Written by Olivia Arrow
Becoming a mother takes you on an emotional journey that you’ll never quite understand until it happens to you. For some mums, once they hold their baby for the first time, the thought of being separated from their precious bundle of joy seems like the cruelest act that parenthood offers.
For some mum’s out there, going back to work is a necessity. With life tending to be so expensive and household’s relying on two incomes to help with financial commitments, being a staying at home mum is a luxury that many of us can only dream about. For others, as much as they love the child, they simply cannot wait to reclaim a little bit of the life they had pre-baby and get back to the career or businesses that they love and have spent years nurturing, cultivating and building on.
Looking at the debate of working mums vs. stay at home mums, the most judgmental voices of this debate is, yep you guessed it, it’s mothers. It’s hard to believe that we are actually trying to compete with each other about who has it harder, who works longer and what’s better for the kids and families etc. To be honest, it’s a little disappointing.
This ongoing mummy war has been around since before my mother gave birth to me in the 80’s. It’s still such a passionately discussed topic which has no right or wrong answer. We all struggle with the mixed feelings that both jobs have, there are pros and cons, both come with sacrifice and both can have disadvantages.
For Stay at Home Mums
Pro – Time with Your Little One
One of the standout advantages of being a stay at home is that you get to spend plenty of time with your child. You get to provide them with comfort, support, care, undivided attention and watch them grow and achieve their milestones. You also don’t have the added stresses that many other professional jobs come with.
Con – It Can Hurt the Piggy Bank
You may end up losing your financial independence by stepping out of the workforce and becoming a stay at home mum.
Con – The Job Can Be Repetitive and You Can Feel Isolated
A stay at home mum’s job can be repetitive and that can sometimes be boring. You have the same routine most days and you can be housebound quite a lot in the beginning while you get your baby into a routine. Stay at home mums also tend to feel quite isolated with the changes that motherhood presents. Going from a working woman with busy days filled with social interaction to looking after a baby can sometimes be quite depressing for some women.
For Working Mothers
Pro – Financial Independence
Besides being able to wear nice clothes without spit up all of you and being able to hold adult conversations, one benefit that working mothers have is financial independence. Knowing that you can provide for your family in times of need or necessity provides many women with a sense of security.
Con – Stress Levels Can Be Through the Roof
There is little flexibility for working mums, having a team or manager rely on you to hit your targets, being available for last minute 5 pm meetings, leaves many working mothers with stress and anxiety levels that can rival even the top CEO.
Con – Limited Time with Kids
Most working mothers at some point get the guilts about not being there for their kids. When your child needs you, but you have a meeting with a client that you cannot postpone and you have to get your emergency backup to take care of your child, it those moments that can leave you feeling like a terrible parent.
So, what is really the point of the debate? Being a working mum or stay at home mum both have their rewards and challenges. At the end of the day, we are all mothers and do what we can to provide the best for our children.
We need to change the way we think about motherhood. Being a mother doesn’t just mean those who are there 24/7, it’s also those who have a full-time job. Motherhood isn’t just cuddling and feeding, mothers are also providers for their families. You never know why a mother chooses to work, it might be for her own sanity or because she is simply helping the family have a better life. Working mums are still mums just like stay at home mums still are working women.
Both working and stay at home mums have a hard-enough job juggling the pressures their jobs as well as taking care of their families and meeting their needs that judging each other just adds more stigma to an already impossible debate to win. We should be evolved enough by now to help and encourage each other instead judging each other’s choices. All mothers whether working or stay at home, do an amazing job and they should both be acknowledged and praised instead of disgraced by one another or their peers.