Are you tired? Me, too! But I’m willing to bet that our lives are probably pretty different.
I have two kids. You might not have any or you might have a whole bunch. I work full time outside of the home, but perhaps you stay home. I have a very supportive partner, though he also works full time and is completing a masters degree, so I am also solo with my kiddos fairly often.
My point is, we are all operating under a unique set of circumstances. The unity in our diversity is that, for the most part, we’re all doing what we think is best for our children.
That’s why the working mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate is exhausting. As a working mother, I certainly don’t choose to work in order to be away from my kids or because I’m materialistic and value making money over quality time spent at home.
By the same token, it’s unfair to assume that stay-at-home moms have it easy (they definitely don’t) or are any less successful because they don’t technically earn a paycheque.
Still, we can often be made to feel guilty about our choices by those with differing opinions.
According to Statistics Canada, the employment rate among women with children has risen sharply over the past three decades. In 2009, about 73 per cent of women with children under 16 were part of the workforce. There has been steady growth in labour force participation among women with young children, too. In 2009, 64 per cent of women with children under the age of three were employed, more than double what it was in 1976.
My mom worked and, believe it or not, I turned out pretty well. My husband’s mom was home for the most part and he’s a fairly well-adjusted adult, too.
As long as our kids are healthy, happy and well cared for, we shouldn’t need to make justifications for why we choose (or choose not) to work.
Why do we question each other’s motives when it comes to parenting?
We pressure ourselves to host the biggest birthday parties, make the best bake sale goodies, sign our kids up for the most extracurricular activities, cook healthy, organic meals seven days a week and don’t even get me started on keeping up with the laundry.
Mom guilt is palpable enough without casting judgements on each other.
We all struggle (agh, will my son ever poop on the potty?!) and we all revel in our parenting successes (my son finally pooped on the potty!).
To each their own. Every parenting decision is as unique as the kids we are rearing. All different, but all very much the same in how much they love their kids.
Let’s try to cut each other some much-needed slack. Because despite our parental differences, I think we can all agree that we could really use a nap.
Lindsey Bunin is a full-time editor and even fuller time wife and mum of two boys. She suffers from mom guilt, but balances it with saying yes to requests for “just one more story” at bedtime and taking every opportunity to have family dance parties in the kitchen.
This is an editors’ note I wrote for Family Matters, which is no longer in print but still available at facebook.com/CHfamilymatters.