Since becoming a mother I have realized there is a lot of judgement around both the Stay At Home Mom and the Working Mom. A lot of opinions on why one option is wrong and the other is the better choice.
First off, this makes me sad that this topic even has to be discussed.
As mothers we should try to encourage one another – because let’s face it, raising babies is hard enough as it is without having someone judge you for the choices you make for your family.
I had previously been working in a salon as a Hairstylist and Esthetician. I have ran into previous clients and ask if I am back to work, ready to make an appointment (which, by the way, I am flattered about and love to hear). When I kindly reply that I am not working yet, and I am staying home with the baby, they just sort of give me a weak smile, nod their head and say, “oh, wow… that is really great.” But their tone and expression surely say otherwise.
I came from a household where both of my parents worked full time jobs. My father owns his own photography business and my mother is a diagnostic medical sonographer. Personally I think they both have super cool jobs. My dad gets to hang out of helicopters and see all kinds of places taking photos, and my mom gets to look at babies all day. They worked super hard to give three kids an amazing life. I am so grateful for that, and blessed to have them as role models. I remember during the summers since they worked we had a babysitter at the house who watched us, or we were with our amazing grandparents who lived near us.
There is nothing wrong with this option, but I know I missed my mom a lot. As you can read here, I have the best mom ever.
When my husband and I were dating, I worked several jobs at a time and worked 7 days a week. I never stopped going and always stayed busy. Josh was also working 7 days a week. He is the hardest worker I know. Eventually we came to a mutual decision that if we ever had kids, our goal if we could would be that I raise our babies and stay with them. I have always wanted that honor. At this point in life we have been blessed that right now I can stay home with Lily. I am so grateful to my husband for giving me the opportunity to raise my daughter and watch her grow. I know when I am ready I would like to pick a day or two back up at the salon, but right now with breastfeeding in my heart I feel this is the best decision for us.
Stay-at-Home Moms Report More Depression, Sadness and Anger. For example, the number of stay-at-home moms who feel they’re struggling is 42%, compared to 36% of working moms. And the number of stay-at-home moms who smiled or laughed a lot the previous day was 81%, compared to 86% of working moms. A majority of SAHMs, 50% to be exact, reported stress in their previous day and 26% reported sadness.
– Statistics from The Spruce
Luckily in our community here in the south there are a lot of stay at home moms, just raising their tribes and following Jesus. I have been blessed to connect with some really incredible moms here – some of whom are the biggest role models I could ever ask for. Without some of them I think I would have suffered in my panicked moments not knowing how to handle some of the situations that happen on the daily with new babies. THANK YOU- awesome mommies out there.
Every once in a while I come across individuals who have strong opinions against the amount of effort it takes to be a stay at home mom. As if I am some spoiled mom who gets to nap all day and relax on the couch. This article is for the people who question our decision of how to raise our baby. Let me add to this that staying at home, I can count less than 10 naps that I have gotten in Lily’s first six months of life. It doesn’t happen like that. I am constantly trying to find balance of raising her and keeping up with the house. Cooking, cleaning, laundry… I thought it would be easy but it can be overwhelming. It takes real time management and patience and let’s be honest, a lot of days I really slack on the house work because I want to make sure Lily gets every ounce of attention I can give her. This doesn’t include the lack of adult social interaction. Being a hairstylist I was constantly socializing. It’s a pretty hard adjustment being home alone with a tiny human who doesn’t talk yet. I just want to make it clear that staying home with a baby isn’t always a “vacation” as some have called it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter. I am choosing this and I wouldn’t change it and I don’t regret it. But I am still working and I am not spoiled. My husband also busts his ass so that I can stay with Lily since we do not have family here to help us.
I wanted to share REAL stories from REAL moms. Each in a different season of their life. Whether we are working, staying at home, own a business… we are all on our own journey and there is no right path. These are real stories.
Here is a story from a mother named Rachel. She is a working mother of a beautiful little girl.
“I have always seen myself as someone who would work through most of my adult life. I grew up in a dual income household, as both of my parents are doctors. Originally, I was pursuing a degree in biology to hopefully one day go on to medical school and become a doctor myself. It wasn’t until my first year of college that I discovered that nursing may be a better fit for me.
I had to discern for myself why it was that I wanted to be a doctor and at the heart of it it was because I wanted to help people. It became clear to me that I could do that as a nurse, while also possibly spending more time with my family. I feel that each person has to decide whether their priority is family or career. For me, it’s family. For my parents it was their career, which is totally fine, but I saw the direct effect it had on their family.
I changed majors, got into nursing school, graduated, and began my first big girl job with some of my closest friends from nursing school. I gained so much experience from that first year, and as I was entering my second year, I learned that we were expecting.
I was so excited!! We had been trying for about 4 months. We began dreaming and making plans for our new life that would include a sweet little baby. We did all the things: Bradley class, baby showers, and maternity pictures. As my belly grew, work became harder and I yearned for Juliet’s birthday to come. We had our birth plan in place and the nursery was starting to come together.
Juliet had a very different birth plan, as you know. My labor and delivery was a harsh introduction to motherhood. As she and I recovered, we started to figure everything out together.
Maternity leave was the best thing ever. Twelve whole weeks at home with my brand new baby girl. I loved it so much. People fed us, loved on us, and I had so much one-on-one time with Juliet. Conversely, going back to work was one of the hardest things I’ve done. For the first two weeks, I cried every day I had to go to work.
Part of it was due to my fear of missing out on things with her. Another part was giving up my control. For 12 weeks I had made decisions about what outfit to put her in, what activities to do with her, making sure she was doing everything to achieve her appropriate milestones. I also was somewhat unhappy with the job that I was in at the time. I was ready for something different, a new challenge. Had I still been in love with my job, going back to work might not have been so hard.
In the future, I could see myself working part time. I absolutely love and treasure the days I have at home with Juliet, but I also enjoy the challenge and stimulation of being a nurse. The beauty of shift work is that I have 3 12-hour shifts of work, and then 4 days at home with my girl.
It wasn’t until I had my own daughter that I understood why people give up their jobs to stay at home with their kids. Motherhood is precious, and they stay small for only a short period of time. This is the hardest thing we’ll ever do. It’s also the most rewarding.
I enjoy being a nurse, and I absolutely LOVE being a mom. I have career goals that I hope to one day achieve, but they will never come before my family. I’ve learned to never say no to help, and that the small things don’t matter. I try to keep my perspective within the grand scheme of Juliet’s life (with regard to sleep schedule, feedings, outfits, etc).”
Here is a story of a mother named Kristin. She is a stay at home mom of two beautiful girls.
But at the end of the day, I try to remind myself that they’re not little forever. This phase will end. They won’t need me to tie their shoes and kiss their boo boos. The snuggles will get fewer and the battles will change. And most importantly, the memories I have made with my children will last forever. “
Here is a story of a mother named Brittney. She is a working mother of a beautiful little girl.
“When we got the news that we were pregnant, I told my boss and her first question was “will you be returning to work after the baby is born?” I knew I was going to have to, financially it made better sense for our family. I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend 12 weeks at home with my new baby girl.
Returning back to work has been hands down the hardest thing I’ve had to do. Every morning my alarm goes off at 4:45am, but usually the baby has me up by 3:30. Most days my first thought when I wake up is how much I wish I had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom. I am always running on E and my brain doesn’t function to full capacity to perform at work because of pure exhaustion. My daughter spends 10 hours a day a daycare and it breaks my heart. Walking into daycare and hearing “mommy, look what Karleigh learned today” and seeing that she’s making milestones without me kills me.
Being a full-time working mom isn’t easy. It’s not like I can clock out at 5 and be finished for the day. Getting home and cooking, washing bottles, bath time, etc.—it’s hard. I wish I had more hours in the day. I do have to remind myself to stop and be in the moment with my daughter because she is growing so fast. The short moments I get with her from the time we get home until her bedtime I cherish every second. I hope one day she will see how hard I have worked to make sure she has a great life. But this working momma thing ain’t easy!”
The real discovery is there is no right or wrong choice. We choose what we believe is the best option for our own little families. I have friends that work and friends that stay at home – and I know both sides struggle with that.
Both sides struggle with something they wish they had.
After talking with several stay at home moms, many of them say they wished society saw them as a contributing party. A creative brain and not just a bottle maker or a diaper changing expert. Someone who has an identity outside of being a mom. They wish they could make a trip to the grocery store without the kids pulling everything off the shelves or throwing a tantrum in public. They wish they felt as if they contributed monetarily to the family as well.
After talking with several working moms, many of them struggle with guilt of missing milestones and daily routines. They may feel rushed and trying to find balance on how to keep work life and mom life separate and shut their brains down.
While 71% of moms do work outside of the home, 29% are staying home. That number is up 6% from 1999.
But the numbers shouldn’t matter. Quitting your job to become a stay-at-home mom shouldn’t be out of guilt or peer pressure. While there are many great reasons to be a stay-at-home mom, being an at-home parent isn’t for everyone.
– Statistics from The Spruce
I hope in the very near future society can drop the judgement… on both sides of the spectrum. Let us support one another and respect the choice we choose for our babies and for ourselves. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Every mother will have their own struggles in raising their babies, but let us help one another. Let us allow one another to make our choice of how we raise our babies and not pass judgement, but offer help in areas where the other is weak.
I would love to hear why you either are a working mom or a stay at home mom. Contact me here.