Saturday, September 5, 2009

Working Moms vs SAHMs

I've been reading a debate* whether or not women should stay at home with their children. As in, is it our responsibility because of Scripture. Oh, and that these women get told ALL the time by working women in stores and such that "wish they could stay home...".

Meaning, you see a woman in a store. Somehow she says she's a SAHM, and your response is to tell her how "lucky" she is and how you wish you were her. Um. No. While, I think it is great that she is doing what is best for her and what she feels led to do, that doesn't mean that somehow I want to be her.

I don't have a problem with SAHMs, nor do I have a problem with working Moms. I think there is value in both. Do I think that there are a lot of families that are out there that don't take enough time to be with their children? Yes. I do.

What some people seem to do though, that I do have a problem with, is JUDGE others for their decisions in parenting instead of being understanding and/or helpful. And the discussions I've seen lately are of the judgmental variety against those of us who choose to parent differently.

They say:

"Working mothers put other priorities over their children" ... NO (actually, we work so that we can provide for our children. This statement is usually said in a condescending or condemning tone... which i find really rude. just because there are some of us who want to work, doesn't mean we don't put our children first. ...there are ways to do both)

"All working moms wish they could be SAHM's and therefore should do whatever it takes to become one"
... NO (if that is your path, then that's fantastic... and i really do hope you find a way to do that. But even if someone is wistful on a day when they are struggling with their work and/or home life, doesn't mean EVERYONE wants to stay at home)

"All women are destined to be a helpmeet to a man, and even if we live in a shack we should obey God's commandments in this regard"
... NO. (well, not for me, anyway, and when did God say we had to be destitute to have a fulfilling life?)

Again, I'm not knocking SAHMs. I'm knocking the notion that all working mothers are somehow inferior to them and we should all quit our jobs and stay home. No matter what (no matter our goals, desires, and our own individual walks with God).

God, tells us that we ALL have different and unique talents and gifts. Apostle Paul specifically tells us it is OK to remain single. We don't have to get married. And, even if we get married, there is nothing that says we can't be individuals and work if we choose. That doesn't mean we don't love our children. It doesn't mean that we put the world first. It means, I'm not you and you're not me. But we CAN learn from each other.

For me, and for many that I know... working is just as much of a blessing as it is to raise my daughter. Since I'm a SMBC (single mother by choice), I have no choice to but to work, and I'm OK with that. Even if I was married at this point, it would be highly doubtful I'd quit my job. Lil M gets value from being in school and I get value from working. That is my opinion.

Do I struggle with her place in her environment, due to her being a child of color? YES. Do I wish I could find a more diverse area without having to move far away? Yes, I do. Will I figure out how to make this work for our family? YES I WILL. Or I will do my very best to try. Does it mean that I need to be with her 24 hours a day each and every day? I don't think so. Some days I do think that it might be fun, but then reality comes back and for me, I think that is too much pressure. And I'd likely get bored. That's just where I am. I'd end up having to find something to do with my time... for myself... more education, volunteering, etc. (oh, wow, i can hear it now, how selfish that would be of me... but, it isn't. God loves me too, and wants me to be just as happy as my daughter.) And how is that really different from working? Except, maybe how many hours a day/week you do that?

Do I think that SAHMs or Working Moms are somehow better or worse than each other, NO. I absolutely do not. I believe we are to bolster each other up in love, respect and help each other in any way we can! I LOVE, love, love learning from other Mothers and how they help their children grow. I've especially found that Moms with large families intrigue me and I learn a lot about how they home school and teach their children. And how they organize their lives. It helps me too!! :)

For some reason, though, us Working moms (especially us single ones) get a BAD RAP. I am a highly contributing member of my society. I try to help my community and family as much as I can. I am a believer. And, most importantly, I am a Mom. Just because I do it differently than some others doesn't make me any less relevant, nor does it mean that I'm not following God's path for MY LIFE.

So, there you have my opinion. I will continue to follow other families that are kind, gentle in spirit, and open to relationship with all kinds of Moms. (actually, if i believed in previous lives, i'd have to say i probably had a huge family sometime... 'cause i'm most intrigued with them!!! and if i ever did stay home, i'd probably have a house full of kids.... however, those who know me well, know that i have my limits and that i'd probably max out at 2 or 3!! LOL)

It all comes back to the commandment JESUS gave us - Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind... and your neighbor as yourself. This scripture does allow you to love yourself. It doesn't say that you are to put yourself down or subjugate yourself to others and make yourself some lowly piece of crap. You can't really love others until you learn to love yourself. And allow yourself to realize that God actually thinks YOU are important, too. Whatever that means. If you want to SAHM or Work... that is OK. I truly believe that we all find our path and place with God and that is not bound by this specific topic.

*this debate is on inashoe blog and called an Open Letter to Working Moms.



  1. I think the strident, judgemental types are generally shouting the loudest because they feel a little insecure over their own choices in life, and want to convince themselves as much as others they are doing the right thing.

    Like you, I'm a single mother by choice. I need to work. I need to provide for my child.

    Do I wish I could stay home more and go to the park. Yes at times of course I do. Then there are the days I am at home when I wish I could be at work - I often think it is easier, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the break from Toddlerdom and the opportunity to have adult conversation.

    I seriously can't be doing with the Holier Than Thou judgement brigade. I'm pretty sure I was not put on this Earth to live in a shack serving a man's every whim! My daughter is, and always will be my priority, as will her sister when she comes home next year. They are the only people who I am here to put first and serve.

    Am I selfish to work? Yes, if not wanting to live on benefits, in grinding poverty, makes me selfish, then I guess I am! If wanting to have the money to provide for music or dance lessons, holidays and a good standard of living makes me selfish, then I am. If putting my child first every day, emotionally, physically and financially makes me a good mother, then I am that too.

    There is nothing noble or spiritual about poverty.

  2. I am SO SO SO right there with you Lindsay!!! and i was a bit worried about writing all that, but sheesh, i'm so tired of "some" people looking down their noses at us, when they are living in abject poverty, all in the name of "our society and schools are bad for our children and we SHOULD stay home". what-ev-er. ;0)

    ps. I'd love to read your journey, too, would you mind adding me? i'll see if i can find your email, but it doesn't look like i have it! :(

  3. There are also mothers who choose to work because they find it personally fulfilling, and don't have a financial need. I can understand that too. I do think it's important for parents to spend time with their children nearly every single day. Unfortunately, sometimes a job routinely has long hours or frequent long business trips. I worked with someone who after being on a business trip for a month, her child wouldn't speak to her. IMO,life is all about choices and accepting the results of those choices - both good and bad. Although I'm not a parent, I can imagine that I'd never want to be a full-time SAHM, but if I had a job where I hardly saw my child I'd find another job.

  4. Up until a month ago I was a working mom, but I always felt in my heart that I wanted to be a Stay at home mom. I think that each mother needs to decide what is best for their families. Initially I thought I wanted to work and financially we couldn't afford it. But we've cut corners and made it work for us. I don't think there is a right or wrong way, nor do I think that every working mom wishes she were staying at home. Because when I worked for the majority of the time I didn't want to stay home, I enjoyed my job.

    Now being a stay at home mom, I can say that I truly love it, and feel this is exactly where I need to be.