Should All Moms be Stay-at-Home Moms?

cleaverA couple of months ago, I wrote about why I’m not a stay-at-home mom.  And believe me, it wasn’t all that controversial.  I basically just outlined the reasons that I have chosen to work despite the fact that I have kids.  If you want to read that post, you can find it here:

The Daycare Dilemma: What I’m Not a Stay-at-Home Mom

Anyways, I recently got a comment on this post that was so ridiculous that I thought it deserved its own blog post.  Let’s begin, shall we?  This is what I woke up to on Saturday morning:

After reading most of your thoughts its 100% clear that you do not want to be a full time mother. You really care about what YOU want and all your choices revolve exactly around what you want and what makes you happy. I hate to break your happy bubble but putting kids on daycare is not the best for them. But clearly, your comfort and happiness  and money bring you more satisfaction than  taking care of your kids. Its terribly exhausting to be a sahm and theres no money, so your heart has to be in a place of self sacrifice and you must give everything of yourself to be patient and loving when you want them gone to relax. I just dont agree that getting rid of your kids full or part time each day is right. Please do not disrespect sahm mothers who make cupcakes because they are practicing and are developing qualities of a good mother. Someone who is patient, loving and giving not someone who pushes them away because she cant stand them. Being a good sahm is  hard.  You have to exercise serious discipline to not blow up all the time. But if you never practice you never develop it. Notice i say a Good sahm. I  dont agree that doing whats best for You translates into whats also best for everyone.

-Angry Commenter

Moms Are People Too

Yes, I’m a mother.  But, do you want to know what else I am?  I’m a writer and a poet.  I’m a wife and a friend.  I have hobbies and interests, many of which have nothing to do with my kids.  Becoming a mother shouldn’t require that I give up everything that I  am, or that I am no longer allowed to be who I once was. 

The argument that all mothers should stay home with their kids is as unrealistic as it is antiquated.  I hate to break it to you, but some mothers have to work because their income is desperately needed to balance the books.  Other mothers love their career, and would be lost without the many benefits they get while on the job.

Some moms, like me, enjoy contributing to the family finances even if their income isn’t necessarily required.  It’s true that our children need our love and attention, but they also need our money.  My kids are going to college one day and I am hellbent on helping them avoid the crushing student loan debt that has become a burden for so many young people.  The fact that I work has allowed us to buy two rental properties whose monthly income will pay for my kid’s college.  If I did not work, we would likely not be in that position, now or ever.

This Isn’t the 1950′s

Why on Earth are mothers the only ones who get shamed for not staying home with the kids?  Shit, I made more money than my husband did last year.  If anyone should be staying home with the kids, shouldn’t it be him? The children are both of ours, are they not?  Where’s his hate mail?

This isn’t the 1950′s.  Women are pursuing higher education more than ever before, and they actually hold more advanced degrees than men in the U.S.  Women are doctors, lawyers, and firefighters.  We are college professors, scientists, and astronauts. And considering the fact that women made up 46.9% of the workforce in 2012, the argument that all women who work are automatically bad mothers is a ridiculous one at best.

Daycare Isn’t All Bad

“I hate to break your happy bubble but putting kids on daycare is not the best for them.”

How in the world do you know what’s best for my kids?  Have you ever met them?  Do you know what their daycare is like?  How can you make the blanket statement that daycare is always bad for kids?  Are there no exceptions?

My kids have always liked going to daycare and I haven’t had any bad experiences with childcare centers my kids have attended.  Sending them to daycare gives them the opportunity for socialization and learning in a group setting.  It also lets them spend time with friends and build relationships outside of our immediate family.  I’m okay with that.

The Bottom Line

The fact that I work doesn’t mean that I love my kids any less than you do.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be with them, or that I am somehow an awful mother.  All it means is that we’ve decided that the income I earn is worth more to us than having a stay-at-home parent.  Another couple in our situation might choose to do the opposite, and that’s okay.  They are not us, and we are not them, capiche?

Women should stop spending so much time tearing each other down.  I’ve written before about how easy it is to judge a mother, and it’s true- especially when it comes to the debate of whether or not a woman should work.  If you want to stay at home with your kids, then do it.  Mothers who choose to stay home with their kids are obviously doing a wonderful thing.  However, I disagree with anyone who says that all working mothers are trying to flee their responsibilities or don’t really want to take care of their kids.  It simply isn’t true.

What do you think?  Should all moms be stay-at-home moms?

About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Without even knowing the nut job that wrote the email , l can already tell you the kind of person she is. She is the one that has an opinion about everything and everyone, the one that would tell me “you don’t know what you’re missing by not having kids”, the one that would say “you need to have a husband to complete you” etc..etc.. The one whose life revolves around her kids because unfortunately she doesn’t have a life of her own. She hangs around with the women who feel exactly the same way as her. Her kids are probably home schooled, they will grow up to have a narrow view of the world since they are not exposed to others, and the kids will most likely end up being Anthony Hopkins in Psycho! Or maybe that’s just a novel in my head.. :0) . She needs to stop judging and develop some hobbies that doesn’t involve 24 hours with the kids. I bet even the kids want some time away from her!

    • I know my kids would want some time away from me!

      • I tend to agree that it is okay for women to work but can’t get past the fact that Holly is a “writer” who used the word “anyways”.

        • Thanks for providing a perfect example of how women continue to tear each other down for no reason at all.
          Folks, this is Exhibit A!

    • My vision is a little different– have you ever seen The Guild? She’s that blonde woman who spends all her time at the computer while her kids are completely unsupervised. Otherwise how would she have so much time to tell other women on the internet how to do it? (I suspect she forces her kids to nap longer than they need to as well.)

      All the well-adjusted SAHM that I know don’t waste time telling WOHM that they’re doing it wrong. They’re too busy taking care of their kids!

  2. I’ve been a mom for about 1 month, so I can’t say too much about it. I love the experience and so far am sacrificing a lot for the little one. But she will go to kindergarten, as soon as she’s ready, not only to allow me to do some more work (am also working from home and getting the biggest income in the household), but to allow her to develop socially, not just stay ‘tied’ to my skirt.

  3. Wow. What a martyr. “I dont agree that doing whats best for You translates into whats also best for everyone.”

    Whatever happened to the phrase “If ain’t momma happy, ain’t nobody happy!” ?

    • Oh, that phrase is in full force around here! But seriously, I’m working for a living…I don’t know how that can be construed as selfish.

  4. My wife is not wired to be a stay at home mom. She would go insane. She is way to social and spending time not around adults would crush her soul. My wife also has the much better (and less expensive) healthcare. So if anyone was going to be stay at home it would be me. I love my son and all, but I don’t want to, nor do I want my wife to, be one of those people who is defined by their kids.

  5. If you look at it from a financial point of view, and the second spouse (doesn’t have to be the mom) makes a much lower wage than the other, for me they are better at home, as the costs to go to work, second car, daycare, convenience food because you’re tired, maybe a house cleaner, taxes, putting the household in a higher tax bracket etc are higher than the second wage.
    But that is only looking at the finances, some women need to work to keep their sanity, because they love their job or because they want to teach an example of working mom to their kids.
    For me that’s perfectly ok as long as the women think hard about the choice they make. Some friends barely make $2,000 a month and complain about work all the time but say they “need the salary” when 80% of it go to raising the husband’s taxes and paying for daycare.

    • Oh, I know what you’re saying. They call it the “two income trap!”

    • “Some friends barely make $2,000 a month and complain about work all the time but say they “need the salary” when 80% of it go to raising the husband’s taxes and paying for daycare.”

      It’s not quite that simple, the point-in-time comparison. It can make a lot of sense to stay employed even if 100% of it is going to daycare and taxes (even just from a financial viewpoint).

      http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/the-wohsah-decision-finances/

      • I’ve heard that argument as well. From what I’ve read, women sometimes lose career momentum and sacrifice future earnings by leaving the workforce for extended periods of time, making it a better choice to stay in the workforce while their kids are little. Even if they aren’t earning much at that moment, their earnings over the course of their career may be much higher if they continue to work. Of course, everyone’s situation is different!

  6. Holly, obviously I don’t know you except through our blogging world, but from what I’ve heard when you talk about your kids, you obviously love them very, very much. Holly, the fact of the matter is that YOU know your own heart, and this woman doesn’t. She has no right to judge you. When somebody criticizes me in that way, I always analyze objectively what they say, take the truth, and leave the lies or misunderstanding that the “criticizer” has about me where they belong – in the garbage. :-)

  7. My wife has made it clear to me she has no intention or desire of being a stay-at-home-Mom, and I support her decision. I think both of us would rather get a nanny or put kids in daycare than be stay-at-home-parents. I think you are definitely justified in your non-desire to be a sahm!

    • We’re all so different and what works for one person won’t work for another. I know mothers who wouldn’t dream of going back to work because they’ve wanted to be a SAHM since they were kids. I also know people who would work for free if they had to because they do not want to stay at home under any circumstances.

  8. If there was ever a topic that seemed to allow complete strangers to verbally attack you for no real reason it’s being a stam. My wife and I are expecting our first child in just a few months and she’s planning on staying home with the kids. You wouldn’t believe the comments that she’s gotten from people on both sides of the argument. Just crazy.

  9. Wow….just wow. I have no better words.
    Sincerely,
    A mother who works out of the home full-time with a really awesome kid raised by really awesome daycare providers and after school programs who is an honor roll student, basketball star, volunteer and all around amazing child.

    Phew.

  10. Growing up we’re always told to follow our dreams. Shouldn’t we practice what we preach? Being a sahm is great but if you have aspirations and the potential to do better then why not achieve it. Accomplishing our dreams makes us happy and that will transpose to your family life!

    • Sure, and everyone’s dreams are different. I know people who have dreamed of being a SAHM since they were little. We should all have the courage to pursue our dreams, no matter what they are.

  11. Wow, as my wife would say…judge much?! I just don’t understand the venom in her comment. I understand wanting to stay at home or not wanting to stay at home, but that’s a freaking personal decision.

  12. The “right” option is to give every parent (not just mother) the *choice* to do what they want and financially can. If they want to stay home – great, if they want to go to work – also great. What’s best for our family is not necessarily best for all families, but it’s the best for ours. A family with a working mother who’s happy is better than a family without a mother – which would be the case if I was staying at home.

    • I think that working actually makes me a better mother. I’m happier and have more energy and that translates into how I care for my kids. If I stayed home, I think I could get depressed very easily.

  13. AHH! You are a great mother, I don’t know why this person is so judgmental. I went to daycare and I turned out fine :)

  14. Valerie says:

    Her comment really says more about her than it does you. I work full time and run a successful side business! I’m crazy busy and barely have time to clean the house. I only get to spend a few hours each night with my kids and I feel incredibly guilty sometimes. i think ALL working mothers feel a twinge of guilt sometimes. Of course we want to spend a lot of time with our kids!! That doesn’t mean we should all stay home. I have stayed home before and I think I do prefer to work full time even if it means feeling guilty sometimes. My kids do like day care a lot…in fact I think they are bored at home sometimes! I absolutely have not choice but to work, but I think I would choose to work anyway. We can’t have it both ways!

  15. I love my mom and I think she would have always stayed home if she could, but at times she had to go to work, usually when my dad was starting or running one of his businesses. Anyway, I actually remember going to pre-school when I was 4, and I loved it. I did need some time away from my Mom, and I think most kids do. Our daughter has always learned more from someone else than us, so if we were home together all day, we’d just be fussing for half the day.

    If this lady is correct, then why do we even send girls to school? Might as well just save up a dowry to marry them off to the best husband so they can stay at home and have babies. If you want to be a stay at home mom OR dad and that works for your family, wonderful, but don’t assume that is what’s best for everyone.

  16. I’ve found that writing about child rearing and related topics, whether directly or indirectly, seems to invite all sorts of criticism. People will make the most ridiculous assumptions and project their own nonsense onto the writer. There’s just so much judgement, most of it coming from other women. Ugh.
    Anyway, I stay at home with my daughter and freelance. If we could afford to have me work outside of the home, I would love to, but it just doesn’t make financial sense for us right now. Every family has to do what is right for them.

  17. I’m always when women feel the need to rip each other apart for being either a SAHM or a working mom. In a perfect world, it would be great if parents could spend more time with their children while they’re little. However, it’s not always realistic (many families could not survive on one income)… nor is it the right decision for every family.

    If we ever have children, I plan on being a SAHM with a bit of freelance work on the side. Frankly, I hate my day job and don’t earn anywhere near enough to justify working and sending the kids to daycare. That said, I know other people who absolutely love their jobs and I wouldn’t fault them for wanting to go back to work ASAP. Whatever works for you and your family.

    • Sorry, it should say “I’m always amazed when…” lol

      • I just want to say that I completely agree with you, Sarah. I wish that as adults we could get past this petty cattiness and be supportive of each other, instead of looking to tear people down with our un-elicited opinions.

  18. My sister is a Montessori teacher of 3-5 year olds. I have been to her class and I can guarentee any child of mine would be better off in her class than at home with me. They don’t watch tv or play on iPads and learn social skills with other kids. I have no issues with SAHM’s however I get irritated when they have to justify their lifestyle by attacking working moms. Staying at home vs working is a personal choice between the mom and dad.

  19. I completely agree with Kemkem in the first comment. Good job for putting this woman on blast like that. I find that mildly amusing! But seriously, I think it’s terrible for how judgmental she was about your choices. Unfortunately for me, my mom’s whole life revolved around me from the moment I was born. While I love her for loving me so much, it put an enormous amount of pressure on me growing up. I have very often felt like a failure because I didn’t live up to her standards. I don’t have kids yet, but I know when I do, I want them to go to daycare for the exact reasons you listed. The socialization they get there I think is important in their development. Good on you, girl. :)

    • My mom stayed home with us, but there were three of us so I don’t think she focused too much on any of us. Overall, I would guess it was a good choicer for her. Times are different now though, and it takes more $ to get ahead!

  20. I had to re-read your previous post because from the tone of the comment made it seem like you were bashing stay-at-home moms…but that’s not what I got from that post. It’s a personal decision and there isn’t a right or wrong answer. It’s a family decision. For me it would be nice to have a parent stay home, because the dropping off and picking up the baby everyday and making dinner has been pretty rough…plus other stuff that has been going on. But I think your job has great flexibility which is a plus when you have kids. Also, I think daycare is good for them to learn social skills and to share/play with other kiddos.

    • It really is a family decision. I know women who were born to be SAH moms and I think that’s great. It just isn’t for everyone.

  21. I would love to be a stay-at-home mom or be able to work from home and send my kids to daycare a few days a week. I just like the idea of WFH as it would provide so much more flexibility.

    • Working at home does provide us with a lot of flexibility…even though my kids do go to daycare. I still have more options than I did when I worked a 9-5.

  22. Ugh. How annoying. And frustrating, because I wish women would stick together more. But it seems like anytime a woman talks about motherhood, it erupts into this violent, dichotomous argument. SAHM vs. Working Mom. Breastfeeding mom vs. Bottle feeding mom. And even further than that, women who are moms and women who aren’t. Men seem more supportive of each other. I don’t see many men criticizing each other for being working dads, or any other non-controversial parenting choices, for that matter. Sorry you got a comment like this, Holly. What a facepalm!

  23. My mom was SAHM for most of my life. I truly believe she should not have stayed a SAHM. She left her career, learning experiences, and is too attached to us. But kids grow up to be adults. You can’t be a mom forever. Having a career means you retain your identity and feel like you are contributing.

  24. I think I am going to ask my wife to read this. We had a discussion a while back with regards to being a SAHM. It is not in her genes. She doesn’t want to be one. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t love our son more or less. I like that he goes to daycare, just not the cost. He interacts and learns. People like this commenter just don’t get it.

    There are many women that would lose their careers if they stayed at home. Do you know how hard it is to pick up a career after being out for years and years? Try asking the many that have tried and failed to pick back up where they left off.

  25. Yankeegal says:

    I am writing this as both a SAHM and now a SAHG-I have my granddaughter 3 days a week. I don’t think the comment was warranted in anyway, but have to say that the stigma that SAHM’s get is just as bad. Starting with the infamous Hillary Clinton’s “what do you think I do, stay home and bake cookies all day!” The myth that we watch TV or hang out on pinterest all day is belittling to those of us who take our roles as parents/grandparents very seriously. And I do believe that working parents take their roles seriously as well. Everyone should do what is best for their family. If you are confident in your decision, why let a comment like that bother you?

    • I’m sorry, but when is the last time a person contacted you personally to tell you that you don’t really want to be a mother or spend time with your children? It was an awful comment and an unwarranted one, and I think most people would be insulted if someone accused them of not loving/not caring for their children.

      • Yankeegal says:

        I am on your side on this. I was trying to make the point that you should feel confident in your decision and not let the commenter make you feel otherwise. I apologize if it came off as something different. I was also pointing out that the judgments go both ways-unfortunately.

        • No, I get it. I do. Judgments totally go both ways. I’ve heard (and read) outrageous things about SAHMS in general, like they’re lazy or that they just keep having babies so they don’t have to get a job. I know for a fact that that isn’t true! I know SAHMs who do an amazing job and do it because they truly want to do it. I also know people who hate being away from their kids because their kids are what makes them happy. Everyone is so different.

  26. “Shit, I made more money than my husband did last year. If anyone should be staying home with the kids, shouldn’t it be him?”

    Haha, that’s AWESOME! I really don’t get where people get off having a narrow-minded viewpoint founded on pretty much nothing. There was no fact in anything she said, just opinion. Sure, she’s entitled to it. But how does that make it applicable to everyone?

    I think that kids need parents who spend time making purposeful decisions about what’s best for THEIR family. There is no one answer to that. Thinking there’s only one way is much more likely to create kids with issues that spending some time working.

  27. Oh for goodness sakes! WOW! Just WOW! First off, anyone who has read your blog for some time knows, without a doubt, how much you love your kids and what a great Mom you are. And talk about misguided. I have a ton of respect for women who chose to stay-at-home-Moms. I know it’s a ton of work and not all bons-bons and soap operas. But like you, I am choosing to work because it makes me a better Mom, wife and overall person. I get that it’s not for everything, but neither is being a SAHM. It is about respecting individual choices and it always frustrates and saddens me when women/moms tear each other down. We should be building each other up and supporting and cheering each other to embrace what’s right for us as women and moms. There is no universal right, there is only the right way for you.

    • Yeah, exactly. It’s also not a contest! We’re not competing against each other to be world’s best mom or anything. Each mom just needs to try to do her personal best, right?

  28. Jesus, judgy! Obviously, I’m not a mom, so I don’t know how it really feels to be shamed like that, but it seems pretty common on the Internet. Why does anyone care what’s going on outside their household? If someone is not endangering their child in any way, it’s no one else’s business.

    Sorry you had to deal with that, Holly :(

  29. “Women should stop spending so much time tearing each other down.” – Amen to that Holly! I don’t understand why people think their way is THE way – there’s many ways to approach a situation, and you’re doing an amazing job with your situation. Don’t listen to that negativity – people who have read you for some time know that you are a loving, devoted, and amazing mother so don’t let anyone tell you different!

  30. Great post and I actually have been wanting to get your opinion on this in terms of my full time blogging and the twins. I keep thinking the solution will be to have someone come to my house for 2-3 hours a day or 2-3 hours three days a week but I don’t know if that’s affordable. Basically I have no plan on what to do about them and am sort of taking it one day at a time, but I agree with you that moms are people too. I’m super excited to meet my kids but I don’t want to lose myself and my interests in the process.

    • Having someone watch them at your house might work when they’re little but will be much harder as they grow up. I could never get any work done if my kids were here while I worked, even if someone was watching them.

      Sending your kids to an outside daycare will be much cheaper than having someone come to your house as well!

  31. I loved this badass response Holly. I’m not going to be a stay at home dad, so it’s really up to my wife if she wants to be a stay at home mom. I would support her if she did, but if that’s not her bag, I’m not going to be upset about her bringing in another income while our kids get to learn and socialize with other children. To each their own, right? But not according to that lady commenter. Also, did you check to see if her children were actually cats? I’m thinking they might be…

  32. Geez, that woman was rude. Maybe she needs a hobby of her own if her kids irritate her so much at times – like her note suggests. It seems to me that if you maintain outside activities, you’d treasure the time with your kids a little more… but what do I know? Definitely nothing, as motherhood is not on my radar.

    Nice response. ESPECIALLY that part about where is your husband’s hate mail, because it’s NOT 1950.

    • LOL, my husband is not equipped to be a stay-at-home dad either, unfortunately. Love him, but he can barely make a plate of toast. I shudder at the thought of what my kids would eat/wear if he were in charge all day!

  33. First of all, I’ve been getting comments like this as well about my career and spending choices. I think it’s going around or it may be one angry commenter terrorizing people right now. Mine called me out for not saving for my future children (to which we have no intentions of having at this moment!)

    Anyways, I have no intentions of being a SAHM. I didn’t have one and turned out perfectly. I was raised by a combination of mother, father, two aunts, daycare, school, and after school programming. And hell, I’m better for it! I was socialized early, I got to do fun activities, and I didn’t just have my mom to look up to since I saw my parents equally!

    • There are pros and cons either way you go. My mom stayed home with us and I had an amazing childhood because of the type of mother she is. She would take us to the city pool and watch us swim for 3 or 4 hours. She made crafts with us, taught us to do things, etc. She was (is) the kind of mom who could just relax while her kids played at the park all day.
      I, on the other hand, am not relaxed and totally OCD. I would probably run my kids ragged. They are much better off.

  34. I’m sorry you had to defend your choice not to be a stay at home mom. It’s sad that you had to. You obviously care very much for your daughters, putting them in daycare has no bearing on that. I don’t have kids, but I imagine it would be kind of intense to watch them constantly! My cousins put their baby in daycare at three months because they both needed to work. They’re still great, loving parents, they just need to make a living. The baby is having a blast, too.

  35. Amen sister!!!!!! I am a mom too, but that is not all that I am. I love my son, but he is not my life, and I don’t want him to ever have the pressure of being someone else’s “life.” Just like we have the right to choose to be moms, we have the right to choose to be stay at home moms and as a moms, we need to support each other more than bring each other down. I don’t judge stay at home moms who make a choice that I couldn’t and they should give us the same respect. It is human decency (a quality we should all be teaching our kids btw).

    • I actually think that (most!) SAHMs are amazing. If I stayed home, I would probably drive my kids nuts. Some women are just way more equipped to be SAHMs than others.

  36. Great post, Holly! I’m honestly surprised to see that another woman would post something so judgmental and hurtful on your blog. You’re 100% right about women needing to stick together and stop tearing each other down. I’m not sure what my personal choice will be when the time comes, but it’s my choice.

    • You’ll have to decide when the time comes! It never crossed my mind to stay home with the kids, but some people absolutely love it. It’s such a personal decision.

  37. I should actually be a little less snide about that specific commenter. She’s obviously bought into the patriarchy’s belief that the only good mothers are martyrs. Which is really sad (and obviously not true). Hopefully she won’t do any real damage to anybody other than herself.

    We’ve apparently written quite a bit on this topic, but (despite our copious post-linking above) the one that is most applicable to that poor woman is the one about family first, not just children. Because it’s really sad when the best years of your life end when you grow up. http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/should-kids-come-first-a-deliberately-controversial-post/

    • I like your copious post-linking!!!! =)

      That is an awesome post, and you’re totally right. It seems like some mothers (definitely not all) feel like they’re only doing a good job if they’re making huge sacrifices and giving everything up. It doesn’t have to be that way.

  38. Sheesh! I suppose that’s the upside of not having a popular blog: I don’t get ignorant, judgy hate mail.

    Sorry you had to read that nonsense, but I’m glad I got to read your reaction. I agree 100%, Holly.

  39. One of my friends had a baby recently and was able to take a leave of absence from her job, then go back full time, then another leave. From this experience, she concluded that she is a BETTER mom when she is working. Even though she has less time with her baby, she is more energized and patient and “there” for her during that time. I had never heard anyone articulate that observation so it was very interesting to me!

    • No, I can totally relate to that! Working definitely makes me feel more energized and gives me purpose. When the kids get home, I make sure that that time is for them (for the most part).

  40. I love this!

  41. Amen Holly. I LOVE my daughter more than anything in the world but that doesn’t mean I have to give up my wants and desires too. Like you said, being a mom doesn’t mean you give up everything else in life. I went to university for 6 years, I’m not throwing a career I love to stay home full-time. I am a better person because I balance me being a mom with other things I enjoy in life. I totally get how hard it is to stay home, I did it for a year. Maybe I’m a terrible person because I enjoy going to work but I’m not stopping. Also, my daughter LOVES daycare. She goes to a safe home and had friedns. Interaction with kids her age is SO important, since shes an only child, it’s really the only way she gets it.

    • Interaction with other kids helps, although my kids have always had each other to play with. If my kids didn’t go to daycare, I would probably join a play group or something….. They get tired of each other, lol

  42. All I have to say to your post is AMEN SISTER. I’m not even a mom yet, but I’m already inundated with thoughts like these since I got married. I grew up with a working mom… two years of all-day pre-k and Y after school til 5:30/6pm because both parents worked. Guess what? I turned out FABULOUS.

    If you can work to save money for your kids future college, your children will turn out even more fabulous than me. Nothing is more inspirational to a daughter than a mother who “does it all.”

  43. Those who live in glass houses, right? Nobody knows your kids or what works for your family as well as you. If you’re happy and they’re happy then shame on anyone else who tries to put you down or make you feel less than. It’s hard enough to be a woman these days without other women trying to tear you down.

  44. Screw that person. And I am glad my parents had me in daycare.

  45. In my opinion, the concept of “stay at home mom” should change a bit – and is changing a little bit. I completely agree with you that having kids shouldn’t mean the beginning of a new life – one where you put on hold all your dreams and hobbies and habits. Indeed, you must take care of the babies and make sure that they get the best in everything, but your life must go on. One can be a stay at home mum, but not dedicate her entire time to cooking and cleaning and taking care of the babies. That is not a life, that is a job. And one needs free time too, needs to socialize, needs alone time. Not to mention that spending time in Daycare improves one really important skill: the ability to socialize which today is extremely important.

  46. Times have definitely changed. My wife and I battled this “woman at home concept” for a decade, until we realized she wasn’t really being fulfilled just being a mom. So she went back to work in a new career and I took over the house responsibilities, which I love doing. I can’t tell you how much better our life has been since we recognized our desires/abilities and moved to maximize them in our marriage.

  47. This makes me so, so sad. Reading things like this makes me feel like we’ve stepped back DECADES in society. Your husband, if he worked from home and had your kids in daycare sometimes, would NEVER have gotten a message like this.

    I am of the belief (though am a non-parent) that daycare is NOT bad for kids. But regardless of that, you have the right and the freedom to work, just as your husband does. You are NOT a bad mother because you work. You are showing your daughters that women can be smart, strong, and independent and I think that’s an amazing lesson.

  48. I’m completely with you Holly. While it has been nice working from home and getting to spend more time with my kids it’s just unrealistic to do everyday. I have to pay my bills and if I have a bunch of work to do my only choice is to take the girls to the babysitter – or get absolutely no sleep at all and work all night long. I cannot concentrate with a three and five year old on my lap.

    And I also feel like the exposure to other kids that my girls get at the babysitter is a good thing in itself. My kids are learning social skills at a young age which I think is important.

    I have nothing against stay at home moms. I actually have a lot of respect for full time stay at home moms because there’s no doubt in my mind that is the toughest job in the world. If I had a husband who could support me financially and I didn’t have to think about money I might consider it. But even when I was married I had to work so that we could pay the bills.

    Moms are still people. When you become a mom you sacrifice A LOT but to lose your entire self would be a shame to not only you but your children as well. Kids want to see happy parents.

  49. Wow- I can’t believe people still have those reactions. I never even considered the possibility of growing up to be a stay at home mom because my mom was the primary breadwinner in our household. Thinking about it now, I admire her so much more as she was a top executive at one of the largest companies in the world in the 80s and 90s and had five children.

  50. It is an unfortunate truth that most often the most critical people of those who want to be moms with a career are other mothers. I work as a pastor and I believe fully in the equality of men and women in the church, in the home, in the workforce, and in all other areas of life. What is amazing is that when I preach or teach about equality the strongest critics are women. My wife wants to have a career, and I love her for that. In fact if there is one of us who is going to be the stay at home parent it is going to be me! Thanks for writing with boldness and honesty.

  51. I had to go back and read the other article to make sure you weren’t slamming SAHM’s, but you totally weren’t at all. You wrote: “And, there’s no “wrong” or “right” answer. Everyone just has to do what works best for their unique situation.” Why do women slam each other’s decisions so much? Why does no one question the dad’s decision to work or SAH? We can be very cruel about each other’s decisions, when in reality most people are trying to do the best they can. I’m sure you gave your decisions a lot of thought and you came up with the best plan that works for you. I can see why you’d be angry.

  52. A couple of my girlfriends definitely believe mothers should stay home with their kids, or at least for the first few years of their lives.

    I usually keep quiet because I don’t agree.

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  1. […] but it gets at the point about women not supporting each other. She asks the question should all moms be stay at home moms and just like I commented on her site, we all have the choice to be moms and we should all have […]

  2. […] at Club Thrifty shared a reader comment which led to a discussion about stay at home moms vs. working […]

  3. […] Should All Moms be Stay at Home Moms? by Holly at Club Thrifty- Holly takes a commenter to task for suggesting that in order to be a good mother, you need to be home full-time with your kids. […]

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