Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ten Mommy Myths

Top Ten {Tuesday}

There always seems to be such a huge debate, at least online, between stay at home moms and working moms.  I've walked both sides of that line, and I know first-hand that there are so many misconceptions about moms in general.  I've broken down my top 10 list this week into two lists:

Five Stay at Home Myths

1. SAHM's don't "work."
They may not work outside the home, but if you've ever chased an active toddler or bounced a fussy baby all day, with no help, while caring for older kids and attempting to prepare meals and clean house, you've never really worked.  SAHM's don't sit around eating bon bons all day - they work all day long, every day, with no vacation days.  I love the quote I read in the book Don't Make Me Come Up There - the author, Kristen Welch, said that she got tired of people asking, "Oh, you don't work?" so she started telling them, "I'm a mom - what's your superpower?"

2. SAHM's aren't well educated.
I have several friends with college degrees who decided to stay home with their children or work only part time while their children were small.  They know that the financial sacrifice is worth it - you will always have time to build your career, but you won't always have those early years with your kids.

3. Housekeeping is easy for SAHM's because they're home all day.
Yes, they are at home...with small messmakers running around the house all day, making housekeeping dramatically harder.  Then get old enough to "help" - and it gets even crazier.

4. Friendships are easier for SAHM's because they have more time.
When your schedule revolves around small children, it's hard to find time for anything else.  Other SAHM's are busy with their families, while working mom friends have a totally different schedule than yours.  One of the hardest parts of being a SAHM is the lonlieness that you experience all too often.

5. SAHM's have lots of free time.
Babies and small kids have a way of completely absorbing every waking moment of your time.  You go and go all day, until the kids are finally tucked safe and snug into bed.  Then you collapse into a comatose least until the baby gets up for a midnight feeding or the preschooler wakes from a nightmare.  Being a full-time mom is exhausting, and it's hard to find time for yourself.

Five Working Mom Myths

1. Working moms choose to work.
I heard that for years, and was even guilty of feeling that way myself - until I had to go back to work.  Every working mom I know works because she has to, not because she wants to.  Many of my friends are the co-breadwinner or the primary breadwinner in their family.  Their husbands work, too - the wife just happens to be in a field that earns more money or is in higher demand.  Or in some cases, she is a single mom, and is therefore the sole source of income for her children.

2. Working moms could cut back their standard of living and stay home.
Again, most moms work because they have to.  They struggle to stay within their budget, just like SAHM's.  They clip coupons, shop from clearance racks, and plan their shopping trips carefully.  They are working for living expenses, not extras and "toys."

3. Working moms don't put their family first.
If staying home means your family going under financially, then going to work is putting your family first.  As a working mom, I put priority on spending time with my family on my days off and in the evenings.  Family mealtimes are important, and I spend every moment I can with my husband and kids.  I even chose a career that allows a lot of flexibility so that I can be with my family more.

4. Housekeeping is easier for working moms because no one is home all day.
Same amount of chores - drastically less time to do them.  Enough said.

5. Working moms have lots of support.
Do a Google search for Christian working mom.  You'll find a great website by Kimberly Chastain on the first two links...on the third, you'll find an article stating that a woman's only roles in life should be to "get married, have children, guide the house, and live a perfect testimony so not once can the adversary (Satan) say anything reproachful about you."  There is so little support out there for Christian moms who work outside the home.  Critics are isn't.


oh amanda {impress your kids} said...

#10 made me so sad. I'm a sahm but I know it's true--working moms definitely get vilified. (Is that a word?)

Perfect post!!

Anonymous said...

Great article! The only exception I have is that "every" working mom "has" to work. I know plenty of Christian moms who choose to work bc they can't stand being cooped up in the house all day with their kids or because they are professionals who want to work in their chosen profession- not because they have to.

Great read though!

Amanda said...

Yes, you're right, some moms do choose to work. I was referring only to my circle of friends. Some have been able to stay at home with their children, but most work. If given the choice, they would be SAHM's, but they work by necessity. I should have made it clearer that I was referring to my friends. Thanks for visiting!

Amanda...thanks for visiting, and yes, we'll count villified as a word. :)

Malisa said...

I really enjoyed the comparisons you made with stay at home moms and working moms. I think that no matter what stage of life we are in, it is helpful and generous to be empathetic to the lives of the people around us. I try and remember that I don’t know what it is like to live the life of my friends and they don’t mine, but I can try and be encouraging rather than judgmental of the way they live their lives. Your post inspired me to do this again!

Christine said...

Wonderful list. As a SAHM I relate to #2 and 4 of the first list especially. And like Amanda, #10 was very sad. On the flip side, I do know plenty of affluent suburban church-going moms who tell me often that they are so glad they're not home with their kids all day. :P So I think that though there are many out there who work because they have to, there are some that do so because they want to. But either way, we need to be supportive of each other as moms, period. Great list!

Kelli MW said...

Incredible post. I choked up a few times reading some that just hit SO close to home.

Olusola said...

Great post. I'm glad I stopped by from Oh Amanda's. I think the worst culprits are moms who judge other mothers for their differing choices. I also believe that there is nothing wrong with a Christian mom choosing to work because they "can't stand being cooped up in the house all day with their kids". It's a choice that comes from self-awareness. Children are better off with a happy working mother than an unhappy SAHM. My 2 cents :)

Heather @ godcenteredmom said...

Thank you for discussing a very controversial subject. I have friends on boths sides of the debate. I have been a part-time working mom and full-time SAHM. It's always easy to talk badly about other people's choices. Being moms is hard no matter what and we need to come along side one another and encourge each other.
I also wanted to share that I once did a research article in grad school on the subject. I found that the most damage to a child is done when a mom stays-at-home who would rather be working outside the home. that was eye-opening to me. That the distance provided a closer bond between mother and child than if she is forced to be with that child all day. Thanks again!

Messy Mom said...

Great list. I feel like I fall under both categories, because I do stay at home MOST of the time, but I have a flexible part time job that can be more or less draining depending on how much work is coming in. It's important to not make judgments or be critical either way.

Anonymous said...

Very encouraging, especially from Heather at Godcenter. Thanks so much for sharing, ladies. Glad to know I'm not alone in my struggles.

Love{&}Bugs said...

This was a great post. I like how you compared both sides. I think no matter what a mother has or chooses to do, we should support that decision. I don't know why it always has to be sahm vs working mom all the time. That makes me sad.
In response to that annonymous comment, I also don't think it's wrong if a mother chooses to work. There is nothing wrong with her having interests and wanting to do something else with her life in addition to her kids. I'm not wording this right, it's late, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.

Miranda said...

This was very eye-opening - thank you. I am a SAHM. My hubby doesn't make a lot of money but we still make do. It is possible! I've actually never considered working outside the home nor do I look down on those who do. I think we do what works for our families and there's nothing wrong with that!

Rachel said...

I love this! The first two under working moms are so true for me, and I feel like none of my SAHM friends will ever believe me. When I was laid off, they always offered helpful advice about how they budget so that they can live off only 1 income. Just made me want to scream: "my husband doesn't make as much money as yours does!" But it's kind of embarrassing to have to admit that even with no car payments and renting an apartment we can't live off only my husband's income.

Tricia said...

Great post. Visiting from Top 10. I also choose to work to provide all of the extras for our family - vacations, extra-curriculars, etc. I just couldn't stay home full-time. I agree with everyone that we all need to support each other's choices and not be so judgmental. Thanks for sharing.

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