(I wrote this a couple years ago for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It is one of my favs.)
Whether you know it or not, there is a great underground debate about which mom is the best and which is the best for the kids. Are working moms better than stay-at-home moms? Or vice versa?
I've always been a working mom but there have been many moments that I wanted to just be a stay-at-home mom; Ahhh, the simplicity! The way I figure it, it would make my life much easier because I do everything a stay at home mom does plus I work. So wouldn't it be much easier to just be a stay-at-home mom? I would have plenty of time to get groceries, housework, fill out the required 500 pages of daycare and school forms, meal planning and preparation...heck, I would even have time to make homemade bread if I wanted to! Or at the very least a homemade meal rather than the ever delicious hamburger helper or cereal for dinner.
Just when I'm wishing I were a stay at home mom the weekend starts and I have two full glorious days with my children. Throughout the course of the weekend I have been asked, "mom, will you wipe my butt" on approximately 4-5 occasions; to which I reply, "wipe your own butt!!", but then grudgingly go and do it anyway because I know what the result will look like if I don't. I have spent most of my day feeding children and cleaning up after feeding; cleaning the floor from spills; refereeing fist fights and hair pulling; giving time-outs; ignoring temper tantrums; soaking soiled underwear; wiping food from faces, hair, and clothes; yelling, threatening, and swearing (under my breath); wiping booger noses; wiping boogers and crayon marks off the couch; chasing our dogs down the street in my pajamas because the kids let them out (again), yelling and swearing at them to come back while the neighbors are all watching crazy mom in her finest hour; calling my family elders and asking them why didn't they tell me this having kids thing was so hard; and wondering why Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee aren't knocking on my door??? Did I mention it is now Sunday evening and I haven't had time to shower yet this weekend? Thank goodness I no longer have to deal with diapers or bottles!
I remember the days before potty training when I would look at the toileting board at daycare to see if my child pooped during the day and would cheer silently when she had because chances were good I wouldn't have to deal with any poopy diapers that evening. It always made me feel like I was getting my moneys worth!
Needless to say, by Sunday night I am so happy to be going back to work. I see work as a vacation, an oasis, my haven, quit time. It is right about now I wonder how the stay at home mom does it? To be able to stay home with your children is a wonderful thing and I give the moms that do it a lot of credit! I also give a lot of credit to the working moms; it's not always easy to juggle it all. Then I think of the single moms out there. I go crazy and I have the help of my husband. I couldn't imagine doing it all by myself. Single moms are amazing! I'll also give honorable mention to the ever growing stay-at-home-dad.
So who wins? Who is the best? I have to say it is a tie. Being a mom is a tough job no matter what, and the kids can turn out good whether they go to daycare or stay home. A child will turn out great as long as they are loved and nurtured. So all you nutty moms out there that think your great because you stay home or you go to work, just relax, stop judging people and go give your kid a hug. What is right for one person is not always right for others.
Being a great mom actually has nothing to do with whether or not you work or stay home with your child. Being a great mom is about patience, a calm presence, and love. If you feel and show love and appreciation for your child on a daily basis you are a great mom. It doesn't matter if your house is a little messy or you forgot to pack fruit in the lunchbox. Those little things do not have staying power with your children. What do you remember of your mother? Do you remember the small things that don't matter or do you remember if she gave you hugs and kisses, played games with you, or acted in a calm manner.
My mom was a working mom at times and a stay-at-home mom at times, but I don't remember that at all. What I remember is that she always gave me hugs and showed me in so many other ways, on a daily basis, that she loved me. The beauty of being a mother lies within the love that we give. So stay home or work, I don't care. Just give your children lots of love!
Lisa Karen text here ...