So often there is a bitterness issue between a working mom and a stay at home mom. Somehow the working mom tends to think that the stay at home mom has chosen the lesser path, but she thinks about what it might be like to be a stay at home mom herself. The other side of the coin is that the stay at home mom wonders what it would be like to work outside the home, if it would help keep the kids from fighting all the time and if it would help keep the house cleaner by everyone being gone all day.
Having been both a full time working mom and a stay at home mom, I’m going to share my heart on both sides of this coin. I will tell you that there are pros and cons to both sides, but I do believe that God designed moms to stay home. Yet, sometimes like in my life, I needed to work outside the home both as a single mom and to help provide for our family. Just as the virtuous woman worked to help her family in Proverbs 31.
Being a Working Mom is Physically and Mentally Hard
As a working mom, you start your day running gulping coffee down as you pack the kids breakfast, your lunch, the kids lunches, diaper bags and work attire. You wake the kids at awful hours to get their diapers changed, dressed and packed into the car. Your employer works you 8-10 hours a day and it requires your full attention, mind and body must be working together to get the job done right. You must not slip up for fear of losing your job and not being able to provide for your children. After an exhausting day at work, you go back to the daycare and pick up your kids who are on the verge of cranky because it’s almost dinner time and load up all their gear, hear the good, the bad and the ugly from the daycare providers and off you go. Once home you must cook dinner, wash dishes, bathe kids and put them to bed. The laundry, cleaning and tiding of the house awaits you after the goodnight hugs and kisses have been given. Bedtime comes at way too late of an hour and you’re blessed if you get 5-6 hours of sleep before you rise to do it again.
Being a Working Mom is Stressful
Employers do not understand what it takes to be a working mom, nor do most of them care if you’re beyond exhaustion and your daycare calls telling you your kids are sick. They expect you to work the hours you’ve been given no matter what, yet daycares will not allow children to stay if they have a fever, are throwing up, etc. A working mom stresses the time her child seems to have a cold coming on or complains of a sick tummy. She is worried about her child being ill again and her job both. Not having the ability just to stay home she prays that it was just allergies or needing to go potty. When the sick daycare calls do come, she must inform her employer that she must leave again and does so quickly because she is worried about her child and wants to get there asap. When she returns to work after the 10th or so time she’s left because her kids were sick, she gets told that she must be better about staying at work or they will have to let her go. Stress is a part of a working mom’s life.
A Working Mom Loves Her Kids
Just because a mom works outside the home, does not mean she doesn’t love her kids. It can be extremely difficult and heartbreaking to drop your kids off at daycare each and every day, knowing that someone else will be raising them, kissing their boo boos, etc. Choosing the best daycare available is quite the task, but every mom calls, checks into, get recommendations, etc. before she decides who will take care of her children. She wants the best for them…the best that she is able to give…because she loves them. She reminds herself that the time with other children will help teach them how to share, be friends, etc. and that these things will help them grow.
A mother’s love is not based on where she and/or her kids spend their days. A mother’s worth is not based on the ability to stay home or not. A mother’s desire is that her kids are provided for and loved…whether this requires her to be a working mom or not.
It’s time that mother’s stop putting each other down based on being a working mom or a stay at home mom. Everyone’s life is different and messy in it’s own way, and since we don’t know what goes on in other’s lives we must not judge how they do or don’t do things. We’re just moms doing our best to provide for and love our kids. Imperfectly yes, but beautiful in our own way.