Recently, Dr. Phil aired a show titled “The Debate that Never Dies” about the constant dispute between stay-at-home moms (SAHM) and working moms. Really? Why is this still a debate? According to Dr. Phil’s blog, one of his guests, a SAHM, said something like (paraphrased) ‘If a woman can’t stay home with her children, she shouldn’t have them.’ What? Seriously?
I’m not sure where to begin with this statement. First, it suggests working is a choice. For many women, there is no alternative. It’s a financial necessity. Second, a lot of women enjoy working. They are making a difference in their community, contributing financially to their household and they take pride in their efforts and accomplishments. Third, staying at home full-time is not a one size fits all. Some women love every minute of it. For others, working outside the home makes them a better mom. It’s what works best for your family.
I’ve read the popular book, Mommy Wars by Leslie Morgan Steiner. I’ve been a SAHM and a working mom. I originally wrote that I worked part-time, but then deleted it because it doesn’t matter if you are full-time, part-time, flex-time, work-at-home mom (WAHM) or SAHM…all moms work. Just being a mom is work. If working moms think that a SAHM’s day is filled with playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, watching Oprah and participating in fun playdates with obedient and happy children, think again. And if SAHMs think working moms are career driven women who could care less about their children, that is the farthest from the truth. And work-at-home moms? They often work in isolation, juggling client phone calls between naptime and playtime. Some WAHM’s skimp on sleep because they work at night, when everyone else is in dreamland. It might be the only time they can work uninterrupted.
Why are women so determined to undermine what the “other side” is doing, and why does it matter? We’re all in this together. There is no “right” way to raise children, and archaic debates like this one only question the already tough decisions women make every day.