In today’s USA Today there is an article entitled “Mommy Wars” that features me and my kids. At the time I am writing this post there are over 100 comments on the story, with people flaming each other and making very strong accusations about what is best for children. It was hard, but I refrained from commenting and instead am posting here. I think the big picture that people sometimes don’t see is that decision for a mom or a dad to work or not work is never just back and white. What is good for their kids is never just black and white. People are all different – everyone can live with that reality right? So why is it that when it comes to deciding whether to work or stay at home with your children their is supposedly only one answer?
There is a comment on the story that I find particularly compelling:
WHOA!!!! I have been a working mom since my 2 children were born. My husband and I took extreme care to find a person that would care and love them. (and boy does she!) Fast forward 3 years: My son just started preschool for the first time this month. His teach told me last week that he is one of the smartest, most polite and well-adjusted children she has ever taught in her 20 years of teaching preschool. My point is that there are amazing stay at home moms and not so great stay at home moms. There are amazing working moms, and not so great working moms. I do not believe working or not working is the key factor in raising happy children. It is about so much more than that. I LOVE my job, and I LOVE my children. What kids need more that anything else is to see happy, loving, parents who provide a safe and loving environment to them. Can a kid have too many people that love them?. I don’t believe so. I am proud that my daughter will see that a woman can raise a happy family, be a great mother and accomplish great things for herself at the same time. If you choose to stay at home because that is what YOU choose to do, then I truly salute you. But it in no way makes you a good mom based solely on that principle alone. What make one a good mom lies so much deeper.
Why is that so hard for people to accept? I truly LOVE being a working mom. I truly believe that I am a GREAT mommy. I have friends who are stay at home moms who are great stay-at-home moms. They have made their choice and love what they do. Isn’t it OK that we have made different choices? I live in a place where I have no commute. I work 2 minutes from my home. I can run home and put my 1 year old to sleep for his nap when he is feeling sick, or go to school and attend events with my 3 year old (which I do regularly). My husband is an incredibly involved dad who stays at home in the morning with the kids until 9am, so that he can drop our son off at preschool. I can then go to work early so that I can then be home by 4:30, and my husband stays at work a little longer, but is still home from a family dinner at 6pm every night.
I have built my career around my kids, but I still LOVE my career. I am a happy person which I believe makes me a better mother, and a better wife. But my opinion by no means disrespects those who have chosen a different way of life. That is why it is a CHOICE. As long as a woman can choose what she wants to do then I think that choice should be respected. A bad parent will be a bad parent regardless of whether he/she works. Likewise with a good one.
And lets remember there are millions of single parents who really don’t have a choice. What makes them a good parent has nothing to do with how they bring in the money they need for their family. I teach my kids that very few things in life are black and white. I teach them that they need to make reasoned and informed decisions in life and I hope that other parents will teach their children the same.
Come on after all these decades of debating this topic can’t we all just make our choices without being judged? Sigh, can’t we all just get along? ;)