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Stay-at-Home Moms Versus Working Moms

The debate over whether mothers should work is an emotionally-charged debate that has left mothers on both sides of the aisle feeling judged and undervalued.  As more and more women become working mothers, the workingmom1debate intensifies.  In 1965, 33% of moms worked outside the home.  Now, 71% of moms work outside the home.  Now, more than ever, we, as women, need to come together, to reinforce our right to make the choice that’s right for our families, and to reinforce the rights of others to do likewise (even if that choice differs from our own).  Let us acknowledge that there is no “right” or “wrong” answer here, and that difficult decisions are made more difficult when criticized by others. 

Some moms prefer to stay at home.  Some moms prefer to work outside the home.  Children tend to thrive in happy environments.  Thus, there is a potential advantage to the children if mom works outside the home . . .  if that makes the mom a happier mom.

Some moms who prefer to stay at home simply do not have that option.  Working outside the home is not engaged in so as to buy that next Lexus or keep up with the Joneses, it is engaged in to put the next meal on the table or to keep a roof over the family’s heads.  Children tend to thrive in environments in which their basic needs are met.

A working mom is not necessarily putting work ahead of her children:  she may be working to help support and care for her children.  Thus, working is not inconsistent with putting her children first in her life.

Studies have shown that children of working moms will do better on social and cognitive tests than will their counterparts raised by stay-at-home moms IF those children of working mom have been placed in high quality childcare.

The guilt associated with perceived child abandonment or neglect must be wrestled with by ferreting out the logic in the emotion.  The maternal instinct to nurture children is powerful, but nurturing must be construed to include providing those children with shelter, food, and the materials the children need to attend to their daily lives.  These objects are achieved, many times, by moms working outside the home

In all aspects of life, there are trade-offs.  Moms experience a number of trade-offs when choosing to stay at home or work outside the home.  One of the primary trade-offs in that choice is income to fund the family or time with the family.  It is a difficult decision that each mom must make based on her own unique circumstances.  Let us each make the decision that we feel is best for our families, and let us each validate the choices of other.  By doing so, everyone wins:  moms, children, and society.

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1 comment to Stay-at-Home Moms Versus Working Moms

  • Great post, I agree with everything in this post. Some women don’t get to choose – I had to work for 2 years – I hated it! Was not even a job I enjoyed, telemarketing, hard sell! – constantly getting abused on the phone. I actually had one guy say to me one night, what sort of mother are you, not being home on your kids bedtime? Like I said, it was not a good job. I have been able to quit now as my husband has a better paid job – I absolutely love being home with my kids, but if one day I have to return to work then so be it – that’s life!

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