Every Mom is a Working Mom

IMG_0610I have been formulating this blog post for almost two weeks now. Ever since the Washington Post published an article related to recent Census results regarding stay-at-home moms and the New York Times piece regarding the guilt of working moms. And of course there was the huge buzz surrounding Dr. Phil and the infamous “Mommy Wars” episode which showcased a few of my favorite mommy bloggers (Jessica Gottlieb and Heather Armstrong). Both articles created quite a debate both on the MomConnect Facebook Page and in a couple of threads in MomConnect forum.

The culmination of these recent articles and what I’ll just say was an embarrassing Dr. Phil episode, have got me in quite an uproar. You see I’ve been a working mom with an infant in daycare. I’ve been a SAHM, a daycare provider and have now found some peace as a WAHM. So moms, I’ve been there. And I have no doubt that each choice I made was the right choice for my family and me at the time. And NO ONE can ever tell me otherwise. No one can ever tell me I should feel guilty for any of the choices I’ve made. And quite frankly, I’m tired of other people talking about it.

The NYTimes piece discussed a survey that was done by the Pew Research Center. The poll found, when asked how they would rate themselves as a mother, that of the at-home mothers, 43 percent rated themselves 9 or 10, at the top of the scale, while 33 percent of working mothers did so. Basically showing that only 13 percent of working mothers think that they’re doing the best they can.

This survey couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. That same week the Washington Post printed an article talking about the recent results of a Census analysis of stay at home mothers (the first ever), which showed that stay-at-home-mothers tend to be younger, less educated and have lower family incomes.

There’s much more to both these articles, but I’m covering the gist. So the consensus is that if you’re a working mom you’re going to feel bad about yourself and be a bad mother. But if you’re at home then you’re young stupid and poor. Now this may not be exactly what these articles said, but isn’t it really what they’re feeding us?

Add to these pointless pieces of reporting the great Dr. Phil jumping on board to make more moms feel bad about themselves. Only this time it felt like the target was the stay-at-home moms. At any rate the episode created some nasty discussions between working moms and SAHM’s across the blogosphere. The reality about this episode is that it didn’t really talk about anything we moms need to hear. A great post was written on the blog PHD In Parenting that brought up some of the notable topics that were not discussed by Dr. Phil on the show.

My own personal opinion? We don’t need Dr. Phil to tell us it’s ok to work, we don’t need the Washington Post to tell us if we’re home we’re young & dumb, and we most certainly do not need the NYTimes telling us that if we’re at work we should feel guilty about it.

Ladies, there is no right answer. Some of us work or stay home because it’s our only choice. Some of us work or stay at home because it’s the choice we made. Either way, it’s ok. The most important thing we can do is stand together as moms and tell society and the media that we are moms and that’s all.

We are all in this together. And we are all doing the best we can in a bad economy, in a dangerous world, and with everyone watching us waiting for us to fail. Well, we’re not going to. Because we are going to work harder to support one another and the choices we make.

There should be no divide here. There should be no “mommy wars” and there should be no debate. Wherever you are today if you’re a mom and your child is loved and being taken care of, you’ve done your job and deserve a pat on the back.

I leave you with this simple message I posted to twitter.

Dear Dr. Phil, NYTimes, & Washington Post,

We don’t need your help. We’re doing just fine.


The Moms

This post is a cross-post from MomConnect-The Blog!


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. robin @hybridmom
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 16:33:13

    This is a fantastic post. It voices all the things I’ve not been able to put into words over these past few weeks as the mass media articles surfaced and the, um, dreadful Dr. Phil episode aired.

    I love your take on it. And will RT it immediately! 🙂

    I also tweeted Dr. Phil after that episode; just as he requested in his “uncensored” clip on his website. I said:
    “@DrPhil Hybrid Mom wants to weigh in on the mom topic: We built a whole company around NOT being SAHM “vs” WOHM but *supporting* each other.”

    No response. Not too surprising, I suppose!


  2. Wendy Brown
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 16:45:22

    I too have been both, and yes I felt guilty for working. After losing custody of my daughters to their father (for being naive and trusting him). I realized that I was young (25), naive, and uneducated. I couldn’t give my kids the life I wanted them to have. I’m older (36), no longer as naive but still uneducated. I’m uneducated because my child support is so high that I can’t afford college. I never want my daughters going through this. I have shown them, as my exhusbands family has, that you can work, have kids, a marriage and yes it’ll work out. Teamwork and a great support system helps. It’s great if you can stay at home and raise your kids, if you can afford it, but reality will show you that it’s a rarity for a family to do that. Good job on the post. Hopefully most moms will realize that they needn’t feel guilty, they are giving their kids a better life.


  3. Michele
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 16:45:42

    Enjoyed this post and agree with your sentiments.

    The whole concept of “mommy wars” is a media-hyped term that lacks any constructive substance. I was really disappointed in Dr. Phil’s recent show that seems to only be motivated by ratings. I was also saddened that moms are so easily led into these useless disputes that only serve to divide us, rather than unite us.

    We’re better together Moms!! We have such an immense collection of wisdom among mothers – stay at home, work at home, work outside the home, etc. We’re far more effective if we can find a way to aggregate our collective knowledge rather than sling accusations at one another for our unique and very intimate decisions on work and motherhood.

    Although I didn’t directly discuss the “mommy wars,” I did mention the need for moms (and women) to come together in a more constructive way in one of my recent posts: http://www.integratedmother.com/blog/break-free-of-the-mom-herd/


  4. Angela
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 16:53:59

    Well said! I have been both a SAHM and working mom. I am currently a working mom for two reasons, 1. is I want to and 2nd is we need my income. I applaud women who stay home with their kids. They need to find just as much of a balance as working moms do. I get tired of moms telling each other how “wrong” they are. We spend more time tearing each other down instead of supporting each other. It’s time it stopped! Screw Dr. Phil and every other guy who wants to inform us on how to be moms. Beind a mom is not the same as a dad. Would they tell dads who stay at home how much of a lazy bum they are???? If they would, they need to be smacked.


  5. Vanessa
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 21:42:47

    Thanks so much! I was a kindergarten teacher before I had my daughter and I have made the choice to stay at home with her. I did not have her until I was 30 so I am neither young, nor stupid. I do not fault other moms for their choice to stay at home or not. Every family has to make the best decision for them. It’s tough enough out there moms should not have to live under a microscope. Nor should we judge each other.
    Thanks again for the post!


  6. amotherworld
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 20:08:51

    It is sad that we slap labels on ourselves but this is how society works unfortunately. Stay-at-home Mom, Working Mom, Work-at-hom Mom, Alpha Mom, Beta Mom, Soccer Mom, the list goes on and on.

    Choosing to stay home or work is a choice that moms have to make. Whatever works best for Mom, for the kids and the family.

    I will say that I wish there were more opportunities for women to work part-time outside the home and more job-share options. This, in my opinion, would be the best balance of both worlds.


  7. Meghan Harvey
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 16:02:01

    Glad to see that so many of us do feel the same way! Here’s to being mom’s!


  8. Susan
    Nov 02, 2009 @ 23:15:01

    Bravo! This is a wonderful article. We should all stop arguing about what is best and focus on what is best for us and our families. And yes, we are all working hard and doing the best we can. The division must stop, and we must all support each other as women and mothers.


  9. Tamra
    Nov 03, 2009 @ 17:26:01

    I too have been in almost every situation – working full time with kids in daycare, SAHM, WAHM, and working part-time while kids are in school. I agree with your sentiments that each of us are trying to make the best decision we can at the time given our options and circumstances. There should be no mommy wars, only support.

    One thing I did find quite irritating though was when neighbor kids left alone all day during the summer would show up at my house to play, eat lunch, etc. My kids of course weren’t able to spend time at their friends house as no supervision was available. If your kid is a latchkey kid, make sure you reciprocate some time.

    flexible work for professional women


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