Career Mom vs. Stay at home Mom… Why the fight?

working momSo I could be crazy, but I always feel like there is this invisible line that has been drawn in the sand between stay at home moms and career moms. In my head I picture a boxing ring, and that loud obnoxious announcer yelling through the speakers, ‘…and in this corner we have the full time Career Mom. Challenging her in the opposite corner we have the Stay at home mom. Good luck. Let’s get ready to rumble…’

Why does one have to be better than the other? Do we really need to be doing the whole ‘shirts’ and ‘skins’ competition? Okay, I realize that we are all wearing shirts…well most of us… but you get what I’m saying. Going to work and staying home each have their benefits and drawbacks and I could write pages about each. What is more important than anything else is that we respect one another and our choices as mothers. What’s great about this day and age is that we have the choice to do what we want and what is best for ourselves and our families.

There seems to be a lot of ridiculous stereotypes that come along with being a stay at home mom. Like that it’s somewhat an easier task than going to ‘work’ all day. I remember reading once that if they looked at all the job duties of a mother from morning until night, it would be deemed worthy of a $120,000 salary. I have no idea how they came up with these numbers, but I found it entertaining. So, just in case anyone out there reading was under the impression that there was any ‘bon bon’ eating and ‘soap opera’ watching going on… I’m pretty sure most stay at home moms would disagree. One thing I struggled with the most while I was at home was the lack of interaction with other adults, and feeling unmotivated and uninspired during the day. I didn’t have an outlet for my ideas, goals or opinions, especially in the early years when there was no time to do anything except care for my young children.

I’m not sure if there are as many assumptions about career oriented mothers, but regardless, this too is a very difficult job. For a mom that works outside of the home there are many challenges that I feel get overlooked. For instance, the meal planning and household chores are forced to be done at night when moms are exhausted, or in the morning when chaos is at its peak. And then of course there is the whole scheduling and morning routine to contend with, in addition to trying to look somewhat presentable for a day at work. Not to mention that many families deal with shiftwork and crazy schedules for sports and other activities. The biggest hurdle for me was guilt. I felt guilty about wanting to go to work. I felt bad about missing out on milestones or important events. My kids never seemed to be bothered by any of it, but I certainly was.

So, I know… I’ve missed a million and one things for each type of mother. But here’s the thing, we’re all moms and that’s all that really matters. We need to be united and always playing on the same team. There are so many obstacles for moms to contend with, that the last thing we need is to be contending with each other. I remember someone saying to me that I wasn’t ‘raising my children’ when I went back to work full time. When I was at home exclusively, it was also stated many times that I should have lots of time because I was ‘just a stay at home mom’. Are you kidding me? Both comments are absolutely ridiculous.

I think at times, a lot of the comments and tension between mothers comes down to jealousy. I know when I was staying home exclusively I was so jealous of not having that interaction with other career driven adults. When I worked full time, I was always envious of the moms who got to be home with their kids all day. Jealousy is a very powerful force and sometimes we don’t even realize that it leads us to say hurtful things or treat others badly. As mother’s we need to recognize our own insecurities and be sure not to react with judgement towards others. For me, I’ve found what works best for our family and that’s all that matters. I don’t assume what works for us is what every other mom should be doing. To all the Career Moms and Stay at Home Moms alike, you’re doing a great job and try to stay out of the boxing ring.


Career Mom vs. Stay at home Mom… Why the fight? — 17 Comments

  1. Good post, it’s so true. Everything in life has its pros and cons, even being a mom. So why make any of the cons worse by harping on other mothers over who works harder.

  2. Great post! I have only been a stay at home mom and I have to admit I’ve never been jealous of the working mom because I’ve always thought they do what I never could unless I was forced! I feel really blessed to stay home when I think about it but it is definitely no cake walk. You’re right. The isolation is real. The “is there something more” is real too. I don’t get the fighting over it either. Hats off to both groups and those in between too!

  3. Everyone works hard, and no matter what we choose, we are missing something. It’s hard to work and think about what you are missing at home, and it’s hard to stay at home and think about what you are missing at work.

    • Thanks. I wanted to make it clear that I am an advocate for ALL mothers… regardless of their choice to stay at home or work.

  4. I made a compromise. When the kids were at that school age, I worked during school hours and was home when they got home.. I had a boss that allowed that and frankly any mom who attempts a job AND being a mom can do an 8 hour job in 6 hours.. hands down. Im unsure as to why companies have yet to pick up on that.. anyhoo. I think staying home while the kids are young smart and should be both socially accepted and paid for… later on though, to each their own.

    • Thanks for your input Nancy. It would be soooo great if more companies were accommodating to mothers… all in good time I guess.

  5. I used to work for a solicitor who was a working mum with three kids. She used to complain all the time that she wanted to give up work and be a stay at home mum, because it must be wonderful to have so much spare time on her hands, I just wanted to smack her every time I heard her talk about it. She would have been just as busy at home, but with less adult conversation to keep her sane.

    • So funny how it always seems like ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ isn’t it? I think both career moms and stay at home moms have a tremendous amount on their plates, it would just be nice if we all recognized it.

  6. Judging by the comments, I think you have struck a cord here ! Yes, it is a boxing ring. The comments are often muttered under the breath …”Well, I’ve never seen her, have you?” or ” I’m pretty sure she just stays home.”. Most moms I know are longing for that perfect balance, no matter what side they are on. All I know is that I am insanely jealous of the mommy doctor at our kindergarten who works three days a week, and manages to make every school event. She has nice shoes too. 😀

  7. I really like this post, and what you are all sharing, I work 9-5 mon-fri, and I have 3 kids, and for me the perfect world would be having set my own work hours, be my own boss, be VERY productive and decide how to manage my own time without asking for permission.

  8. I decided to make a career change, it’s a slow process however my benefit is that I get to be a stay-at-home (part-time worker and volunteer) while my son still needs me. I cherish this time because… nothing lasts forever. Mom’s ROCK either way!