Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Mommy Wars... Dare I?

The inspiration for this post comes from 7:20 a.m. basketball shooting on my neighbor’s driveway. The dad and his three elementary school kids, two girls and a boy, dressed for work and school, shoot ball after ball in the great arrival of spring weather; waiting for the yellow bus to arrive as I walk by with Layla the dog. I think, “What a great way to start the day.”

My thoughts continue to flow, taking me back to my kids’ elementary school days which are not that much in the distant past. I was a stay-at-home mom, a title thrust upon me when my first child was born; a supposed upgrade from housewife and homemaker. I wore the label nonchalantly, as I was not so much into the semantics then; however, very much into what it meant to be a stay-at-home mom. I bought it; the whole package: the joy of taking care of my newborn and toddlers throughout the day - diapers, crying, bathing, playing, feeding (breast feeding really was a joy, for that was when I sat on the couch with my metaphorical bonbons and watched TV); in addition to sparse house cleaning, answering phone calls, bill paying, meal prep, etc. No, it wasn’t all joy, but I felt proud and triumphant, as well as blessed. I was doing this! I was given this opportunity to not have to work (cough, cough), as well as my kids not having to be bundled up and rushed out to another location. I wondered how the other moms did it.

At play group, the discussion would come up here and there with varying degrees of pompous attitudes.

                I just can’t leave my baby with someone else.

                We make it on one income; they can do it too if they give up the new cars
                and vacations.

                I feel sorry for them missing out on all the things that the babysitter gets to

I need not go on. All mothers know the dialog, as well as the dialog on the other side of the coin where 9 to 5 mom wonders how stay-at-home mom can give up her career to stay home… things like that.

Before I continue – Is this still a topic? Hold on for a minute. I’m going over to Google to see.
Yep, it is. However, it appears that the war now encompasses other parenting choices, too, like breast-feeding, the right/wrong age for pregnancy, the family bed, homeschooling, etc.; but back to how and where she works.

I can hardly scratch the surface of this topic and it is not my intention to do so; one reason being that I don’t believe that there is any objective right or wrong answer. Women around the globe have babies; across cultural, economic, racial, and religious boundaries. Are we all supposed to spend the exact amount of time with them? Feed them the same amount of breast milk? Supply them with the same amount of monetary privileges?


And yet, the women of the world have managed to produce and raise some pretty amazing people who have managed to keep this world going; women who are Amish, women who are doctors, evangelical Christians, teachers, and farmers; women who marry and have kids young or when older; single moms, factory workers, those pursuing degrees, world leaders or women married to world leaders - all different and raising their children as best they know how.

As a card carrying AARP member, I’ve progressed to a place of contentment when it comes to other people’s kids. Mine are not perfect and neither are theirs, but as long as they are loved, respected, and taught positive values, they’ll all have equal chances to have healthy minds and lives.

So when I see the kids happily playing basketball on the driveway with Dad in the morning and with the nanny in the afternoon, I figure, relatively speaking, all is well.

image found here


joeh said...

I guess the only reason this is discussed today is because women have a choice, a difficult choice but at least a choice. It surprises me when I hear women treat SAHM's with disdain. Women fought for the right to have a choice and yet some women want to take away one of those choices.

Anyway it seems to me that this argument is fading and most people today recognize the value of the SAHM and the sacrifice that decision takes.

Unknown said...

For me, being a mom was a wonderful part of who I was and who I am now. My job didn't provide the joy that being able to be a part of growing up happy, healthy kiddos that enjoy life and laugh often. I'm so thankful for the opportunity. But also thankful there are so many choices for moms to make choices that make them feel content and whole.

Tabor said...

Like you, I stayed home with my little ones until the youngest was 10. I was perfectly happy doing this but found it very intimidating re-entering the workforce and I never really caught up. There are sacrifices and privileges for both ways. My daughter works a 60 hour week, makes lots of money, sees her children very intensely on weekends and she and they will survive. My only concern is that they hired help for laundry and housework and yard work thus the children have no real chores. They are going to be a bit adrift if they have to fend for themselves and do not make 6 figure salaries.

TexWisGirl said...

i'm not a parent, but i respect those that are - and manage their job(s) any way they can.

Barb said...

We all do (or did) it differently. I try to respect that difference. I stayed home until my youngest was in K-garten. After they were all in elementary school, I managed to finish a graduate degree and have a career which I loved. My kids saw me in both roles as they grew. I didn't have a lot of paid help, so the kids had to pitch in with chores. I don't think that hurt them a bit. I do wonder if the electronic gadgets nowadays are used as babysitters? So many times when I see a young mother pushing her child in the park while talking on the phone or texting instead of interacting, I want to say, "They grow up so fast!" Kudos to the father who is spending time in active play!

joeh said...

Testing 1 2 3

joeh said...

Testing again 1 2 3

ShadowRun300 said...

I stayed home with my kids for 8 years, but not before working for the first 4 years AC (after children). I chose to stay home because I couldn't handle a full time teaching job and 4 children. Something had to give. I never regretted giving up my teaching career for my children. It worked for our family.
Not sure why there's a war on this, or any of those other items you listed. People need to do whatever is right for them and their family. It SHOULD be different for everybody. And parents should be able to make their own decisions without criticism from others.
Oh, and what a great story about the dad and his kids. Love it!

Karen said...

I had a career before we adopted our three children. By the time the first one arrived, I was so eager to spend as time with him as possible and we were blessed that my husband's income provided for us. I loved being a stay at home mom. I, like you, am happy to be at peace with all of this and it's interesting to see what moms today are choosing. So many options and so many ways to do it right!

Abby said...

I think moms should stay home with the kids for various reasons, but some moms aren't really cut out for it. Like politics, I have strong opinions here, but this is usually a topic I avoid.

In my case, I quit working when our oldest was three. By then we had two kids. Even though I loved my job, after the kids, I loved being a SAHM even more and have no regrets. Maybe it helps that I did work for a while after kids, so I can appreciate the contrast.

Bryan Jones said...

A feel-good post. So much guilt-raising nonsense is spoken about childcare & parenting. Different parents have different needs. I believe you can be a good or bad parent as a full time carer, just like you can be a good or bad parent when continuing to work fulltime.

Linda Hensley said...

It's too bad this is still a topic women feel they need to fight. It seems clear to me that children do best with a loving mother (or father) at home. Some parents have to, or want to, work -- but that's about the parents, not the kids. Thank you for creating good people for our society!

yonca said...

Hi Anita,
I think it is a preference, depends on the family needs. It can change family to family. A happy mommy is a key. If mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Another perfect topic as usual. Have a great weekend!