"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Having It All

>> Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So yesterday Oprah had a show that was billed as "Stay at Home Moms vs Working Moms". (Yes, I sometimes watch Oprah- and even Dr. Phil- if the topic seems relevant. No, I don't watch it "live" unless I am doing dishes, folding laundry or prepping dinner. TiVo rocks. And no, I don't watch soap operas. And, for the record, I don't do bon-bons but I do love a rich, dark chocolate truffle.)

Ahem... So anyway, she had on SAHMs and working moms. And all had good points on their decisions. It was the two women at the very end of the show who really got my attention, though. Both are moms and made their "big" decision 10 years ago. One chose to work, one to stay home. And both, after 10 years, had regrets about their decisions.

The working mom had regrets of missing big moments- first steps, lost teeth, first words.
The SAHM had regrets about "losing herself" and focusing only on her children for so long.

I completely understood the working mom's statement. I can not imagine missing the girls' childhood. I can't imagine not being with them day in and day out. Even when I feel like I am at the end of my rope I know that this time will be gone in a blink and I will miss it.

The SAHM's regret of "losing herself" struck me as odd, though. I understand letting yourself go (today I am still in lounging pants and a tank top... and will be until I go to bed) and focusing on your children (today we watched Toy Story 2, played with an alphabet puzzle & read books) but I don't understand giving up hobbies or friends (unless, of course, they are bad hobbies and friends; by all that is holy, get rid of those!) because you are a SAHM. I like to think that I am more than a mommy...

Doug and I made a very conscience choice when we had children that we would raise them and not pay someone else to do so. I doubt that I join the work force again until Caelan reaches college age. Why? Because I want to be the available parent. I want to be the room mother, the mom that's at every game, dance recital and PTA meeting. I want to be there exactly when they need me because you may not get a second chance to answer that question, see the winning goal or dry their tears when their first boyfriend breaks up with them. Do I think less of those who make a different choice? No, those people have different priorities or needs than we do. Do I wonder about their priorities? Sometimes, yes. But it is not for me to judge.

So... Can you have it all? I think yes- but not at the same time. I plan to have a long and healthy life and to do and be everything I desire. I may not be able to do it all at once but I certainly plan to do it all.

13 comments:

MonkeyDragon 6:38 PM  

Can you have it all? I think yes- but not at the same time.

MonkeyDragon 6:39 PM  

oops - meant to quote that and say:

I agree -

jbutson 7:41 PM  

Very poignant; Doug's a lucky man.

CCHuff 8:27 PM  

You can have it all; you just have to decide what you want and when. I don't regret for one minute that Iwas at home until my youngest started school and sometimes regret that I went to work then,but it was a necessity at that point. I still miss having my kids around all the time.

Bob 8:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
aka_Meritt 7:52 AM  

It was interesting you said they both thought they made the wrong choice 10 years down the road.

I'm thinking maybe it's a case of "the grass is always greener" or "always doubting yourself".

As you know, I did both. And for the record, I think America's children would be better behaved and less medicated if more Moms stayed home with their children.

Jodi 9:57 AM  

I stay home. I love my decision and would never want to do it any other way.

I think each family has to choose what works best for them.

But I also have to agree with Merritt. Kids today would be much better off if they all had parents who stayed home and were engaged in their lives.

Jody 3:22 PM  

"Bob"- I know that you deleted your comment but it comes through the Blogger email. In no way have I said anything negative about working mothers. I know your circumstances and applaud you for the choices you have made to provide a better life for your son. We are in no way "money laden" although Doug provides quite well there are many things that we do without so I can stay home. Luckily I am a very frugal person and can stretch money. Nor did I say that I have it all right now. I think you can have it all- just not all at one time.

The Kept Woman 10:06 PM  

I think it's the age old addage...the grass is always greener. Not that I want to go to work but I do miss the social interaction on a professional level (and I think my new neighbors would think I was a total freak if I showed up at their houses with my old software on which to train them) but I can't imagine hearing about my kids' firsts from my sitter either...

David Kasper 10:09 PM  

I am not a father yet, but will be some day. Both my wife and I agree that our kids should be raised by us, instead of the daycare.

My wife used to have a daycare in our home, when i was in college, and I remember we had to convince the little girl my wife's name was "mammi" (real name Jamie) instead of "mommy".

I would rather regret focusing on my child than to regret being there for my children.

-David

MonkeyDragon 5:11 PM  

I agree with Mer -

I do have friends that have great jobs that have flowed with the kids - part time, from home etc. - but it is tough having two full time jobs ;)

Jennifer 11:32 AM  

I couldn't imagine going off to work every day while my child is in the care of someone else. I do however sometimes need to make some extra time for me. To just get out of the house for an hour or two and let the chaos be quiet for a little bit.

If I did work, I'd be sad that I'd miss all that, but at the same time I guess I'd be happy knowing that I'm providing material things for them... cause to me, that's what I'd be working for just the money right? But then again to me... material things mean nothing compared to a snuggle on the couch for a few hours watching Elmo's world and Blues clues...

It's a tough decision, one I'm happy to make to be a SAHM. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Freddy 4:45 PM  

My wife and I made the decision that she would stay at home to look after the kids. Well, they are 10 and 8 years old now and the wife has just started being a lunchtime supervisor at the primary school that they attend. (We call it a "dinner lady" here). It's only an hour or so a day, but she loves it. She says that she's talking to grown ups again. I say that she can't be, working in a school. (Joke) No, I'm pleased for her.

By the way, hasn't Brenna grown since last time I looked and youv'e had another one. Belated congrats.

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