Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stay At Home vs. Working Moms

Secretly, or not so secretly, I do believe a natural unmedicated birth is best for Mom and Baby almost all the time (a huge reason why I did it, I mean, I am not a martyr for pain!).  But I try to be diplomatic about it.  I know birth is scary and our culture makes it difficult to even consider the natural birth route.  Epidurals are presented as safe and usually they are. I prefer being open minded toward the choices of others because I know that everyone is trying to make the best choices for them and their baby.
But when it comes to SAHM (stay at home Moms) vs. WM (working Moms), I don't have to try to be diplomatic about anything.  For one, in general I don't think kids in one situation or the other are at a particular disadvantage.  It's like divorce, the divorce itself isn't what messes kids up, it is the changing schools and houses, the bad mouthing, and often loss of income that follows it.  A stay at home Mom might not breastfeed for long while a working Mom pumps so her child never needs formula for a year.  A stay at home Mom may not really engage with her child much while a working Mom makes the most of every minute she has with her child. 
Some Moms have to work.  Some Moms don't, and they still work.  Maybe they just like having the extra money.  Maybe they like having a bigger house more than they would want to stay at home.  That's OK. I am lucky, I have a choice, and I like our little house, but to be honest, we are better off with me at home.  I only made $10 an hour at the elementary school I worked at, and with taxes I would not make enough money to justify the time away.  I could try for another lab job, or entry-level social work, but I would be miserable.  Nursing is waaaay easier with me not having to get up early in the morning and pump all day, and nursing was really important to me to the point where I am glad work was not an issue.  We are fortunate enough that our expenses are manageable on one income and Gabe has a job.  But what if I wanted to work?  Who is to judge what I need to be a good mother and a happy person?
If I didn't have other SAHM friends and Mom friends who work at night or on the weekends, I would go crazy at home, to where it would be worth losing money for me to have something to do outside the house.  If I have one day to myself I feel a little lonely, even with Jane.  I mean, she's great, but not the same as grown-up social interactions.
Among my friends, I do not see much of this issue in the whole Mommy wars thing, but I do within some online groups I follow.  I am happy that my friends all accept, at least on the surface, the personal choices everyone else has to make for themselves, if they are lucky enough to even have that choice.  Sometimes I wish I had the kind of job that made the kind of money I could justify, but it's OK this way.  I like it.  I like this time with Jane and I have friends to keep me sane through it all, and Gabe who takes her when he is home so I can take a bath or read or whatever.  Speaking of Gabe, I should use Jane's nap and work on dinner.  She'll be up soon!

1 comment:

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