Working moms vs Stay at home moms

Katherine - posted on 05/08/2011 ( 186 moms have responded )

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Last week a study came out which showed that working moms have sicker kids than stay-at-home moms. Almost immediately, the stay-at-home moms turned the study into a 500-page scrapbook project which they used to pummel working moms with. Then working moms retaliated by sending their secretaries out to staple all of the stay-at-home moms' nostrils shut. Or at least, I suspect that’s the kind of “mommy-war” bullshit that the media probably expected would happen.



In real life, however, almost everyone ignored the study because both the stay-at-home moms and the working moms were too damn busy to waste their time criticizing the personal decisions of fellow mothers. In fact, pretty much the only people who paid attention to this at all were the mothers-who-are-way-too-concerned-about-what-everyone-else-is-doing-because-it-distracts-them-from-all-the-shit-they’re-personally-failing-at.



Still, there are some new mothers who have fallen for the ridiculous idea that mothers are at war with each other, and who feel conflicted about making the decision to go back to work or to stay at home after having children, so I’m going to give you the lowdown of both options so you can decide for yourself.



The PROS of being a stay-at-home mom: You don’t have to shower until noon. If your child is under 6 months old, you can watch zombie movies and The Big Lebowski all day and they totally won’t care. Pajamas are your new uniform. You’re always home to sign for packages. You get to see all the cool things your kid does all day. Your kid isn’t exposed to the petri-dish of germs that is daycare. You feel like Donna Reed. You don’t have to deal with that bitch at work anymore. Your partner thinks you’re amazing. You have the quiet satisfaction of doing what’s right for your children.



The CONS of being a stay-at-home mom: You don’t have time to shower ever. If your child is over 6 months old, you have to watch really shitty kids TV all the time and you have weird sex dreams about Thomas the Train. All of your pajamas have bodily fluids on them. And not the good kind. You accidentally show your boobs to the mailman/cable guy/next door neighbor. You realize that your kid is boring and/or an asshole and you can never escape from them. You want to knife Donna Reed for making it look so easy. You irrationally shout, “STAY-AT-HOME MOMS ARE WORKING MOMS” every time you read an article like this and then you shake your head and wonder how you got like this. You feel so lonely that you actually start to miss that bitch at work. Your partner wants to rest after a long day of work and they don’t understand that you need to rest too and they say something like, “Why? What did you do all day? This house is a wreck” and then you have to go to jail for stabbing them in the shoulder. You find that prison is a pleasant break from being a stay-at-home mom. You secretly worry that you’re making the wrong decision.







The PROS of being a working mom: You get to escape from the insanity of motherhood for 8 hours a day. You have more disposable income that you can spend on family vacations and classes. You can afford to put your child in a Portuguese-immersion daycare that will give him a huge advantage in school. You have an experienced nanny/child-care provider to give you advice and help raise your child. You can belt out that “I can bring home the bacon” song and totally mean it. You are able to keep up an active social life, which makes you a happier, more focused mom when you're home. You have the quiet satisfaction of having both a successful career and family.



The CONS of being a working mom: You miss eight hours a day of your child’s life. You spend your entire paycheck on concerts to see The Wiggles. Your child is fluent in a language you can’t even speak. You have a nanny/childcare provider who is constantly telling you how to raise your child and occasionally your child calls her “mommy.” When “Cat’s in the Cradle” comes on the radio, you fall to pieces and everyone in your office hears you crying the ugly cry. Your kid is sick every other week from all the germs at daycare and your boss makes you feel like shit for missing work to take care of her. You end up using all your vacation days getting thrown up on in the pediatrician’s office. Everyone in your house gets lice. Twice. You’re so exhausted that you can’t accomplish anything and you feel like you’re failing as a parent and as an employee. You secretly worry that you’re making the wrong decision.



In the end, only one universal truth remains: You’re going to doubt yourself no matter what you do, but whatever decision you make is probably the best one for your particular family. Also, eventually everyone gets lice. That’s another universal truth but not necessarily one anyone ever talks about.



PS: If you’re a working mom still pissed off about the sick-kid study, then you need to take a deep breath and calm the hell down. Yes, the study implies that children of working moms are four times more likely to be poisoned but that doesn’t mean you’re the one poisoning them. Honestly, who has the time? I barely have time to cook dinner at night, much less plan a poisoning. My guess is that your children are being poisoned by stay-at-home moms who are retaliating after having discovered that you are secretly encouraging your sick children to lick all the playground equipment just to level the sick-kid playing field. Honestly, I can’t say I blame them.



PPS: Dear media: The paragraph right above this one? That’s how you start a mommy-war. Fucking amateurs.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jodi - posted on 05/08/2011

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Mel, SAHMs with kids at school do more than clean house. See, I consider myself a SAHM, but I run my own small business (it's really only part time), I volunteer at the schools, I help my husband with his business if he needs the help, and I manage our household. I spend my entire afternoons running around after my kids, so I usually get dinner planned and organised during the day so that I can free my time up for sports, extra curricular activities and homework. I am simply saying that the way we run our family, and what works for us at this stage in our lives is me staying at home. I think it is unfair to judge someone who has children at school and is a SAHM.

Jodi - posted on 05/08/2011

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I don't think I am twisting your words. You are insinuating that SAHM's with school age children are alazy. I simply gave you my personal example. But I could give you many others. I don't think it is fair to generalise, that is my real point. SAHM's with school age children are busy people too, just a different kind of busy. I don't know any SAHM who sits on her arse all day. And I know a lot of them with school age kids. That's all I am saying. Don't make sweeping statements or judgements about SAHM's with school age children because you really don't know what they do with their day.



And you know what? If my mother would disown me for staying home I would tell her to go fuck herself. Seriously, I would. Any mother worth her salt would support her child's choices in that respect.

Gina - posted on 05/10/2011

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Having different views is not the same as judging people,you are judging alot of women on the few that you know IMO

Jodi - posted on 05/10/2011

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Schools have ALWAYS asked for a lot of help, but the problem now is that more parents work, so it is much harder to get help.

What is going to end up happening is that people will pay in other ways. Like fees. Taxes. There are fewer people volunteering, and the ones who do cannot take on twice the job. I guess it is the way society is going. It certainly doesn't make anyone less of a parent for NOT having the time to do it, just a fact that it is becoming an issue that I think we ALL need to be aware of.

Mel, I never mentioned any names. You take that how you wish. I was really referring to ANYONE who thinks SAHMs with school age children who don't have a job are lazy....judge all you like, but don't judge like you have a clue, because you don't. And don't expect to win any friends making those judgements. That's all. Word of warning. Once your kids are in school, there WILL be SAHMs who have children there too. Be friends with them. They will be the ones serving in your school canteen, changing your childs readers, even reading to your child. Give great thought to how you might think of them.

Johnny - posted on 05/09/2011

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"How does that make me a bad parent because I want what I want as long as my kids don't suffer? Pffft! "

It doesn't make anyone a bad parent, lol. It just makes those of us that don't have that luxury a tad jealous.

I realize that to a certain extent we choose our own destiny. My husband and I could move our family away from the city we are from and all of our family & friends to a place that has much lower costs of living with similar salary structures. Then I could afford to stay home and look after our daughter full-time. We've discussed it before. But we are not so certain that we would gain more than we would lose. These are hard decisions. I think that it is important to respect that each and every one of us takes a good look at our own circumstances and tries to do the best we can for our families.

My mother was a bit like Kelly. She could afford to stay home and not work. What would have been the point of running into the office (or classroom - she was a teacher) everyday to earn a salary that she didn't need? She just had one child, and still stayed at home while I was in school. She did volunteer quite a bit at my school and for the Children's Hospital, but she's always been criticized for not choosing to work by other women. I always find that odd. She never criticized them for working.

Is our worth only determined by what we earn or "produce" for the marketplace? My husband and I are not that fortunate, but I certainly don't begrudge people that are. I have very little patience for these "mommy wars". It often seems like instead of freeing women from their binds, feminism has imposed a whole new set of battles for us to fight.

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186 Comments

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Karen - posted on 05/10/2012

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Perfect! :) Each mom does what is right for them and their situation. Nobody has the right to fault another for their decision.

Sally - posted on 04/02/2012

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HaHaHaHa, love it. Some mums don't have a choice, some do. WTF has it got to do with me. I now have a picture in my head of mums in the playground armed with filofaxs and rattles Lmao

Merry - posted on 07/15/2011

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My dad was home quite a bit, and he sucked as a dad.
Just sayin, it goes both ways.

[deleted account]

There should be no competing i feel.We all do what we feel is best.Sometimes we don't have a choice.Your no better of a parent either way i also feel.

If you work then i would advise you to balance.Don't make work your main priority.

We can only do our best.So do your best whether you work or don't.:-)

Dolly - posted on 07/14/2011

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Hello
I have been a working Mom for 28 years.
Mothers who work have to balance there work schedule and home life.
However with careful planning you can have a healthy balance.
Working mother must have discipline in both aspects of there lives.
This year I have been out of work due to a work related accident.
I am now home schooling my 13 year old.
My life is still structured up at 5.30 in the morning Breakfast on the table at 8.30 sharp.
Due to the discipline I learned being in the Work force has given me the tools to organize my home life.
Also it shows the children how to organized there own lives.

Lynn - posted on 05/12/2011

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Brilliant, well done!! You are absolutley right, which ever situation suits you and your family is the one that suits!! I knew my neighbours kid was licking the fucking climbing frame...

Tammy - posted on 05/12/2011

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To Laura: I know I took it all to the next level but thank you for the apology. I appreciate it.

For Sal I completely agree but dont forget that not everyone gets paid the same amount. So sometimes it isnt toys theyre trying to pay for. More like diapers and food. (Just like Tah said)

Christina - posted on 05/12/2011

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I was a SAHM for seven years. I have been a working mom again for the past two years. Not only am I a working mom, I'm the bread winner in my new marriage.
Having done both, I can tell you that both are equally exhausting. Working moms come home and get attacked by their children. So when they've had a bad, stressful day at work, who cares! But at least I get to go out into the world and have adult conversation now!

Isobel - posted on 05/11/2011

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All right...I'm going to appologise.

I truly didn't see it as a derogatory term. I WAS being a bit of a smart ass, and I'm sorry.

The fact that I KNOW my father was absentee and I still love him with all my heart and know he would have been around more if he could probably changes my perspective on the word.

I just don't see the difference between a parent that is only home to sleep and a parent who lives in a different city...both absentee IMHO.

Tah - posted on 05/11/2011

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Sal, in most cases, parents aren't working for new toys...they are working for food on the table..health insurance etc, but, I agree about the absentee parent part, if you are home and Not engaging your kids...that's absentee and the worst side of it to me...

Sal - posted on 05/11/2011

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i am in two minds here, firstly i am stay home, and battle and scrimp so that i can be, i would love a part time job maybe 2 days but that isn't happening right now but i can't understand parents who both feel it is ok to work huge hours, they argue the quality time line, and i agree to a point,, but quality isn't theme parks every weekend, or dfancy holidays once a year when mum and dad both get holidays, it is the little things that the kids remember, but kids aren't one of those things you can scrimp on, i don;t care who stays home, mum or dad or both work less hours to make it work but i do think that kids need to be put first after all they didn't ask you to have them it is our choice to become parents, you can't go back when they are 15 and stay home and have that time again, you can buy a flash house later you can travel the country side later, you can even go back and have your career ;later the thing you can't do later is be home with your kids and i see mums of teens trying to all the time, mums who wanted to keep their careers, buy big houses and travel the world, the kids look like they are about to leave home and mum panics and quits her job and hold on for dear life, i feel at the end of the day houses and new toys mean very little it is family that matter....but having a parent who works away or long hours isn't nessersarily an absent parent, my dad always worked away went to work monday came home friday, (sometimes wed night if he was close by) and was still a huge part of my life, it was the way our family run, and on weekends he done all the dad stuff, sports, gardening family dinners and if there was something important he would always get there, if mum had worked on top of that we would of been neglected, a dad (or mum) who doesn't work at all or long hours, comes home sleeps on the lounge or play xbox and tells the kids not to interpt or goes to mates house for coffee or beers everyday (or as i have seen recently from a family member) a couple that fights all day and night and never does anything with the kids because they are so caught up in their own issues are being more absebtee than a mum or dad who works out of town or a 60+hour week

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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Krista thanks for defending me on that part but i mentioned my father as an example yes did that leave it open for someone to say "a father who was never there" no.
YES i know i said it a million times. okay people out there blahblah blah. 'quit fighting a battle agains yourself over the internet' yes i know I usually dont get offended by little things like this. i dont get offended easily by big things. but that just hurt when someone decided to take it upon themselves to say my father was never there. thats all.

Tah - posted on 05/11/2011

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I can definitely see where Tammy would take offense to it..just saying, I do, no offense but when I read it right after it was posted the way Laura put it together seemed like she was either saying it or being a smart ass(not saying you were Laura)...so I get where Tammy is coming from, if it wasn't meant to offend etc, then maybe the wording was wrong

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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Im sorry (honestly ive been saying that guh) its night time and im in pregnancy blues and i just came on to check on my email and this is my homepage and i noticed i got a lot of shit for standing up for what i believed in and pointing out i was hurt because someone told me my father was never there. to me that is personal jodi but anyways.
I just dont agree with the term. I dont have my father anymore. Its just rude

Krista - posted on 05/11/2011

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Tammy, nobody even mentioned your father -- YOU'RE the one who brought him up.

That being said, I'm actually going to defend Tammy a bit on this one

"Absentee parent" is NOT a neutral term. It carries a fair amount of judgment inherent in it. Parents are not supposed to be absent, they are supposed to be present. Therefore, calling someone an absentee parent is basically stating that this person was not filling their role as a parent, and hence, was not a good parent.

And if the parent in question is loving and involved as they CAN be, then it would chafe to be told that they're an absentee parent.

Plus, where does one draw the line? Do we say that a parent is absentee if they miss most of their kid's waking hours? Well...I see my son for only 4 waking hours on weekdays, but all weekend. But mathematically, the majority of his waking hours are spent without me. So does that make me an absentee parent? There are probably some mothers out there who WOULD call me that...and yeah, it would seriously offend me.

Jakki - posted on 05/11/2011

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Come on Tammy! No one is disrespecting your father - they don't even know him! No one knows you here - we're a bunch of strangers going off!

Jodi - posted on 05/11/2011

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"I only said i disagreed to the word and definition. It was only until she said my father wasnt even there...AND im sorry Dr Phil but would you like to know what issue i have?

"unresolved issue"? Who doesnt. Dont tell me you dont have one either.

Sorry that i stand up for my father? "



There is no need for you to be so nasty. I was trying to point out that no-one was attacking YOUR father or saying he was a bad father. Calm down and stop taking it so personally.

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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Sorry emma but when more than one person say i have an issue because of my opinion and dont expect a reaction from that they need to get their words straight

I think my dad should get as much credit as my mom for working as hard as he did back then. My sister even believes that. Maybe its just tradition

or maybe my issue is i am an absentee mother because im a single parent who HAS to work to keep my child.

Stifler's - posted on 05/11/2011

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Okay then. Let's stop ranting now. People either get it or they don't. There's no need to go on all day because someone offended you on the interwebz.

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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I was raised differently. Even though my dad was gone a lot and there was a time i didnt recognize him because he was on a 6 month deployment i still have a lot of memories of him and i LOVED my childhood..
I really dont care what you call your own but when you disrespect another persons family just because he was gone all the time will never be right...
when i just said i disagreed with something and said i wouldnt call my father "absentee father" just a father saying "a father who was never there" is disrespectful.
Maybe people are skipping over that post TO me ABOUT my father. but im not upset over a word.

Stifler's - posted on 05/11/2011

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My husband works 13 hour days 5 days a week and he FEELS like an absentee father. He told me. His dad was never away that much. We can't nip over to Blackwater on lunch because I'm not allowed on a mine site either. Being away from your kids that much isn't a good lifestyle.

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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And i just asked a couple of guys who are fathers if a woman called them an "absentee father" how would they feel
They said guilty or pissed.
Sure itwas only a couple but im not crazy

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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by the way laura...It depends on where my mom was going and what she was doing and if she showed she still cared for us...
If it was work then i would call her a hardworking mother.
Sorry that we use different words for the same definition. now.."why is that so difficult" laura?

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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Well laura you did. I said i call my father just a father and you continued with a post saying "a father who was never there" and you continue to say "i dont even know your father"
I think you need think about your words before you post it.

and
@Jodi
for the comment earlier...
"And @ Tammy, if the conversation about the definition of absentee father is getting you this upset over it, you obviously have some unresolved issues, because it is just a word. No-one was pointing fingers at your father. "
I only said i disagreed to the word and definition. It was only until she said my father wasnt even there...AND im sorry Dr Phil but would you like to know what issue i have?
"unresolved issue"? Who doesnt. Dont tell me you dont have one either.
Sorry that i stand up for my father?

Jakki - posted on 05/11/2011

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My kids have double standards!



They HATE it when I go away for work or even go out in the evening. I used to go out to see a movie with a friend and hear them wailing as I drove off down the street.



Even though my husband spends a lot of time with them, the kids like me better!

Jodi - posted on 05/11/2011

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But no-one has raised the issue of an absentee mother.....so there has been nothing to defend. AND an absentee father doesn't mean a bad father. No-one has said that.

Mary Renee - posted on 05/11/2011

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I think the fact that everyone jumps to defend an absentee father but not to defend an absentee mother is proof in and of itself of a double standard. You can still be a good dad and be missing for several periods of you child's formative years - but I'm waiting for someone to say the same for a mother.

It's like that saying you hear sometimes (at least I've heard it sometimes)

If a father does SOMEthing with his child he's a good father, but a mother has to do EVERYthing for her child to be a good mother.

I didn't make the saying up, it's just something I heard.

Jodi - posted on 05/11/2011

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Ok, that did clarify a bit :D



We don't keep track of our hours either, working for ourselves. We are also employees of our company, but obviously not hourly employees, so I couldn't tell you how many hours either myself or my husband work....we just do what needs to be done.

[deleted account]

He is not paid hourly, so he doesn't keep track of how much time he works, except for billing clients, and right now, he's billing out about 25-30 hours a week, and spending a few hours on admin stuff he can't bill. He gets paid based on the firm's profits. Tax wise, in the US, he is considered a full time employee.

[deleted account]

I should clarify that, he only actually WORKS about 35 hours a week, it's been 30ish lately b/c business is slow, but he is "on call" almost 24/7, meaning clients can call him anytime. I can't tell you how many times he's had to leave our son's baseball games for clients, or been called up in the middle of the night. He can handle most situations from home, and it is getting better with the growing capabilities of smart phones, but he still has to run home in the middle of stuff all the time, and be up at all hours of night (one of his clients is in China, and another is in Australia).

And then, a good portion of his "work" would not be considered "work" by a lot of people, but basically, he sits in his easy chair listening to music and tries to come up with solutions for problems his clients bring to him, or does preliminary planning in his head....so while he is "working" then, sometimes I just forget to count those hours.....if I did, it's probably a lot more than 30 hours a week.

Johnny - posted on 05/11/2011

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Kelly, I'm considered very part-time here in Canada and I work 25 hours a weelk. I'd have to work 37.5 hours to be considered full-time.

Johnny - posted on 05/11/2011

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Absentee father does not equal bad father. My husband's dad had to work in another city. He moved his family from one city to another to have them close to him, and then the economy collapsed there and he ended up having to find work elsewhere. He didn't move them again because he wanted his wife to have the support of her family who lived nearby. He cared for his family very much and was as involved as possible. You do what you have to do to keep food on the table and a roof over your head. He was a good man. But he was still absent. It's not name calling, it's just a simple fact.

Parents in the military all around the world are often absentee parents, at least for several periods, during their children's formative years. It does not mean that people in the military should not become parents, not at all. They form great, supportive, caring families that raise great kids. Parents, especially fathers, being absent from their children's life has been commonplace throughout history. So often it is a necessity to the survival of the family. I'm not sure why anyone is taking such great offense at the use of this term?

Jodi - posted on 05/11/2011

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"Reading over these post I'm seeing a huge double standard for men and women that is frankly kind of upseting. How come if a woman is really career-oriented and works 6-7 days a week she's putting her "career first" and neglecting her kids but if a man does it he's a "good provider." It really boils my blood."



Who said that?



And @ Tammy, if the conversation about the definition of absentee father is getting you this upset over it, you obviously have some unresolved issues, because it is just a word. No-one was pointing fingers at your father.



@ Kelly, a standard working week for a full time worker here in Australia is 38 hours, so yeah, 30 hours is part time. And if 30 hours doesn't leave him enough time to focus on the family, then he is doing something wrong.

Mary Renee - posted on 05/11/2011

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30 hours a week isn't even full-time... if my boyfriend worked 40 hours a week I would feel like I died and went to heaven, he currently works 60+

[deleted account]

I didn't see anyone in this post saying that mothers who work were putting their careers first or neglecting their kids. Also, I think, in my situation, if my husband were having to work 6-7 days a week or 10-12 hour days, I would probably go back to work so that he could cut back his hours have some quality time with our son as well.



I know there are situations where both parents working is simply not an option, but in most situations, I think both parents should be equally involved with the kids. Even if the mom stays home, the dad should have time with the kid too, after all, he loves the child as much as the mom. My husband works about 30 hours a week, sometimes up to 45 if there is a lot going on, and that barely leaves him enough time to really focus on being with us.

Isobel - posted on 05/11/2011

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I didn't say anything about YOUR father...I said A father who is not there EVER because they are working is an absentee father...why is this so difficult? I don't even know your father.

Isobel - posted on 05/11/2011

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It's not disrespectful, it's true. The fact that YOU personally, have a problem with a word does not make it wrong.

Would you feel that your mother was doing an adequate parenting job if she saw you for 10 hours a week?

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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Doesnt mean you have to use that term.. I would never use a disrespectful term for someone i cared about just because of the "definition". Im sorry but i find that stupid.

Isobel - posted on 05/11/2011

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My Dad lived in a different city from me. He didn't want to but that's where his job took him.

He loved me very much, and I loved him very much. And I don't call him an abstentee father...I call him Dad.

The fact remains however that, by definition, he was one.

Sorry if that upsets you, but I didn't make up the term

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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Oh my gosh really? Your really upseting me. Who are you to say that about MY father...

Tammy - posted on 05/11/2011

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Oh, I disagree Laura. In a way i feel offended by what you said. My dad worked liked that. He didnt want to. He wanted to spend more time with his 5 children like he did before. But my mom couldnt work so he was our only income...He worked hard. But he did everything for us.He did everything to make sure we were safe and happy.
It may have been hard for him to be there but i dont think i would call him "absentee father" i would just call him father...

Mary Renee - posted on 05/11/2011

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me too, Laura. He gives me a whole speech about how I don't understand the economy, as if I didn't graduate from college, watch the news, or live financially independent in my own apartment before we moved in together. I understand the economy but some things are more important than money.

Isobel - posted on 05/11/2011

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nope...I think that a man who works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week is an absentee father

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