Tag Archives: working mom

The argument for SAHMs, and against Amy Glass

SAHM1

This week, the blogging world exploded when Amy Glass blatantly put down stay at home moms (SAHMs) when she wrote a blog titled “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry“.

Here are a few token quotes:

“Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers.”

“You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.”

What can I say about Amy Glass?

Well, first, what can I say about my own experience?

I am one of the lucky moms who have experienced both SAHM-dom and being a working mom. Both have their perks. Both also have their downfalls. As a working mom, I look with envy at SAHMs. I’m envious that they have time to make their kids lunches every day before school, and are home to help them with homework when the kids get home. I’m jealous that they get to join the PTA, or volunteer in the classroom, or have the time to really investigate what’s going on when Johnny’s grades start slipping. Some of the SAHMs I know are the ones whose kids look the most put together, and have socks that actually match, while you can see my kid’s socks peeking through his holey sneakers because I haven’t actually found the time to take him shoe shopping.

I feel like I’d have so much more time as a SAHM. But then I remember what the reality was.

I did the stay-at-home mom thing in the first year of my daughter’s life, and in the first several months of my son’s. We moved to a new city and I had no friends. I spent my whole day being mom, talking to babies, cleaning up messes, keeping the kids entertained…. I was jealous of my husband who got to go out and make a living and talk to other adults while I stayed home in sweats and smelling of spit-up. I had dreams, too. But those got put on the back burner while my husband became the breadwinner, and I kept the home straight. My expertise became vested in keeping the household running and the kids thriving. But my self-worth? It mistakenly plummeted. I felt like I a big fat nobody. I mean, how do you incorporate your homemaker skills onto a resume? How do you keep up with the world when the majority of your news media exists on PBS, Disney, and Nickelodeon? How do you not feel jealous when you see attractive women exiting their cars to walk towards their big office jobs, wearing pencil skirts and carrying briefcases, when I’m juggling a baby on my hip and breakfast remnants in my hair?

It was our meager finances that finally dictated my need for a job. But honestly, I was relieved to get back to the work force and take a break from the littles. My new job became my vacation from my real job. And whenever I get a little jealous over a few of my friends who are lucky to be able to stay home with their kids, I remember how much I suck at keeping a stay-at-home schedule, and how hard it was to get time off from a job that was pretty much around the clock.

Mom kidsAs I reflect on this opinion that Ms. Glass has, I can’t help but feel like she wrote it simply to attract a ton of attention to her blog, and nothing else. I mean, if you look now, there are more than 10,000 comments both applauding her stance and blasting her words. However, I feel sorry for her too, because it’s apparent she feels the need to bring herself attention by slamming a whole group of people for a significant choice in their life – a choice that means the world to their family.

And I can also only guess that she doesn’t have children. If she did, she’d understand the miracle that exists in their very first breath, and the way it feels to see the world through their eyes, and the Jekyll and Hyde emotions of wanting to strangle said kid when they’re being total buttheads while simultaneously willing to give them her very last breath if it meant they could keep on living. She’d understand the sacrifice that goes into being a SAHM, of sometimes feeling like the world is on one realm while she’s stuck in the land of tikes, even while understanding that this is where it is most important for her to be. She’d understand what it’s like to give up a career and a paycheck, throwing herself into her child’s future instead. She’d understand that fine balance of devoting time to the family while keeping her self-worth, and the daily struggle of not putting her whole entire identity into being the mom of her child.

I guess I can’t be mad at her, either, though I do feel a little judgey about her writing such an obvious ploy piece to gather hits for her blog. I can’t fault her. I clicked. I read. I’m responding.

Truthfully, no person – mom, or not – should be looked down upon for their life choice if that is what their calling is meant to be. If you are meant to backpack Asia, awesome! If you’re meant to work full time while also raising a family, good job! And if you devote your time to your kids as a stay at home mom, fantastic!

We all would do better to pull each other up instead of putting each other down.

Note: I became aware of this post by Amy Glass when my cousin posted her own rebuttal. She is much more eloquent than I am, and definitely more forgiving. Read what she has to say HERE.

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Working vs. stay-at-home mom

If you read my blog post yesterday, you read about how I have a hard time letting go of the reins when I can’t be in two places at once and need help from someone else. If you read further than the words on the page, you may have gathered that sometimes I struggle with being a working woman and a mom to my kids all at the same time. This is magnified in the summertime when I am in an office and my kids are stuck at home to entertain themselves. I can’t even begin to tell you how guilty I feel that I’m not there to take them to the beach, or let them have friends over, keep them off the video games or away from the TV, or even just be there to supervise so they can leave the house to play.

But the truth is, I like working. When I take time off work for a simple stay-cation, I am bored out of my mind. And more often than not, I go back to work feeling like I accomplished nothing – as if there wasn’t enough time to relax, create family time, or do all those things I fantasize about doing whenever the weekend seems just too far away. Knowing that I am a poor manager of my time, I am well aware that being a stay-at-home mom would not be a good choice for me. A job gives me a reason to get up earlier than I would on my own, and forces me to do all the things I’d procrastinate on if I didn’t have something eating up 8 hours out of my day. I make it a point to spend time talking with the kids instead of taking them for granted. I have no problem getting my household responsibilities done since I only have a limited time to do them in. Plus, the whole money thing works out pretty well.

However, that choice is not without its consequences. There are parts of my mothering that have suffered because I am not home all the time. By the time I come home from work around 6pm, make dinner, and then clean up the kitchen, it nears bedtime and all we have time for is a quick homework check (“Did you do it?” “Yup.”). However, sometimes the report card tells a story all on its own, and any grades that were less than exemplary were symbolically tacked on my back as well.

A friend of mine is battling the opposite problem. At home, her husband has taken it upon himself to let her know she’s “just a stay-at-home mom”. He goes to work every single day and makes the money to cover their house payment, the bills, the food, and everything else it takes to run a family. She stays home with their boys, keeps the house in order, makes the meals, does the grocery shopping, entertains the kids, handles their doctor and dentist appointments, manages the bills, carts the kids to and from school, makes the meals….all without any pay. She’s stayed home with the boys for many years, making it a bleak reality that a job would be really hard to come by among other applicants who’ve had a career while she chose to stay home. Therefore, she must rely on her husband’s paycheck. And this makes her “just a stay-at-home mom”. And yet, her kids are happy and healthy, and are secure with their mother at their side to teach them the ins and outs of life before they become more independent.

Lisa Belkin, the parenting blogger for the NY Times, is starting a new book club. The book she is kicking off with is called “Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood”. It’s a collection of stories from moms from all different sides of motherhood, gathered by Samantha Parent Walravens. I’m not necessarily promoting the book, as I’ve never read it. But I found the concept intriguing enough to want to read it, as it covers the feelings moms go through when they make the choice to work outside of the home or stay home with the kids, and the sacrifices they go through when that choice is made. 

And it also makes me wonder about all of you who have made this choice, and who grapple with it from time to time.

Did you give up your career to stay home with the kids? Or do you work out of the house while the kids stay home of go to daycare? Have you ever been judged or ridiculed by others for your working or stay-at-home role? Do you ever feel guilt or negative feelings – from twinges to full-blown resentment – about the choice you made? Or are you totally confident in your choice and have never looked back since?  Share your thoughts in the comments. As always, anonymous comments are welcome.