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Working Mom's Vs At Home Moms

Updated on September 7, 2011
Goofing off with mom.
Goofing off with mom. | Source

Warning: This is another one of those brutally honest Hubs.

Society and societal pressure play an important part in how we view the acceptability of behavior. An example of society changing would be the attitudes that people have toward tattoos. Forty years ago seeing a woman with a tattoo was unheard of, today it is accepted. The changes in societal attitudes have affected many other things as well, such as how we view the roll of mothers. Again forty years ago many of the mothers were stay at home moms. At that point women were in the work place but, they were normally single or without children (there were exceptions).

Today it often takes two parents working just to make ends meat. More often than not two people are working for things such as houses, cars, and vacations. This shift in priorities has carried with it the idea that children do not need a parent in the home to take care of them. Day cares are a part of every day lives. Parents line up their cars with little Billy and Suzy in tow, leaving them with people they hardly know for nine to ten hours a day.

The battle between stay at home moms and working moms has spurred animosity from both sides. Few people have actually brought in science and psychology to back their side of the argument. The impassioned pleas of both sides have become nothing more than a hair pulling contest in which both sides loose (ouch). I propose that we actually use science and psychology to understand the bigger picture of this issue.

Harry Harlow performed what is now debated as one of the cruelest experiments in psychology history. He used Rhesus Monkeys (one of the closest biologically to humans) and separated the babies from their mothers giving them only a feeding apparatus. Eventually Harlow tried to reintroduce the monkeys to a group. These baby monkeys were so socially distraught that they exhibited behaviors such as hiding, rocking back and forth, screaming in terror, and attacking the other monkeys (Harlow, 1957). These monkeys were socially inept and experienced such anxiety that they could never be reintegrated with the group. Most of the monkeys had to be caged separately for the rest of their lives.

It may seem like an extreme analogy however, consider for a moment the infant who is left at day care for nine hours a day. Nine hours where that baby is not loved, and does not have its parent. The reality is that day care workers are prohibited from hugging children (for obvious reasons). These day care workers are not much better than the feeding apparatus given to the Rhesus  monkeys.

In psychology, child development is viewed in stages and although the ideas vary, most psychologists agree that the first five years of a child’s life are crucial. During the first five years a child develops social skills, learns to walk, talk and learns behavior patterns. Harlow’s experiment shows that children also learn compassion and how to love. If a Rhesus monkey cannot develop without a mother, what makes humans think they can develop without a mother?

The argument about a mothers roll is a mute point. Children need their mothers. Women will say they have a right to have a career, to that I say “then don’t have children”. Having children is not like buying a car, it’s not an accessory of life. Children are people and they require proper care to become good people. It is selfish to leave children simply on the guise of being a businesswoman. Once a woman has a child she relinquishes the right to be a career person. The decision to keep a child is the decision to raise that child properly, not abandon that child to strangers.

Everyday divorces bring the burden of support to the door step of newly single mothers. This situation creates a paradigm in which women are lucky to keep a roof over the heads of their children. Obviously these mothers have no other choice but, to work. There are situations of poverty that force a woman to work. However, if a woman can stay home with her children and chooses not to, she is doing a disservice to those children.

The idea to have a child should not be taken lightly. Women have many opportunities in this world. I want to make it clear that I am not against women in the workplace. I am against mother’s choosing to leave their children behind in pursuit of personal ambitions. To my way of thinking this is a selfish practice. There will be those who disagree, to them I say back it up with a study that shows a baby develops better without their mother. I can tell you now that study does not exist and never will.

Parenting is a great responsibility. The most important thing we ever do is raise our children. When you look back on life if you have failed in the workplace, few people will remember. If you fail as a parent no one will ever forget.

Harlow, H. (1957) (


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    • blairtracy profile image

      blairtracy 5 years ago from Canada

      I believe it is best to do what works best with your family in particular. Whether it be working or staying home full time with your children. Then are benefits to both. I do agree that isn't right to leave your children 24/7 to follow your dreams. However, I do not see any problems with some time away from home to further education or go to work. I personally took a big hit to my mental health when I stayed home with my son. When I went back to work part time it made significant changes to my mental health. And I felt as if I could better parent my son. Like I had mentioned before. I believe it is situational.

    • Monisajda profile image

      Monisajda 5 years ago from my heart

      I have to agree with you wholeheartedly, if you want to have children leave your career till they are older. Or don't have kids. Somehow many women are under impression that they have to have children, that it is a social norm that has to be followed.

    • profile image

      lavender3957 5 years ago

      I have always been a working mom. I worked around my childrens schedule. I had a great boss who was family oriented and beleived family came first. If my child was sick, the boss would drop off the work to my home. If I had to take a child to work with me, they had their own desk full of activities. Not many have bosses like this.

    • michelleonly3 profile image

      Michelle Jackson MSIOP 5 years ago from Bullhead City, AZ


      My husband and I did the same thing. I worked graveyard for over ten years to be there for my kids. It's not always easy but well worth the effort!!!

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California

      As a mom of three (son 17, daughter 16, and daughter 4) I have been a working mom, a stay at home mom, and a mom working from home. As a navy wife for the first sixteen years of my marriage, and the first 13 and 12 years of my two older children's lives, I also have the somewhat unique perspective of life as a single parent. I recognize that mom's roll in their children's lives, is critical to their development, not only during the first five years, but from school age on, when they need more supervision than what society now believes to be acceptable, is critical to their overall development, but this is also true about dad's roll in their lives as well. I also recognize that whether it is due to financial need, or emotional, or both, being a full-time stay at home mom isn't the best or most practical solution. It is the belief of both my husband and I that our children should not be raised by anyone other than us. Sometimes I needed to work in order to make ends meet, and to that end we found compromises that worked for our family. Sometimes it meant that we worked opposite hours, so one of us was always with our children. Sometimes it meant that I worked part-time, but only when the kids were in school, and Sometimes it has meant, that like now, I stayed home and worked from home. No matter what solution was in place, we both committed ourselves to being hands on parents and being involved in our children's lives. I was PTA president, my husband was our Secretary, I was a room mom, We have both coached our son's various baseball teams, and both kids soccer teams, we have dinner on at the table as a family most nights, and we know all of our children's friends and their parents. Our children have grown into well rounded, healthy, bright, teenagers, and our 4 year old is not doing too badly. I think that a lot of today's problems when it comes to dealing with our children, may lie not in whether or not mom worked, but in the level of commitment of both parents toward actively parenting their children. I have known some stay at home moms, who did less for and with their children, than some mom's who worked full time. Well written hub, with some interesting points. Voted up, useful, interesting

    • profile image

      leann2800 5 years ago

      I totally agree. I have been on both sides of this battle. There is no right or wrong way overall. It is whats right for the family...whatever that might be.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      This is an interesting argument for us stay-at-home moms. While I think it is really beneficial for moms (or dads!) to stay home with their kids, I say to each their own. If there is a need to work, then work; if not, then stay home.

      Voted up and interesting!