The Mommy Wars: Round Six: Working vs. Stay At Home Mom

What This Battle Is About

Stay At Home Mother - A mother who stays home during the day. Usually unemployed, this woman stays home while partner or spouse supports family financially.

Working Mother - A mother who engages in a work life, aside from their duties as a childcare provider. Most working moms tend to work outside the home to help support the family financially or for other reasons.

Conclusion of the Survey

The results of the survey in regards to this battle pairing puts the two sides nearly neck and neck, with the stay at home mom having a slight lead in the battle.

The stay at home mom appeals to people because it provides the ability to be in their child's life a majority of the time. A stay at home parent has more influence over their child's development and can help foster the assistance in reaching milestones with encouragement of parental figures. It seems most people believe, as they did back in earlier eras, that it is a mother's place to be in the home and taking care of children. Based on the majority of comments in the stay at home corner of this battle, the main reason to be a stay at home mom is due to the rearing of children as a parent and not allowing someone else to "raise your kid."

The working mom corner has plenty to say about why they have made the choice they have. It seems a good chunk of working moms are in that role because of no other choice. It would seem, according to the comments on the survey that while mothers are working outside the home more often than not, most who are working moms would rather not be. The comments on the survey in regards to a working mom choice, it is clear that there are two types of working moms; those who work because they have to in order to help financially support or supplement their family OR those moms who have career aspirations that go beyond being just a mom.

This particular battle does have a grey area that people often forget. The survey reveals that most stay at home moms are actually working from home or working part-time. Most responses to the survey revealed that there was no judgement for either side of the choice in this battle, but that there was a clear distinction of a moral ground in this decision. Which type of mother is making better choices for their child? It doesn't seem like there are judgement statements made about the opposite side, but there are definitely statements that both sides feel they made the right choice for their family.

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Pros and Cons of Stay At Home Mom

PROS:

  • No Daycare needed. Daycare can be expensive for any family, if a mother can stay at home, that will alleviate the idea of sending your child to daycare. It can be seen as a way to protect children from being put in a 'lesser rate' daycare and keeping the child contained in the home and under the protection of their parents. Putting their child in the care of a stranger may be something that drives people to be a stay at home parent instead of putting their child in daycare.
  • Stay at home moms have more influence on their child's development and helping them reach their milestones with more assistance from a parental figure. This may cause some pressure of having all the needs of development resting on a stay at home mom's shoulders, it also means that her child is being raised by her. This is well-known and likely the biggest factor in choosing to be a stay at home mom, the ability to 'raise your own kid' in your morals and your values and allowing the child to grow up under the watchful eye of family and primary caregivers.
  • A great positive attributed to a stay at home mom is easier access to home maintenance. If you are not working outside the home, you have more time to devote to household chores that may pile up. It is helpful for some people who stay at home to use that time, during a play date or a child's nap, to clean the laundry or put in a load of dishes.

CONS:

  • Children with stay at home moms are at risk for separation anxiety and possible socialization issues. Stay at home moms are associated with a limited interaction with other people, which can be thwarted by going to the park or setting up play dates. It is possible for a child with a stay at home mom to still have a thriving social ability, though it is more difficult to introduce social norms to a child who may not frequently be around children their own age or interact with people outside of their family.
  • A stay at home mom doesn't get sick time, they don't get vacations. The job of a mother who doesn't work is one that is round the clock, there are no breaks and it is possible that your little one will be at your side all day and perhaps all night. It is not unrealistic to believe that it can be harrowing for a stay at home mom to have any time for herself, in that there is very little time in a child's day to allow for mom to get peace from the little charges they are taking care of on a daily basis. Stay at home moms must 'tough it out' if they are sick as their children still need care and still need to be looked after whether you have the flu or not.
  • Depending on the financial situation of a stay at home mom, it is possible that with only one income coming into the family via the other parent, if there is one, the budget may be tighter on the family. This can mean there wouldn't be time for play dates and outings with the children. With no money to do extra things, it can leave a stay at home mom literally at home. This can lead to loneliness and boredom depending on the personality of the mom. It is said most often that stay at home moms are lonely and do on occasion find themselves craving adult interaction outside the home from time to time.

Pros and Cons of Working Mom

PROS:

  • Helping to support the family may not seem like a lot to some, but it is the backbone in the decision to become a working mom for most women. This can be out of ambition or simply having no other option. This assistance in caring for a child and family financially can bring a sense of confidence and self-worth to a woman who knows she is doing whatever she can to make sure her child is well taken care of.
  • Adult interaction is another big reason for women to take jobs outside the home. Moms are adults and human beings and there is a need to have stimulation outside the family and the home. Humans are social creatures, this is how we thrive, thus it is only natural for working moms to get more enjoyment out of their jobs when they have that interaction outside the home with adults - doing adult things that don't involve changing diapers and doing laundry.
  • Setting a good example for your children is another great positive attribute for being a working mom. It is possible to set the same kind of example as a stay at home mom, however, working outside the home can teach a child the value of a dollar, the importance of work ethic and the confidence that comes with accomplishment. It is ok to teach your children to fend for themselves and by watching a mom go to work, and struggle with the decision, it can show children that life may not always be fair, but we do what has to be done to make sure we take care of our family, no matter what and that's admirable.

CONS:

  • Working moms miss out on those special, spontaneous moments. Baby could take first steps while you are on a conference call in the afternoon, it's possible to get a report of a first word or a new milestone being hit and the working mom would not be there to witness these small bits of awe in a child's development. At the same token, it is also a struggle to see someone else fostering those developments, holding baby's hands as they take those first tentative steps. These things working moms miss out on can attribute to the possibility of a lesser bond between mother and baby than that of a stay at home mom and her child.
  • Going to work can bring it's own set of challenges for a mother who goes outside the home to work. After several hours of working, coming home to care for a child can feel like you are pulling a double shift and there is no time for yourself. Much like a stay at home mom, the working mom has no time for herself either. While some may feel that leaving the house and dropping the child off at daycare to go to work counts in some way as a break or a day off, this is simply not true. Work is work. Being a mom is work. Being a working mom can feel like double work at times. This double stretch can leave working moms more tired than normal.
  • Sick kids are not a great thing for working moms. Day cares can be attributed to more germs and more immunity compromising sicknesses for small children. Not to be mistaken that children of stay at home moms have a compromised immune system from not being exposed. However, when a child is sick in daycare, a mother may be called out of work to pick them up. Without another mode of childcare or a back up plan, working moms can miss work and find it hard to balance work and home life. Working mothers have rules they have to follow when it comes to attendance and work and it is possible for a sick child to cause a working mother to possibly lose her job depending on how much time she's missed which may put extra pressure on a working mother to keep her job. If not only to make sure they have food on the table with the money she makes working.

Comments From Both Sides

  • "Why should I allow someone else to care for my child when I am perfectly able physically and financially to do it. Women have only joined the work force significantly in the last 60+ years. God designed women to primarily care for children."
  • "No choice - I have to work in order to pay the bills. No one else is gonna do it for me!"
  • "My mom worked and it was a great benefit to our family. I want my daughter to grow up with a strong female role model. I also want to ensure an increased likelihood of financial stability for our family (better school, not losing a house, better food etc.)."
  • "Daycare is too expensive and i would rather raise my own child than to pay someone else to do it."
  • "We are lucky enough that we can afford for me to stay home, so I did, because I thought that was best for my child. I think if you can stay at home, at least for a couple of years, that's great, but you do what you have to to keep your family afloat, and if that means both of you working, well that's a shame, but so be it."
  • "Working mom - although both is acceptable I think working outside the home is best for both Mommy and Baby. A little separation from each other is a good thing. It makes the time spent after work just that much more special."
  • "Working Mom: 30 hour work week, leave my son with an amazing nanny-share. He has exposure to different children this way as well as other adults. Very good for his development."
  • "I am a MUCH more patient and loving mother when I get to come home to my children after work. Staying home makes me mean."
  • "I work because I've trained to long not to and have too much student loan debt."
  • "I consider myself lucky to be able to stay home for-both kids. My mom stayed at home and that probably affected my choice."

Want To Learn More About The Other Battles?

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Comments 4 comments

Joana Garcia 2 years ago

I am a 'part-time' working mom and I definitely agree with the 'pros and cons' enumerated...

Personally, I don't want to be a full-time stay at home mom because I don't want to feel like I've wasted my 4 years in college... This is just a personal opinion :) I mean no offense to anyone...

But great article you have here... Love and learned a something from it ;)


rgarnett profile image

rgarnett 2 years ago from KC, MO Author

I'm glad you enjoyed it Joana! I love seeing the different perspectives from real people, so thanks for commenting with your own experiences. :)


greeneyedblondie profile image

greeneyedblondie 2 years ago

I don't mind working moms, but working moms who work from home I think can also do better. They'll still see their children, there is no need to take them to daycare, and you're still making money to bring home to the family.


rgarnett profile image

rgarnett 2 years ago from KC, MO Author

@greeneyedblondie - Good thoughts - thanks for sharing your perspective!

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