There’s been a lot of noise lately about how hard stay-at-home moms work, how they don’t get enough credit, and how people who think that staying at home is all about Bon Bons and tennis are just morons.
Just to be clear, before anyone gets all heated with me, I think Hilary Rosen was out of line with what she said about Ann Romney. I think that most stay-at-home moms work incredibly hard, and that their jobs are exhausting, emotional, tedious and repetitive. I also think that there is a difference in free time once little ones are in school, and since that’s where I am in my life, that’s really where I’m coming from.
As a part-time corporate recruiter, I straddle the line between being a stay-at-home mom and a working mom. I think that in this whole controversy, working moms aren’t getting a fair deal. Most people have children because they want to be with, and raise, those children.
When you’re a stay-at-home mom, you don’t have to struggle with that line of where you are and where you want to be. You don’t sit at swim lessons knowing that you should be sitting in an all-hands meeting (like I’ll be doing on Thursday), or sit in an all-hands meeting wishing that you could be watching your little ones at swimming. Your heart doesn’t break when you see a little face crumple after you say no to chaperoning a field trip, or when you are stuck in an off-site while missing your daughter’s first ballet recital. You don’t have to run into your closet because your boss is on the phone and your child wants your attention so he’s throwing a gargantuan tantrum and is screaming for you at the top of his lungs.
While being a stay-at-home mom is about multi-tasking, being organized, keeping everyone busy, and keeping the family on track, being a working mom is about all of that too. Every working mom I know is still in charge on their family’s social calendar, buying birthday gifts for weekend parties, putting meals on the table (or in the lunchbox) at the appropriate times, purchasing extra-curricular accessories and having them ready on the appropriate days, planning family celebrations, recognizing extended family milestones, putting paper towel rolls in the backpack for tomorrow’s art project, filling out camp forms, making doctor’s appointments etc etc etc.
Somehow, we get the laundry done and folded before anyone runs out of underwear, meals on the table, homework in the bag, and smiles on the faces on top of conference calls, hundreds of emails and work responsibilities. We don’t get the chance to rest at nap time or get errands done while kids are at school. We don’t meet friends out for lunch because we’re rushing to get our work done so we can get to our family time.
Yes, my office days are a lot less taxing on my body, my emotions and my patience than my mommy days. But, on my mommy days when I have 2 hours during nap time (when Monkey isn’t screaming, “Mommy, I not NAPPING!”) to finish a day’s worth of work, I feel torn, stressed and pulled by the tightrope that is the life of a working mom. Most moms with jobs outside the home work really hard to be the best employee and the best mom they can be.
And while most stay at home moms make every day about building the best life possibly for their little ones, some have tons of nanny help and spend their days living a life totally separated from that of their kids (Hello Real Housewives). A lot of us working moms work really hard to make sure that our kids are receiving the best of care when we can’t be with them, and we rush through our job responsibilities in order to be the absolute best, most hands-on moms we can be.
Every mom needs to make the right choice for their family, and for themselves. When a friend of mine left her legal position to stay home, her husband felt relieved that he wouldn’t feel guilty about her working AND carrying the majority of the responsibilities for their home. He respects her completely, but feels good that he doesn’t have to feel badly about “only” worrying about his job while she worried about her job and the child rearing. I know that TD would feel the same way if I stayed at home. So, while it’s always a good idea to recognize any mom for the job that they are doing, maybe this Mother’s Day we reach out to a working mom and respect all of the responsibilities and challenges that she carries each day.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Trackback URL for this post: http://www.bizchickblogs.com/2012/04/being-a-working-girl-aint-easy.html/trackback/