Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Working Moms

A little disclaimer before I start.  I don't watch the news, or read the newspaper, or listen to the radio unless there is music playing.  I occasionally check the weather on my phone or read an entertainment magazine while working out at the gym.  But other than that, I typically get my news reports from my handsome hubby.  I figure if the world is ending, he'll at least give me a heads up to get to Confession, so I'm all good. 

But last night, after putting the cherubs to bed, we were talking and the TV was on in the background.  I heard a reporter talking about the wife of Paul Ryan, who is Mitt Romney's running mate.  This female reporter said that Janna Ryan is currently a stay-at-home mom to her three children BUT was once a high-powered attorney and lobbyist. 
The Ryan Family

So I guess that makes it okay for her to choose to stay at home now?  That since she once had a real career with real successes and she willingly gave it up to raise her children, her choice can be respected?  Yet back in April, Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, was blasted as "never having worked a day in her life" because of her role as a stay at home mom to her five sons.  Was she targeted because she didn't have a high-profile career that she gave up in order to raise her children?

The Romney Family (circa 1982). 
Yeah, that doesn't look like it requires any work.
What is wrong with our media culture?  Why is being a stay at home mother less respected than being a career mom?  I am so glad that someone like Janna Ryan values being a mother and has the ability to stay at home and do what she feels is best for her family.  It shouldn't matter if she used to have a career, went to college, or whatever else she gave up in order to fulfill her current role.  Her choice should be respected and accepted without question.  Why does our society feel the need to tear down moms? 

Can't we all just get along?

When I was in graduate school, getting my MBA, people who knew me well were wondering why I was going to all the trouble to get an advanced degree when deep down in my heart I just wanted to stay at home and have babies. 

I made that choice to educate myself in case I needed to provide for myself.  What if I never got married or was never able to have children?  What if my amazingly smart husband chose a career he loves over a higher-paying career and I would have to work in order to help our family's finances (fact!).  What if, God forbid, something terrible happened to my husband and no matter how much money he once made, he was unable to work again? 

So I wanted to ensure that I was able to have a career if that's what ended up happening.  And if I could fulfill my dream as a stay at home mom and never work a day in the professional world, then that would be fine and dandy as well. 

The Martin Family

It doesn't matter if we choose raising our kids over raising a rung on the corporate ladder, and it doesn't matter if we are in positions where we have to work outside the home in order to make the home work.  What matters is that, as long as we are doing what's best for our family, our decisions are respected and valued.  Women and mothers have so many challenges to face already, we don't need to start tearing one another down in order to make ourselves feel better.


  1. love this Colleen!!

    and I might just have to reconsider Simon's standing offer to help me find a little work/sanity outside the home.

  2. Definitely love this, and totally agree.
    Thanks for posting!

  3. No seriously, this is why you are my favorite blog. I am staying home currently but talk about finishing school and going for the PhD or JD. ALL my SAH Mom friends ask "why would you do that? You're married and have a child?"

    You have just summed up my feelings far more eloquently than I could have. I just get flustered as to why they don't get it.

  4. .... Well honestly I do feel lesser for never having a "real job" .

    I did outstandingly well all through high school and college. Yet I did nothing to prove how smart I was besides have babies. I still feel this need to prove that I am intelligent and worthwhile. Not that my husband doesn't think I am ... He does and ultimately would support any choice I made. Although he leans more on the side of me staying home. He finds what i do immensely invaluable.

    Anyway... You can never win with the media. There is always some sort of ulterior motive behind everything in the news.

  5. Amen! So often hubby and I discuss such a topic when I debate about working part time to make a little extra money, etc. In the end, we decide to keep things as-is and stick to our budget. We also come down to the fact that THIS works for US and OUR FAMILY. It may not work for everyone and it may not always be ideal for all.

    I totally get that some moms have to/need to work (my mom did all my life and still does) and I have never loved her less for it or felt like I missed out. My mom needed to and still needs to, work.

    I really, really wish that the media and other women/mom's would just give us all a break. The daily battle is so tough already, do we really need to make it worse for one another?
    Again, wonderful post and perfectly written :)

  6. I'm a lawyer who came home to have kids and stayed home. I'll admit that I used to feel a little superior. I've thought about this a lot, and I believe that it is our fallen nature that makes us fight like this. Women, even good women, tend to pick at other women. We need to be aware of it in our own lives and fight the tendency with confession and prayer. For those without faith, I don't see how the fighting will ever stop. It is such a passionate, yet irrational fight - the Mommy wars.

  7. Sometimes I think it's not only "stay at home moms" that feel like they need to "apologize" for their vocation or feel "undervalued" but anyone working with children. I felt the same way as a preschool teacher at times. I was looked down upon by "real" teachers and at times by the "moms" who went to their "real jobs", but I was happy and I knew when I looked at the children I taught that they were valuable, so my "work" was valuable... no matter what the rest of the world or my collegues thought. I look now into the eyes of my daughter and though she may not know the sacrifices we make so that I can stay home with her... I know and I know she's worth every sacrifice.

    But you're right, that there are times when a mom HAS to work and she shouldn't feel less worthy by stay at home moms because she's unable to.

    We need to stop judging and start supporting each other and helping one another to be able to be the best wives and mothers we are able to be for our families.

    Thanks for posting, though Colleen. xo

  8. Shoot. There's nothing anyone could say to me that's worse than the things I say to myself already. When I worked, I beat myself up for "paying someone else for the privilege of raising my children". Now that I stay at home, I beat myself up for "not making a positive contribution to the family's finances".
    There's no pleasing me.
    But yeah. I'm never ever surprised by the things the media says about moms.

  9. Very good post! I HAVE to stay home. We have 5 kids with only one in school. It would take an insane amount of money to have them in daycare. Probably more than I would be able to bring home! I really do wish I could get a job sometimes though. I feel like I don't contribute anything, especially since I'm a pretty bad cook and housekeeper!

  10. Great post! Raising children is the most difficult and most important job in the world. Everybody's future depends upon the results of our work. Why are women constantly putting themselves down over this "profession" called motherhood? I just read an interview with Katie Couric and do you know what she said her biggest regret was? Not having more children. Hmmm....... At the end of the day, what else really matters?

  11. Great post! Beautiful perspective. I never considered staying at home until I had the joy of raising children and found that the satisfaction of watching their accomplishments outshone the satisfaction I found in the career I had outside the home. Now I wait (not so) patiently for my husband to finish his PhD program so I can stay at home full time and manage the homebase.

  12. This is such a hard topic for women. We are so hard on ourselves. I am a teacher who really would love to be a stay at home mom. My husband is in support of my decision. However, in ontario, teaching jobs are very hard to come by and I have worked hard to get the seniority needed for job security. I know in my heart that home is where I belong but can't give up that pension, health benefits and extra income my job provides. The biggest issue I have is the fact that I feel like my family and friends see me as crazy for walking away from my career. They are so vocal about how silly it is and true be told, I hate that people think this. We as a society do not value "Motherhood" as an important role. Just coming off a mat leave, I know that being home all day is way tougher than going to work. We are expected to be super women and do it all....but in many cases that means choosing to focus on building our families or careers.


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