Monday, November 17, 2014

Working mom or Stay-at-home mom, why does it have to be a “vs.”?

One of my fellow single-parent now blended family friends posed this question—how do you handle the “burden” of being a working mom—when the Ex is guilting you for working rather than staying home to take care of the little one?

My response:  It's such a balance...and some days I feel guilty that I wasn't around more for DD2 as I was for DD1--I was out due to disability for many months, then part time after a year...but I knew that I had to work to support my family, I was the main breadwinner. My mom was a working mom, so I guess I inherited that from her.

Shame on your ex for making you feel guilty about it. It's only his projection on being a deadbeat with no job and no means to support his kids. (He has a well-documented and extensive history of drug use, psychological abuse, and physical abuse with my single mom friend—thank goodness she is out of that relationship!)

The working mom v. SAHM is an ongoing discussion with no clear "winners" or "losers" in the eyes of mainstream media. But the way I see it, we all "win" because our family dynamic is the one that works for us.

I don't know if this is helpful--but looking back on it, I know one of the reasons I was able to leave our abuser was because of the role modeling of my working mom. I don't know how she did it, but she supported our family, had dinner on the table at 6, all while holding down an engineering job that also included business trips now and again (babysitter hired). But the working mom clearly rubbed off on me, and that somehow, deep down, it instilled the 'normalization' of being a working mom, and to be financially independent, and although i nearly lost my house due to the divorce....i survived. Because of my mom. I never had work troubles (knock on wood), in fact work was the one saving grace because it was the one stable element in the most unstable times of my private life. 

So right now you are sharing your baby girl’s time with day time caregivers, but you get all the snuggly evenings and mornings and week ends and holidays. And maybe you are instilling that same sense of confidence and financial independence just by being your bada$$ working self.

(And by the way, by not working doesn't mean you are any less bad a$$, and if it ever does turn out you can stay at home while babygirl and your toddler boy are young, that would be awesome!!!)

I'm merely saying--every family does what it takes to survive and thrive. and the way you are thriving and surviving is just fine. Shame on exie for making you feel bad.

And further, shame on people for making others feel “bad” about their choices to work, stay at home, or do some version of both.  We live in the damn 21st century, why haven’t we moved on from judging the choices women make for taking care of their families—seriously?


  1. Awesome post, Jane! You are so right. It's wonderful that your mother was such a great role model for you. You are for your girls now, too. The other thing too is that having a career can really help you during divorce. SAHMs have to reinvent their career in the event of a divorce and it isn't easy. My ex wanted me to work at MacDonald's after i left him.

    1. Thanks so much Lisa! :-) I do feel blessed in my mom's role modeling. And at the same time i totally empathize with the toll I've seen my fellow single moms (blended moms, too) take on--to completely turn their lives around at the result of divorce--go back to school, train, internships, job hunt. All while parenting, too. Amazing.

      p.s. and to your Ex, a big capital "W" for "WhatEVER"! :-) So glad you are in a much better place!!! :)

  2. OMG - are you sure we don't have the same ex? Mine is exactly the friggen same. Why wouldn't send my son to daycare when I was home with my daughter. Why don't I arrange my workday so I'm home when the kids get off the bus.

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    2. oops!! deleted my initial reply--thanks for reading!! and omg your ex is EVil, but we know he puts the GOB in the GOBlin king. :( actually, this particular ex is my friend's--was sharing what I said to bolster her up in the face of his ridiculous accusations. <3 we divorced moms really do have a lot in common. !!!