We all know that there is this little “war” going on between working moms and SAHMs. Why? Nobody really knows, right? I mean, honestly, why can we not agree on the fact that certain things work for some and other things for others. As simple as that. But we don’t.
For some reason we have to make our lives more complicated in bitching about what the other mother does wrong. It’s how we dress, how often we wash our hair, if we had that manicure or not, what we eat, the sports we do, how we raise our kids and of course if we work or stay at home.
I’m a stay-at-home-mom. And I love it. But I also love my freelance jobs I take on every now and then. They are blocks of work and when I do them then they are full time over a short amount of time. I usually feel extremely refreshed when I come out of a block of work like that. It energizes me. There is this saying in Switzerland: “Getting the money and the bread-roll.” Which obviously means that you get the good of both sides. I kind of feel that way.
While I can enjoy being with my kids I also get my little piece of work life. Just enough to enjoy it and give my everything but not too much in the sense of feeling I’m missing out on my children.
Okay, I admit some days are not as easy as others… Still…
I love being with them, seeing them grow up, enjoying every moment of it. It works for me. It works for us. I also see how others feel they could never do it. It does not work for everyone.
We are all different, we are all wired in a different way, we all enjoy different things.
I think it’s so interesting to observe how both sides, working moms and SAHMs, always try to find a reason why the other way is bad. How both sides desperately want to prove that their decision is the only right one. I wonder why? Why can we not agree that both systems work?
Or push us to our limits…
Don’t you think it’s also interesting, that both sides obviously feel guilt about their decision? Working moms feel guilty for heading out to work instead of staying with their kids. SAHMs might feel guilt for not working and in that sense supporting their families financially. Seems like no matter what we choose, there is no right way… Or is there?
A couple of days I saw a Facebook post of a woman who used to go to school with me. She is a very successful dentist, a wonderful person and I’m sure a great mom and loving wife. She chose to stay in her job after having had her kids. She chose the career and I admire her for doing it. I think it’s great. Honestly. She posted an article about a Harvard Study claiming that working moms have more successful daughters and more caring sons…
According to a working paper (pdf) published June 19 by the Harvard Business School, daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, hold supervisory positions, and earn more money than the daughters of women who don’t work outside the home. The researchers also found a statistically significant effect on the sons of working women, who are likely to spend more time caring for family members and doing household chores than are the sons of stay-at-home mothers.
It irks me. It really does. For days now. I thought I can shake it off… but I didn’t manage.
What I miss in the article is an explanation why this should be the case (I admit I have not read the working paper itself). I can’t shake the feeling that someone just wanted to find proof that the decision made was the right one (or prove that the other decision is the wrong one…).
I don’t think that only working moms can teach their children about the endless possibilities out there. I doubt that only working moms can teach their daughters they can achieve whatever they like to achieve whenever they want it. I doubt that only working moms will manage to turn their sons into caring men.
I think that this study (as many others) don’t prove anything. The only thing it does is making some mothers feel less guilty while others feel worse.
I understand that network is a big thing for making a career. And I’m aware that the network one parent builds over their work life might still be of great use for the children one day. In the end though it all comes down what the children have to offer. It comes down to what their work ethic is, how much they can bring to the plate.
I ask you if you truly believe that only working mothers can provide children with those values? And if so, why?
As a SAHM I make a decision to invest myself into the family on a very personal level. My job is being a mom, looking after everyone, taking care of the chores. My job is a 24/7 position. I don’t get paid money. But I gain other things from it. A SAHM has most likely worked before becoming a SAHM. We might even have had a career and simply given up on it because we felt it was the right thing to do. Like changing jobs for a better option. There is experience. Experience we can share with our children.
If we keep trying to find reasons to put others down just because they do things a different way we do, then we definitely teach our children the wrong thing. The message they receive from behavior as such is that finding tiny little reasons to hang someone up on is the way to go. The message they receive is that finding something to make the other one feel bad or guilty about a decision they made is the way to go. Instead of teaching them that we all should choose a path we are comfortable with and follow that path for as long as it works for us, we teach them to try to establish a norm everyone has to follow. No matter if it makes sense to them or not.
I don’t believe it’s the right thing to teach our kids. It will lead to less empathy, less kindness, less people skills, less tolerance, less respect.
I find that people function best if they do what they love. It’s when they give their all and go even further then they ever thought they would be capable of. You can only love what you do if you feel comfortable with it. And you can only feel comfortable with it if the decision doing it is yours and not someone else’s. If there is no judgment involved…
Bottom line is we are all fantastic, fierce moms. And we should see ourselves that way.
But then, of course, this is only my view of things…