I feel like once a week, there’s some argument over whether stay-at-home moms are better than working moms or vice-versa, or if full-time working outside the home moms are worse than work-from-home moms.
A few months ago in an interview with Lindsay Ferrier from CafeMom, Rick Santorum and his wife Karen said that they felt families were better off if one parent was at home with the child(ren). While I don’t argue that it is great thing if one parent (can AND wants to) be a stay-at-home parent, I do argue that it isn’t necessarily “best” - simply because we all do what is in the best interest of our families. And frankly, there is no one right answer for everyone, all the time.
Think about this: if all moms stayed at home, how dramatically the work force would change (and not necessarily for the better)?
Also consider: what about the single parent who has no option but to work? Would it be better for the child(ren) if there was a parent at home with them but not have food and shelter?
What about the parents who both have to work to provide healthcare, therapies, etc. for a special needs child? Should one parent stay home but not provide healthcare, etc.?
We all do what we do because we believe that at this particular point in time, this is the best solution for our family. And because I promised a while back on facebook that I would, below are my thoughts on why being a “working mama” works for me and our family.
1. I enjoy the work I do. It is mentally satisfying for me to bring in new clients, work with our team to create a brand and strategy for them, and manage their account throughout the process. I’m good at what I do, and having that outlet is satisfying to me - and that makes me a better parent for my child.
2. I don’t talk about it a lot, but in early 2009 my husband was laid off from what we thought would be the job he would retire from. He loved going to work every day. He loved what he did. He enjoyed working with his colleagues. The job paid well and there were additional compensations from commissions. Unfortunately, after the economy generally took a nose dive, his employer felt the need to “tighten the belt” and Brian and some other folks were let go. Although we were financially ok and Brian got another job just three months later, that period in our life - as newlyweds, no less - was terrifying for me. I vowed to never make my husband feel solely responsible for the financial well-being of our family. For me, the stress I felt was paralyzing. We didn’t have children at the time, but I know I would not have been the best parent during that particularly stressful and trying time. Does that mean that there will never be a period where I don’t work outside our home? Does that mean that I will always work full time? Of course not, but for me, and my family right now, my working outside the home provides a feeling of financial assurance.
3. We have people who provide care for our child that we trust and consider friends. Although it took some time and going through a few different care-provider situations to get to that point, we are at a place where we leave Gloria with trusted care-givers each day. At no time is she plopped in front of a television. I see her almost every day at lunch. She learns, plays, and interacts with other children and adults. For our family, that is the right solution.
4. When I’m at work, I’m focused on getting some major work done. And when I’m at home, I’m 100% focused on my family.
5. I mentioned this in a post before, but I wanted to share it again.
In September of 2010, that sweet little girl of mine was placed on my chest (after arriving three weeks and one day early) and I gained clarity on my purpose. I knew that I had so much more to work for. That I was no longer “going to work” just to help provide a certain lifestyle and opportunities for our family. That I wasn’t just working because I was good at it and I enjoyed it, but because I was working to show my little girl - and everyone else - that a woman CAN be a wife, mama, employee and/or entrepreneur, and friend all at the same time. And that it can be done with style, grace, and a little bit of sass!
For me, the ultimate reason that I work is to show Gloria - by example - that she can be anything she wants to be. That women can be presidents, doctors, account managers, mamas, writers, artists, teachers, plumbers, electricians, truck drivers, or entrepreneurs.
Because really, it is all about her. My kid. Your kid. Our kids.
We do what is best for them.