It’s the subject of a multitude of debates and the center of many “mommy wars” throughout the years - which is more beneficial to children: being a working mom or a stay-at-home mom? And even though this tends to be a hot-button topic for many parents, one is not in fact better than the other. Moreover, the pandemic has actually fueled a narrowing of the divide between the two. Whether you work outside the house, work from home, or stay at home, there is no perfect mother - and we all deserve to be celebrated.
The rise of the pandemic forced employees across the country to work from home, some temporarily, and some permanently. A substantial portion of this workforce are mothers who have now been struggling to find space and time to accomplish their workload while also balancing childcare duties. On the one hand, the pandemic has forced employers to create a more flexible schedule for working parents; on the other hand, balancing work expectations and children who have been cooped up at home since the beginning of the year has been a challenge.
Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home parent, the bottom line is: You do meaningful work.
As old stereotypes about family structure and gender roles continue to fade into the distance, women are now able to focus on both career aspirations and the fulfillment of motherhood. Job hours are becoming more flexible, work-from-home positions are becoming more widespread due to advancements in technology, and many fathers are taking on more caretaking responsibilities and household duties. There’s no need for mothers to excel at everything, but being able to pursue their career goals should be a universal right - even in the midst of raising young children. It can be hard for career women, too, as the career is often seen as a minor offshoot of her “primary” responsibility as a parent. Mothers who work outside the home are sometimes expected to do it all, including household responsibilities and all childcare duties when she’s not working - and this can be exhausting.
At the same time, if mothers find absolute joy and fulfillment in being stay-at-home parents, then by all means, they should be able to do that too, without judgment. Raising children is not an easy task - try asking any stay-at-home mom with young children! From the endless cycle of dirty diapers, to nonstop loads of laundry, to cooking and cleaning each day, to helping with homework and other life skills, to shuttling children to different extracurricular activities, there’s no rest for mothers. While parenthood is a joyous journey, it can be isolating and stressful for stay-at-home moms who don’t have other adults to talk to during the day. Imagine your only companions being nonverbal. The days can drag on.
There really isn’t any need to pick one or the other, too. Working moms often leave the workforce temporarily when they have a baby, and then enter back into the workforce at a later time. Stay-at-home mothers might go to school or complete training to later enter the workforce with a completely different career goal in mind. At different stages in life, a woman might enter, leave, and re-enter the workforce many times as she navigates balancing family goals and career goals. Deciding when, and how, to do this is a very personal decision based on a number of factors including family finances.
There are many factors that are involved in the decision whether to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, such as:
- The skyrocketing cost of childcare
- The pandemic forcing schools to temporarily close
- Being the “breadwinner” of the family with a higher salary
- Having a spouse who works long hours
- The fulfillment of being home with the kids
- The fulfillment in progressing in your career
- Having children with special needs
There isn’t a “right” answer, though. And there is no need for the “mommy wars.”
Stay-at-home moms work just as hard as working moms, and working moms love and care for their children just as much as stay-at-home moms. The divide is narrowing, and women are becoming more empowered to achieve their goals at work and in the home. The societal attitude is shifting as people become less judgmental about stay-at-home parents versus working parents.
Children of both working mothers and stay-at-home mothers can thrive. So whether you currently work or stay at home to raise your children, you deserve to be appreciated and honored. You are doing an amazing work, mama.
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.