This past Monday, I was on The Morning Blend with another blogger, Amber from Milwaukee by Storm, and we were discussing the choices women make being stay-at-home moms vs. working moms with Molly Fay and Tiffany Ogle. This conversation stemmed from an article written by a mom who had chosen to stay home with her children and later regretted that decision because of her loss of time, income, and advancement in her field. It was a little difficult to relate to this woman in the sense that she felt her decision, made so many decades prior when her children were young, was the wrong decision. First of all, I have never been a person who dwells on regrets or past decisions, whether they were good or bad, because honestly, I cannot go back and change those choices. Second of all, I don’t view my job as a mom as a “hobby” (or something I just “wanted” to do, quoted by Lisa Endlich Heffernan), but as a vocation that I have chosen to accept and love through all the ups and downs. It’s through those ups and downs that I learn many lessons and in the end my goal by staying home is to raise morally good, honest, and up-standing citizens. This is why I view motherhood as a vocation, no matter whether you stay home or work, because it is our duty to raise not only our children, but to teach them how to eventually function in this world as adults when we are no longer here. For me, I believe it is in my best interest and the best interest of my family to stay home when the children are young and most needy, but this doesn’t work for everyone.
Now I am not saying that all women are meant to stay home with their children, but as moms (and as society in general) we need to learn that there shouldn’t be a competition with stones cast towards working moms vs. moms who stay home. The author of the article stated that she felt her decision to stay home with her children for so many years had “let down” countless women who had fostered the feminist movement in those generations prior towards breaking that glass ceiling. I don’t feel like I have “let down” any women from previous generations by choosing to stay home. I am appreciative for their fight to bring women into the workplace, but I also don’t think they would be happy knowing that we (as women) have pushed ourselves into a corner that no longer gives us the opportunity or dignity to stay home without feeling like a failure and having regrets. We have turned their social battle into a battle between mothers, mothers who work vs. mothers who stay home, and this is quite sad. The worst part is that us, as women, have created this battle amongst ourselves. It isn’t the men to blame, it is the women. Yes, those are strong words, but it is the truth. We, as women, have guilted ourselves about everything instead of making a choice, living with that choice, and learning to love our vocation no matter what it is, whether single, married, staying home, or being a working mom.
There shouldn’t be categories or labels amongst us, we are all women, trying to do our best in this crazy world to succeed. The beauty of it all, is that we all have different definitions of success and we need to accept this philosophy. Some people view success in the terms of materialism, monetary gain, or personal achievement. While others view success upon family life, community involvement, and an interior personal growth without pomp and circumstance. Or you might view all of these as successful goals. Whatever your definition of success may be, it shouldn’t be questioned by others, especially if they don’t understand it. A woman may feel successful as she advances in her career and thereby receives a better pay check, but another woman may view her success based on her child's school play or having a home-cooked meal every night for a month, but none of these circumstances should be down-played, because they are crucial goals towards the development and harmony of society. We cannot all be successful in exactly the same way, just like we don’t all have the same God-given talents, which is the beauty and dignity of the human race.
I apologize for this ramble, but I do feel passionately about this topic, especially since I have seen women on both sides struggle with feelings of guilt, failure, lack of self-worth, and being overwhelmed in keeping up with societal expectations. It's time that we as women, especially moms, learn to appreciate each other through our faults and through our talents. We are all in this together, working tirelessly for our families, while trying to keep afloat. Instead of making this a competition between moms who work and moms who stay home, let's support each other through thick and thin, because we all are working to raise the next generation!
The amazing Amber from milwaukeebystorm.com.
One of the guest bloggers hosting the Milwaukee Mommas' Night Out with Elm Grove Art!
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