Thanks to the muck slinging that accompanies political campaigns, that age old argument has been aired out for debate once again; working moms versus stay at home moms.
Last week Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen commented that a potential presidential candidate’s wife “hasn’t worked a day in her life” because she chose to stay home and raise her five boys. So once again the “Mommy Wars” have been catapulted back into the headlines.
In one corner, we have the women that decide that they will put their careers aside and stay home with their children. Most return back to the workplace when their kids are in school, sometimes back to the careers they had before.
In the other corner, we have the women that decide to juggle motherhood with working. Once maternity leave is over, they put the baby in daycare and go back to their job.
Before we put on our boxing gloves and take sides, let’s take a moment to consider why this is even dubbed the “Mommy Wars.”
I can empathize with both sides of the debate because I have done both. When my oldest was born I gave up teaching and stayed home. I eventually returned to work when our youngest was four years old.
Neither “job” is easy – when I stayed home, there were days I dreamed of dropping them off at daycare and letting someone else deal with the teething, potty training and arguments. Now that I work, there are days I dream of having a whole day to clean, grocery shop and do laundry instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off all weekend.
I’m not complaining – I love being a parent and I knew what I was getting myself in for, however, staying at home still felt like a job to me – I just didn’t get paid, have a lunch break or have vacation or sick days. When I went back to work, I did what millions of other moms do.
I learned how to juggle.
What puzzles me is why this is even a debate? The media perpetuate it by sensationalizing the latest research, telling us we should stay home with our children, yet in the next breath, telling us that children who don’t attend daycare have poor social skills. It’s enough to make your head spin.
Why can’t we just be respectful of each other’s choices? What works for my family may not work for yours, but that does not make it wrong. Do these arguments stem from guilt? No matter what you decide to do, there will be some guilt. It comes with the territory of being a parent.