This article has been making the rounds on Facebook this week, by Matt Walsh. There are so many articles on this subject, but this one really spoke to me (and based on the number of shares online, a few other people as well). You don’t often hear about the working vs. stay at home mom debate from the viewpoint of the husband, and it was nice to hear one perspective from a man. It’s all hard, and it’s unfortunate both stay at home moms and working moms go on the defense with articles like these. I can never know ultimately what’s best for your family, either financially or emotionally, so why would I judge your experience?
The reality is when you’re 21 and finishing college, you’re usually far away from thinking about family and the hard choices you may have to make about how, when and who helps raise your kids. It’s tough. Tougher than almost anything else, but it almost seems like you need to think about this decision a decade before you act on it to set yourself up to achieve the goals you want to.
I was (and still am!) an ambitious, educated woman who was encouraged to be and do whatever I wanted career-wise. I went to a good undergrad school and got my MBA, however, found that if financially feasible, I wanted to try to stay home with C (and now kiddo #2 on the way). Even if it’s the right decision, it’s hard to feel like you’re “not using” your degree. I’ve paid off all my student loans and feel that I will do some consulting in the future, but it was the right decision for our family to stay home.
Especially now having done both (work and stay home), I echo many moms by saying that being home is harder in a lot of ways. Right now C is in preschool two days a week, but soon I’ll be home full-time with the new kiddo, and won’t get the “break” I do now. On the other hand, I’m better prepared for the first weeks of newborn craziness, so hopefully that won’t be as stressful. On the other hand, being at work is hard. You’re dealing with office politics, demands, and yes, sometimes the downtime, on top of coming home and spending time with your kiddo (and then probably doing more work after they go to bed). At work however, you’re not chasing down a 3 year old who wants to run in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, or REFUSES to brush his teeth.
I wish everyone would give everyone else a break. If you decide to have kids (and BTW it’s totally OK to not have kids!), it’s up to you what works for you. Why we need to justify our decision by breaking others down is beyond me. What I do know is that after a hard day (whether it’s at the office or at the park), we all deserve a glass of wine and a cheers for doing the best we can.