Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mom Vs Mom

I am sitting here watching Oprah, and it has me thinking about what all of my readers think. Its a panel of Moms, some who stay at home with their children and others who choose to work outside the home. Its really interesting to listen to these women who seem to have such strong opinions and tend to be a bit judgemental. The women who stay at home think its AWFUL for these other women to work and vice versa. I am watching these women just tear each other up and I wondering why these women don't give each other some grace. I have chosen to stay at home with my kids for now but I know that there are lots of women out there who have situations different and may not be able to stay at home or for whatever reason have chosen to work outside the home. I think you really have to have compassion for the women that may have to work because as any mom knows there is SO much guilt that comes with leaving your child or we should just have faith that they are doing what they feel is best whether we agree or not. And for the working moms, I wonder why they think that their decision is any better for their child than having a parent at home with them all day. Something about fostering Independence in their child (that's a load of crap). Isn't it about doing what is best for your kids and that may be different for each family. I think its also about having balance, women cant ignore who they are and Totally immerse themselves in their children and vise versa. What do you guys think?


Desiree said...

Good Post Bunny. I am actually able to post about this because I have walked both sides of this issue. I was a SAH with Daniel but because of circumstances that were out of our control I have had to be a working mom after Tori was born. I speak ONLY FOR ME(pre-emptive) that I HATE working! I have actually seen how my working has affected my kids and if I had the option I would not work. I know that if I had to work permanently(because this job is temp) my kids would turn out bad. That is just how it is. They need that input and because of working I would not be able to give them what they need to be to help shape them into the men and women of God that I know they can be. I know Ryan would do a good job but, and I know this is probably going to cause issues, Ryan is not geared for being the mom. In our marriage Ryan is the worker and I want to be the one that raises our kids. I know it sounds like something from the Dark Ages but that is just the way it is for us. I like it that way and so does Ryan. When we discussed our roles in our marriage that is what we wanted to see.
So for me, working is being out of my box. It would be like a janitor being expected to perform brain surgery. It just isnt geared for it.

Sarafu said...

I dont think that that sounds bad that that works for you. Like you said, it was something discussed before you got married and you knew that that is what your roles were going to be. Life has put you in a different situation right now and its not forever but maybe it will give you guys a better appreciation for the roles that you have chosen.
I have done both(worked full time and stayed at home) and I dont think that my kids would turn out bad if I worked because God would give us the grace for that situation but I know that my kids seem better behaved when I am not trying to juggle too many things. For me, I get stressed pretty easilly and if I see too many tasks ahead of me (laundry, kitchen, bills, kids, organizing closets, cleaning out drawers, vacuming, groceries, mopping, errands, just to name a few) I turn into a nut case and shut down. My kids tend to get put on the back burner and I know that they bear the brunt of my stress so I think for now it works to have my primary job be to take care of them. But, sometimes life doesnt deal exactly what we want and we have to adjust and pray for God to give us the grace and persaverance to get through. Anyway, did I veer off topic? :)

Mrs. Sara said...

Dan and I are dealing with this issue right now.

I can say that I do believe there is an ideal, as far as child psychology and development goes, but that ideal is not always possible or even desirable for every family.

Personally, I have never had any sort of motivation to be a "career" person. My biggest dream and greatest calling, completely honestly, is to be a wife, mother, and homemaker. Always has been. I know that makes me the bane of feminists everywhere, as an intelligent, relatively educated woman who will choose to "waste" (ha ha) her talents at home instead of rejecting the traditional feminine role and chasing after success in the workplace.

The thing is, it takes an amazing amount of skill and talent to be a successful mother and homemaker. To learn to cook healthy, delicious meals... to learn to budget and pay bills... to learn to manage a household in the proper way so everything runs smoothly... and most importantly, to learn how to effectively raise and discipline children so that they grow up to be productive members of society... these are all great tasks that you can't step lightly into. And I think that when SOMEONE isn't at home doing these things (either the father or mother), SOMETHING is going to suffer.

Sarafu said...

Oh, I hate it when people refer to educated women staying home as a "waste". Can you imagine "wasting" time and energy on your children? Thats awful, my kids are worth every minute I spend on them, actually much more.

Mrs. Sara said...

It all comes down to respect for what a blessing and a responsibility it is to raise children. If you look at it with the attitude that children are a gift from God and an investment for the future, then spending time bringing them up properly doesn't seem like a waste. I know people who spend more time managing their portfolios than investing in their children's lives.

I don't know where anyone gets the idea that children are going to be just fine raising themselves while both mommy and daddy are off pursuing their dream careers, unhindered by the needs of their offspring.

Elizabeth F. said...

I am very biased when it comes to this subject, so don't look for a balanced opinion from me. LOL! No, really I do try to give other mothers grace and compassion b/c I would want the same, and because it's none of my business really. Every family has to do what works best for them.

Personally, I believe a mother belongs with her children. Like Sara C. said this is the ideal. When mom cannot be there the 2nd best would be dad or another family member. I admit that I have a hard time when the reason for working is: "We cannot afford for me not to work." Before you jump on my case, understand that we as human beings do not NEED all of the stuff that we think we need. When I look at how some people live, yes very judgemental of me, I think if you got a smaller house, less expensive cars, less stuff in general, it would be do-able. The problem is that most people are not willing to sacrifice the comforts that it takes to be a SAHM when you live on a tight budget. (Yes, there are circumstances that are beyond our control and I am sympathetic for those.)

I believe that if the desire of your heart is in the right place that through prayer God will make staying at home a reality for you. He did that for me. When we had Zoe, we literally had $20 a week to eat and could barely pay our bills. Somehow God provided and through wise financial decisions things are getting better. Things are still tight, but now I look at how much child care would cost if I chose to work and now I realize that I can't afford to work! LOL! Not that I want to anyway.

Now, for those women who choose to work b/c they want to, that's a whole different story. I admire their honesty even if I don't necessarily agree with their choices. JMO. Sorry for the BOOK I've written here...

I just think it's time for women to stop the SAHM vs. WM struggle. Just do what works best for your family and don't worry about waht others are doing unless it directly affects you. :-)

Elizabeth F. said...

P.S. I want to reitterate that I know that there are really poor people who cannot SAH and my heart goes out to them, but I think the majority of us (myself included) want our cake and eat it too! We want the best and to SAH, naturally...but that's not the reality for most of us SAHM's.

leviathen said...

i love the fact that my wife can stayt home with our kids. awesome awesome. but....

lets not forget that women in the workplace is hardly the first time in history that children are seperated from theirs mothers. i would go as far as to say that leaving your children at a day care facility is far less archaic than in the past.

Greek children used to leave home for years, hebrew women would have other women wet nurse their children. egyptian women hardly ever saw their children until they were of a crertain age. i could go on.

i would not have it any other way than have beth at home, but just becasue someone chooses to work it makes them no less of a woman or mother., or makes them think less of their children.



Elizabeth F. said...

I don't think it makes them less of women or mothers, I just don't think it's natural or the best situation. I mean when you leave your kids with another care giver 10 hours a day and only with them about 2-3 YOU are not the major influence on your child's morals, education, etc...

Maybe for dads it is normal, b/c most dads are not with their kids the majority of the time anyway. JMO

Mrs. Sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Sara said...

I would disagree. I think it CAN make them less of a mother to their children. When faced with the pressures of a full time job, and then having to come home and be 100% available to your children, to make dinner, clean the house, help with homework, and do it all with grace and patience... it's a tall order. And I think that in situations such as these, most of the time it's not going to be work that suffers.

I admire the women who are in this situation and handle it gracefully, I just think that a majority of women are in some way going to let their parenting skills (or homemaking skills) slip if they also have an 8-hour job every day.

And just because children have been separated from their mothers for thousands of years doesn't mean it's right or proper to do.

leviathen said...

sorry, i don't buy it.

i know hundreds of people who have had children and worked full time. and their children turned out great! their realtionship with thier mothers turned out great!

i agree that i would rather have my wife at home. my point is that i think it is a little bit prideful to assume that women who choose to have a career are somehow "not as good". Or that they can't parent effectively.

in my opinion a women CAN parent effectively after a full day of work when she has a husband that is equally tired and equally commited to parenting.

and no it's not normal for me just becasue i work outside the home. becasue i worked INSIDE the home for entirity of my childrens lives.


Elizabeth F. said...

Parenting is hard either way, working or not working. Maybe I'm just from the Dark Ages, but I believe a mother's place is with her children. I do not mean to sound prideful about it at all. I will be the first person to admit that I am not a perfect mother. I know that not everyone shares this opinion and that's ok. Do what works best for your family.

My question is how can a mother "parent effectively" if she is not WITH her children most of the day? Really, someone else is the mother replacement during those times. Hopefully we do our best to pick wonderfully, loving care-givers but their hugs and kisses will never be a match for mom's or dad's. And the morals and values being modeled may not necessarily reflect our own. Some kids are in Day Care for up to 12 hours a day! I used to work in Day Care, and trust me...you don't want your little ones in Day Care!

Most people think that being at home when you kids are young is the most imptortant, and plan to return to work after their children begin school. But I've read that children get into the most trouble between the hours of 3pm-5pm when there are no parents in the home when they get home after school. Just because kids get big, doesn't mean they don't need parenting and supervision.

So, like I've said before Do what works for you and your family. Not every SAHM is sitting here judging your parenting. :-) We are very busy too! Not just watching soaps and eating Bon-Bons. (That was a joke people! lighten up!)

Mrs. Sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Sara said...

"my point is that i think it is a little bit prideful to assume that women who choose to have a career are somehow "not as good". Or that they can't parent effectively."

Notice that I didn't say that women who choose a career are not as good, or can't parent effectively. What I said was that when there is the extra strain of an 8-hour job each day, something is going to suffer... all the things you could have accomplished at home in those eight hours are not going to get done. Whether that's waxing the floor, doing the laundry, or having more time to teach the kids to read. I'm not saying you can't do those things when you get home, I'm saying you have missed out on eight hours of quality time with your children while someone else was raising them.

I think it's great that you've known hundreds of women who were able to come home from work and be 100% there for their families, not be short or less than patient with their kids, and had the energy to keep on going and get things done that needed to be done. At the same time, you knowing a bunch of people who it worked for doesn't prove your point, because I can say that I've known hundreds of people who came home from work snippy and stressed, plopped down on the couch, and watched a movie while their kids screamed in the background. And, knowing human nature, I'd venture a guess that it's probably more likely for working people to slack off a little bit once they get home rather than launch themselves hardcore into the task of parenting.

"in my opinion a women CAN parent effectively after a full day of work when she has a husband that is equally tired and equally commited to parenting."

As I intimated in my previous posts, I hold the same opinion. A woman CAN parent effectively after working a full day. She absolutely can.

Mrs. Sara said...

What women have to realize is that the choices that they make on this issue reveal their priorities. Your biggest priority can be your children, or your biggest priority can be your career. You can't have it both ways, no matter what the feminist movement would have you believe. If your highest priority is providing the absolute best care for your children, then being apart from them eight hours of the day and allowing someone else to guide their behavior and growth is not exactly conducive to that. And if your priority is your career, then you sacrifice being away from your children for that time. You sacrifice time, learning experiences, and stability of home that you would have been able to provide were you present all day.

Sarafu said...

My personal opinion on this, as stated in my post, is basiclly that we just need to stop judging and be supportive of other women/moms, I mean as opposed to tearing each other up. I dont think anyone here is doing any of that and i appreciate your opinions. :)
I do have to say , for myself, no one else, just me, I do not do well giving my kids quality time when I work full time outside the home because when I come home I see the dishes and the laundry and the dusting, etc...and my children become 2nd on my list. If I try to give them full attn it is unfortunatly tainted by the fact that I feel like I should be doing all this other stuff. I am just not a great multi-tasker. I have a hard timne being patient with my kids without outside crap to weigh me down! :)

Tammy said...

Sarafu said: "we just need to stop judging and be supportive of other women/moms"

I so agree with that!!

I have been both a SAHM and a single working mom, so I would say I have a lot of opinions about this topic.....but that is exactly what they are....opinions....not judgements!!

My main opinion is exactly what sarafu said, because each one of us is different: some can handle more than others, some require less sleep, some are better jugglers, some have more patience than others, some have more energy, some kids require more than others, and so on.......we are ALL unique. So we just need to support each other as women and moms, no matter what our personal choices are.

I believe that when it is possible a mom should be at home with the children, especially during the pre-school years. But I don't go as far as to make a judgement that if a woman chooses a career something will suffer....that I do not agree with.

I know many career mothers who have wonderful, couldn't be better relationships with their children and many SAHM whose children are starving for attention.

With that being said, would it be opening up another can of worms to ask what is meant by parenting "effectively"?

Mrs. Sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Sara said...

It's not a judgment, it's a fact. Let's try to look at this logically.

If you are home all day with your children, you have 16 hours to do everything that needs to be done that day. You can play with the children, do the dishes, do the laundry, vacuum, clean the bathroom, cut the grass, teach the kids their ABC's, have a little free time for yourself, etc.

If you are at work for 8 of those 16 hours, you will have lost 8 hours that you could have spent doing the above tasks (and whatever else needed to be done.)

So something is probably not going to get completed. Perhaps you'll have all the time to get the housework done and you won't be able to spend as much time with the kids. Or perhaps you'll decide to spend the precious hours with the children and then try to get all the housework done after they're asleep. Or perhaps you'll get every single thing on your list done. But then, you know what? You will have done it all in 8 hours, instead of 16, giving you less time to yourself, less time to just relax, refresh, and recharge for the next day when you're going to have to do it all over again.

So that is how I can say that something is going to suffer. It's a simple issue of time. You either have 16 hours to get all those things done, or you have 8 hours to get all those things done. Which is more likely to get all the tasks finished? Which is more likely to remain patient throughout the day? Which is more likely to end the day saying, "That was an awesome, productive day, and I feel relaxed and ready to do it all again tomorrow, the next day, and a thousand days after that."

Either the children will suffer, the housework will suffer, or the mother will suffer under the pressure of being constantly busy with no time to herself to relax.

Sarafu said...

I dont think that you were being judgmental at all Sara, I actually very much agree, especially since I have been there (as a woeking mom). It is basic logic that something is going to suffer because we are only human and we can only do so much. The children may not be the ones that suffer but it may be your house or your own sanity. :) No one is saying that women cant do it well and that kids turn out bad, or at least I dont think anyone is saying that. Anyway, thats my 2 cents. :)

Tammy said...

We can look at it logically all day long and with all due respect...it still remains a judgement based on an opinion. It's not a fact, no matter how you count the hours or anything else. I understand how you are looking at it, but it doesn't make it a fact.

Yes, it is a fact you can get more done in 16 hours than you can in 8.....that doesn't make it a fact that someone or something will suffer if a mom chooses to work outside the home 8 of those 16 hours.
What is the difference if you work outside the home for 8 hours and come home and work/spend time with the kids for 4-8 more hours, or if you work in the home for 8 hours and then work/spend time with the kids in the home for another 4-8 more hours?? The only difference is the first 8 hours you are not with the kids at home(if they are pre-school) and that brings up a whole different issue. And I said before that I think women with pre-schoolers should be at home if its a possibility.

What I am saying here is that some can work outside the home and still get all the housework done,have time for herself (actually the job may be her choice for having time to herself) and have great relationships with her children, husband, parents, and so on. Nothing or no one suffers. Others may not be able to handle all of that and that is where priorities should be considered when it comes to quality parenting.

Mrs. Sara said...

I'd say the difference is that if you're in the home doing tasks, you can get the children involved in the tasks, you can let them help you to the best of their ability as age and talent permit, you can begin to teach them how to run a household... you have more time with them to teach them discipline in their work and to use what happens during the day as an object lesson.

Anyway, when we began this conversation I'm relatively sure we weren't discussing women with school-aged children. If your children are gone eight hours a day themselves, then this conversation is ridiculous, because any time you spend in or out of the home wouldn't be with the kids, anyway. We are discussing women with young children leaving them for 8 hours at a time.

But I can see that this conversation probably isn't going anywhere, so I think that's all I have to say on the matter for the time being.

Tammy said...

Listen, it is a fact that smoking CAN cause lung cancer, but it is not a fact that it WILL cause lung cancer. It is a fact that heavy alcohol use CAN cause cirrhosis, it is not a fact that it WILL. It is a fact that if I get in my car and drive somewhere today I COULD get in a accident, it is not a fact that I WILL.

That is all I was saying here....it might be a fact that mom's working outside the home CAN cause suffering in some area, but it is not a fact that it WILL....therefore if you say that it WILL cause suffering that is a judgement/opinion. One could say "I think it will or in my opinion it will cause suffering, but it would be incorrect to plainly state it will as if it is a fact because it is not a fact that it WILL only that there is a possibility that it CAN.

I meant no disrespect to anyone by commenting as I did. I know the difference is that you are at home with the kids engaging them....but that wasn't the issue being discussed....the issue was women working outside of the home and that causing suffering to someone/thing. It can cause the same effect even when the kids are in school, cause they have activities and homework and such after school and if you spent all day working one might be too tired to tend to those things adequately. So, I wasn't aiming to have a ridiculous conversation.
I often hesitate to and rarely do comment on blogs concerning controversial issues because of these types of debates...I never want to hurt people's feelings or offend anyone.
The order in the bible is that us old ladies would share our wisdom with the younger ones and it is not meant to offend. I am really passionate about this particular topic and I think it is an important topic because women have been ripping at each other and judging each other over it for years. I felt like and feel like I have some wisdom in this area after being a mom for 23 years and just wanted to share a bit, that's all.

Warren said...

I wasn't going to say anything but as a guy, I can't leave Levi out there to flounder among all that estrogen.

Girls, girls, girls. Levi is right. Being a SAHM is a LUXURY that women have enjoyed only for the past 200 years or so and then only in more prosperous nations. For the vast majority of the world's population even today, it is just not possible.

I think it is fantastic when a woman can be a full-time Mom and devote all that time and attention to the children. However, I will take Tammy's most recent comment a step further and say that just because a Mom stays at home full time and CAN raise children, do housework, etc. doesn't mean that a Mom WILL necessarliy spend her time keeping house, taking care of the children and fixing meals. And I think that situation probably happens more often than any of us would like to admit.

Love you,
Sara-Fu's Daddy-Fu

Mrs. Sara said...

Warren, Warren, Warren. We're not discussing irresponsible parenting here. We're talking about women who WANT to make the right choices for their children, and provide them with the best care possible.

That, obviously, does not involve women who sit at home all day watching soaps and ignoring the pee-soaked diapers of their young.

What I said to Levi was this: Just because children have been separated from their mothers for thousands of years doesn't mean it's right or proper to do. And that applies to what you've stated as well. Yes, staying at home can be a luxury. But that doesn't mean that it's not best for children. Studies have shown that children who have a parent at home in an active, nurturing, educational relationship with them have lower stress levels and less aggression then kids who spend time in day care. They also do better academically when they get into school. Many experts in early childhood development state that there's no substitute for the consistent nurturing of a parent in early childhood.

Warren said...

Mrs. Sara,
Just to set the record straight, I agree with you that children are almost always better off having a Mom who stays home and cares for them full time.

We are just incredibly lucky to live in a time and place where that's possible.

Also remember that scriptures say you women should defer to us men in all matters. (Hezekiah 3:21)

Mrs. Sara said...

Ahhh, yes, the book of Hezekiah! I had forgotten that one...

Let's not forget that the book of Hezekiah also houses such gems as "The Lord helps those who help themselves" and "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions!"


Elizabeth F. said...

Ok. I'm not getting "involved" in this discussion for obvious reasons...I have a few points that I'd like to make that are just observations.

1. This is why Oprah did a show on this topic. Everyone gets so over-heated about justifying their side of this argument.

2. There are an amazing amount of real Super-Moms out there that do manage to do EVERYTHING and work as well. And with more work-at-home job opportunities it does make parenting and working easier to juggle.

3. I agree that just because you are a SAHM that does not mean that you will keep a clean home, actually spend time with your kids, etc... Some moms have it more together than others. Likewise, not all working moms can juggle work and home well either. Your kids can suffer in either situation if you are not actively seeking out your children's best interest and making decisions that will meet those needs.

4. I get what you guys mean about Luxury in the big picture of things, but most SAHM's will tell you-and my hubby too that being at home is really, really hard and does not feel luxurious at all. But, I am very grateful to be at home with my kids. Anything else would not seem natural to me. I have tried to work part-time and I found that I could simply not give the level of attention that I wanted to give to my kids while working. Forty years from now I don't think I will ever look back and say "Gee, I wish I would have spent more time working."

patty said...

Okay, this might be over but I've been busy taking care of my home, my 3 year old and 5 dogs. My husband is the one who suffers right now. Poor sex deprived man. hahaha. I have days where I feel blessed to be a stay at home mom. I have days where I want to poke my eyeballs out with hot forks. I have days where my house is clean, like today, and I feel good about getting up to do it again tomorrow. I have days where Day comes home and says "what did you do all day???" I have days where I try to let Annalynn "help" me because I like taking 20 minutes to feed a dog and let it out to pee. I have days where I feel like a failure and days like today that I'm proud of my 3 year old who knows 18 states by sight and can "pick" them up ON HER OWN with the mouse and drag them into place. I am tickled pink that she is learning how to "train dogs" because my passion is my dogs, and she puts the leash on her stuffed animals and tells them "heel" as she drags them along. then she'll make them sit and say "good sit." Then she puts them in a crate and says "kennel" and shuts the door. I have days where I wonder is this all I'll ever do? I don't want to send her to school just yet. I have had a GOOD teacher friend of mine (who cares for her 2nd grade students more than some of their parents do) TELL me "DON'T SEND HER TO SCHOOL yet." She's told me for where Annalynn is, she will NOT get what she needs the first couple years to keep up the momentum of her learning. I have days like today that I see we only have $10 left to get us through another week and I don't know HOW in the world we'll do it. When we decided to try "just once more" I quit my job at Foelber's. I wanted to see if we could make it on one income. We tried it and knew it would be tight. But we decided after waiting for 14 years we would NOT have someone else raising our child. I also see my friend who's husband left her and 2 little girls and NIPSCO won't UNDERSTAND or CARE about what happened, so she HAS to work. And she does great. I don't know how she does it all. So, there's my 2 cents. Not sure if it "said" anything or not. I don't take all the credit for my 3 year old knowing states, planets and about 10 words in Cherokee, there has to be something in her that WANTS to learn. But I am honored that I am able to stay here and be the one to help her learn it all.

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