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Working Moms vs. Stay at Home Moms

Arm Wrestling WomenToday, we’re going to settle the debate once and for all.

Who is the better mother?

We’re all familiar with the talking points, I assume.

“SAHMs are all-in. They’re more involved, they volunteer more time, and have closer relationships with their kids.”

“Working moms are inspiring. They serve as role models to their children, and they teach their kids to be responsible and independent.”

This isn’t a subject you’re likely to hear two people discussing happily over coffee, in case you didn’t know. People tend to have really strong feelings on the issue, and they’ll defend them like rabid wolves.

And as much as each side thinks they’ve got the moral high ground, they’re equally certain the other side has an easier ride.

“At least working moms get to take a break from their kids,” argue the stay-at-home crowd. “As a SAHM, I’m on assignment 24/7/365. There are no lunches with co-workers, no peaceful office hours, not a single moment where my kids aren’t demanding my attention.”

The working moms have a strong counter-point to this argument. “I’ve got to get up at 5:00 AM just to get myself ready,” they say. “Then I have to wake the kids and get them ready, drive them to daycare, drive to work, put in a full day, then do the whole operation in reverse. It must be nice to be able to spend all day with your kids, especially while they’re napping!”

So who really has the title of “Best Parent in the Business?”

Before we open the envelope, let me offer up a quick narrative.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, the idea of staying home with him for entire year was so exciting. I was sure I was going to love it. But like many things in parenting, reality was a lot different than I had imagined.

About six months in, I thought I might throw myself off a bridge if I had to endure one more play date or walk to the park.

I was miserable.

After I made the decision to go back to work, I spent less time with him, certainly, but the time we did spend together was so much more upbeat. I had more spark, more vibrancy, and a much more positive energy to me.

I’d say we laughed more and had more fun together in the fewer hours we spent together than we did when we were together all the time.

Sure, I have days where I have been gone from morning till night and I have to admit that on those days I do feel a twinge of guilt. But I remind myself of two things…

  1. I am a role model for my children and when they see that I’m successful and happy, I think that provides a valuable life lesson.
  1. I am a better mother when I’m comfortable and content with my life, and working provides me with that satisfaction.

So who’s the better mother? Invariably, it’s the one who is doing what she wants to do.

If you’re able to stay at home with your kids, and that’s what makes you happy, then don’t waste your energy listening to people who try to tell you how, “Harvard studies have shown that working mothers have more successful kids due to their blah blah blah.” If it works for you, it’ll work for your kids.

On the flip side, if you feel that your career is an essential part of your identity, and you’re comfortable with the conditions that come with being a working mom, then don’t let anyone guilt you into feeling like an inadequate parent.

After all, as parents, we’re all working 24/7/365. We’re either working to provide for our kids financially, or we’re working to raise them. Whenever we’re away from them, they’re on our minds, and when they’re around, we make an effort to inspire, educate, and motivate them.

Nobody gets days off, and it’s a permanent position.

worlds_greatest_mom_mugSo the clear winner in this contest is the Mom who does what’s right for her and her family. The one who makes her decision and feels good about it. She’s the best, the brightest, the proud titleholder of World’s Greatest Mom.

But I have it written on my coffee mug, so… y’know. Nyahhhh.


What’s that you say?

You want the best of BOTH worlds?

A satisfying career with great income potential… and the ability to spend as much time as you like with your family?

Well, assuming you love babies and are passionate about the importance of a good night’s sleep, I can totally help you with that!

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