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When The Mommy Wars Attack

By Amalah

Mommy WarsDear Amy,

I love your advice, I almost ALWAYS agree with it (in fact, can’t think of a time when I didn’t agree). My problem may not have an “answer” but I am hoping that you can perhaps shed some light on my relationship with my close friend, and why it’s causing me a lot of anxiety.

Ever since I had my first baby in 2010, I have been fascinated by the question of how to achieve work/life balance (or whether this is even possible). Very often, this question gets me into Mommy Wars territory, but I try to avoid judging anyone because I do not believe there is a right answer to the question of whether or not to work. (I currently work full-time but find it challenging, and often think about finding something with fewer hours, more flexibility, or just taking a year or so off.) I get into this conversation with friends and acquaintances all the time. I was recently at a birthday party where the SAHM’s were all sitting in a circle talking about how evil working moms are (I’m not exaggerating: one of them said “I think, to be able to leave their babies and go to work, those women are just evil”). You should have seen their faces when they realized I was one of “those women”–I was so embarrassed FOR them that I started talking about how I was planning to quit working soon anyway.

But that didn’t bother me as much as when an actual close friend said that children obviously benefit more from having a SAHM than a working mom–and this was a woman who used to be very successful in her career until the day she gave birth and decided to quit. I think it’s wonderful that she got off her intense career path to take some time to enjoy her baby! I was so proud of her, and have been very supportive every step of the way. She seems happier now and I am happy for her. I know that there is no one path for everyone. My mother worked and I was always so proud of her success–but I also liked it that she had a flexible job and could pick me up from school. We all make sacrifices in the quest to achieve something resembling “balance”–time with family, career goals, a clean house, whatever.

But I think my friend is convinced that she is making the better sacrifice. She says my practical side is keeping me from living the life I want, which is sort of true, but come on, sometimes we have to be practical. She even told me a story about her friend whose baby DIED at 18 months, and how guilty her friend felt for working while her child was alive (!!). Okay, I’m making my friend sound worse than she is. She used to be my favorite person to talk to about these issues because she really understands how HARD it all is to juggle everything (that’s why she quit working). We’ve been friends for so many years and have been through so much, but I’m sensing a shift in our relationship after so many disparaging comments recently about my choices, and I’m just not sure if I should wait and see if this is just a phase she’s going through, or if she really believes what she is saying. If she truly believes that she is the better mother because she’s at home all day, can she also be my friend??

She says that she doesn’t believe that at all, but then she will say things like “I could NEVER put my child in day care” (where do you think mine is?!) and “Of course working mothers are happier than SAHMs–being a SAHM is much harder work than sitting in an office all day! I am doing this for my child, not for myself.” The weird thing is, if I say something like “I want to spend more time with my child, but I also want to keep my foot in the door somehow,” she gets defensive. As though the fact that HER foot isn’t in the door is some sort of failure on her part.

I’ve always had friends with different religious and political beliefs, and I’ve just never had a problem with discussing those things because I like to hear different views–and I appreciate it when others make me question my own views. This whole Mommy Wars thing is just a different story for me. Every time we discuss it I feel like she is almost pressuring me to do the same thing she did.

How should I handle this? Should I say something to her? Am I just being overly sensitive because I somehow, deep-down, believe I’m really a bad mom because I work? Or: should I just ignore her comments and try to stay off the topic of working moms from now on?

Thanks for your advice,
Working Mom of the (Hopefully!) Non-Evil Variety

In my long, storied (but most Internet-based) experience with the Mommy Judgment Wars, I’d say a good 99.9% of the judgy comments stem from a place of insecurity about the commenters’ own choices. Even if they do believe they are making the absolute best, most obvious, universal good-mother-seal-of-approval choice, there’s usually some small part of them that worries that 1) it isn’t, or 2) it won’t turn out to be as important as they made it out to be, in the grand scheme of their child’s life.

Because seriously: Most of us will talk fondly about our own mother’s choices but can always add a caveat. “I was proud of her success at work and she was a good role model…but I sometimes wished she had more freedom to come to class parties and recitals or meet me at the bus stop.” OR: “I loved how close I was to my SAHM…but I hate how she was always so financially dependent on my father and doesn’t have any other options now.” OR: “It was so great that my mom was able to work from home…except for the memories of getting yelled at for the time I spilled juice on those Really Important Papers. Also, I watched way too much TV.”

As for your friend:

“The weird thing is, if I say something like “I want to spend more time with my child, but I also want to keep my foot in the door somehow,” she gets defensive. As though the fact that HER foot isn’t in the door is some sort of failure on her part.”

BIIIIIIIINGO.

Seriously, Mommy Warriors: By preschool no one cares how long you breastfed, or if at all. Least of all, your kid. And there’s no stamp on anybody’s backpack indicating who did baby-led weaning and who ate Beech Nut out of a jar. Everybody potty trains and by elementary school  you’re happy if you manage to remember that other mom’s NAME, much less give a crap what her work situation is. I can’t chaperone every field trip and I can’t bake cupcakes for every class party, even with all the work flexibility in the world, because I’m juggling multiple field trip/class party schedules and a baby and gaaaaaahhhlifebalancefail. I’m there at the bus stop every day when Noah gets home from school (while he asks endless questions about the mysterious, awesome-looking “aftercare” place that a bunch of his friends go to instead), but a couple mornings a week I outsource the morning drop-off to a babysitter (who then watches the baby for a few hours) so I can get a head start on THIS VERY COLUMN OH THE IRONY.

(And funny story: Every single morning, the bus stop is fully populated with a ton of work-outside-the-home moms and dads…and my babysitter. At the afternoon pickup, I’m usually the only one there, save for one other family where the parents work flexible hours. All the other kids go to aftercare or friends’ houses on other bus routes. So no one even sees what an “awesome” mom I am for figuring out a way to be there for all my kids right after school because THERE ARE NO MEDALS FOR ANY OF THIS, FOR ANY OF US.)

I’ve pretty much done every arrangement out there, save for working part-time outside of the home: I worked full-time in an office, been essentially a full-time SAHM (with just a couple tiny blogging things that I could do during naptime), worked part-time at home with one kid, then two kids, and now work alllllmost full-time (but not quite) at home with three. Every. Single. Arrangement. Has pros and cons. Every single one was hard, in its own way. And not just for me, for the kids too. Yes, even the SAHM one. (I seriously still wonder if staying in daycare — with the structure and peer interaction and regular exposure to new things — would have been better for Noah’s development and delays rather than those aimless, structureless, playgroup-lite years with me. But whatever. I did the best I could at the time. Still am. It’s not perfect — I hate missing those mornings with my baby! — but we’re all pretty happy most of the time. I’ll take it.)

Point is, I could not IMAGINE sitting around at a party disparaging mothers who made a different choice than me. That’s just something so out of a badly written sitcom about What People Without Kids Think Close-Minded Mothers Are Like I cannot even roll my eyes enough. It’s GOOD that they were embarrassed. They DESERVED to be embarrassed, and there was no reason for you to try to ease their social discomfort with “oh, but I’m thinking about quitting!” Even if it’s true. They called moms who work EVIL? Whatever. Screw that. And them!

(The baby kept me up from midnight to 2:30 am last night and I’ve since had a LOT of coffee. Forgive me for not being at my most nicey-nice diplomatic this morning.)

And I’m wondering if maybe that’s the reason your close friend feels entitled to make all these ridiculous comments to you as well? She knows you are self-doubting a little and sees an opportunity to convince you that SAHMing is a self-doubt-free zone? (Which: HAHAHAHAHA! No.)

I presume you’ve talked with her about how you aren’t actually 100% satisfied with your situation and so she feels like the door has been opened for her to play this part of the 100% satisfied and fulfilled SAHM to “win” you over to her way of thinking? If that’s the case, she might be — like many SAHMs, including me! — struggling with the social isolation of staying home and kind of hoping you’ll just quit and have playdates with her or something. Though I still say her disparaging comments are coming from at least some insecurity about her choice to quit her job and stay home. Or even a little jealousy at your life beyond the childcare grind. Because if you’re secure in your decision, you don’t need to vilify someone else’s (i.e. you can breastfeed without being an ass to formula feeders, cloth diaper without tsk-tsking people in the Pampers aisle). Even if that person isn’t entirely sure they’ve made the right decision, you are able to respond with true empathy, not propaganda.

It’s possible that, while she seemed happier for awhile, she may be now realizing the long-term financial consequences of her decision, or how it changes the dynamics of a marriage relationship, or how lonely and monotonous being home all day, every day can be. These are all things that SAHM/WAHMs have to work through to differing degrees. Most of us, however, manage to do it without using their WOHM friends as a Why My Life Choices Are The Best Ones Ever sounding board. And most of us can ALSO listen to a working mom lament the downsides of THAT arrangement without thinking that hey! This is a great time to bring up dead toddlers.

If your friend really is a wonderful, important part of your support network and you’d like to get over this rift, I would just call her on these comments the next time she makes one. Use one of the responses you typed to me. “Oh, I could never put my child in daycare, that’s just so X, Y and Z!” “Dude. Where do you think mine is? You realize that’s hurtful for me to hear, because it sounds like you think I’m a bad mom, right? Can we please make our get-togethers a Mommy Wars-free zone, because I get it enough from other people. I’m so glad you’re so happy with your decision, but you’ve got to be more sensitive to the way you talk about mine.”

If she gets bent out of shape and tries to turn it around on you, like “oh that’s only hurtful because YOU think, deep-down, that you’re making the wrong choice,” tell her that there are no wrong choices, full stop. And then stop letting yourself get drawn into these conversations “all the time.” You say you’re fascinated by the topic, but it sounds like most of the time you’re walking into a social minefield where it’s your confidence that’s getting blown to smithereens by people who sense WEAKNESS! WORKING MOMMY GUILT AND WEAKNESS! LET’S GET HER! You don’t owe anybody outside of your own little household any explanation as to why you work or why you don’t, other than a smile and a “I’m doing the best I can and my child is happy and safe and thriving, just like yours. Isn’t that great? Now where’s that birthday cake already?”

 

Picture by Naughty Betty Greeting Cards (hat tip: to Stephany Aulenback)

Amazon Mom

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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jL
Guest

Love this column. I have 16 month old twins and we are trying for #3. The plan has always been for me to stay home when there are three and we have worked (and are still working) really hard to get a financial place where that is possible. Before, I didn’t feel “guilty” about staying home b/c I didn’t have another option. We needed my income. I have always wanted to be a SAHM but I feel like the twins are at the age where it. is. just. crazy. a lot. and I think, “how will I do this with… Read more »

April
Guest
April

“And most of us can ALSO listen to a working mom lament the downsides of THAT arrangement without thinking that hey! This is a great time to bring up dead toddlers.” That made me laugh out loud at my desk. My evil, working mother desk. MUWAHAHAHA….. lol

Martha
Guest
Martha

I love your point about our discussions of our own mother’s choices. It was a good reminder of how things will look ages from now. Many older moms I know who worked wished they worked less, and the ones who didn’t often wished they worked more. It is difficult to be a mom in the modern age but sometimes part of that is how hard we are on ourselves, and on each other. If I had a friend who talked to me like that (BRINGING UP DEAD TODDLERS, e.g.) I would probably tell her to cut the bullshit. I don’t… Read more »

Procrastamom
Guest
Procrastamom

Amy, you hit it out of the park with this column.  OUT. OF. THE. PARK!!!

JCF
Guest
JCF

Yes, excellent response, Amy! I am with you, in that I would (politely but firmly) call the friend out on her hurtful remarks. Like you said, many choices in parenting cease to matter with friends as kids get older. I just moved to a new city, and no one here knows what my choices were/are regarding birth, circumcision, vaccination, etc. my kids are no longer tiny infants, and none of my friends are currently pregnant. So those big discussions I have been having with every friend for the past five years? They’ve changed. Now we are discussing discipline methods, school… Read more »

Mona
Guest
Mona

Yep, this ranks up there with the boob or bottle wars. As always, Amy, you know just what to say. And anybody who carries on about other moms for their choices is purely insecure. For myself, I love my two boys fiercely (3.5 years and 3 months old). But I also like my career, spent eight years in college and ten years at work and I just plain enjoy being here. SAHM isnt for me- my boys have a lovely babysitter, get to connect with other kids and spend time with a mommy who is so excited to see them… Read more »

Karen
Guest
Karen

Great column. I work part time and have a long-time friend who is a SAHM. She made a series of choices to set up her family for success like moving to a less expensive part of the country, etc. so staying home was a “calling” for her rather than a decision when it came time to have kids. We have slowly drifted apart over the years and I pin it pretty much on the working/non-working issue. That is such a core-issue for women with young children that once you remove it from the conversation, everything else goes out with it.… Read more »

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

Amy, this was such an excellent response! Eighteen months ago, my family and I moved to the far suburbs of our city. When I say far, I mean I now have a 30 mile commute. We moved because we wanted a bigger house, better schools and it only made sense to move to where my husband works. Now he has the five minute commute and I have the 40. Okay, whatever. What’s my point? Oh yeah, 95% of the moms in this city and the next one over are SAHMs. I joined a Moms Club to meet other mothers and… Read more »

eden
Guest
eden

sitting here at work reading this, breastfeeding my 8 month old. wasn’t what we planned but hey, our family is extremely happy! should have been back full time by now, baby was going to stay with grandma. kids=change of plans. I’m a sahm, working mom, working mom with baby…each is a part of my day. new moms need support, not judgement!  love your honesty amy, keeps me grounded. 

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

I’m in a similar boat as JL, but with our second on the way. I’ve worked full time since our first was born and I’m mostly glad I did so I could have that experience to refer to. However, with the second I am planning (husband’s job permitting) to quit for at least a year and stay home with the kiddos. I’m excited about this prospect because 1) more time with my children, 2) not pumping at work and 3) my job is just a job and maybe I’ll finally figure out what I want to be when I grow… Read more »

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

Hear hear! All decisions to do with kids are tough. I work full time, and my husband stays home with the kids. This avoids the “but your kid is being raised by strangers!!11!! OMG” thing, but opens up a whole new world of “why can’t your husband get a job? He should get a job!”. You. Can’t. Win. So take a deep breath, tell your friend to belt up and own her own choices, and if she can’t and continues to bring up dead toddlers (sheesh, that’s a douche move), find someone else to talk to (I’ve heard that cardboard… Read more »

EmJay
Guest
EmJay

I find myself in this situation at school and birthday parties. People make ridiculous assumptions.  I work full time outside our home in corporate america, but don’t often look that way when I show up for my kids’ events.  I stump them every time, by proudly letting them know that I work and my husband stays home with our three kids.  I am amazed at the number of people who cannot fathom that arrangement.   It was a no-brainer for us to decide who would work.  Would I be a better stay at home parent than my husband?  Maybe in… Read more »

Emma
Guest
Emma

It’s crazy how many different things moms can come up with to argue about. I may not be a saint and I may not always say the right thing but I try. I have heard people bad mouth working mothers, and as a SAHM/WAHM myself, I sometimes can’t decide who has the rougher life. For ME personally, I love being home with my kids, and sometimes I hate it too. I don’t know what it would be like to have them in daycare full time and I’ve never left them with a sitter that was not someone I know personally.… Read more »

Kari E
Guest
Kari E

This column hit home for me – I am getting tired of justifying working as I will be heading back full time after 3 months of maternity leave. I worked hard for my career. I LOVE what I do – I have known what I would be when I grow up since I was 3. Why should I have to give that up or feel badly about choosing to keep it up just because other moms make a different choice? I try my best to respect and support the decisions other mom friends make. I hope more moms will start… Read more »

Leigh
Guest

To be perfectly honest, I used to be one of those sanctimonious SAHMs who thought My Way was the Best Way and working moms were…not evil, exactly, but Woefully Misinformed. Then one beautiful October day, my husband lost his job and we had to move and long story short I went back to work full time when my younger daughter had just turned four. I cried every morning on my way to work for two weeks until I realized that she was JUST FINE and I needed to shut up already. Karma can be cruel, but it taught me a… Read more »

elz
Guest

Seriously?!! People said those things to you and you responded to them? UGH. My experience has been that my friends who left to be SAHMs and I really don’t hang out together all that much anymore. They have a new group of friends that they see during the hours I’m at work and they are free. Which is fine. (And I have my seaparate friends as well.) Honestly, there are two different sets of interests, ideals, and values. THAT’s OK. I have no idea if they disparage my choices, because honestly, if I had a friend who disparaged my choice,… Read more »

Shanna
Guest
Shanna

Here’s my take on SAHM vs WOHM: Happy kids have happy mommies. If work makes you happy, work. If staying at home makes you happy (and it makes sense financially), stay at home. Of course it isn’t that straightforward and many of us don’t have that choice and are forced to work or stay at home when we would rather do the other. But the lucky ones who do get the choice should think about themselves first (will I resent my family because I had to give up my career? do I feel good about leaving my kids under the… Read more »

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

First of all, I love everything in Amy’s response. I myself needed to hear the part about how by the time they’re in preschool, nobody will care anymore. I’m sure it’s true. Anyway, just another data point. I had planned to return to work right after maternity leave, but ended up quitting because I had a very high needs baby that I didn’t think would do well in a daycare situation. Fast forward to a year and a half later… I have been trying to find another job for months, and can’t wait to go back. Honestly I am just… Read more »

Cathleen
Guest
Cathleen

Oh my lord, these kinds of comments stress me out. I work, my husband stays at home. And even though I know in my head that this is the best arrangement for our family for right now, it still kills me a little bit EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. they drop me off for the day. How can any one else presume to know all the factors that go into any one person’s decision? Do SAHMs not think that it is a balance for WOHMs? And vice versa? Ridiculous.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

Great answer, Amy! I have also been a working mom and a stay at home mom and they are both really hard and both involve a lot of sacrifice. And the idea that there is one “best choice” for everyone is ludicrous. 

Astrid
Guest

My best friend had her son ten days after I had mine. I work full time and she stays at home and I’m so so so glad we don’t seems to have problems with eachother’s choices.

danielle
Guest
danielle

I am a WOHM. How freeing to hear other arrangements aren’t perfect! I tend to think everyone else has it better, but that’s not true. Great advice, Amy!

professormama
Guest
professormama

I have a 7 year old son and 2.5 year old daughter, and couldn’t help but notice the letter noted the baby being born in 2010- IT GETS BETTER! Not that people stop judging- but juggling work and parenting does get…dare I say…easier. Or maybe we just get used to it. I stayed home with my son for about a year, and we were just out of grad school and destitute, like living with my father-in-law and scraping by. Then I got a great job, and my husband stayed home for a year, and then when our son was 2,… Read more »

andrea
Guest
andrea

Thanks, a great post to the endless debate.  If anyone comes up with the best solution to work/life balance please let me know.  

Kim
Guest
Kim

Here’s the other thing – we all have good and bad days, triumphs and failures, and tedium exists even with the best of children and the best of jobs. Which is to say there are days I absolutely love being a SAHM, and there are days I really, really miss teaching. Or being outside of the house, away from the kids long enough to think a complete thought. And that first year? I was so terrified of breaking the baby, I positively longed to be back in the classroom, just so that I could do something I knew I was… Read more »

WOHM
Guest
WOHM

This is the best column you have ever written. WELL SAID!

Jess
Guest
Jess

I wish these judgemental women would realize that they’re most likely in the minority, having an actual CHOICE of whether to stay at home or work. It’s getting harder and harder to afford to stay at home. I know so many women (myself included) who would love to be a SAHM, but there is no way they could afford it (and no, not because of big, fancy houses, or vacations, because of necessities like food and health insurance). And it works both ways. I had a co-worker who loved her job, but then she got pregnant with twins and since… Read more »

MR
Guest
MR

It never ceases to amaze me how apt Amy’s columns are to my life. Yesterday, I read my friend’s blog in which she states clearly that she doesn’t think anyone can be an excellent worker AND an excellent mom, and that mom’s need to take more responsibility for their kids. My jaw practically dropped. It isn’t news that it is her opinion that she needs to be home for her kids because that is what she thinks is best. But, I am a working mother who is an excellent employee AND an excellent mother, and I take FULL responsibility for… Read more »

Ladotyk
Guest
Ladotyk

I always try to remember that I am my own mother’s daughter, and that she too had great expectations for my success in school and career. It would be disingenuous to us both were I to give all that up. You are at peace with your choice, and that is the key to a happy family. Congratulations!

tasterspoon
Guest
tasterspoon

First off, I’d say give your friend the benefit of the doubt. Maybe your friend thinks she is helping, maybe she thinks she understands your secret desire to be a SAHM and is trying to encourage you to do what you want. It may come from a good place. She might back off or be more supportive of your choices if you act more confident in them, because then it’s a done deal and she can go back to her job of being friend rather than career counselor. And as for truly feeling confident in your choice, if indeed you… Read more »

VG
Guest
VG

Why must we women complicate things? Last time I checked, motherhood isn’t a contest. It’s one of the best & worst jobs in the world! There’s no such thing as the perfect parent, mother or father. We all do what we feel is best. Oh, and it is OKAY to change your “status”of SAHM/WAHM/WOHM. You don’t know if something works for you until you give it a go. My background – I’m technically a WAHM now, but due to the nature of my job, I can’t have my DD home with me, so she goes to my MILs 2 days/wk… Read more »

Annie
Guest
Annie

What horrible, mean-spirited things for those women to say. I hope they felt like jerks. Being a parent is hard enough no matter what else you throw into the mix. The whole stay at home / work outside the home decision was brutal for me. I have a just-4 year old, and a 10 month old, and made the decision (was fortunate enough to HAVE a decision to make, as you point out, Jess) to stop working when I was pregnant with my daughter. I worked in a field that just wasn’t a good fit for being the kind of… Read more »

Marne
Guest
Marne

Repeat after me: “I’m making the best decision for my family”. There is no single right answer for how to raise all children, all you (and your husband) can do is to make the best decsion for your family. You have to be at peace with your decision though.

With respect to the work/life balance, I absolutely think it exists. However, it’s an incredibly personal decsion, there is no simple formula. Also, it changes given life events, ages, anything and etc. It’s all about what works for you and your family.

Jessica
Guest

1) amy, you nailed it to the wall. well done. 2) to the in-no-way-evil-working-mama: maybe you need some more uh, economic diversity in your circle of friends. because honestly? that whole “should i stay home or should i work?” debate seems to be happening almost entirely with middle class white ladies who have too much time on their hands. a lot of people need 2 incomes. a lot of people only have one parent (in fact, about half of all babies born today are born to unmarried mothers), so staying home isn’t even an option. i think it’s pretty lame… Read more »

LB
Guest
LB

My husband and I are expecting our first child, and after more than one job loss each in the past 3 years, the idea of going down to one income is terrifying. I have a temp job that coincidentally is scheduled to end right around my due date but may get extended. Honestly we really don’t know what we’re going to do in a few months when the baby arrives. We made some decisions that might make it easier to survive on one income (buying a house with a mortgage that is less every month than our rent was, paying… Read more »

Catherine S
Guest
Catherine S

Here’s the deal, there is nothing wrong with working or not working as a parent as long as everyone’s needs are being met. I have to say that I sorta see where your friend might also get the idea where you subtly and subconsciously may be not onboard with her choice too though.  I thought the way you phrased this was a bit telling.  “–and this was a woman who used to be very successful in her career until the day she gave birth and decided to quit.” The way this is phrased sounds a bit negative… Not horribly so,… Read more »

Allie
Guest
Allie

I’m always amused that the anti-daycare slogan is “but they’re being raised by strangers!” like I leave my kid in the park every morning and hope someone will come along to take care of him. 

ras
Guest
ras

I think one of the things that’s so hard about this debate is that it is difficult for anyone to talk about their own choices without a shred of implied judgment of someone else’s choices. Any time you have two people with certain things in common but who have made different choices, you’re going to have this problem. Even the best-intentioned comments can come off sounding like a criticism The comments to this thread are a perfect case in point — as I’ve read, I’ve found myself bristling at a few commenters who’ve said they work because they have degrees… Read more »

MR
Guest
MR

Allie, you are absolutely right! I also love how daycare is this awful place where the kids are raised by “strangers”, but SCHOOL is this wonderful place where you can send your kids to get a break during the day (as in “I can’t WAIT for the kids to be back in school!”). Yeah, because the teachers and other school officials are people I know REALLY well. Our daycare provider has been with our family for 3 years and is my girls’ second mom. She is like family now. And I feel way better about entrusting my children into her… Read more »

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Michelle
Guest

It really bothers me that people would judge another parent for choosing to either work or stay home — both sides can be judgy.  I wrote a blog post on my opinion on this.  I work because it makes me a better mom! http://25hoursblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/working-mom-vs-stay-at-home-mom/

Anne
Guest
Anne

Interesting and timely conversation… I am 36 weeks pregnant with my first, and after a 13 week maternity leave, I intend to come back to my job full-time. And I’ve already had friends with kids give me the whole “you’re going to have that baby and change your mind” schpiel. To the point that I find it a bit offensive – as if I won’t have that “mommy gene” if I don’t change my mind. I know that having a baby changes your perspective, but I also know myself. I have a flexible job that I enjoy with lots of… Read more »

Jen
Guest
Jen

I hate these Mommy Wars! Amy, this advice was wonderful (btw, I’m the original poster from the Breastfeeding PSTD question and I’ve been meaning to respond to it because the responses touched me so much but I just don’t have the words.) Anyway, I’m a SAHM who gave up a great fun amazing career to stay home with my now 8-month old. I find myself defending working moms all the time from people who think they’ve found a kindred spirit in me..people who say, “Good for you for actually RAISING your child. ” Ugh. You know what? My baby is… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

For me I agree with you Jenn. I have played both sides of the fence. Recently I got into an argument on youtube with a woman who thought that working moms were not like true mothers. Many people had commented to tell me to leave it alone and I refuse to leave it alone because that type of education is wrong. For Christ sakes, women need to stop belittling each other. I find that if I stay home all the time, my daughter is insanely bored because she to is a major extravert and I to am an introvert. I… Read more »

JennyMooMeow
Guest

I have felt the sting of being the “working mom” and the bottom line is we all do what we have to do to survive. Survive can mean different things to different people. For us, it meant providing health insurance for the kids and being able to afford our house and nice cars and toys and good food. A very wise woman (the director at our daycare center) once told me me that everyone has to do it their own way, and we all do the best we can in our own situations.

Candace
Guest
Candace

This is SUCH a divisive issue.  I am a SAHM and I NEVER feel like I am better or something odd like that, but I do feel judged all the time by working moms because I was a lawyer. People ask me how I could have left the money, and will I ever go back, or how will you keep your brain active (love that one, really freaking rude…) I get a lot of pressure to go back and now I just say, sure one day, to get people off my back.  I don’t know if I will ever work… Read more »

OP
Guest
OP

OP here. Thank you for your perfect reply, Amy, and to you all for these comments.  There are obviously judgmental people on both sides of this debate. I am completely supportive of the men and women who make the choice to stay at home with their kids and not work, especially when it makes them (and their families) happy. Good for them! They are lucky, as more than one commenter pointed out, and I am very fortunate that I get to choose between an awesome career and a comfortable life at home. I have many friends who have no choice… Read more »

Steph
Guest

so glad to know about this site and your column. ’tis refreshing. i actually just wrote a post about these kinds of mommy disagreements, and how i think our close friendships, in particular, could benefit from us being honest about the fact that we’re totally judgmental. i stay home part time and work part time, so i tend to think that’s the right choice, since i really like it. and i’ve found that its easier when i’m close with someone to just come out with the judgment that i know is there even though i do feel that everyone needs… Read more »

nennie
Guest
nennie

People really just need to shut their mouths and let people raise their kids the way they want. Hours after the birth (c section) of my son (my only child), I had an emergency hysterectomy and hemorrhaged every drop of blood and then also the blood that was IV’d in. A week later, I was readmitted back into the hospital for an infection, etc. My body completely crapped out. I could not produce breast milk. I also was on so many meds (pain killers, antibiotics, had the chemical needed for a CT scan …). I was offered to be prescribed… Read more »

Kind of Shy Mom
Guest
Kind of Shy Mom

wow… thank you.  Thank you SO much.  I was a SAHM and HAD to return to work when my ex husband kicked me out of the house for his new love interest… a 19 year old blonde, after 14 years of marriage.  o.O   There I was, at LEAST 8 years out of the workforce desperately looking for a new job and a house so that I could support my two small children, aged 5 years and 1 year.  I got SO much flack from the SAHM’s that I’d known prior, good, religious women who believed it was a woman’s… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I am a stay at home who have at many times been working and out of work as well. The thing is, I do not know anyone, especially in the town that I live in, that makes enough money in order to be able to sustain staying at home without relying on other support systems. I had left my ex baby’s father and left my drug addiction and abusive relationship behind me. The father has refused to pay child support or even remotely better his life to the point where he just returned to prison till 2019. If it was… Read more »