Saturday, June 16, 2007

Social Commentary - Code for Opinion

I’m sure many of you are aware, if not affected by, the constant battle of late in the news about “working moms” versus “stay at home moms”. First, let me say everyone needs to do their own thing that is best for them and their family. But, it is funny how so many women seem to be up in arms over this issue and seem to think everyone should be like this or that.

Back when I was a wee one my mother was a single working mom. In those days there were no daycares, but just neighborhood moms that watched my sister and I. From kindergarten through probably at least 6th grade my sister and I were the only ones in school that had a working mom. And, we lived in a fairly large metropolitan area. Even when my mom remarried she still worked as my dad didn’t have medical benefits and to help make ends meet. It wasn’t easy, but I think my sister and I turned out pretty good. When I graduated from college years later it seemed women and working outside the home had totally flip flopped. It became more of a trend for women to work and the majority of families became two outside income homes.

So, for me I spent 20 years in the “work” force before I became a stay at home mom. I spent my years climbing the corporate ladder, bought my own home, paid off school debts, started an IRA, traveled the world, obtained my masters, and lived a relatively social life along with the companionship of a great dog and cat. I never really entered the “working mom” versus “stay at home mom” debate, as it didn’t really affect me. Plus, I am a firm believer that one should not try to push their lifestyle ideas upon others.

However, recently this debate came up in several instances and it really caught me off guard. I met my husband as some would say late in life followed by having a wee one later in life when most of my friends’ kids are either entering high school or graduating. It seems that when I got married then became a stay at home mom, people that I have known for years all of sudden have forgotten my previous life of working overtime, traveling non-stop for work, and having successfully lived on my own without being in debt.


One instance came up this past week when a former classmate contacted me. During this call it was mentioned a number of times how fortunate I am to be able to stay at home and have all the things that my husband and I have. Then it was mentioned how spoiled I must be especially with all the things my husband does for me. At first I thought yeah I am pretty spoiled, but then I realized the comments were genuine and not the jesting kind. I didn’t say anything, but when I got off the phone I thought hey what a minute. Both my husband and I worked hard for the lifestyle that we have and I have contributed equally to it. Now, I personally think single working moms have the hardest lifestyle and responsibilities bar none. However, I still believe that stay at home moms work hard and have enormous responsibilities as well, we just do not get a cashable paycheck for it. So, where am I going with this? Since I know for sure this classmate doesn’t read this blog, I am using it to vent rather then waste my time confronting someone who has closed minded views. The one good thing that came out of the call was a reminder to myself that everyone is different and one should not try to put their way of thinking or lifestyle on another because very few shoes fit the same feet.

So, no matter if you are a “working mom” or “stay at home mom” being a mom is a blessing and we all know it is a difficult and challenging task, but so worth it. To those that have overbearing and demeaning views on either side of the fence, get off your soap box and worry more about what you are doing in your life then everyone else’s. And, to those that think women are wasting their higher education to stay at home, I say what is wrong with having a little extra knowledge when raising your own kids? I am so thankful to the many children’s authors that create books that fit the many lifestyles that kids live in.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous gawilli said...

Phew. Glad we could help you get that off your chest!

I'm one of those mom's that stayed home, then worked some (until Sarah cut her first tooth and the daycare saw it before I did), quit to stay home for awhile, then worked a little more until I ended up in a full time job again when my kids were in high school. What I really think is that if you are a good parent, it really doesn't matter if you work or stay at home.

Today I have been thinking about kids of divorced parents and how important it is to foster a good relationship with both. You are right about children's authors. This is a topic that would not have been touched in years past.

10:53 AM  
Blogger mjd said...

Hear, hear PJ...well put. Some of my very best years were those that I spent at home with my children. However, if I would have stayed at home after they were in school, I probably would have driven our entire family crazy.

I might add that the option to continue working as a pregnant teacher was not open in 1971. Within a few years, civil rights legislation changed this kind of employment termination.

10:01 PM  

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