I’m a stay at home mom. We know this about me.
We also know that I work for my dad a few hours per week. So that I *can* go to these blogger conferences that are slowly going to become an expensive addiction.
Did you know that I used to work? I did. Back when I was divorced.
I worked at a very fine, high falutin, fancy schmancy jewelry store.
My children were small…3 and 5.
Their dad was sporadically involved and even more sporadic with child support (shocking, right?). I decided, with a push from a friend, to get a job.
What a waste of money and time.
To stray from the path this post is going…I don’t believe in selling something because of commission. Especially when you know that piece of jewelry is going to come back after a big event it’s being worn to and the commission will be taken away. I HATE that!!
Like I said. I was a full time single mom. Working 30 hours per week. Paying an in-house day care person $10 out of the $14.50 I was making per hour. Leaving my kids, crying at home or kindergarten. Every single day…except Friday and Sunday.
It was a losing proposition. For me. For my kids. For my bank account.
My son was having an especially hard time. He needed me. Transition was not, and still isn’t, one of his strong points.
One day. He was having a breakdown. A SEVERE one. He was a five year old on the brink of, what seemed like, suicide. Yeah, I’m not exaggerating. It was bad.
My day care provider called me. I needed to come home. He needed me. She couldn’t calm him or reason with him.
I spoke to the manager. I explained what was going on. That MY SON needed me today. NOW.
They fucking fired me. Right then and there. While I was sitting in his office, showing weakness by crying. How’s that for humanity, emeffers!?
Admittedly, I did have a couple of crazy stunts. I had to run out in the middle of my shift a couple of weeks prior to the demise of our association. My friend who sometimes picked my son up from school had forgotten him. So I left to go get him. Wouldn’t you have done the same???
They told me that my employment wasn’t working for them. And they were letting me go.
Fine by me. I hated it there. They were self serving assholes, the whole lot of them. Don’t even get me started on their reaction to 9-11 and the concern they had for THEIR bottom line. Yeah, seriously.
The crazy thing is, they “escorted” me to my little work locker. And by “escorted” I mean…undercover police guy and head of store security…who was cracking up because I’m such an intimidating character.
MY SON needed me. And I got fired for it.
Now. I’m going to get to the WHOLE POINT of this post.
I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. Work. Stay at home.
So I speak from a little experience.
They both are hard.
There is NO DOUBT.
As a stay-at-home mom, the last time I was able to go to the bathroom without someone interrupting me…
Well, I had to go out of town. Chicago, last weekend. It was nice. I pooped without anyone screaming for me.
But being a stay at home. There is no reprieve. We are on call 7 days a week. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year. Period.
It’s THE hardest job that I’ve ever ventured, knowingly and willingly, into.
Now that you have a little background…
I’m delving into the whole stay-at-home vs. working moms.
You can thank my sister.
So this, my friends, is to be continued.
Amanda @ High Impact Mom says
Ahh yes…the good ol’working mothers / SAHM conflict. I have done them both…each is difficult in their own right, but I have to say..this being a good mother thing ALL the time…well, it’s draining.
As for your work story: Yeah, I worked for this awesome (or so I thought) healthcare company (whom I will not name) for 9 months and when I got preggers with KJ I had to have surgery and then bed rest. I had been managing a branch office ALONE with 12 nurses under me for 6+ months and had always intended to come back (and had promised my job back), however one day after surgery the company’s HR B*** called to let me talk about me last pay check. She mentioned that since I QUIT I would be unable to collect unemployment. WH-wh-WHAT? I didn’t quit. Apparently they fired my happy sick a**. I filed, fought for, and eventually WON unemployment, but the lengths at which companies will go to still amazes me.
Great article…sorry for the book. You touched a nerve 🙂
I am really over this SAHM and Working mum debacle!
I am a SAHM myself but recently had begun working for 4.5 hours every Saturday. It was my choice to go back to work. I needed some “me” time if you like (hubby takes care of the kids while I’m working) and the extra dough is not bad either. So it’s a win win situation in our case.
I guess the point that I am making here is that we mum’s should not have to worry about labels or who is doing a better job and whatnot. At the end of the day we do what works and what we think is best for ourselves and for our own family.
ps. It’s 4.20 am here right now. My wakeful daughter is awake and I am breastfeeding her. I saw your tweet and I just had to comment. Thanks for making my 4am feed a lot more interesting.xx
As a former working mother and single working mother who is now a stay at home mother, I can say I’ve been there, bought the T-shirt. While I loved having a career, it was often at the expense of my older daughter’s security and well-being. I know that now. My employer made no bones about priorities: Work first, family second. Don’t like it? Quit. Unfortunately for me at the time, I needed my job to survive so I made my choices.
Now, I face the real fact that I need to go back to work. I worry myself sick over how my little one will react to me being gone all day or half the day or whatever. How will this affect my ability to do my job? I think happy employees are good employees. The best companies are those that realize there is a balance between work and family. Sadly, they are few and far between.
There is no such thing as a healthy work life balance. And stay at home mothers are in need of a break far more then working moms. There are positives and negatives to both. They both leave you exhausted. I think it really depends on not only the mother but the children what is best for their individual family. There is no right answer.
karen bolton says
everyone has to do what works for them and there family, I am in a good situation, I work for my father in law, if I have to leave in the middle of my work day to pick up my sick child, well its his sick grandchild too! I dont know what I would do if I had to work for non family, because it wouldnt work out, my kids come first, dont get me wrong, I work because I want and need the money, I pray that all working moms can find a good middle ground in there work, my heart goes out to the moms who have to work full time, and then go home to have a full time second job of dishes, homework, laundry cleaning, errands, cooking, lunches, drs. appts, grocery shopping, I can barely do it all working 4 days, to all the moms that work full time, and come home to there 2nd job, YOUR THE GREATEST!!!!
I’ve been both as well. And I find they both have their pros and cons. It just depends on the type of mom, whether or not she is cut out for one or the other. My aunt told me she thought she was a better mother for NOT staying at home, a concept that is personally lost on ME. I get it for her. But I cannot say the same about myself.
I used to work as a teacher when I had one child in nursery school, before my second. I cried once because teaching can be really hard if you’re not used to it. I was in a back office, just with the secretaries, but the principal came in and told me I was never to cry again in school.
I do remember rather looking forward to my structured days at work. The ones where you had BREAKS and ADULTS to talk to. That kind of thing. And, yes, toilet visits without an audience.
I will eventually go back to work, if only part-time, but I’m glad to be spending this time with the kids. Even if it can be really really really hard.
Tara R. says
I’ve been both a SAHM and an office mom. I would prefer to be a SAHM, and may get my wish in the not too distant future. What I am frustrated about is that Dads are never questioned about whether they stay home or not, or judged on what kind of parent they are if they don’t stay home.
Elizabeth Williams Bushey says
Um, when did the rumor get started that there’s a difference between WORK-AT-HOME Moms and STAY-AT-HOME-Moms?
Last time I checked?
WE’RE BOTH WORKING. Oh- wait: the “stay” doesn’t get any “pay.”
Is THAT the big diff? Cuz it’s a might stupid difference, if you ask me. Of course, no one’s asking me, so I guess I’ll just have to get up on my soapbox now (I’m extremely short), and blast the following from my megaphone:
SOMEBODY’S GOT TO PROPAGATE THE SPECIES, PEOPLE. HOW WOULD YOU PREFER IT DONE?
BY YOUR OFFSPRING’S OWN MOTHER, WHO WILL CARE – IN FACT, IF PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, DIE FOR YOUR OFFSPRING?
Do you want to farm it out, en masse, to overcrowded, “let’s gather as many illnesses as we can in one place and then pack it full of as many underpaid adults as we can” daycare centers and schools?
It’s not a parenting issue. It’s a women’s rights issue. Ever notice this:
Person enters bank, slips note to teller, whips out AK-47, kills 24 hostages.
News headline – if criminal is male – reads:
“Armed robber, fry cook, kills 24 in bank heist”
News headline – if criminal is female – reads:
“Armed robber, mother of two, kills 24 in back heist.”
Even if FEMALE is a brain surgeon.
Things are changing though: Moms now RULE the blogosphere.
Moms are being noticed for their buying power, like never before. (“Honey: THIS is the pool we should get. Honey, I want THIS house.” “OK.”)
Momsrising.org – through its mobilization of moms across the country – is getting REAL legislation passed: the kind that would make the above firing ILLEGAL. (Go to momsrising.org and sign yourself up; YOU can make a difference.)
Sisterhood is powerful. The old boys’ network has known that for years.
We stick together? We all do good for each other?
The KIDS benefit. Which is what it’s all about, right?
-elizabeth williams bushey
Christina @RantRaveRoll says
I can totally relate to both sides as well.
I used to work. I actually worked too much. My kids went to daycare before school and after school. Usually there was barely time for dinner, homework, bath, and a book before bedtime. Now I’m a SAHM. I enjoy it, but it took some getting used too. Luckily, my blog has filled that gap and I feel productive and fulfilled.
I couldn’t handle being the SAHM and I only did it for maternity leave. I needed a break from kids, TV, cleaning, diapers, feeding – all the stuff we all know about.
I can manage working 3 jobs at a time better than I can handle the boredom of staying home with only babies. I found it a prison. One which my ‘then’ husband would allow me to escape for some me time by going to a donut shop in the evening (after baby’s asleep, of course) to have a cup of tea, read the newspaper and do the crossword puzzle.
I’m a SAHM now but once Peanut and future baby are both in school I will return to the workforce. I have decided to finish my degree and then get a masters so I can teach college. I want to have the same days off as my children so that they don’t have to go to daycare. We live very frugally on my husband’s paycheck. I’d love to bring home some money for fun money but with going to school and taking care of Peanut I really don’t have the time or energy.
I’ve been both full time SAHM, full time worker and part time worker. If I had my druthers and it was financially feasible, I would still be a full time SAHM. The hours are long, but the benefits are tremendous. I was a full time SAHM for seven years. It was the best seven years.
My last full time job and I parted company almost two years ago. I was forced out. It was not a happy time. It was my experience, salary and age. It totally sucked. Of course, right afterwards the economy tanked. I was hired by a retail chain, which does provide so much blog fodder, and work harder for so much less money. At least I have a job. And that’s all it is, a job, not a career. My best career is Mom and Wife.
Momo Fali says
When I pooped, my roommates yelled through the door and banged on the walls so I would feel like I was at home.