Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Working Mom Vs. The Stay At Home Mom

While standing in line at a store I overheard a conversation in which two women were debating the roles of working mom and stay at home mom. One said that the role of stay at home mom is much more demanding than the role of working mom. I see her point, at work you don’t have an infant crawling after you on your way to the bathroom. Nor do you have to supervise your co-workers so that they don’t chew on your cell phone or attempt swimming in the dog’s water bowl. Working mom’s can run errands and go to appointments while the little one is at daycare, whereas the stay at home mom is stuck taking little Billy to her gyno appointment. Yet, working moms have their own hurdles to overcome. All of my friends who are stay at home moms have time for themselves. They have hobbies, they have down time. Working moms don’t have this.

Stay at home moms have all day to take care of the kids and run the household. Working moms have about four hours a day to do the same thing. Yes, we have a little more freedom while our munchkin is at daycare, but really, we only get an hour lunch, so even our errands are limited. That “freedom” ends as soon as we clock back in from lunch because then we have needy co-workers, demanding bosses and deadlines. There’s a trade off. Working moms do get a break from children, but we deal with “adult children” the rest of the day. Stay at home moms deal with kids all day. I am in no way demeaning what stay at home moms do. I for one don’t think I could do it. My patience level would reach its peak around 2pm, and my kid’s an angel. I have no idea how daycare workers do it, but I’m so thankful that they do.

I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t times when I would hear my stay at home mom friends complain about not getting a nap that day, or complain about having to get up early and want to tell them they had no idea what tired was. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little jealous when I would hear them talk about their latest craft project, or how they felt when they saw their child's first steps. On the other side, I know that there are things about being a working mom that they envy as well. There is no perfect scenario. Even mom's that work from home have obstacles they have to tackle. We all have our balancing acts each day. I've learned that how you handle the balancing is what's really important.