Is the Stay-at-Home Mom Role Better Than Working Mom?

two moms arm wrestling over whether the stay-at-home mom role is better than working mom

This has been an ongoing debate between moms for years. It has torn apart friendships and caused strangers to argue.

It’s an argument I try to stay away from, but a story I read recently made me speak up.

It’s showdown time.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Goodbye Boss, Hello Kids Podcast

Hey there mamas. We’re gonna talk today about a sensitive topic.

But stick with me till the end, okay?

I recently came across a controversial story about a mom who felt bullied at the bus stop. No, it wasn’t her kid who was being bullied, but she was because of her chosen profession.

You see, she was a stay-at-home mom who had been questioned by her working mom friend—and you probably can guess the question—“So, what do you do all day?”

It wasn’t asked in curiosity, but in judgment with an air of disdain.

The story sparked something in me.

It’s showdown time.

Stay-at-Home Mom vs. Working Mom

There’s been this ongoing rivalry between stay-at-home moms and working moms since women began entering the workforce. Each side feeling that her choice is the better one.

Each side ridiculing the other because their choice was different.

Each secretly (or not so secretly) harboring moments of guilt about their choice.

So whose job is more important? Which group made the “right” choice?

Yes, I’m well-familiar with the arguments on both sides of the at-home mom vs. the working mom. I’ve heard (and experienced many of) the pros and cons of each. I’ve read the studies published that support the benefits of one choice over the other. And I’ve lived both roles, experiencing the highs and lows, the judgments and praises, the good and bad of both.

And I still say it’s fruitless to debate this.

Common Ground

Why? Because both moms – the SAHM and the mom who works outside the home – are working moms. They are one and the same. One mom chooses to work in a building with others in and around their own age group, while the other mom chooses to work in a home with a much younger age group.

But both are working. And both have the right to choose where they work…don’t they?

Or should college advisors lead all first-year students to choose one certain field of study just because it seems more “worthy” than others?

Ridiculous, right?

So why would “where” a mom chooses to work spark such heated debates?

I know some phenomenal working moms, like my best friend, who has passed up promotions and has taken less prestigious positions in her company in order to be at school plays, chaperone field trips, and be there when her son gets sick. And she has had to defend her choice of work location.

And I know some phenomenal stay-at-home moms who have left corporate positions and taken up the work needed at home while having to constantly defend their decision, often tempted to feel “not good enough.”

Why should either mom have to defend her choice?

The Showdown

In my opinion, the debate boils down to being secure.

If I’m secure in my choice of profession, why would what you choose bother me? If you choose differently than me, does that warrant my judgment-filled ridicule?

It’s your life. Why should I criticize what you decide to do with it?

But if I’m not secure in my choice and I fear your judgment of me, I might be tempted to “throw the first stone.”

So, what’s the answer?

Instead of focusing on what someone else has chosen for her life, take that energy and time and use it in self-reflection.

If you get bothered or feel emotion rising up in you when you meet a mom whose workplace is different than yours—whose career choice is not one you have chosen—then you need to ask yourself some questions:

Are you really happy with your choice? If so, then concentrate on living your life to the fullest.

Look for ways to make it even better. And celebrate your choice.

But if you’re not completely satisfied with your choice, use your time and energy to determine what needs to change and then work to change it.

Don’t worry if other moms have chosen a role in life that’s opposite yours.

Let them live their life and you live yours.

It’s not your business what they chose to do.

And unless they ask you for your opinion, don’t give it.

Moms, we have to support each other better. Stop grading yourself based on what someone else chooses.

Your worth is not based on what someone else does.

You are worthy because you are a child of God. It’s simple as that.

If you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, celebrate your choice. Find the beauty in what you do. Know that your worth is based on WHO you are and not WHAT you do.

If you are a mom working outside the home, be grateful for your choice. Concentrate on being the best employee and mom you can be. Put all your time and energy into that.

Moms, let’s build up our own self-worth. Let’s learn to honor the choices of others. And let’s learn to support each other.

Let’s end the showdown.

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