Can Working and Stay-at-Home Moms Be Friends?
An EXCLUSIVE Betty Series
Climbing Off My High Horse
How I learned that good moms come in many styles
Last week we heard from one working mom who finds stay-at-home moms to be catty and dramatic. This week a SAHM gets off her high horse …
When my first son was born eleven years ago, I didn’t have a plan. I was a relatively young mom, and I hadn’t really thought through the pros and cons of being a working mom versus a stay-at-home mom. However, the day we brought Alex home from the hospital, my mind was made up: I knew there was no way I could hand him over to someone else every day.
As weeks and then months went by and I became more entrenched in the stay-at-home mom world, my position was cemented. I loved being home with my little guy, and shortly thereafter my little girl, so much that I simply couldn’t fathom how anybody could not want to be home with their kids. I understood that some people didn’t have a choice, but plenty of moms I knew did have a choice, and chose to go back to work. I, from my high horse, wondered why a woman would even choose to have a child if she was going to leave him with virtual strangers every day.
Surprisingly, it was another stay-at-home mom who softened my position. My friend Anne, whom I have known since our oldest boys were babies, is one of the most amazing moms I know. She keeps an immaculate and beautifully decorated home, and still sits on the floor zooming trucks and hikes around ponds searching for frogs with her three boys. She also has fought depression for most of her years at home, and admitted to me after almost a decade that she yearned for something more in her life.
What I learned from Anne, and then from countless other moms, both stay-at-home and working, is that every mothering experience is different. There are countless factors that affect the success and fulfillment of a mother … financial situations, supportiveness of spouse, availability of loving, trustworthy childcare, personal needs, flexibility of work schedule/spouse’s work schedule … and the list goes on. The key, I guess, is to know in our hearts what is going to make us the best mothers we can be. For some it is Play-Doh and play dates. For others it is work-filled weeks and fun-filled weekends. And others have found a combination of both which works. None is right or wrong, better or worse.
What I learned, after I climbed off my horse, is that the best thing for a child is to have two parents who are happy with their lives, and are able to give him a happy life. In no two lives is that happiness going to be found in the exact same way, and that’s OK. Hopefully we can each as individuals create the lives we want to live. We deserve it, and so do our children.
Jennifer Trannon is a former public-school teacher who’s currently staying home to take care of her three children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More in the “Can Working and Stay-at-Home Moms Be Friends?” Series: