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The made up battles we fight in life.

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People always think there’s a never-ending battle between stay at home moms and working moms. Working moms provide more for their families and stay at home moms are lazy and stupid. Or working moms are selfish and hate staying home with their kids. Or stay at home moms are too self-righteous and were martyrs who gave up their careers for their children. Working mom are more educated than stay at home moms. And lots of other crap. I don’t know who came up with all these assumptions, but it seems to me that all these moms are doing the best they can. All their situations are different, and making absolute statements about one or the other is close-minded and ignorant. Some moms need to work because they need the money. Some moms can afford to stay at home with their children and are happy to do so. And sometimes the decisions we make have to do with happiness too. Sometimes mom is happier with a work/home balance, which makes for a happier kid. Every situation is different.

The other ‘battle’ I see is singles vs. parents. But by singles I also mean couples without children. Something happens once you have a kid, you see everything differently from your friends without kids. One example is, when you’re single, you only notice the one screaming kid on a plane. When you have a kid of your own, you notice ALL THE OTHER KIDS who are perfectly quiet and well behaved on the plane. As a parent, you begin to stop focusing on the negatives and become grateful of the positives in life. And I was one of those single people who couldn’t stand a crying kid in public. Until I had a kid, and knew how hard it was sometimes. Basically, once you become a parent you don’t see eye to eye with your single friends anymore. It becomes harder to relate, which is why parents start friending other couples with kids. You start surrounding yourself with others who focus on the positive as well.

My husband told me he had a conversation with someone about my ‘situation’ recently. They had asked him if I worked, and he said yes she did. They asked what I did for a living and he said ‘homemaker’ (now, I dislike the word ‘homemaker’ but that’s beside the point). They were confused with his answer so they asked if he paid me, since he said I worked. He said no, but their question was if I worked. It’s still work even if I stay at home. He wasn’t trying to make a point out of it, but sometimes people need to rephrase their questions more carefully, as ‘work’ sometimes isn’t associated with a salaried job. Bonus points to my husband, by the way.

It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve ‘worked’ at a company. I had 9 jobs between the ages of 16-29. I’ve lived independently and paid my own bills. There was no way I was ever too ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’ for work. And it is insulting that some people out there believe the reason I don’t currently work is because I’m incompetent, or using my child as an excuse to not work. It is work to raise a kid. I can raise her myself or I can pay daycare to help raise her as I work, either way someone’s gotta do it and I chose to do it. It’s as simple as that.

My plan was to start working again after my kid goes to school. That was always the plan. Except it’s practically career suicide after 5 years of unemployment. It is something I’m willing to sacrifice, since I wasn’t interested in staying in my field anyway. I can do graphic design, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy it.

In order to not go crazy sometimes, I have to remind myself that we aren’t defined by our job status or salaries. As I have no job status or salary, I would be considered absolutely worthless. We only have one life. Who cares whether I stay at home or work right now? Why do we get so carried away trying to prove ourselves within social norms? In the end, none of it matters. Nor do any of these made up battles between stay at home moms, working moms, parents or singles.

11 thoughts on “The made up battles we fight in life.”

  • Very true!

    I think SAHM also run the risk of falling into the “no one will hire me because I’ve been out of the workforce” trap. Sometimes that’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

    I feel pretty blessed to be able to stay at home. I know many who want to but can’t. And I know some who just DON’T want to. I do have to be honest though. I don’t quite understand the not wanting to – but I know it works for them. 🙂

  • Marie – Thanks I’m glad you think it’s worthy enough for sharing 🙂

    Sheila – Good point. It is an excuse rather than a reason, being out of the workforce. I don’t expect to pick up where I left off 5 years from now. Things will be harder, definitely. I think most of the arguments people make are because they’re unhappy with their own situations. I wish I could be perfectly content staying at home 24/7, but I’m not. It’s probably because we moved around the US so much the past couple of years, with a kid, and haven’t gotten comfortable in Georgia yet. I do feel blessed to be able to stay at home though, like you are. Just wish there was some free time!!! 😛

  • That makes a huge difference! Are you in any moms groups or church things or other type organizations where you can meet people?

  • Sheila – I attempted a few meetup.com groups…but got rejected from like 3 of them. I like to think that I’m just so darn awesome they don’t want me to take attention away from them. No really, they were pretty cliche-y. Once we move into our new house (new post on that soon!) in a few weeks then I’ll be in an area where we can definitely join some groups and meet new people. I live in a pretty remote area of GA now.

  • Well, hang in there! I don’t know what the weather is like or how your little one does with dogs and walks – but one thing to meet NICE people is to volunteer at a shelter and take the dogs for a walk. If the shelter is anything like what we have here in my tiny, tiny town in Nebraska – there will be some pups who are good with kids and good walkers. I think if I weren’t so huge, I’d do more of that with my pup in tow too! Just an idea in case you’re looking for some!

    Can’t wait to see the new post!

  • Well said and well worth saying. I wrote a letter on this subject to the editor of the local newspaper (no internet yet back then) when I was staying home with my children and catching all sorts of flack from all and sundry – including my husband – for not “working.” It really didn’t help that my husband had actually forbidden me to get a job outside our home even years before we had children. Don’t bother trying to figure that out. It’s not logical but it was part of the mental abuse that finally sent me packing. My compliments to your husband for being smart enough and man enough to recognize that what you do is work and has value beyond a paycheck.

    However it happened I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to stay home when my kids were little. I still consider it one of the most meaningful jobs I have ever done. And they were way more interesting than any paying job I’ve ever had. Of course there were days when I was at wits end; I have days like that in the job I have now. There were times when I felt so tired I couldn’t think how to rest; still have those, too. But back then as “just a mom” there were no raises, promotions, vacations, holidays, or weekends off and no matter how bad it got I couldn’t quit! Raising children is not easy and it isn’t always fun but it’s worth doing and it should be appreciated.

    My children were still pretty young when I left their dad. It had been 16 years since I had held a “real” job – as they are called – when I had to go back to work full time. It may not be easy to find a job after that long a gap but it isn’t impossible. Then, as you say, it was daycare whether I liked it or not. Before long, though, I decided the answer to that was a freelance business of my own so I could decide whether to take an hour off for a school conference or spend more of a day tending a child with a cold than running invoices and so that I could be home (in my office) with them after they got home from school. No offense to daycare, either. It took a while but I had finally found one that was really great but, like you, I preferred to raise my children myself and I was delighted (if exhausted) to be able to do it.

    The point is that it is about choices that families – and particularly the parent who is going to be doing the hands on child raising – should be allowed to make for themselves without interference or hassles or insults from others who can’t see all the issues under consideration. Ultimately, your quality as a mother is not determined by whether you work at an outside job or stay at home all day with your children. There are good moms on both side of that fence…and bad ones.

  • Hi..I understand that you are primarily making a point as to the acceptance of the fact that staying at home, raising a child and taking care of a family and a home is work irregarless of not being paid directly for the tasks you are doing. But I must confess that I get frustrated with your implication that singles and couples with no children focus on the negative and as a parent you choose to surround your self with other (parents?) who also focus on the positive.
    Are you seeing that you are proposing that singles and couples with no children have a negative attitude? Are you seeing that you are proposing that parenthood makes you more able to be positive?
    Honestly I find that narrowminded and self-righteous and I do hope you will rethink and consider that having a child does not automatically make you a more positive person – and possibly if you care to think about it – negative attitudes from parents just find another outlet (but I can understand if you would rather surround yourself with people who complain about those aspects of life that you yourself find a bother).

  • Linda – Thanks so much for your comment, it is always appreciated 🙂 I agree with you on your views and thanks for taking the time to tell your story a little bit.

    Rikke – You made a lot of good points. I guess I was writing more about my personal experiences before and after parenthood but shouldn’t have made it sound so absolute, as if you only become positive after having kids or implying singles are more negative. There are negative people on both sides of the spectrum and sometimes parenthood doesn’t change thatr. What I meant to say was parenthood forced me to be more positive, if I didn’t focus on it I’d probably go crazy. I remember being single and complaining about trivial things that don’t matter to me one bit now. That was me, not everyone else. Thanks for your comment.

  • Great post! I am also a stay-at-home mom. I gave up my job not so long ago and it’s definitely not what my family or friends expected me to do but in my opinion, to find fulfillment in life we should should define success according to our own terms and focus our energy on things that matter most to us which at this point, our husband and growing children. Unless, material possessions are driving you, don’t allow society to judge you by the figures on your paycheck.

  • Slightly OT, I’m looking in the market to buy (if anything looks good) and I want to do all the legwork involved in looking at homes and assess comps on my own (I work for a commercial RE consulting firm, but am not a broker), but still want a thrai-prdty handling the docs. If I don’t want to hassle a friend with a license to help with that, any one know a good RE attorney who does deal docs and closing DD? – Rate this comment: 0  0

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