I was watching a episode of Dr Phil (yes, I admit it - I watch him) covering the debate on stay-at-home moms versus working moms. I'm sure you all can figure out which side I am on.
I found it really interesting to hear from a SAH mom who was very outspoken about her belief that women who have children and work are selfish. She stated that "if you don't have time for children, then maybe you shouldn't be having them". I would actually agree with that statement but not in the context in which she made it. She's implying that any woman who works, couldn't possibly have time to spend with her children. That a woman who works could not contribute to the health and well-being of a child. That a woman who works couldn't possibly raise a wonderful human being.
Yes, this lady was really opinionated. In fact another SAH mom stood up and said that "she does not speak for all of us!".
In general, it seemed that the SAH moms were more likely to be judgemental about working moms. I did not hear any judgements made towards women who choose to stay home. I understand that SAH moms are often undervalued. Working in the home is a career like any other. But I wonder where that defensiveness comes from. Perhaps SAH moms have had to spend so much time justifying their choice, they opt to criticize those who made a different choice.
Dr Phil mentioned some interesting statistics that over a lifetime working moms will spend 80% of the time that SAH moms do with their children. He also mentioned that children who had working moms and were in quality daycare (quality being a key word) were more likely to score higher on school readiness tests, have higher vocab, social skills, etc.
Women raising children are very likely to raise children in their values and traditions. Some women value their children above all else, including themselves. The SAH moms seem to feel that raising their children is the most important thing in their life. I can respect that.
But it's not the most important thing in my life. It's one of the most important things in my life. But my life as a woman and a human being does not begin and end with my children. I had a life before they arrived and I will continue to have a life after they grow up and move on to their own lives. I am not the type of woman who can give up myself for my children. Maybe that does make me selfish in some eyes. I like to think it makes me a better person for my children, my husband, and those around me. Because I could not be a happy person as a SAH mom. I would go insane and might take that out on my family! I love my job and am very passionate about it. Do I feel guilty at times? Sure I do. Being a midwife isn't always an easy career when you have children. But I contribute to society in a very valuable way. I also think that I contribute to my children's health and well-being. I am raising my daughters especially to be strong, beautiful women who can do whatever they want in life.
I also like to think of the women who were working moms who made huge changes throughout our history. What would one say to some of these women? You should have stayed home with your kids instead of fighting for civil rights, for freedom, for healthcare, etc. The world would be a better place had you done that. Yeah, not so much!
I really do have respect for women who choose to stay at home and make child-rearing their top priority. Not all of us can afford or choose that though. We women need to stick together and hold motherhood up, in all its forms, as a tough job and one to be greatly valued.