Saturday, April 7, 2007


So lately I've been thinking a lot about the whole stay at home vs. working mom controversy, and I wanted to throw this concept out to see what everyone thinks. At first I started writing this blog, and it started to become ridiculously long as I tried to explain every little thought I had so that I wouldn't offend anyone. The idea of this post isn't to offend people whose views are different than mine, because I actually really would like to hear other people's views on this matter.
So what am I, a working mom or stay at home mom? I am not exactly sure. I think that I would consider myself to be a mainly stay at home mom who works very part time. I actually have to admit that I like working a little bit. It feels good to make a tiny bit of extra money every month that doesn't have to go towards bills, and I feel like I get to personally grow and develop from the jobs I am doing (as a person and a mom). I also feel refreshed when I pick Sofia up after leaving her for 4 hours, although I have to admit that in the 10-15 hours a week that I work right now, I am at the point where I feel balanced but I don't want to add a lot more to my schedule.
For me, I guess a main thing that I am working on right now is balance. If I do not feel balanced mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally, I am not a happy camper, and when I am not a happy camper, I am not as nice of a wife, mother, friend, sister.. etc as I would like to be.
I have to admit that everyonce in a while a get stressed when I think about careers, when I see some of my friends who are well established in what they are doing. I also realize that I am at a totally different point in my life where family and babies are my main focus. My kids will only be little once.. and I really only have one chance to spend time with my kids when they are in those critical years. I also am still young, and I have many many working years ahead of me.

So should women have to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan? I guess my personal answer at this moment in my life is that I would like to bring home enough bacon to treat myself to a haircut everyonce in awhile without feeling guilty or to have fun in Honduras this summer, and as for frying it up in a pan.. only if I am having a good day where I don't feel nautious. I would really like to hear from other people on this matter. For those of you who are staying home or for those who work either part or full time, how do you try to keep balance in your lives? I realize that for many women, there is a great financial need to work, but I also know as a person who piddles too much money, that babies don't necessarily have to cost a ton. Also, my other question is.. can women really have it "all", or does something have to give? Any feedback or comments would be welcome. I am not opening this up so that people can judge each other, because every circumstance is different (and women can be so hard on each other as it is), but just to see what people think.


Amanda said...

I too find the whole 'working vs. stay at home mom' thing very confusing. As someone who WILL be going back to work 4 months after the baby is born, I have mixed feelings as well. I think that I will love staying at home 4 months over the summer, but then again when I talk to people at work, they do enjoy working at times to 'get away' from the kids. I think either way you feel guilt. As a stay at home mom you may get frustrated more easily and find yourself enjoying time with your kids less and yet if you work away from home, you feel that you are "missing out" on life's everyday treasures. Maybe I will have more to contribute once the baby comes! Any day now.

Lyn-z said...

Very interesting topic Kara! I like this one!
I think this is a very challenging issue today. As a single woman, no kids, and only a job I find it challenging to have a balance in life as well. It's easy to get off balance when you have a career, and no-one waiting at home who you are solely responsible for (other than yourself) because it's too easy (for me) to rationalize putting my career before myself. My theory about it all though, is that being a working mom, especially a part-time one, is fine as long as you aren't putting your family into poverty by staying home. As for being a stay at home mom vs. having a full-time career, I would say that you can always have that ambitious career later on. Most jobs, other than TV anchors, can wait until a person finishes being a stay at home mom. Especially with the trend being (right now) that a person will probably have 3 careers before they retire. This makes it less awkward for a woman entering her career in her 40s, at least compared to the 80s when being a working woman/mom became more common.
I hope too that this doesn't offend anyone! I'm not always as objective as I used to be. But I loved this topic! Couldn't resist!

belinda said...

funny you should mention this. two of my female co-workers and i have just discussed this issue. now mind you we each have about 27 years working for the same company. We've each had different struggles. They feel like they've cheated there children. But guess what?? They both have raised 2 wonderful productive children. I believe I have also or am in the process of. The company we work for is not tolerant at all about our family needs. We have to be to work as scheduled. Too bad if your child is sick or has some type of emergency. We've had to deal with it. Since my kids were born I've had someone come into the house and take care of things. Sounds wonderful? It is except for the fact that you have to get used to having a stranger around. Adjust to things being done different. These other woman had to deal with getting there little ones up early and taking them to a babysitter and finding childcare when things go bad.

I feel its necessary to work nowadays. It takes two incomes. It really does.Do you know how much an education cost. There was a time when that wasn't the case but those days are gone. I want more for my family. I don't want to live like a pauper in my retirement years. So I WORK. GOTTA THINK ABOUT TOMORROW.

Besides I think going to work on a daily basis help me keep sane. I think if I were home every day someones life would be in jeopardy. What could you do with the children without having the extra cash?


Kara's Blog said...

Thanks for your responses lady. I like how we already have 3 different experiences and perspectives. Belinda, it will be interesting when kids get older and more expensive. Lessons, classes.. all those things that cost that really add up. With 6 kids, I wonder how my parents were able to pay for lessons and all of those expensive things.. I am going to ask my mom about that. Also, living off of one income might be a lot harder in southern california than it is in Oregon. I consider the area we will live in to be pretty expensive, but nothing compares to california. I know that life circumstances change and so do family needs, but I hope that I am able to stay with my kiddos as long as I can. I am sure that the older all of my kids get, the more I will start working, but it will be a while before I have all of my kids in school (considering I haven't had them all yet). Being at home can definitely be emotionally exhausting, and that is why it is so important to have that balance of hobbies, a small job, or time for yourself everyonce in awhile to rejuvenate.

Marianne said...

Funny you bring this up. In our world where the American dream is the big house, 2 cars, lots of clothes, Starbucks, plasma TV's, direct TV, and shopping as a past time, it's no wonder people must work 2 jobs. Credit cards must be used and debt piles up. I thought that was the way to go. Then I had my son. I chose a job that allowed the time and schedule I needed. I chose to live much simpler. The result is being with my son. I didn't chose to have him to be raised by another person so I could work to pay for that person and the big dream house. Without judging anyone else I feel sorry for people who are trapped in the lifestyle where they have to work instead of being with their child. I know bills have to get paid, so I made drastic sacrifices to live the way I do and I love it. I am there to watch him discover and learn about the world and I cannot think of a greater gift to give my family. Oh and I'm not some crazy hippie ugly mom who never leaves the house and hates women who work. Everybody has to do what they feel is right.

E said...

I'm really happy that I'm a woman and could have the choice! My husband jokes all the time about wanting to be a stay-at-home dad (he's never taken care of a child and really just wants to train for triathlons full time, pulling/pushing kids along with him). But he wouldn't ever do it because it is so out of cultural/social/religous norms that he will always feel responsible for providing for his family. I'm happy that I don't have that worry! I'm not saying that we don't need my income right now- I guess I just don't feel the burden of providing for a family.

Kara's Blog said...

I think that Chris wishes that he could be with Sofia more. Yesterday he had parent teacher confernces, so by the time he got home, she was already asleep. It makes him so sad in the morning when she cries when he leaves. Thank goodness for teacher summers where we know that we will all spend a lot of time together. One thing, however, that you can tell Eric.. is that he may have very little time to do any extra goals or things for himself if he were at home a lot with kids. I think it it is important to try to take time for yourself still, but there are days that pass when I don't even really have time to clean my house (that won't surprise anyone who goes to my house on a regular basis), because I am exporing the world Sofia style. I also agree that it would be very stressful to be a man and worry about providing for your family.

Marianne,you are a good reminder to me of keeping life simple. I think that it is so important. I know that there are many things I could improve upon.. like following an actual budget at the grocery store. Someone told me that if you are going to spend money, that it should be on creating memories.. and not just on accumulating things that won't matter in the end. As Chris and I are looking at having to pay for a root canal for me (which by the way will cost way more out of my pocket than having Sofia!), and also for a new baby, we are really talking about ways that we need to simplify our lives and cut out things that we don't need. I think that it is too common now for people to expect to have all of the things at a young age that most people have to work years for. It is the instant gratification time. Sometimes it is so important to step back and prioritize what things in your life really matter!!