By Roz K. Walker
I recently read a controversial story about a mom who felt bullied at the bus stop because of her choice of profession, and it sparked something in me.
It’s showdown time.
There’s been this ongoing rivalry between stay-at-home moms and working moms since women began entering the workforce. Each side feeling that their choice is the better one.
Each side ridiculing the other because their choice was different.
Each secretly (or not so secretly) harboring moments of guilt about their choice.
So whose job is more important? Which group made the “right” choice?
What if we extrapolated this argument over all professions?
Then we would be asking, Whose job is more important: the city’s sanitation worker’s or the college professor’s? The Wall Street business executive’s or the bug exterminator’s?
Does it even make sense to debate this?
And who gets to say whose job is more important than the other’s?
Obviously, we would be in a sad state without each of these professions.
But that logic seems to get lost in the SAHM vs. Working Mom debate.
Yes, I’m well-familiar with the arguments on both sides of the at-home mom vs. the working mom. I’ve heard (and experienced many of) the pros and cons of each. I’ve read the studies published that support the benefits of one choice over the other. And I’ve lived both roles, experiencing the highs and lows, the judgments and praises, the good and bad of both.
And I still say it’s fruitless to debate this.
Why? Because both moms – the SAHM and the mom who works outside the home – are working moms. They are one in the same. One chooses to work in a building with others in and around their age group, and the other chooses to work in a home with a younger age group.
Both are working. And both have the right to choose where they work…don’t they?
Or should college advisors lead all first-year students to choose one certain field of study just because it seems more “worthy” than others?
So why would “where” a mom chooses to work spark such heated debates?
I know some phenomenal working moms, like my best friend, who has passed up promotions and has taken less prestigious positions in her company in order to be at school plays, chaperone field trips, and to be there when her son gets sick, who has had to defend her choice of work location.
And I know some phenomenal stay-at-home moms who have left corporate positions and took up the work needed at home while having to constantly defend their decision, often tempted to feel “not good enough.”
Why should either of them have to defend her choice?
In my opinion, the debate boils down to being secure.
If I’m secure in my choice of professions, why would what you choose bother me? If you choose differently than me, does that warrant my judgment-filled ridicule?
It’s your life. Why should I criticize what you decide to do?
But if I’m not secure in my choice and I fear your judgment of me, I might be tempted to “throw the first stone.”
Instead of focusing on what someone else has chosen for her life, take that energy and time and use it in self-reflection.
Are you really happy with your choice? If so, then concentrate on living your life to the fullest.
If you’re not completely satisfied with your choice, use your time and energy to determine what needs to change and then work to change it.
Let’s build up our own security.
Let’s learn to honor the choices of others.
Let’s learn to support each other.
Let’s end the showdown.
Roz K. Walker is a wife, savvy mom of two, and a born entrepreneur. A former corporate consultant and trainer, Roz transitioned her skills home and founded Covert Social Media, a Social Media Management business that provides done-for-you marketing services for entrepreneurs and small businesses. She also dedicates much of her time to teaching working moms how to transition their careers home and build a value-based business that serves others. You can learn more about Roz by visiting http://rozkwalker.com.
5 thoughts on “The Showdown: Is “Stay-at-Home Mom” Really the Better Profession for Moms?”
We – the U.S. mostly – are blessed to have a choice! Most others do not have a choice. I feel so grateful to live in a time when we have excellent daycare choices, technology to work from anywhere as needed and companies that support our multiple roles. They understand the value the women bring to their companies and do what it takes to support the balance. I too have turned down promotions and roles at work so I can have the family time I want. I feel very comfortable with my decision and while I do occasionally feel the guilt we all feel at times, I always come back to the same conclusion. I am happy. My kids are happy. my husband is happy. Anyone that chooses to judge me for that is not my friend and therefore not worth my energy. I too deal with the bus stop mommies but I honestly don’t give them a second thought. I am comfortable with my choices.
Well written piece with valid points; however, for my family and many others, the mother working outside the home is not a choice. My child can either have a home to live in with a working mom, or be homeless with a mom who doesn’t work outside the shelter, I suppose.
Well my thoughts are same.