Why is the stay-at-home vs. working moms debate so passionate?

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19  Answers

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Hardened criminals don't feel nearly as guilty and conflicted as mothers. It's just a permanent state of being. Working moms may love their careers (and their incomes) but still feel guilty about time spent away from their kids and missing some of those magic moments. Stay-at-home moms believe in their choice but may secretly feel stir crazy, under-stimulated and bored. So how do moms cope with all these uncomfortable feelings? By convincing themselves that their way of doing it is the best way. The right way. The only way!

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I think it's so passionate because of the society we live in. We're always told to be better, thinner, happier, more active, a better parent...the list goes on and on! When we're on either side {working or staying home} we think we have to defend ourselves and our choices to prove we're doing things the right way.

The thing is, there is no 'right way'. There's only a right way for each family. Each side makes sacrifices with their choice. When women work, they might miss family time. When women stay home, they might miss the stimulation of challenge at work and other adults. There are pros and cons to both sides and each family needs to decide what's best for them. Ultimately we need to let go of the idea that one is better and begin supporting each other as mothers. This debate should be laid to rest.

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I'm not sure passionate is the word I would use to describe the debate. I think most women recognize that there are innumerable variables each family weighs in figuring out what is right for it, and the balance scale tilts at least ever-so-slightly in one direction.

Thus, I think the debate is more an internal one, because no matter which category you are in, you are constantly weighing whether you are making the right choice. I think what happens is that as women weigh where they stand, whether they're debating quitting and going home, or wondering when would be the right time to go back to work, they find themselves judging the families around them. We live in a competitive culture where parents want to give their children the best chance at success. There is research that supports both dual-working and at-home parenthood as the better model. It makes sense to me that each family's decision could be right depending on what fulfills its individual members. I read in a book that whether you are a career woman or an at-home mom, your role is not as important as the attitude you communicate about that role. That resonated so much with me. So I think we should stop trying to seek outside justification for our choices (something that could cause passionate debate), and take pride in the paths we've chosen or the hands we've been dealt. If anyone out there is passionately debating with others about this, remember that one woman's conviction to be at work could rightly be as strong as your conviction to be home and vice versa.

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It is passionate because it is based on our own sense of insecurities over our personal identities as both mother and professional. For 7 years, I stayed home exclusively for my kids (I freelance now from home), and during that time, I grew immensely insecure in my professional and intellectual capabilities. While my professional female peers moved up the ranks, I couldn't help but feel as though they belittled my days of laundry folding and finger painting. Meawhile, I'm sure many of the working women I resented felt that moms like me belittled them for putting their professional lives before their kids. I realize now, that my resentments were created exclusively by my own personal insecurities, and did not necessarily reflect those of the working moms whom I knew. The old adage that hindsight is 20/20 is so true. Looking back (my kids are in full-time school now), I am so grateful that I was able to stay home with my kids, even though I sacrificed my professional advancement. And, hopefully, those mothers who chose to work through their children's toddler (and beyond) years, are at peace with their decision, as well.

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I am a part-time working mother but have no issue with moms who stay at home. i might envy them at times because I wonder how they cope financially with only one salary coming in. Another important reason for me to go to work is that it gives me some time away from the kids as well as adult interaction. in the end it is the decision of each of us and no family situation is the same. don't know why the camps are so much at odds. as moms we still have so much in common and we should support each other rather than bitch about each other. no one can make a mom feel worse or unworthy than another mom and it really should not be like that.

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Ugh! The age old argument! :0) I think because no matter WHAT, as moms, we always feel some sort of inadequacy. We never feel like we are doing things right, so we constantly feel like we need to defend ourselves. I blogged about this topic for just this reason!

http://badmomdotcom.blogspot.com/2012/01/ooooooooooooooooooh-you-work.html

The blog sums it up for me :0) enjoy!

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I think It's because babies are so young when the moms go back to work. They drop the babies off at some day care for some stranger to says they are gonna give your child excellent care, when really you have know idea what she does after you leave. They are innocent children, they need mommy or or daddy to be there in the early years to teach them their values not some strangers values.they don't stay babies long, enjoy them! When you decide to have a baby., it's like buying a house, if you can't afford the house, you don't buy it until you have the money. Same with a baby, don't have one until you can afford to stay home and care for it.those are the most important years. It was the best thing I could of done for my kids. And the are men now and they respect me for my hard decision , because I put them first.

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I think it is so passionate because of our inborn sense of guilt. We both have our reasons for staying home or working and I am sure neither decision was made lightly. However, we are constantly comparing ourselves to other mothers and analyzing whether each and every decision affecting our family was the right decision. EVERY family is different, so no one will ever be right.

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Modern families often must make difficult choices that previous generations never even considered. One of these choices is deciding whether to exchange a full-time, stay-at-home parent with additional family income and/or the continuation of a successful career (or the independence or satisfaction that working may bring). The truth is -- there is no right answer; thus, each family must carefully weigh the issues and balance what works best for them. On the bright side, a positive effect resulting from this situation is that many families have found creative solutions that allow them to have it all. By using work-from-home options, taking advantage of greater flexibility offered by employers, even combining solutions such as home businesses and homeschooling, modern parents are often able to juggle the best of all worlds.

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All parents experience stress for a variety of reasons. Parents reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression is at an all-time high right now. It's not that parenting has changed so much over time, but parents are taking on more an more. Whether we stay at home, work from home, or work in an office, we are all putting everything else first...this breeds stress. Moms need to feel validated in their efforts and have someone to empathize with them. The problem is that we are all under so much pressure right now, that we start comparing problems instead of supporting one another. She who has the most stress wins. Unfortunately, it's the kids who lose when moms compete. The truth is that we are all doing our best on any given day. When we recognize this and support one another through the ups and downs, we are better parents for it.

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It's all about mommy guilt, it's a never ending circle of questioning our decisions - is it better to stay at home with the kids and nurture them, or am I being a better role model by being a working mom? Am I neglecting my kids by being at work, or am I smothering them by being at home? It's horrible, what we do to ourselves. I'm lucky enough that I can work at home, and most people would think I have the best of both worlds, but there are different kinds of pressure that go along with this as well. I made the decision to work, but not until my kids were about 18 months old, and still it was at home, but they did go to daycare part time. Without my work I would have felt lost, and that was just a personal decision. Each time it's a personal decision, and each time it's right for that person. I was always envious of my cousin who stayed at home with her kids, I never could have been that good at it, and she was envious of women in her life that went to work. We all do what we have to do, and I wish that we didn't necessarily see the grass being greener on the other side, but that's human nature, and also the pressure that society has put on us in this in-between sort of state of having grown up with a lot of stay at home moms, but being expected to earn an income as well.

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We are at a point in humanity where we are coming back into balance. Balance of Mother Earth, of ourselves and of the roles we play on this great life we live! We all make choices, and sometimes it is 'we' who are not comfortable with the choice we have made deep within ourselves, but sometimes make decisions based on what we think is right. When we feel uncomfortable about our own choices, it then becomes easy to judge others and form 2 camps. We are right, and you are wrong. Each of us has a choice, and how we support that choice is up to us, but we really need to realize that it is our choice and our choice alone that is all that matters. We need to step up and support each other in how we see our roles in the world. Peace, love, and light lovely ladies!!! X

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I think that us as moms would do a lot better in the world if we would just stop judging about everything. Plain and simple. No one is going to do everything in their parenting carreer perfect, just the best that they can for their needs and their family.

Do what you think is right. =)

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The debate is passionate because we're women, and by nature (or maybe nurture) we are conflicted. It's all due to the mixed messages we're getting about what's acceptable for a woman in today's culture.

Until there's a shift in thinking about what the role of a woman and mother should be, we'll just keep going around and around in this debate.

My opinion? Either decision a mother makes is to be applauded. It's not easy leaving your child in the care of another person while you're out trying to earn an honest living. On the other hand, when you're at home caring for a young child (like me), self-doubt starts to creep in. I constantly wonder where I'd be had I not given up my career.

Personally, I can't wait to get back into the work force. Don't get me wrong, I have the insight to know that the time I'm spending now with my daughter is invaluable and worth the wait, but I have a deep-seated need to feel creative and valued in other ways too. I guess that's where blogging comes in!

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You will be back at work sooner or later, but what your doing for your child is bonding security with her.she needs the security of mom, knowing that your gonna be there when she wakes up from a nape and your the face she sees. Hang in there, it goes by fast.

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Most moms feel guilty no matter what they do. So when other moms are feeding into that guilt, it makes them feel worse, but it also makes them feel like they need to defend their position, and in that defense, sometimes it means putting the other one down, even if they don't mean to.

In my own personal experience, I have never heard any working mom put down a stay-at-home mom, but I have heard it in the other direction. I think we should all do what we think is best for our families, whether that is staying home or working.

I think we should also note that some moms don't have a choice...they have to work for financial reasons.

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I am not sure the debate is really as passionate as it used to be. I think that there is a greater understanding in our society of the work involved in staying home, the work involved in being a working mother outside of the home and life's challenges that often make the decision for us. For me, it would have been harder to stay at home. I wasn't good at it. I watched friends do a fabulous job and fell quite short. I realized that my kids would be happier because I was happier as long as my top priority was always them. I would like to believe that, at least for those of us working outside of the home, we recognize that we may actually have it easier and that the only thing that mothers should be passionate about is that we live in a place where we are afforded the opportunity to make the choice at all.

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Regardless of whether you are a stay at home mother or you have a full time job, we all have a few things in common. We are all mothers. Our hopes and dreams for our children are very similar, and the reasoning behind each of our decisions are driven by our personal situations.

Although being passionate about what we do should be the main focus, it seems many mothers are too engrossed in trying to defend their decisions or justifying what they do. The reality is, each of us does what we have to. Whether it be financial, or quite possibly maintaining our own sanity that drives whether we stay at home or work, one should not have to explain themselves or the decision they make.

I had the luxury of living both lives. My reasoning for returning to work was financial, but a few interesting things happened when I did. Initially, I found myself feeling ample amounts of guilt. As the first year of returning to work progressed, I realized there were some benefits to it from a different side. My organization skills were much better, I was a lot more scheduled and the time I spent with my daughters was cherished even more so. On the other hand, when I stayed at home, I loved the attention I was able to give my girls. Maintaining the house on a daily basis and not devoting errands to the weekends was a luxury. Clearly there are many more benefits I can state about both, being a stay-at-home mother as well as a working mother. Regardless of which one chooses (or not), in the end, we are all mothers who love our children, and should respect one another for that alone.

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Many of us do not have choices; our circumstances dictate our decision to work or not. I applaud all the moms doing whatever they have to do for their families. Those of us that can decide to stay home or return to work have many factors to consider; the decision is difficult within ourselves and our families--we seek advice, insight, experience of friends and colleagues, other moms. But to need to debate the validity of other moms' decisions to stay home or go back to work is a fruitless effort often hyped up by the media. If it is driven by anything, I would guess jealousy of what other moms' lives appear to be, and fear that we are not doing things right in our own lives. Sadly, women do spend energy and time judging the decisions of other moms; we truly have the power and tools to change the world if we focus our attention on the needs of mothers and children around the globe and within our communities.

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Honestly, it seems like those who are out in the workforce see those of us who aren't, as lazy women who do nothing but eat bon bons and watch tv. Many see us as those who just do nothing all day.

In my home, I am a stay at home mom. I also sew and earn extra money to help our family's needs. I cook from scratch (much cheaper than buying box meals and processed foods and eating out). I make my soaps for laundry and house cleaning (takes all of about 10 minutes, saves a ton of money). I sew our clothing for myself and stepdaughter as well as for sale. I use a washboard and handwash our clothing (saves $ for no washer/dryer and the cost of electricity to run them by using a line during nice days and racks on cold/wet days). Some years I do farmer's market, baking breads, pies, rolls, etc for sale to earn as much in one day as I would using my CNA in a week.

Basically, at the end of the day of housework, tending 3 special needs children (they are in school, but there's daily phone calls and homework and meals and the daily things kids need), cooking, sewing, mending, yard work, tending a garden (that I started myself), doing the yard work, I am as tired as someone who's been working a 9-5, if not more. I work 12 to 17 hours a day. I don't usually get a paycheck (only for sewing and baking)...but what I do helps us save money and make our income stretch farther than if I worked outside the house.

At times I think it's a jealousy issue on either side. Seriously. Some homemakers want to go to the outside work world, some from the outside work world want to come home. I used to work outside, as a single mom, in order to provide all the income for my son and I. That was the most miserable time of my life, and I missed out on so much of his developmental years.

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