents in general have busy lives whether they are single, married, one or five kids, working from home, working away from home, not working, volunteering, sports, etc. You can add millions of things to this list…we’re busy. It’s ridiculous to say who has it harder, better, or easier. Every family is unique and so is their situation. Who am I to tell you how hard or easy someone’s got it?
I’m getting off my soapbox now….lol.

nipsy May 5, 2009, 9:21 AM

I’ve been all three of these, the one where I get snubbed the most is my current position: a single working mother. It gets to the point where I don’t even try to make friends with the mothers who aren’t in my position. Many of the stay at home moms in my area act as if I’m a horrible mother who doesn’t spend time with her kids. When it boils down to it, I spend maybe more quality time with them when I am working, simply because our time is more precious when we do have it. Having been in all three positions, I do not judge any of them. Perhaps if more mothers acted the same, we could get along better.

Monyikka May 5, 2009, 10:25 AM

Or what about we part-time worker Mommies? I do the 9-5 thing at the firm I worked for pre-pregnancy 3 days a week. I work from home on Wednesdays and go into the office MOnday and Friday. And then on Tuesday & Thursday & the weekends I’m a SAHM.

GREAT discussion.

Stephtrac May 5, 2009, 10:42 AM

I agree! I am a 40 hour a week working mom and have MANY times been judged and snubbed by stay at home mothers. The only thing I can assume is they are jealous of my well-rounded personal life….the fact that I have things to talk about other than Dora the explorer and bowel movements (not that I don’t LOVE a good poopy story!) May 5, 2009, 11:05 AM

Thanks for the shout out to us singleton WAHMs!

ToriMck May 5, 2009, 11:06 AM

It’s not about being jealous of one being well rounded or having something other than Playhouse Disney to talk about as Stephtrac commented, and not about the snubbing of those moms that work overnight or part-time, it’s just about being a stay-at-home-mom, the group is exclusive, much like being an airline pilot and a lawyer is different…both jobs but not much in common to chat about… I am a SAHM now, have been a working mother as well, Nothing compares to the SAHM status for me…It’s like comparing apples to oranges, they are both fruits and beneficial in their own ways just grouped with their own group… LOL…

Christina May 5, 2009, 11:38 AM

I have been on the opposite side of this. I have had working moms snub me because I am a SAHM. I also get people who think I am lazy and think that I sit around and eat bon-bon’s all day long. (My hubby!) My only complaint is loneliness. There are not a lot of SAHMs in my area. But honestly, when I think about working moms, I don’t know how you guys do it. And daycares are scary places. I used to work in a few. That’s the main reason why I stayed at home. I wish we all could stop judging each other and realise what we truely need to fight for; better care for mothers. We need better maternity leave in this country. Compared to other countries we are pathetic! As far as I am concerned this whole argument is null and just takes the focus off the important things we, as women, need to band together to fight.

Anonymous May 5, 2009, 11:39 AM

I was a working mom for eighteen years and I’ve now been a stay at home mom for two years and a work at home mom for 6 months. So I’ve done all sides. A mom is a mom and there needs to be no drama. Each side has it’s rewards and drawbacks and we should not even make it an issue to compete with eachother.

dee May 5, 2009, 12:28 PM

i agree with anonymous that a mom is a mom. just because someone works or doesn’t does not make her a good, great or bad mom. it’s her actions that do that. if we meet someone we like or with whom we have something in common on which to build a friendship, we shouldn’t put up roadblocks, just appreciate the budding friendship.

ame i. May 5, 2009, 2:05 PM

I’ve been a SAHM for over 11 years and hope I can remain so until my older child gets her driver’s license in 4 years. I love taking my girls to & from school, sports practice & games, being able to drop everything to deliver the forgotten lunchbox or homework. Yesterday the 3 of us went on an all day field trip with my older daughter’s class. This is the best and most fulfilling job I’ve ever had.
I’ve had work-away-from home moms ask if I work. Yes, I do, although I don’t get paid in money. Don’t I get bored? I wish! Boredom is a luxury.
As I was reading in carpool line one afternoon another mom said “So, is that what you do during the day, read?” She lives in my neighborhood, surely the fact that my home isn’t falling apart & isn’t surrounded by foliage should be evidence that I do more than read. She is also a SAHM.

Pamala May 5, 2009, 5:59 PM

I don’t care what anyone does. I run a playgroup (meaning it’s for families, not just moms) and it’s open to everyone. I don’t care if you work or don’t. If you can make it to events that’s all that matters to me. The group is there for everyone. In the end I wish everyone had that attitude, of not caring. Why does it matter what someone does during the day? Friends are friends and that’s what is important.

UN May 5, 2009, 6:24 PM

I’m an unmarried mom of 2 and I don’t fit in anywhere. My kids’ dad and I have been together nearly 18 years but we’ve never gotten married… so we don’t fit in with married couples (most of them look down their noses at us for never getting married), or single parent families (who usually assume that we must be on the verge of splitting). Plus I work part time… and we all know the WAHM vs SAHM vs WOHM wars… I try to build friendships but they never work out. I’ve found that it’s just easier not to expect friendship from the people especially women.

storysnoop May 7, 2009, 1:53 PM

Great post! I have been a stay at home mom for ten years. I feel the snub goes both ways. can absolutely see the attitude some stay at home moms give towards working moms, and don’t understand it. We are all just doing the best we can.
On the flip side, I signed up at my children’s school as a volunteer reader this week as it is Children’s Literacy Week. The chair of that committee, a working mom, told me that I could not read to any of the classes because I didn’t work”. They wanted professionals. I think we can all do a better job of appreciating each other.

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