To be a Working-Mom or not to be…that is the question.

As long as I’ve been a mom, I’ve been a working mom. The only times I’ve had the privilege of being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) is during my summers while I’m not teaching. Lately, there’s been a buzz about being a SAHM vs. a Working Mom across social media. People are blogging about it, tweeting about it, posting and reposting about it on Facebook. The Huffington Post has posted articles about the supposed “war” between SAHMs and Working Moms and scientists and social scientists alike are doing studies about the effects of a mother’s career on their children’s future. It’s definitely a hot topic right now.

Like I said above, I’ve always worked. When my husband and I married, we decided that one of us would always stay home with our kids. I always thought it’d be me, but when I became pregnant with our first and I had a steady teaching job, it was only wise for my husband to stay home instead of me. It was definitely difficult returning to work after only 2 months, but I really loved my work and enjoyed being there. So often I felt guilty for wanting to return to work. I guess working moms will always experience some sort of guilt…being away from our kids is never an easy choice. I just felt really lucky to have a husband that was ok with being a SAHD.

Since having our second daughter in March, I’ve been off of work and I’ve really fallen in love with being home with my girls. I never thought I would enjoy it this much. I’ve seriously thought about not returning to work several times and we’ve even tried figuring out if it would be possible. When discussions are done and we’ve looked over our budget, we always come to the same conclusion…I will return to work.

Here are my main reasons why I’m choosing to stay a Working Mom:

1. Job Stability. I hold the most stable job right now. As far as income and medical insurance goes, my job provides the most stability for our family. In this economy, stability is something that many people don’t have and we recognize how blessed we are.

2. My husband is an amazing stay-at-home-dad. Society is warming up to the idea of SAHDs, but it’s still far rarer than one would think. My husband can’t go to “toddler time” at the library without all the other mommies making a big deal about how cute it is that he’s there. I love that my daughter get to grow up with their Papi at home. Girls need a strong male role model in their lives and they have one that adores them to pieces.

3. I want to be an example to my daughters. I admire SAHMs. I think they are the unsung heroes of our society. I admire moms who choose to stay home even though they could choose to go into the workforce and be leading CEOs and politicians or teachers, or policewomen or doctors and professors or whatever they want. With this being said, my family is in a unique position that my daughters do have a father that can stay home and a mother that can go work. I want my daughters to know that they have choices. If they choose to get married and have kids, they can choose to stay home or work. I don’t want them to think they have to conform to society’s expectations whether it be by choosing a “female friendly” career or whatever. Our family tends to bend gender stereotypes when it comes to who is “supposed” to do what around the house and I want my daughters to do what they are passionate about regardless of what they’re “expected” to do. Besides, it’ll only benefit them in the future. Research shows that dads who do housework have more ambitious daughters.

4. Purpose. I work in schools that serve under-served youth. I see this as a mission and part of my purpose. Being able to do this work and be a mom is an honor. Some days I feel like I have 150 children and I want to pull my hair out, but most of the time I just feel incredibly blessed.

So, for now, I’ll continue to work, and quite honestly, I think I always will. That’s one reason I’ve decided to be a career teacher instead of an administrator…I want to spend summers with my family. I admire mothers who make the hard decision to stay home and mothers who make the hard decision to work. The choice is never easy. We just need to make sure we cherish every precious moment, no matter what our profession be.

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5 responses to “To be a Working-Mom or not to be…that is the question.

  1. My cousin is not a stay-at-home mother she has one son he’s autistic she goes to school holds two jobs I myself I’m a stay-at-home mother and I have the ability to stay home with my children while my husband works not for not working he’s gone 45 days and home for one week so no matter how you put it when you’re a single mother with a you have co-parenting between you and your husband or not nothing is easy is always going to be hard and it’s always going to have effect on our kids one way or another whether it’s good whether it’s bad all that we can do is do our best to show them the way

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  2. I know you didn’t mean todo this but… Mothers at home are still working. I have an office job & my own business, but mothering, house keeping, running home is all work. The invalidating of anything other than paid employment is government policy in most ‘modern’ countries but it is not of benefit to parents – of either gender – who stay home and do the caring work.

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  3. Hello Stacey,
    I’ve never commented on a blog before but reading your post today brought back memories of my time living in the U.S. I’m from Wales and lived in Florida for 7 years, California a year. Like many people, I commuted on a plane the way I do on a train now. I loved living in the U.S and made many wonderful, lifelong friends – but I did not want to stay, despite a good job and the glorious San Diego weather.

    There were a few things that I simply could not reconcile, particularly around motherhood. For a country that prides itself on family values, it never made sense that a mother was expected to return to work 6 weeks after giving birth, or 8 of course with a c-section. In the UK we get 12 months – what I found peculiar was that US colleagues actually criticised the UK for such generous benefits (not half as generous as Scandinavian countries).

    An image that stayed with me was a new mum breast pumping in the toilets at work.

    Another issue for me was vacation time, or holidays as we call it – statutory here is 28 days plus public holidays. My US colleagues were surprised that I would take unpaid leave every year to visit my family in the UK – 3 weeks off – how could I, wasn’t I worried about my job? Most of my US colleagues would only ever take long weekends to eek out their two weeks…no real downtime with their family (teaching aside of course).

    …and then there was health insurance. I simply could not accept that health insurance was not free at the point of use to all, regardless of status – for me that was a universal right. The number of friends who’s ambition and creativity was kept at bay for fear of being without health insurance. I was fortunate to have good insurance while I was there but I remember a case where a young man was prosecuted for fraud because he used his friends insurance card to get emergency health care…I just could not get my head around that!

    Finally, being asked whether my husband was black was interesting (because someone with an accent like mine had been there once with a black husband…) and going to a church creche to find that the dark skinned child in the corner playing on his own was ‘the half breed…’ and trying to explain to people that I could still want to serve in a homeless shelter while having no religious beliefs whatsoever…

    I wondered where ‘live and let live’ had gone in those family values and although I found some of it out on the ‘left’ coast, after 8 years I figured it was time to ….go home…

    Thanks for your blog
    Lynne
    P.S. I work full-time and could not do it with lots of help!

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    • Thanks Lynne for leaving such a thought provoking reply. So many of these issues that you wrote about have always plagued my mind. I feel as if there’s nothing I can do sometimes, yet when my workplace starts implementing family friendly and nursing mother friendly policies, I know that all people have to do is speak up and advocate for themselves. Of course this is on a very small scale and doesn’t really impact the culture of the whole nation, but I’ve gotta start somewhere!

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