Rachel Campos-Duffy Dishes on Her 'Love Letter' to At-Home Moms

08/29/2009 at 08:00 AM ET
Courtesy Rachel Campos-Duffy

When former Real World star Rachel Campos-Duffy famously auditioned for — and lost — a spot on ABC’s The View, it was a blessing in disguise. The 37-year-old mom-of-five says that retreating to Ashland, Wisconsin to focus all her time and energy on her growing brood was the path she was meant to take all along. “People are focusing so much on the idea of at-home motherhood and whether it is good for kids or not,” she notes in a new interview. “In my situation, it is good for my kids.”

In her book Stay Home, Stay Happy: Ten Secrets to Loving At-Home Motherhood, which she describes as a “love letter” to at-home moms,” Rachel says she makes “no judgment about what works for other families.” Instead, she points out what is is often missing in the debate between moms who work outside the home and at-home moms — the “pleasure” that being an at-home mom brings. “I really like what I do,” Rachel says,

“What’s interesting to me is that when I express that, whether through my blog or in my book, people kind of look at me like either I’m crazy or I’m a Stepford wife. It’s so hard for people to imagine that I love doing it. I think the reason they find it hard to believe that I love it is because it’s hard work.”

She adds,

“There are a lot of things out there that are hard work. Yet, as an at-home mom, when you say: “I love what I do,” people look at you like you’re wearing rose-colored glasses. You must not be telling us the full story.”

If anyone were to doubt that her feelings are genuine, they need look no further than her family with husband (attorney, Congressional candidate and fellow Real World star) Sean Duffy — for the couple haven’t ruled out a sixth child! “We’re not opposed to the idea, but if I did, I’d like to say that would be the last,” Rachel says.

Together, Rachel and Sean are parents to Evita Pilar, 9 ½, Xavier Jack, 7 ½, Lucia-Belen, 5, John-Paul, 3, and Paloma Pilar, 15 months.

Stay Home, Stay Happy: Ten Secrets to Loving At-Home Motherhood is available now.

Source: Duluth News Tribune

– Missy

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Jennie on

Rachel Rocks! Of course being an at-home mom is good for kids!

Mary on

I remember watching her on the Real World years ago and I really liked her. I like her book concept, I love my job as a stay at home mom too. I can’t imagine doing anything else right now. I’ve had a lot of friends say to me that they couldn’t imagine staying home with their kids and they look forward to Monday morning to drop them off at daycare. I don’t judge them, I just know I love staying home and spending time with my kids.

I’ll have to pick up her book, sounds good.

Kim on

I wonder if Rachel has read “The Feminine Mistake” by Leslie Bennetts? I don’t think I’d ever feel comfortable being a SAHM in a country that doesn’t offer universal health care. If I lived in England or Australia, I’d probably be a SAHM in a heart beat…

Shelby on

You know people like Mrs. Campos are really uninformed. Not everyone has the choice to be a stay at home mom and in some cases if mom would not be happy being a stay at home mom then it is not good for the kids. Being a stay at home mom is a VERY personal decision that no one should try to force on someone. I realize that I am extremely lucky to be able to stay home but not everyone can. People seem to forget that yes Mrs. Campos is a mom at home but she works from home therefore she is not a typical stay at home mom.

Annie on

I understand that a lot of mothers HAVE to work even though they desperately want to stay home.

But my question is: why have kids if you’re NOT going to stay home even though you have the means to? Why make them spend precious time that you’ll never get back with another person?

Annie on

Oh, and my question above isn’t solely targeted at mothers. Fathers can be fabulous SAHDs. My point is, at least one parent should stay home with the kid(s) if they have the means to. If they don’t, why even have kids in the first place?

Annie on

Ack–I should proofread before submitting my comment :) My last sentence should read, “If they have the means and don’t stay home, why even have kids in the first place?”

Lacey on

Annie- as a SAHM, i’ve pondered that thought also. Or when people say things like “I would go crazy, if I was home with my kids all day!” Why have them, if your not going to put 100% of yourself in them? I love that my husband is as devoted,as me, when it comes to me being the homemaking Stay-at-home-mom.

Samantha on

When I tell people I’m a SAHM, they don’t EVER say, “that must be hard,” but the exact opposite. They see it as “not doing anything.” Where I live, being a SAHM is not valued. If you aren’t contributing financially to your family, then you are not contributing at all. I feel worthless so much of the time because I am not making money. But, I love being a SAHM. I do think women who have to work have it harder though.

Shea on

@Kim…what does “universal health care” have to do with staying home??? My husband works and has outstanding health care insurance. I have friends in Canada and the UK and their health care isn’t that great. They have to wait to see specialists and their health care doesn’t seem as quality as what we have have. Usually when a mom stays home, it’s because they can afford too and their husband’s cover health care. Most of my friends are SAHMs and I don’t know anyone without quality health insurance.

MZ on

Devoting 100% of yourself to your children does not mean that you have to be with them all day long. I say this as a current SAHM. I love my son, I’d like to have more kids, but I also don’t think I want to be a SAHM forever. It’s not fair to say that a WOHM is devoting any less of herself to her kids. EVERYONE DOES WHAT WORKS FOR THEM AND THERE SHOULD BE NO JUDGEMENT.

And Shelby, Rachel very clearly said staying at home is what works for HER family. I don’t know where you got from what she said that everyone has the means to stay home.

Mary on

#3 ‘s comment by Kim:

What does staying at home have to do with health care? I stay at home and my husband works and provides health care through his employer. If you’re talking about single mom’s, that’s another story. I feel it’s important to have all your eggs in a row before starting a family including financial means.

Another comment I wanted to make is my mom stayed home with me and my sister, she was a single mom and we were very poor and I asked her one day if it was difficult and lonely during that time and she replied, “those were the best years of my life being with you girls everyday, you were my life”. I feel the same way now with my kids, these are the best days of my life.

Erin on

The historically recent phenomenon of SAHM is just that, recent. It’s a romanticized notion of motherhood which if one wants to/can achieve it is fine. But let’s not kid ourselves that a outside the home working mom is a recent development. Mothers have always worked. You just didn’t hear about the mom from 5000 years ago who was foraging for food, moving constantly in search of food, tending to giant “community” plots of land, etc. The mom of the Middle Ages worked her butt off – spinning, cleaning and cooking for the affluent. The Victorian era mom was a seamstress, maid or cook for the wealthy. Children were watched by extended families and older children of the neighborhood. The idea that modern greed or parental laziness caused women to leave the home for a job is nuts. I’ve done my research on this, not just casually but academically. I respect SAHM (and dads, for that matter) very much. I respect women who want/have to work. I don’t respect the Hallmark view of parenthood as constantly warm, fuzzy and fulfilling. I don’t respect people who claim the notion of idealized motherhood as the one and only way to be a mom. If you think SAHMotherhood is the way it’s “meant” to be or has always been, you’re just flat wrong. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not a historical reality and has become a tremendous source of guilt for those who buy into the fairy tale as a fact. Moms, the least we can do is be kind to one another and support each other in the most important endeavor of them all- raising a healthy, informed and caring kid.

momof4 on

I don’t understand why every mom (who financially can) wouldn’t stay home with their children. It’s such a brief time in their lives and so important to bond with them. I quit my job when my eldest was born–9 years ago–and made my new job as Mom to my children my priority and I love it. There have been hardships along the way but I can’t imagine someone else raising my children even for a few hours a day. I want to be the one with them through every little step..from potty training to teaching them their letters to watching them learn how to swing, etc.

Kudos to every Mom who stays home with their children–you rock!

Janet on

Wow!! Rachel!! LOL I was one of the old viewers back in the day that religiously watched her season of the Real World. Definitely has come a long way from the young 20-something who looked out of their San Francisco house that viewed a school playground and her saying something like, “I’d like to have kids…don’t know if I’d like to be pregnant.” Guess we all grow up and life makes us change our views naturally. I remember how her mom was so protective and critical of her choices (“you’ll be penniless on the street in San Diego!”her mom once complained when she expressed her desire to do grad school there.) I do remember how devout Catholic her family is. So great that her and Sean are together! Yes, I know they are parents and probably a bit more conservative than in their 20s…i’m sure they still have that “wildside” to them. Now they are a bit more smarter about it. You go Rachel!!!

Angelique on

It seems like Rachel has a lot of people in her life that are not supportive. I feel bad for her. She’s defensive about her choices and that’s not what feminism is about. True feminism is about women having choices!

For her to feel that people look at her like she’s “crazy” or not “telling us the full story” to me means she’s hanging out with some really judgmental, insensitive people.

Liliana on

I’m pleased that Rachel found what works best for HER family. As a single mother, I work outside of the home to provide for my two boys. Even if I had a partner who contributed financially to our family, I’d still work outside of the home. My education was important to me and because of that, I was able to attain a job I love. Despite this fact, my children are my number one priority and both of my sons know this. To suggest that because I have a career that I enjoy, I shouldn’t have had my sons is actually quite rude. As MZ said, I’m 150% devoted to my children. Just because I’m not with them 24/7 doesn’t mean a thing. As Rachel said, being a SAHM works for her family while be a WOHM works for me. It’s not fair to judge others for doing what they see is best for their children.

Louise on

Erin, I totally agree with you.
I have done both roles, and I will say that working and being a mother is harder, in my opinion, but that is not to say that being a SAHM is easy. It isn’t.
Why can’t women offer support to each other, no matter what we chose to do? Already, I’ve seen 2 commenters here saying that if you aren’t a full time stay at home mother, you shouldn’t have children. Nice attitude! I have to say I rarely hear the other arguement, that staying at home with your children is bad, but I often hear that working is bad for your kids. Very judgemental.So only people who can afford that should have children? Ridiculous! Believe it or not, children are not harmed by having a mother who works, even full time.

martina on

I am a stay at home mom. And people are extraordinarily judgmental about it. Even my mother-in-law said to me when my son was 4 months old, “why don’t you go get a job instead of sitting home doing nothing.” There you have it.

Loralei on

As a mom of 3 (13,11 and 9)who worked outside the home until my youngest was almost 2 I have come to the conclusion it is all hard. Yes, I have much more flexibility in my schedule now, but we need to juggle money issues. When I worked outside the home we had more money (although the cost of daycare was high), but I had less time and flexibility of schedule. Each family needs to decide for themselves and stop with the judging! Rachel is simply saying this is what works for her family and the book is geared to others in the same situation. BTW, I loved my job when I worked and I love my job as a SAHM as well.

Sofie on

She sounds like she is a great mom and is doing the right thing for her family. I don’t think a mother of 5 (or really anyone w/ more than 3 kids) should be working outside the home. I mean isn’t there enough “work” for her at home? Sounds like she’s got her priorities straight, good for her!

Bieta on

I agree with Erin as someone who has studied Women’s history in an academic setting as well.

I think both roles SAHM and working moms if doing their jobs responsibly both have it tough. However, a working mom has to do what a SAHM mom does on top of the hours she spends outside from the home. Thats one more thing to juggle.

Sofie on

Oh really Bieta? Do you really think working-moms do all the same things with their children as stay-at-home mom? Find that one hard to swallow. They pay other adults to do all those things during the day, and if they are lucky they get 2-3 hours with them in the evening.

eva on

Annie: I know my reasoning is not going to be enough to please you and other women who feel like I abandon my child and stop parenting for half a day while I work but I’ll answer anyway.

I cannot stop working.I am a widow with very little cash, but even if I didn’t have to work I’m sure I sitll would, why? because I love my job.What a terrible thing to say!But I do.I feel that I am more than capable to multitask and pay attention to my child,my job and myself even if it seems like an irresponsible thing to do to the outsider.I like to think of myself as more than a mom.I couldn’t live happily and peacefully if my world was defined by motherhood.I must be able to speak about other things and other subjects that do not involve children,feel challenged by other things other than the complexity of motherhood and have friends outside of the motherhood identity.

Sorry for being so selfish,but when my child was a toddler I was a SAHM and going to the park to hear mommy issues and coming home everyday to the same routine was not enough to make me happy.Being a SAHM depressed me (yes,that’s the type of monster I am!obviously someone else could be a better parent to my kid)My negativity rubbed on my little girl who saw my frustration and contempt for my own home.Now that I work I feel like a complete person.

Surely some ladies will take this as a statement that SAHM’s are not complete persons and that I am calling everyone who enjoys staying at home a lazy,dumb and comformist woman,but I am not.I am speaking about how my home works and the way my family is. I respect anyone who’s mature enough to figure out how their families are going to work and where their place in the home is. I have many friends who are SAHMs and they are happy,wholesome and active ladies,but so am I and I won’t apologize for loving my work.

I have never missed a single soccer game,a single science week,my child’s teachers know me and I am involved in her school activities.I cook all her meals,I pack all her lunches,when she’s sick I am right there by her side,and I know my little girl like the palm of my hand.I am completely devoted to her and I love her just as any SAHM loves her child.I love her more than my job and anything that I get out of it.But since I am capable and willing to raise her to become a responsible and independent adult,with love and patience AND also have a job (which I need anyway)that makes me happy and keeps me on the move why should I chose? to prove it to the rest of the worls that I am a good mother?So other people can say that we’re a real family and not a part time family?Sorry but I don’t sacrifice for anyone else but my child.

My kiddie has never once asked me to quit my job or complained that I am not there for her,she has never once said that she would want me to be with her every second of her life and on the other hand, she has said in the past that she is very proud of me and admires my work.She wants to work and be a mommy one day because I’ve shown her it is possible.She’s 10 years old,smart and thriving,she’s not perfect,she has a temper and pushes to get things her way,but all in all I think she’s as good and capable as any 10 year old with a SAHM instead of a working mom.A healthy,safe and loved child with great memories of her early childhood with her mommy by her side is all the evidence I have to offer to anyone who questions a mom’s ability to have a family and work outside of home.Not a half loved family,not a half desired child or a half mother,a complete mother.

Bieta on

Well put Eva!

and

Sofie YES I DO believe that.

The average school day for a child is 8 to 3. The average work day is 9 to 5. So the average working mom is away from her child for what, 2-3 hours a day? Is that reason enough to down working moms?

Like others have said, if motherhood defines you and your satisfaction lays in the home then fine! Good for you, but some moms enjoying going to work and that doesn’t make them any worse or better.

and personally I don’t understand SAHMs who are parents to school aged children. Thats not an insult in anyway, I just don’t understand how one can be mothering when the children aren’t in the home but are at school.

hkdiaz on

very well said, eva! I am a working mom, but even if I didn’t HAVE o work, I would. I enjoy working. My daughter is a wonderful, social, independant child and I’m certain that she wouldn’t be so outgoing/independent/articulate had I been a SAHM. I’m not saying ALL kids of SAHM aren’t those things, but I know that the best thing for MY famiy would not be having me as a SAHM. Being a SAHM is HARD and I know that I wouldn’t be good at it. Does that mean I shouldn’t have a child? That’s ridiculous! Someone one told me that its not the quantity of time that you spend with your child, but the quality of time.

Kim on

I’m not talking about being a single mom, Mary. I’m saying that anything could happen to my husband. My family could wake up one morning without a sole income and health insurance provider. Duh! It’s common sense. If I stay at home with the kids, and he dies, divorces me, or gets fired, then our family is doing to be in a financial pickle. Sure, I could work if any of the above happens because I have a college degree. However, the state we live in has the highest unemployment rate in the country. I don’t think it’s going to be very easy to get a job in this kind of economy. Our family is just financially realistic. That’s all I’m saying.

Ash on

I agree that everyone needs to do what’s best for them, and I can see both sides of the issue. I grew up with a stay at home mom and while I think it was nice, I do think it created some other problems. For instance, if I was put in daycare at a young age, I think I would have learned to socialize more and wouldn’t have been such an introvert. It’s something I struggled with for a long time. Also, I don’t understand the argument that “working moms let other people take care of their kids.” Once your child starts school at age 5, they’re going to be in the care of other adults for most of the day whether you’re a stay at home mom or not. By sending your kids to school during the day, does that mean you’re pawning off your parenting responsibilities onto other people (when you could be educating them yourself at home)? Of course not. So I don’t think it’s fair to accuse working mothers of not taking care of their kids.

Even if a family can afford for the mother (or father) to stay at home, there are still many reasons why people would still choose not to. For one thing, if the mother stops working, then she can’t contribute any money towards her retirement accounts: 401k, Roth IRA, etc. That’s a HUGE disadvantage! Anyone who has taken a finance class knows that time value of money is very important and if you stop contributing to your fund for several years or more, you’ve lost all of that money you could have made through compounding interest, etc. The latest figures show that the social security trust fund will probably be completely drained by the year 2042 so you can’t assume that money will be around to support you in your old age. After taking inflation into account, in order to have enough money to live off of in retirement, you’re going to need at least $1-3 million in your retirement accounts and investments. I think too often, stay at home moms and their husbands overlook this important fact.

As a result of my mom not working, my parents are now suffering financially because of it. They don’t have adequate savings and haven’t invested enough in their retirement which means that they’re currently living with my husband and me (in a tiny one bedroom, one bathroom apartment!!!). To be completely honest, I really wish my mom actually had a career because now my husband and I are paying for that mistake. We just recently got married and we’re struggling ourselves; there’s no way we can support my parents financially but here we are. It’s a tough situation to be in so I think it’s something that all parents should take into consideration. Think about the long term. Don’t risk forcing your children into a dilemma like this when they’re older because it’s happening left and right to people I know.

Sofie on

Ok Bieta, I was thinking more about pre-schoolers or children under 4 or 5 years of age. I DO agree with about school-aged children….don’t see the point of being a SAHM as much then.

hkdiaz on

well said Bieta! My child is at school/extended day from 7am until 4pm. She is without a parent for 2.5 hours of her day when she’s not actively in school. I think she’ll survive and be fine! As for the SAHM to kids who are in school, I guess one could argue that they are doing things for their children’s class, etc. But, many working moms can contribute to their child’s school while working full time, so I don’t know that I could completely support that argument.

Valerie on

martina:
– I am so sorry to hear about what your mother-in-law said to you – how narrow-minded and limited.
Hope you told her off! And that it’s quite the opposite actually- something like, I am raising my child which means everything in the world, especially during the first few years when children are developing so much.
It’s hard to believe that some people think staying at home means just staring at your children, or watching tv–
that must be some people’s image, especially people who have no notion of raising children and enjoying them too.

Mallory on

I think people are incredibly judgemental to think that how one person chooses to live and support their kids is soooo much worse than how they do it. If you’re truly a good, invested parent, your kids will turn out fine!

My mom was a SAHM till I started school (I’m the youngest), and then she had to get a job because she and my dad split up. She LOVES her job as a teacher, and is quite good at it I might add, but I know, without a doubt in my mind, that she would choose me over her job any day. There have actually been times where she’s almost been fired because she missed work to take care of and be with me in the hospital, often post-surgery. Her way of thinking is “I love my job, but I love my children more.” I know I (along with my sisters) was her first priority, day in and day out.

I doubt that any WOHM would ditch their kids when they’re needed because of work responsibilities. People need to realize that there are plenty of ways to do things, and as long as kids are healthy and well taken care of, there’s no need to judge! And definitely not to say someone just shouldn’t have kids because they like to work! That’s just mean!

Loralei on

I am a SAHM with school age kids who worked when they were little. I currently do not work outside the home. I do not sit around all day and eat bonbons. I was a professional with a masters degree, but after working for 13 years I have chosen a different road with no regrets. I am not wasting my degree or my life.

I do extensive volunteering at the two different schools they go to and drop off and pick up from bus stops. I also sell items online to bring in a little cash. I do not criticize working outside the home moms, but we find that for our family where my husband travels constantly for work, school half days, sickness, summers, and not having family around this flexibility is necessary for our family to work. We are saving for retirement and have great health insurance. Every family should have the right to make this choice without judgment and criticism.

Ash on

I would just caution any mom who is unemployed and relies on their husband for health insurance, retirement savings, etc. Depending on your state laws, if you were to get divorced (or if something else unfortunate happened), you could end up SOL. Again, I’ve seen that happen to people. It’s always nice to have your own assets and benefits to fall back on.

Loralei on

I absolutely agree with Ash. I have my own savings and retirement savings for the future along with his-just in case.

MontanaMomma on

Everyone makes choices that work for their individual situations. I think the debate should be focused on family-friendly workplaces, rather than the superiority of staying home versus working. There are very few laws that protect the working mother. I think our country would do well by creating job security for working mothers, mandating longer and paid maternity leave, requiring space for mothers to pump milk for their babies, more sick leave for working mothers, and adequate health coverage for all children.

Regardless of whether one chooses to work or stay at home, there is little doubt in my mind that an infant needs a parent at home with them. The next best thing would be a close family member, such as a grandparent. It is sad for me to hear about small infants being cared for in daycare situations. The bond between parent and child is forged in those early months when an infant is so incredibly dependent and fragile. Some may disagree. It’s true that women through the ages have always worked, however, what has changed from our days as hunter gatherers is the bodily contact between infants and mothers. Women have always worked very hard to sustain the lives of their families and communities, but they took their babies with them – in cloth slings and pouches. Babies were attached to their mothers for the first year of life and sometimes longer, which is exactly where they are most content and receive an unlimited and unscheduled supply of milk. These babies rarely cried and grew up with a stronger sense of independence and security than many of our children experience in modern times. I have read many accounts of modern-day travelers to Africa, where many women still carry their babies like this, and a common theme is always how awestruck visitors are to see how little the infants cry.

A year is such a short time to give completely of oneself to a child.

As mother’s we need to come together in a unified effort to make our nation a better place to raise children, whether we choose to work outside the home or not. Check out the following advocacy group:

http://www.momsrising.org

I hope to someday be proud to live in a country that grants working mothers six months to a year of paid leave to nurture their infants in those first precious months. There are many countries (some not as well off as our own) that already do this. There is no reason we cannot join their ranks and provide a better start for our children.

Cara on

I just don’t understand why women are so hard on each other. Being a mother is the hardest job on the planet – hands down. Whether you work or stay home…it is very difficult. So why in the world are moms so down on other moms? Why must we feel the need to bash each other and argue about whether or not (g)you are as good of a mom as the rest. It is not productive at all. We should all be patting each other on the back for making the decision to have children and work our tails off to raise them the best way we know how. We should support each other and comfort each other and just help each other to get through these times. Because having small children is tough….but the years fly by and before you know it….they are gone to live their own lives. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few girlfriends around who have gone through this time with you to help you get through the “empty-nester” phase? Stop being nasty and condescending and judgmental to each other….and just give each other a pat on the back and a cyberhug for surviving each day as a mom.

Lisa on

Yes ,some people have to work and some people are working for stuff.They are too busy working for the almighty dollar for their new car taht they could care less about their kids…yes..I said it.Yes these people do exist-they rather spend time at work than even glance an eye at their kid.I have seen women win high awrds in their jos while their chikdren are emotional wrecks…suicidial because.. no one is ever home…It is true and then these kids come in my room and I am left to explain why the fancy house is so important..

Ann on

To the two women who asked about school age children and SAHM. What am I suppose to go when my children have school vacations? What am I suppose to do when they are sick? What am I suppose to do when they are home all summer? Put them in daycare? Quit a job when it’s Spring Break or Christmas Vacation. Oh wait just leave the 7 year old home alone. I don’t sit at home all day doing nothing. I am the person volunteering at school reading to children who are struggling while the teacher works with other children. I am the person who is organizing every single school party for your child. Then when my children get home from school, I am there for them to tell me about their day while it’s still on their mind. I actually think my children need me more at home now.

Leto on

When I was younger about 10 years ago I used to babysit for my principal. He has 2 girls both under the age of 10. His wife was a stay at home mom. Both of them were educated, smart people, but his wife was never.home. Ever. I babysat for him I’d say four times a month along with 3 other babysitters who were there at least once a week as well. His beautiful victorian house was filthy and his poor kids ate chinese food nearly every night. His wife was a very nice woman, but a very poor stay at home mom because she was never home!
Just wanted to share that story. It wasn’t meant to diss good sahms just found it topical.

People really shouldn’t have to be so defensive about their choices, its a shame. I think most mothers would like to be home for the first few years of life, but most cannot. I myself will be returning to regular work when my daughter turns 2 in several months and my husband will be at home(as we’re in the process of adopting as well so one of us HAS to be home) and we work/ed together so it helps.

I’m excited to go back to work! I LOVE my job, I enjoy what I do and I imagine going back will be like the first day of school(as lame as that sounds). I adore my daughter and I will drop everything to tend to her needs. However, since I’ve been home my intellectual needs haven’t been met. Nothing about my life is mentally taxing(aside from maybe her flinging food or crying), I don’t have to think as much where as when I’m at work that’s pretty much all I do. I just switched mental exhaustion for physical(chasing a toddler who never seems to run out of energy).

Montanamomma is right, we moms need to band together and demand more rights. There is nothing wrong with our having differing opinions but we should understand that we all want the same basic things for our children and having rights would do so much in helping our goals.

Mia on

I don’t know how I’ll feel once I actually have kids, but I feel right now I would still want to work + have my own life, in addition, to taking care of my kids. I mean, babies/little kids are people too, and they need their own space + activities (for development + socialization) just as everybody else. With anything its good to have your interested spread out + diversify your activities. Also you need to have something else to devote your time to once the kids are older + are involved in school/their own lives.

I think too many people forget that they are their own person, even after they have kids, and tend to lose their identities in their kids/spouse. It’s easy to lose yourself in all of that, yes its important, but your own identity + persona is too.

Samantha on

Ann, my daughter is only 5 months old now, but I plan to stay home still even after she’s in school. If I return to work, I won’t be home when she gets done with school, or during holiday or summer vacations. I spent most of my childhood at after-school latchkey and summer day camps. I hated it and vowed that if I had any power to prevent my future child from going to those things, I would. So, I won’t be returning to the work force until she’s much older. I liked my job, but I love being home for her. Kids don’t stop needing you once they start school.

Ash on

Lisa-

I think you’re overgeneralizing and what you stated is the exception rather than the rule. Most mothers I know that work do it because they have to! They don’t have a choice. Their income is necessary for paying for their rent/mortgage, their family’s health insurance, dental insurance, investing in retirement, etc. Not many families can afford to live on only one income these days. The families I know that do live on one income are only a paycheck away from disaster (they don’t have a 6-9 month emergency savings fund, can barely afford to pay for their children to go to the doctor, etc.). My mother stayed at home when I was growing up, and my parents always had problems with money because of it which created a very tense atmosphere in our household. I don’t want my kids to experience the same problems I did so that’s one of the big reasons why I want to make sure that I maintain my own career outside the home. If, heaven forbid, I got divorced or my husband passed away, I want to know that I can provide for my family.

Also, I agree with Montana 100%. America claims to value family, yet our policies demonstrate the exact opposite of that. There must be a reason why pregnancy discrimination is now one of the leading causes of lawsuits. Companies aren’t as family friendly as they should be, and maternity leave in this country is pathetic.

Lisa on

Ash,
No, I disagree.I do think that is the exception but rather majority.

Lisa on

Ash,
No, I disagree.I do not think that is the exception but rather majority.Yet you are right in one regard -many mothers work to pay for rent /mortgages for homes they cannot afford in the first place…that is why our country is in the economic crisis anyway.Once again they are paying for things…not placing their children first.Furthermore ,if we get divorced I will go back full -time because I would have to ..to pay for food,mortgage, etc -but as for your husband passing away -that is what life insurance is for.

Ash on

Um, Lisa, please cite your sources. Without having actual facts to back up your claim, then it’s just an opinion based on personal anecdotes which doesn’t hold much water.

So if I chose to continue working after having a baby, you’d say it was because my husband and I were living above our means? Oh, I beg to differ… lol. We’ve downsized as much as we possibly can (one bedroom apartment, only one car, we never go out, don’t spend money on anything other than bills or necessities, etc.). I would have to continue working just so we could afford to pay for our child’s health insurance but thanks for rushing to judgment. I’m sure all of the working mothers out there appreciate it. Again, please cite your sources.

Jenna on

“I feel it’s important to have all your eggs in a row”

and your ducks in a basket?

Ash on

Okay, Lisa. You’re making a lot of assumptions here. First of all, decent life insurance premiums aren’t cheap, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or fall into a certain demographic that causes the rate to go up. We wouldn’t be able to afford adequate life insurance coverage on my husband’s income alone. Second of all, not everyone lives in houses or apartments that they can’t afford! My husband and I live in the cheapest one bedroom apartment we could find in the entire city. We pay almost $1000/month for it. We can afford it right now but if we added a child into the mix, there’s no way we could pay for our rent, utilities, insurance, etc. all on just my husband’s salary. It would be impossible and like I mentioned above, it’s not like we’re living in a castle. You need to face reality. Inflation is out of control, and the cost of living has surpassed people’s salaries. Supporting a family on one income is largely a thing of the past. It just isn’t a realistic possibility anymore for 95% of America (at least that’s what the latest statistics show).

Lastly, I would argue that by continuing to work, those mothers ARE placing their children first!!! The money that they’re earning will help ensure that their kids have proper healthcare, dental care, clothes on their back, a home to live in, food to eat, money for extracurricular activities, etc. Ask the fathers I know who have recently lost their jobs due to the economy. They were mighty thankful that their wives had steady jobs to keep the family afloat! My friends that are working mothers largely do it in order to provide their children with the best life they possibly can! You need to stop being so judgmental and narrow-minded.

Lisa on

Ash,
That’s the beauty of this-there are no resources-just personal observations.I doubt to see a study of people “living above their means” ,but I believe being surrounded with so many bankruptcies and foreclosures speaks volumes!Add water to that and we can all cry together..
And you working after having a baby is your personal CHOICE-that is your business.I am not saying All working mothers are living above their means..but I hear many mothers saying ..I have to-when “have to” is defined by a new car..

Ash on

Lisa, I’m sorry but you’re making yourself sound very uneducated and uninformed. Your “personal observations” don’t stand up to critical examination and cannot be generalized to the entire population (especially when the cost of living varies so much depending on where a person lives).

I also feel the need to inform you that the number one cause of bankruptcy is medical costs! (Not a result of people living above their means as you seem so adamant to believe). Millions of people have had to file bankruptcy because they can’t pay their medical bills, usually because they don’t have health insurance or they can’t afford to pay back the portion of the bills that insurance didn’t cover. Here’s one source if you would like to read it: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jun2009/db2009064_666715.htm

Your opinion is just that- an opinion. Mothers who choose to work are not doing anything wrong and, as someone with a degree in psychology and human development, I can tell you that 99% of the time, it does not have adverse side effects on a child’s upbringing. In fact, children that are raised by working parents often benefit in ways that children raised by stay at home mothers don’t.

Ash on

Oh, and in response to this statement: “Furthermore ,if we get divorced I will go back full -time because I would have to ..”

If you think for one second that you can be out of the workforce for 5 years or more and then step right back into a well-paying job, think again. You would be in for a rude awakening. In most fields, you would fall way down the corporate ladder and it would take years, if not decades, to climb back up according to the latest research. There’s no way you could compete with other women (and moms) who have stayed in the workforce that whole time, keeping their experience and credentials up to date, while you haven’t.

Elena on

Wow, so much resentment here toward working mothers. Do I detect a little jealousy?

I am currently expecting my first, and no, I do not plan to stay home with the baby, and neither does my husband. We do plan to have a full-time nanny. We both worked very hard for our graduate degrees and make a good living, and we would not be able to afford to have children at all without both of us working – at least, at the standard which we require for our child, which is a nice place to live in a good neighborhood, savings toward retirement, savings toward college, and yes, even things like vacations and nice clothes. For those women that make different choices, that’s fine, but don’t pretend that my child will have some advantages from having two working parents that yours won’t, just like your child may have some advantages from staying home with a mother rather than a nanny that mine won’t. It’s a question of personal choices.

Another thing I want to mention is that, if this baby is a girl, I would not want to set an example for her that all she is meant to do, as a woman, is pop out babies and sit at home and watch them. I want to raise a strong, confident woman, who will understand that her mother needs to work to be fulfilled as a human being, and who will hopefully feel the same way.

As to the question “why have kids if you’re not planning to raise them”, the answer is because I believe my children will be bright, productive human beings and I will be privileged to bring them into the world. I am looking forward to being a part of their lives, but I don’t feel that their lives have to revolve completely around mine, nor mine around theirs.

Leto on

Lisa,

You sound a bit naive about the subject. I’m sure those types of mothers do exist but they do not make up the majority of working moms. Secondly I agree a lot everyone in the country is living beyond their means, but that is in part due to the fact that everything is overpriced;not just folks trying to keep up with the jones. my husband and i live in a 2200 dollar a month apartment and its only two bedrooms. That’s how much a decent apt goes for in Brooklyn. And even if we moved to some place where rent was cheaper, we’d be making less money than working in the city.

And maybe some moms are working to drive a Lexus instead of a Honda or live on park ave instead of washington heights, that’s what they value. If they want to work to put their child in a 4 bedroom house with a pool instead of a 2bedroom with a lenai that’s fine! It just strikes me as mighty arrogant to try and dictate others values or imply that they’re making the wrong decision for their family.

Erica on

I don’t have kids yet, and don’t know what I will do with them (stay at home or work), however my parents both worked when I was a child. They needed money, and one worked during the day (part time), the other at night. We were always home with one parent and on the rare occasion that we weren’t, we were with grandparents. It was very important to them that we were never in ‘daycare’. I never felt neglected or anything. Just out of curiosity (I really do want to know, not criticizing at all) what do those of you think staying home is important, think of that?

I want to know, honestly if you feel that it should be one parent who stays home, or if it’s the same kind of thing if one is always home?

deedee on

My youngest just went off to 1st grade. My oldest is a junior in college. For 20 years now I have been a SAHM by choice. Other people do it differently, don’t judge.

But now that the house is empty for the first time in well, forever, it seems, I still do not want to work outside my home. I find plenty of things to keep me occupied. My house is finally clean (and stays clean longer than 20 seconds). I can read magazines, watch a movie, go out with friends. Oh and I can catch up on 20 years of scrapbooking! Also I spend considerable time volunteering with the PTA, in the kids classrooms, cub scouts, girl scouts etc etc. I don’t have time for a job!! I know I am lucky to be in this situation, just wanted you to realize why some of us choose not to go back to work outside the home….maybe ever, maybe not. Time will tell.

Sofie on

Elena:

Sounds like you’ve got everything planned down to the last detail. Hope it works out for you. I used to think I knew everything when it came to raising my future children. That was 3 kids ago, LOL! Wait until the “emotions” come into play, plans seem to go out the window then.

mememememe on

Elena and Ash…WOW!

As a current SAHM I am speechless. Amazing. Ash my dear, you may have degrees in human development and psychology (whatever field that is), well hun, I’m a clinical child psychologist and I would love to know which empirical reviews you base your comments on. What benefits exactly does having an absent mother confer on a 10 week old? What amazing example can you possibly set to that same 10 week old because let me tell you the only thing she knows is that mum is G-O-N-E and her cortisol levels are going through the roof. SO many mothers who put their small infants in daycare talk about how “confident” or “independent” they are. This is NOT necessarily a good thing, but can in some cases can be a sign of disordered attatchment. Look I am not going to go 101 Psychology on you but I have been on both sides of the fence and agree a 1-2 day a week job can be balanced beautifully with parenting over 2 yr olds. But no one can convince me that putting a small baby in daycare is good for it .

Finally I think a small minority of working mothers on this site need to educate themselves about what being a SAHM is about…often it involves very little staying at home! My kids have music, swimming classes, trips to museums, beaches, ballet, art and craft and kindergarten sessions and just hours of crazy silly fun with me. No full-time daycare could provide half of what I do…

Jealous?…in your dreams!

Rachel-Jane on

My mother was (and still is, even though her youngest is now 16) a SAHM. We’re lucky that our father earns enough to for her to be able to stay at home, but I’m sure that if he didn’t she’d be out working too. But just because she’s a SAHM doesn’t mean she sits around and does nothing. She’s been heavily involved in parent councils at school, she did a college course, she has hobbies and interests….but of course we always come first and most of the acitivites she takes part in are in the evenings when my dad is at home.

Oh, also, Shea (and anyone else, I’d just noticed she’d mentioned it) despite what you say about the NHS being not that great, I wouldn’t swap our wonderful welfare state that gives everyone good healthcare and helps the needy for anything.

Samantha on

Erica, you had a similar situation to myself while growing up, unfortuantely my situation didn’t fall into place as well. My mom worked days, my dad nights. Unfortunately, their shifts overlapped in the morning when we were leaving for school and in the afternoon when we would be getting home. We had no other family nearby, and our parents didn’t have friends to help out. If we missed the bus in the morning, we didn’t get to school. Miss it after school, and you’re stuck waiting till six for mom to get there. We went to an after-school program everyday and were always the last ones picked up. The fact that I never saw my parents did effect me. I had virtually no parental influence in my life. If you can work and still be there for your kids, then good. But if your job takes you so far away from them that they spend more time with strangers than a parent, it’s not the best situation for them.

Bel on

Well, I love love love being a stay-at-home mom. My MIL is pressuring me constantly to go back to work but as we’ve made the decision to home educate that’s just not going to happen. I don’t *sit around* all day by any means. I work hard, really hard, to stretch out money as far as it will go, I learned to sew and knit, grow vegetables. I’ve done correspondence courses and night school to continue growing and keeping my skills up to date. And am researching ways to turn my skills and interests into a work from home business. We go without a lot but we eat good healthy home made food, my kids are dressed well. We have a small life insurance policy but had to give up my husbands pension plan when he went back to university, we’ll reinstate it the second he leaves.

All anyone can do is make the choices that work best for them.

Elena said “Another thing I want to mention is that, if this baby is a girl, I would not want to set an example for her that all she is meant to do, as a woman, is pop out babies and sit at home and watch them.”

You know, I’d be pretty gutted too if my daughter grew up thinking that all she had to do was pop out babies and watch them, there’s no value in being lazy.
I honestly believe that I am teaching my daughter that she IS a bright, capable person and can grow up to be whatever she wants to be. I really LOVE what I do and I work very hard it it, if anything I hope I’m teaching her the value of working hard at something you love and that she is in control of her life and choices.

Oh and sidenote: I live in the UK and wouldn’t trade the National Health Service.

hkdiaz on

to the poster who said what would they do with their kids on early dismissal days, sickdays, spring breaks, etc if they (the mother) worked full time…ever heard of sick leave? vacation days? and yes, after school or daycare? If my child is sick either me or my husband stay home with her. If she has an early dismissal, she goes to extended day at her school. For school breaks/teacher planning days, one of us takes a vacation day (or week). I’m glad there are SAHM to school aged children who volunteer at schools and give back, etc. They make all of our children’s school experiences richer. But, I’ve heard this same argument from SAHMs in my family and my neighborhood-I CAN’T work because who would take care of the kids when they are sick/after school/etc. To me, its not valid (at least in the majority of situations). I would respect them much more if they simply said “I prefer not to work outside of the home.”

Mary on

Elena:

You make it sound all warm and fuzzy that your working to make your daughter have a wonderful life and that you are setting an example of a strong woman, but the reality is when a 9 month old or a 18 month old is screaming because they want their mommy as she’s about to walk out the door and leave them for the entire day, they aren’t going to ration in their head that your doing it for them, they want their mommy and that’s all they know. When they are 10, maybe they’ll have a better understanding of it. You can’t sit a toddler down and explain that to them. When you have your kids, you’ll then understand (hopefully).

bubbs on

Any and all “psychology” students and “human development” experts might need to do a little more reading. there is no doubt AT ALL that the best place for any child up until the age of approx 3 years is in the stable care of one or two caregivers that truly LOVE them. Children learn faster, remember better, are more inquisitive and exploratory etc etc etc in such an environment.

Motherhood is an invention of recent times?? Not last time i looked. I was travelling in Burma just last year and you can believe me the women in the rural villages are constantly playing and singing and talking to their children as they work side-by-side (women and children do the “light work” of fetching water, building roads, tending crops, washing clothes etc while the men run the tea shops and restaurants… at least the unfair division of labour is universal i guess). But i suppose if your lecturer in women’s studies said so it must be true.

Talking about recent inventions…. what about childcare? WHich is basically an uncontrolled experiment on the infants and toddlers of the 1st world. We really have NO IDEA what the effects of full-time childcare will be. I have certainly heard real concerns raised about the effects on such children’s subsequent relationships… their ability to care for others and their ability to truly believe that they matter to others. Subtle stuff that doesn’t really show up for 30 years or so. Not saying it is true…. just pointing out the incontrovertible point that WE JUST DON’T KNOW.

Or how about another recent invention… the “career”?? the degree to which our professional identity has swamped our personal identity is ridiculous. we are not our professions. things that we are not paid for can have value and meaning. life is not about a piece of paper or a corner office. you would not believe the way people suddenly start chatting to me at my partner’s work functions when they eventually work out that i was/am a corporate lawyer at some fancy schmancy firm. yawn.

Finally, my personal perspective… you can probably guess from my comments that i stayed home until my youngest child was 3 … i then returned to work 3 days a week… increasing to 3 days when all were in school. I will prob move to 5 days when they are a bit older. My career has not suffered in any way that i can see – i took 5 years off to raise my babies not enter rehab/plan a jail break and it was simply not an issue in any job interview i attended.

Sofie on

Bel:

I totally agree with you about the National Health Service. I live in Norway and have the same system as in the UK, plus we get a whole year off work WITH pay and can stay at home for up to 3 more years and return to our same work position, it’s the law….wouldn’t trade our system for anything either.

Willa on

My friend is able to spend almost two hours a day with her son during the week and about four each day on the weekend (she takes him to stay with his grandparents to give her some alone time and so she can run errands). He’s seven now and it’s always been that way and while she doesn’t spend a ton of time with him, she loves him but she wants to have the freedom to be an individual too. After work, she likes to go to the gym and out to dinner with friends so she’s home around eight. She reads him a story and talks about his day then puts him to bed. His nanny is very good and his grandparents pay him a ton of attention and he doesn’t seem deprived in any way. Some women want children but they don’t want to be 24/7 moms. I wouldn’t do it myself but if feminism is about choices then she’s made a choice that works for her. She’s even thinking about giving him a sibling this next year because she got a raise and can afford a second nanny now.

I respect the choices of Rachel and my friend and all the posters on here. We all have our views on “quality vs quantity” and we live our lives based on that or on our personal or financial needs. I wouldn’t live my life the way any of you do but I respect that I live in a country with choices for women. Heck, I respect that I live in a country where women can leave the house unchaperoned.

Erica on

Samantha- I agree that this wouldn’t work out for some people. However, it did for us. My mom left at 9am and came home around 2pm. My dad left at 5pm and came home at 1am. He would come home and sleep. My mom would get us up and ready, ate breakfast with us, then would leave when my dad would get up. He would play with us, take us out etc. When my mom came home we had time as a family, sometimes ate dinner early with him, then he went to work. My mom would bathe us, read to us, play with us a little, then put us to bed. I personally think this worked very well, but I wanted more opinions.

Samantha on

You’re right, hkdiaz, I don’t want to work outside the home. My job paid a whopping 10k a year, and for that piddly amount I’d rather be around for my kid. Oh, and I got 2 sick days, and 1 vacation day a year, neither of which carried over into other years. My husband is a waged worker, so if he doesn’t go into work, he doesn’t get paid. So for my family, it only makes sense for me to stay home as long as possible.

Samantha on

Erica, that situation sounds ideal to me. I would consider that preferably to having only one parent at home all the time. This way the kids get to spend time with both parents. I think it’s great that your family was able to make that work so well! It must have been really nice to have both parents around for you!

MontanaMomma on

It is almost impossible to believe the rights granted to working mothers in countries like France, Norway, the UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and heck, just about any country in the world…that we in the United States DON’T HAVE!!! I marvel at the fact that U.S. women (who claim to be some of the most liberated in the world) are not demanding the same. Why don’t we place our children first in this nation? I think we have been deprived of such basic human treatment in the workforce for so long that we don’t even consider ourselves worthy of a year paid leave after having a child. We don’t even seem to consider it a possibility, let alone reality. We subjugate ourselves!

Are the women from the United States reading the actual experience of women posting from the UK and Norway??? Are you tossing it out as propaganda, lies, unattainable, unsustainable, living in a fantasy world? IT IS REALITY IN MANY COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD – women are proudly (not grudgingly) mandated a one year PAID maternity leave, with the option of staying home longer and given job security upon return to the work force. Why shouldn’t we be given the same in the United States?

Until women unite in this country with the absolute assertion that we deserve and demand the same, we will get nowhere.

I had the privilege of living in Stavanger, Norway for a year and I can attest to the reality of their system. It works, and it’s good for mothers, babies, children, families, and employers. People are happier, healthier, better adjusted, better informed, and better educated as a whole. They participate in their communities, local governments, and national politics at far higher rates than we do in the United States. It starts with the importance placed upon human beings from INFANCY!

It’s been said by other posters, and I will say it again – there is ZERO benefit for a young infant to be in daycare. ZERO. A baby wants it’s primary caregiver, ideally it’s mother, and there is no way around that. If an infant is raised by a nanny, then so be it…that person is still it’s primary caregiver. However, babies come into this world hardwired for their mothers, and remain this way for the first few years of life. A tiny infant has no place in a childcare facility. There is no healthy level of independence being developed, no socialization skills, no attachment/bonding abilities being honed…just loss, confusion, pain and eventually complacency. Why would anyone celebrate this?

We have smart, independent women in this nation. Let’s stand strong for our basic human rights, if not for ourselves, for our children!

Check out:

http://www.momsrising.org/

Bieta on

Motherhood is an invention of recent times?? Not last time i looked. I was travelling in Burma just last year and you can believe me the women in the rural villages are constantly playing and singing and talking to their children as they work side-by-side (women and children do the “light work” of fetching water, building roads, tending crops, washing clothes etc while the men run the tea shops and restaurants… at least the unfair division of labour is universal i guess). But i suppose if your lecturer in women’s studies said so it must be true.

___

I don’t think thats what anyone said. They said the concept of stay at home parenthood is new, because women have always worked inside and outside the home. The only difference now is that we women are usually not a allowed to bring our children with us to our jobs unlike women in Burma and rural india, places in africa etc. Daycare is not a new concept at all as when women could not bring a child with them for whatever reason they were left with the elderly women. I’m talking in generalities but this concept of womena and men leaving their children briefly to work transcends time and culture.

I agree with you that the concept of the career has gotten a bit out of hand and is controlling. However, no matter how you swing it we spend the majority of our lives working and I’d prefer to be passionate about my job and want to go in everyday than really dislike it or not value it at all.

Bieta on

Also I think the reason there are so many disagreements is because we aren’t being clear:

Are you talking about ALL SAHMS, ALL Working moms or a just a particular set and which set?

Shelby on

It all boils down to one very simple fact it is a PERSONAL decision for each mother and no one business. You women need to realize you don’t have the right to judge anyone. I don’t judge the working women on my street I offer to help them out if they need it because it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Erin on

It’s amazing how trying to point out the obvious generates a lecture about how SAHM are better moms. I never said any one way was better than the other, I said SAHM is a recent, romanticized construct that we’ve now just assumed is the way it’s been all along. Romantic love, as in “soulmate” or “love of my life” is also an idea only several hundred years old. That doesn’t mean I’m against marriage! Sheesh. Just trying to point out that we get all worked up about not measuring up, or failing as a parent based on myths and fairy tales! That’s insanity to me. It seems as though our world keeps chugging along, new generations keep inventing and exploring and suceeding and that’s probably a de facto indication that there are lots of different ways to deliver a competent next generation. Not every great leader, scientist, teacher, inventor, SAHM had an actual SAHM or SAHD. Kids aren’t porcelin dolls, they adapt pretty well if they know they’re loved and cared for. But if “bubbs” (#63) says I’m way off base I guess she would know best. After all, she was a SAHM.

sdfsd on

Does anyone else think her kids names are odd? Two of the three daughters have the same middle name. And her sons are named John and Jack. That’s like naming your sons Richard and Dick.

Stella Bella on

Ash Says:
August 29th, 2009 at 11:16 pm

“Oh, and in response to this statement: “Furthermore ,if we get divorced I will go back full -time because I would have to ..”

If you think for one second that you can be out of the workforce for 5 years or more and then step right back into a well-paying job, think again. You would be in for a rude awakening. In most fields, you would fall way down the corporate ladder and it would take years, if not decades, to climb back up according to the latest research. There’s no way you could compete with other women (and moms) who have stayed in the workforce that whole time, keeping their experience and credentials up to date, while you haven’t.”

Yep, Ash, you’re completely correct. For most SAHMs, a divorce and re-entry into the workplace would really screw us over financially. As crummy as that reality is, it is not enough to make me screw over my children in the present for something that may or may not happen. Hope this clears any confusion up for you.

Erica on

Samantha- thanks for your input. I would like to do something like this when I get older and have kids.

This situation was ideal for us and worked well. It may not work for everyone, but I wanted to show a point to those who think staying home or working is ‘the only way’ that different situations work better for different people, and that is what worked best for us. I’m sure for some families, having a parent home 24/7 is best, while for others having 2 parents working 9-5 jobs is best for them. There is no way that is right or wrong to raise a child. I know working mothers who work to get away from their kids, and others who come home and spend every possible moment they can with their kids. I know stay at home mothers who spend all day playing with and raising their kids, and others who go out all day to the mall, and to get their hair and nails done, while the kids are with a babysitter. There are good and bad mothers in both positions and I don’t think whether you stay home or work determines how good you are as a mother.

Elena on

Mary – your argument is that women shouldn’t work because babies will cry when they leave? Seriously? Babies cry all the time, for a lot of reasons. Then they get older and don’t remember any of it. My mother is and always has been a working mother. Did I cry when she left home in the morning? I honestly have no idea. Am I proud that my mother has always had her own career and not only helped my father provide for our family, but actually outearned him? You bet I am.

I think you’re also forgetting that the children of SAHMs are much more likely to cry about Mommy leaving them, even for a minute, than the children of working mothers, because they quickly learn that Mommy and/or Daddy leave every day and come back later every day. I have seen the child of a SAHM pitch a fit about her going to the bathroom without him. I would never want to raise a child that needy and clingy.

Sofie on

Elena:

You don’t have the first clue about being a mother. You will be eating your words, trust me on that one.

Ash on

Meme-

If you’re now a stay at home mom, you don’t actually practice clinical psychology anymore do you? lol Secondly, you mustn’t have been a very good student because there are thousands of studies and journal articles out there verifying that kids in daycare don’t experience any adverse side effects. You can try to twist around the results to suit your fancy however you want, but don’t just dismiss many years of research. You’re making yourself sound ignorant.

Ash on

And for those who are so worried that leaving their child in someone else’s care during the day is going to damage them for life… Well I guess you shouldn’t send them off to school either. What if your poor little baby cries, and you’re not there to comfort them? lol The coddling in our society sickens me. This is where we now have an entire generation of young people with a disgusting sense of entitlement with helicopter parents who don’t know when to cut the cord. I’m the product of a stay at home mother myself but after dealing withsome of the consequences of that decision, I know better than to do that to my child.

Ash on

Meme-

I just saw that you said you went back to work. But, for someone who claims to be a clinical psychologist, I find it laughable that you don’t know what human development is. Uh… last I checked, most psychology majors were required to take several courses in human and child development to even progress into the upper level courses.

Ash on

Stella-

I’m glad you can afford to screw over your career. Most moms in this country aren’t that lucky, and they don’t have husbands who made good enough salaries to support the entire family on their own. I don’t think it’s fair to place the financial burden solely on the father because I don’t subscribe to traditional gender roles, but that’s another debate for another day.

Ash on

Sofie Says:
August 30th, 2009 at 12:55 pm
Elena:

You don’t have the first clue about being a mother. You will be eating your words, trust me on that one.

Nice one Sophie… You make yourself sound very intelligent. So I guess any mother who chooses to work doesn’t know the first thing about how to parent? I guess according to you, SAHM mothers are the only ones who know what they’re doing. Give me a damn break.

Ash on

By the way, if any SAHM on here want to engage in an intelligent discussion about SAHM vs. working, you might want to visit this messageboard. There are are dozens of moms on there who have chosen to continue working, and they’re very happy with their decisions. *gasp* I know, hard to believe for some of you, right? Many of the women on there are doctors and lawyers and didn’t have the choice to just throw their careers away because they actually had student loans to pay back, etc. It might be eye opening for some of you.

http://community.thenest.com/cs/ks/forums/4110137/ShowForum.aspx

Stella Bella on

Samantha Says:
August 29th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

“Ann, my daughter is only 5 months old now, but I plan to stay home still even after she’s in school. If I return to work, I won’t be home when she gets done with school, or during holiday or summer vacations. I spent most of my childhood at after-school latchkey and summer day camps. I hated it and vowed that if I had any power to prevent my future child from going to those things, I would. So, I won’t be returning to the work force until she’s much older. I liked my job, but I love being home for her. Kids don’t stop needing you once they start school.”

Totally totally agree with you Samantha! 2-3 hours of day care each school day, summer day care, and being a latchkey kid SUCKED. I made the same vow to my future children. So did my husband… My mom was divorced, so yes, she HAD to work. But the WAY she did it was so she could keep her STUFF- the nice house in the exclusive county and private school for me. Did we need all that? Maybe she thought she did, but I needed my mommy. Same with my hubby… Whether you work or stay at home, the reasons and the way you execute your plan matter to your children. My hubby and I moved out of California to a cheaper area of the country and are living a simpler life than we grew up with. We have less in our house, but more in our hearts.

sdfsd on

“You don’t have the first clue about being a mother.”

Sofie, that’s an awful thing to say. Can’t we have a debate on here without acting like juveniles?

Sofie on

I see I hit a nerve, my comment was directed only to Elena, since she has no children and feels she knows excatley what being a mom is all about!

Samantha on

I really think we all need to be more supportive of one another here. Some of us are choosing to stay at home instead of working, some have chosen to continue working, both of these options are valid. I’m not going to knock someone else for choosing to work, and I hope that I (or any other SAHM) wouldn’t get knocked for choosing to stop working. Some people find a lot of enjoyment in their work, and even feel that it is part of their identity. Others, like myself, don’t feel that passion and work is just work. Everyone is different. That’s the beauty of individuality. As long as the parents are attentive to their children during their time together, everything seems to turn out fine. I’m sure that I would have been a happier child if my parents had been around more, but it also doesn’t help that when they were around, they ignored me because they had a lot of other problems. I just think we moms need to stick together. We can all agree that we just want the best for our children, even if we disagree on what that means.

sdfsd on

“I see I hit a nerve, my comment was directed only to Elena, since she has no children and feels she knows excatley what being a mom is all about!”

I think we all understood what you meant. It’s just the immature way you went about saying it that bothers me. I thought this comments section was for ADULTS to comment/discuss/debate peacefully.

Sofie on

If you read all my posts, I have (in my opinion) been “discussing peacefully”. Elena just seems like a childless-know-it-all and I guess that hit a nerve with me.

MontanaMomma on

Everyone has there own experiences and each one of us will react differently to a situation. We make choices based on our experiences and what our families, friends, and communities encourage or discourage, as well as our own instincts. Rarely are there black and white answers.

In my view of the world, being raised by a single mother who worked and went to school, I felt as though I was exposed to negative factors as a result of not having my mother home after school. It wasn’t due to poor choices on my mother’s part, simply that no one cares for your children the way a mother does.

My mother had a “nanny” that came into our home and was with us all day long while she was at work or school and we loved this woman very much, however, her ideas of what was appropriate to share with a young girl were probably not appropriate. She liked to tell me stories about her life experiences that were too mature in subject matter. My mom had no idea about the kinds of conversations we had until I was an adult, and it horrified her to realize that someone she trusted both as a friend and primary caregiver would have shared such subject matter with a pre-teen girl.

Our “nanny” was a good woman, but had no children of her own, and may not have known what is age-appropriate to share. I was also extremely mature for my age and may have seemed ready to hear her words. In any case, I had a head full of thoughts I probably didn’t need to be thinking, and when my teenage years came, I was overly curious in areas that led me into trouble.

My experiences are a definite factor in my own decision to stay home with my children. I can’t control everything, but there are some things I can control, and for the formative years of their life I would prefer to be their primary influence. I want their questions and curiosity to be directed at me, and for their parents to gauge what is appropriate to share.

There is no doubt in my mind that the best place for an infant between the ages of 0-6 months is at their mother’s side. If this is not feasible, then a father, grandparent, or consistent loving adult (just one, not two or three or more at a childcare facility juggling many children). It is my feeling that an infant needs this bond for the majority of every day throughout it’s first year. This is why so many countries in the world, some less developed than our own, mandate a year maternity leave for new mothers. Many of these countries offer a year of paid leave. What woman doesn’t want to stay home for the first few months with her brand-new infant, or at least have the option? What infant doesn’t want to be with it’s mother for the first year?

After those first few months, a child enters the fray of our fast-paced world so much better equipped when that time has passed peacefully with a consistent and loving caregiver, ideally it’s mother. How can that be refuted?

Whether to stay at home or return to work after the stage of infancy has passed is a very personal decision and it seems wrong to cast judgment on our fellow mothers. We are all in this together and our children are our tomorrow…a tomorrow we all have to share.

I know I’ve already suggested it, but please join:

http://www.momsrising.org/

Make a real difference in our experience as mothers!

Elena on

Wow, Sofie, you sure made things personal. You know what? I don’t have children (other than the one I am expecting at the moment), but my mother is a working mother, my sister is a working mother, and I know plenty of other working mothers (as well as stay at home mothers), and I don’t think it’s that far fetched for me to look at their experience and have a pretty good idea of what is and isn’t going to work for me. If you think that having my baby is going to addle my brain and turn me into a different human being, I think you are very much mistaken. That hasn’t happened to any of the working women I know and respect.

And just because you have already popped one out does not mean that you know anything about what’s best for my child. You are calling me a know-it-all? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

I just hope that my children never go to school with your children – I would hate to hear the kind of hateful, judgmental comments you will be filling their heads with.

Oh, and, one last thing – calling someone who is expecting “childless” is pretty darn rude. I hope your children are at least raised with better manners than you.

Jane on

I was a child of a Mom who did not work. She was always at home with us. We weren’t clingy. We could handle our Mother and Father leaving us alone with a babysitter while they went out together. We always had our Mom at home with us. If we were ever sick or sad, our Mom was there to make us feel better. When we came home from school, our Mom was there to ask us about our day and serve us a snack before dinner. We always had a home cooked meal. I wouldn’t change my upbringing for the world. I will not work when I have children. I want my children to have a similar childhood that I had. I hope they would grow up to be as close with me as I am with my Mother. I know parents who leave their children in daycare from 6 am to 6 at night. Both parents work and only see their kids on the weekend really because the kids are sleeping by the time they get home. I don’t want a life like that for my kids. I don’t think anyone is jealous of working Moms. If people wanted to work, they’d work. People choose to stay at home and raise their children. If people can work and still have enough time to be with their kids, that’s great. I know people who do work and still make time for their kids. It can be done. It’s nobody’s business how people decide to raise their kids. We can all decide for ourselves how we want to run our lives.

mememememe on

Well they probably call human development something different in my country Ash, and yes of course I studied child dev. somewhere in that mountain of work called a doctorate. I am not going to bicker endlessly but the studies yoiu refer to showing no adverse outcomes for daycre children are very limited ie no credible longitudinal studies of any worth and lots of sampling issues which I won’t bore anyone with now. So yes, I continue to disagree with you.

Good day.

Jenn on

I was just going to say that I am looking forward to reading this book…wasn’t prepared for all the comments in the comment section :-)
I think it is important to do what you feel is best for your situation, and not compare it to others…

homewithmine on

Ash –

you sound like you have issues related to your own mother, your own upbringing, that maybe you need to work out in therapy or counseling. Please, if you had a dysfunctional relationship with your mother, who happened to be a SAHM, don’t extrapolate out those problems to all SAHMs.

The research from Bowlby and other attachment theory experts clearly shows that infants and toddlers are (and I will quote a poster upthread because it’s the word I use, too) “hardwired” to bond, neurologically, with ONE primary caretaker, ideally the mother since she is physiologically equipped to feed the child. If people want to have their child as some kind of accessory, then sure, have your baby, pass it off to the nanny, come home and read it a bedtime story and pat yourself on the back (I can’t believe that someone actually included that anecdote as an example of an acceptable lifestyle.)

Yes, some moms have to work, and some moms want to work. I am not one of them. 2-3 hours a night with my children is not enough for us. It’s not about clinginess; we enjoy being together. We are not at home all day, nor am I anything even remotely close to a helicopter parent (if you knew me, IRL, your concern would be the opposite). I have 3 – ages 2, 5, 7 – and we stay quite busy, quite happy, exploring, creating, reading, discovering.

And, for the record, you don’t know ANYTHING about parenting until you actually have your child. Sorry, no offense. The things I thought I knew when I was pregnant with my first, LOL! Some things we predict we will do or not do, we are right on. Some things, we do a radical 180. I have known PLENTY a mom who swore up and down she was having her baby and heading right back to the office and fast-forward 2 years later, they are a happy SAHM. It also goes the opposite way. Please, until you’ve actually held that newborn or infant in your arms, slept with it, nursed it, cuddled it, etc., please refrain from sounding SO sure and SO know-it-all. It’s just basic courtesy to be humble like that. Similarly, I don’t talk to mothers of teenagers and say, “Well, here is what I am gonna do… XYZ.” They would laugh. They know that my fancy theories are naive and untested. Better I just wait until I get there, with those age kids, instead of commenting prematurely like I have it all figured out.

homewithmine on

Oh, and Elena –

If having a baby doesn’t turn you into a radically different human being, then you’re not really a mother :)

(No, I’m not saying that you turn “uncool” or lose your identity – just that it’s a fundamental transformation in life. How many times on here do we see celebs say a variation of that? That they are changed, that they never knew love that deep, that their whole perspective is forever different…Frankly, if someone “pops out a baby” – can we stop saying that phrase? It’s so dismissive – and is exactly the same person afterword, I would be really worried. That should not be the goal, nor the result. A baby is not a cute little puppy that you bring home and then just keep on going…) That attitude, to me, would be a red flag that someone was not really prepared for the ENORMOUS SACRIFICES of parenthood.

homewithmine on

Last thing, I promise

– if anyone here thinks that a 6-month-old cares more about sitting in a designer onesie on a beach in Hawaii for one week of the year more than being with their mother all the other 51 weeks of the year, I would seriously suggest they study up on emerging brain research that shows the physiological stress parental separation has on babies. I am directing this specifically to the comment that the mother-to-be wanted to maintain a “certain lifestyle” re:clothes and vacations.

And we wonder why we have a generation of detached, empty, materialistic, unhappy, pharmaceutically-dependent adults? (Not that daycare is the only contributor, of course. But I seriously question what happens when we get so far from the biological norm for our species. We take babies who are designed for/evolved for a vaginal birth, nurturing and sustenance from the breast, near constant contact with the mother, and her continued stabling presence for the first several years….these being the variables that human babies arrive programmed for, physiologically and neurologically.

And we capriciously sub out, like mayo for mustard, a surgical removal; a plastic artificial nipple; a synthetic mix of chemicals that we call “formula”; a cold, empty crib; premature “independence” and solitude; gadgets that remove 90% of touch from an infant’s life. Seriously, don’t flame me. Just think about it first. What effects are these things having on our children, on a macro level? Is this progress? Might we have gone too far in our quest for better technology?)

Sure, infants are resilient and there are a lot of things they will “tolerate”. But maybe our goals should be to optimize how our children are cared for, not justify what we want to do as being “they’ll survive. They won’t remember it.” I could slap my 2yo in the face right now and he won’t remember it as an adult, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless.

Jules on

Good for you! The world wouldnt be so bad if mums stayed home and looked after the kids they decided to have. I was a stay at home mum for my 4 children and all of them have turned out to be decent human beings. STay home and enjoy them as they only have one mum.

J-Lin on

I’m tired of folks like homewithmine that you tell you how you should feel and act with children. I know so many kids that grew up with the SAHM that are can’t make it a day without Prozac, Zoloft, or Abilify. Can’t we all appreciate that folks have different dreams in life and your path is not the path that’s for everyone else?

I see so many women in bad marriages because they have chosen to focus on rearing kids and have no other choices because they have no other skills or their skills are outdated. That doesn’t sound like the best environment to rear children.

jen on

Wow Ash is pretty defensive in her decision. Being a working mom is what you do, good for you. Why do you find the need to rant and defend yourself to a bunch of strangers. Makes it seem like you are insecure in your decisions!!

Lisa on

Ash said”Many of the women on there are doctors and lawyers and didn’t have the choice to just throw their careers away because they actually had student loans to pay back, etc. It might be eye opening for some of you. ”

Ash,Who says we don’t have lawyers and doctors on this board???You might be suprised at who you are talking to..we all don’t start our posts with>>>Being a lawyer you should listen to me..Plus yes ,doctors and lawyers make these same choices..they are not immuned from daily decisions…unfortunately!
and believe it or not..you can actualy practive law and medicine part -time.I know for a fact!

Shaya on

I’m a sahm but I think all that matters is the *quality* of time you spend with your children not the *quantity*. This sahm vs. working mom is just silly. There are pros and cons with both. One isn’t better or worse than the other, it’s about what works best for your family (pun intended). These personal attacks and catty remarks are so unnecessary.

MontanaMomma on

homewithmine, I deeply appreciate your extremely well-written comments. The ability to articulate so well says a lot about a person and their values.

We have created a society dependent upon technology that has ironically limited us in so many of our fundamental choices as human beings – primarily our ability to raise our children through the first years side by side.

There is a great misconception about being with your children for the first few years as being non-“work”. There are a million ways in which we contribute to our families, whether that involves money or just our time and effort, that include our children. I think the women of the past would be absolutely appalled at the way children are farmed out to others for the bulk of each day, with no ability to interact with their family members.

Here is the bottom line: People employed in childcare facilities, daycare centers, after-school programs, preschools, and many in-home nannies simply do not care for your child in any special way. It is their job, not out of any altruistic desire to better humanity, but to earn a paycheck to pay their own debts and bills. A child in these settings is a number, not an individual. How in the world is a baby or toddler supposed to form real attachment bonds with someone who isn’t deeply invested in their outcome?

The quality versus quantity theory reminds me of a kenneled animal – one that an owner keeps in a cage all day long and then lets out at night for a walk, run around the park, a few throws of a frisbee. Except that humans aren’t animals. A dog may not remember the bulk of each day, and be perfectly thrilled to spend those few hours with its owner, but a human records everything and it has a profound impact.

I think the debate is so heated because there is defensiveness. Presenting defensive arguments tends to suggest that one doesn’t possess deep convictions about their path, that perhaps on some subconscious level they are trying to convince even themselves that everything is okay. And it’s incredibly unfortunate when one feels they have NO CHOICE! What is a mother to do when she has student loans, house and car payments, insurance costs, medical bills, etc. etc. and wants to provide shelter, food, clothing and the possibility of a little money for college for her children. There doesn’t seem to be much choice in that, and so we do what we have to do as women. And maybe we feel the tiniest twinges that something isn’t quite right when we are returning to work six weeks post-partum, but we bury those doubts, because we have to in order to cope. Or the woman whose identity is so deeply entrenched in her career because it’s the only thing she’s ever been truly validated for – her success as a CEO or lawyer or doctor. And her parents always told her to pay her own way in life, that one must contribute financially to society at large in order to be a worthy citizen of the United States, while no praise was ever given for the “simple” task of mothering.

I realize some are going to jump all over what I am saying…but perhaps there are shards of truth in some of these words. Thousands of years ago mothers birthed children and never conceived of leaving them with non-family members for the bulk of each day, especially not in early infancy, and look at us today! A child’s brain has not changed what it is hard-wired for, yet we have changed dramatically what we expect of our infants and young toddlers. Our societies experience a million-fold the dysfunction of our more primitive counterparts. Are we making progress? Yes, we live more comfortably in many ways, but are the psyches of our populace healthier, stronger, and more certain of their purpose and place in the great scheme of life? I think perhaps not.

I certainly do not rest the entirety of our societal dysfunction upon farming out childcare – there are a myriad of factors at play. However, the bulk of today’s children experience farmed care and I believe there is a connection. Please check out the following site: http://www.naturalchild.org/

The real question is, what are we as mother’s going to do about it? Each one of us has the capacity to vote each and every day with our actions and words. Use them well!

Join http://www.momsrising.org/ and other pro-family advocacy groups. Support one another, regardless of our choices. Make a difference in your local community, neighborhood, etc. by finding advocacy groups in your town or city.

Go forth! Do good!

Erin on

When I was younger my mother had no choice but to work and I used to always wish I didn’t have to go to my grandmothers, or be home alone as I got older. I used to be jealous of the kids who got to come home to a snack and a hug. It wasn’t my mother’s fault….we had no choice. As a mother now I just feel like it’s better to have either my husband or myself home with him. Maybe some kids like having to go elsewhere or have someone else take care of them, but I just know what it was like for me and made sure to be with my son if I could afford to do so. Luckily I can.

AGB on

MontanaMomma #104:

As a full-time, at-home mother I agree with you and appreciate your comments.

As a former teacher I disagree with you. I know I wasn’t the only teacher out there pouring my heart and soul into my students, their lives, futures and well-being. I felt my job was as much about loving and inspiring my students as it was about teaching a core subject and I can honestly say I was surrounded by dedicated colleagues who felt the same.

Peace.

CelebBabyLover on

homewithmine- I think you’re being a little too harsh. Some women HAVE to have C-sections, and some women CAN’T breastfeed, so they have no choice but to give their baby formula.

MontanaMomma on

AGB #106:

I apologize. It wasn’t my intention to slight teachers and their genuine dedication to children and their students. I should have clarified a little better. My main point was that many people working in the childcare field are not invested to the degree that a parent is.

Childcare providers and teachers are in two different classes. The job of a teacher is to teach, not to provide the broad range of care that a developing infant and toddler demand. Most teachers went to school to join the profession because they had a true desire to make an educational difference in a child’s life. This is not always the case in a daycare setting. Many childcare providers are not required to have any secondary education or special skills. Beyond a background check, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get hired as a childcare provider. Many people in the childcare field are there because they happen to like kids, but it often comes down to a paycheck. Your child will not necessarily mean any more to them than the next. A childcare provider isn’t necessarily going to pick up on your child’s individual needs and address them in a positive manner. A childcare provider isn’t necessarily going to notice your child’s unique skills and talents and hone them.

Terri on

My mom was a stay-at-home mom and military wife. I appreciate the sacrifices that she made to be with us. However, if I ever marry and have kids I want to be a working mom. Thank you Eva, for explaining so well why that is what I desire.

IB_SAHM on

I just want to applaud Rachel for her book. I just started reading it about two nights ago and I’m definitely finding it to be very inspiring! Kudos to you Mrs. Campos-Duffy! Hopefully I can find it in myself to stay that positive.

Benigna Marko on

Excellent point of view. Being positive and enjoying what you do is so important. Stay focused and enjoy your new pregnancy.
Benigna Marko

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