So I heard on the news a few weeks ago that a Democratic "operative", (ok, show of hands...how many of you think of spies or Burn Notice when you hear that word?) said that Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, had not worked a day in her life because she was a stay-at-home mom.
Oh geez. As soon as I heard that, I thought "Hooo boy are some people gonna be MAAADDDD!" I have to admit, it bothered me a little bit, but I honestly don't judge my value based on some talking head's ill-spoken opinion. Besides, there were plenty of other women and moms who got mad for me. So why waste the energy?
It did bring me back, momentarily, to what is called the "Mommy Wars." This is the ongoing, modern struggle between what women should do after they have children. Should they put their child in childcare and keep working at the job they held before they gave birth? Or should they quit their job in order to stay home and keep said child.
As a mother for nearly 11 years now (yes, they go by way too fast), I've dealt with this issue since day 1. My own struggle has gone something like this:
BC (before children): Know there is no way I'm going to be a "housewife" when I grow up. I'm going to have a career, albeit one that is flexible and allows for me to take care of my children.
PG1 (pregnant with #1): Decide to stay home for "6 months tops!"
6 months postpartum: came and went
1 year postpartum: Tour daycares. Thought I'd get childcare before looking for a job so I'd have that taken care of. Come home distraught and hyperventilating at the thought of putting my daughter in day care. lol! (I can laugh at that now....)
2 years postpartum: Decide I'm either having another baby or going back to work.
2.9 years postpartum: Have 2nd baby.
2nd Baby at age 1: Work part-time doing finances at our church.
Year Later: Work tax season while both girls are in Mother's Day Out.
After we moved, I went to work 24 hours a week doing taxes and bookkeeping. I did that for a little over 3 years. I even upped it to 30 hours a week on a regular basis and 45+ hours per week during tax season.
3 years 3 months later: Had 3rd baby. Quit work to stay home.
As you can see, I've done both. I've worked. I've stayed home. I've worked part time and I've worked (more than) full time.
Which is better?
Well, for the first 3 years of my motherhood, staying home was better. After that, working some was better. Now, staying home is better again.
The thing is, the answer is different for everyone. I truly believe it depends on your family's financial situation, your temperament, and what your goals are.
I know moms that stay home. I know moms that work. I know moms that work and should probably stay home. AND, I know moms that stay home but should probably work!
I really wish that every mom could be supported no matter what her choice. In fact, I think that is the secret to reducing the amount of guilt the mom feels based on her choice.
Well, I could talk on about this subject, but it's late and I can't come up with an eloquent, thought-provoking, leave-em-wanting-more conclusion. So I'll leave you with this:
Call your mother. (She worries.)
Tell the moms you know that they are doing a good job and to hang in there. No matter where "there" is. :)