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Monday, June 15, 2009

Giving in.......

Here at MWOB, we're always a week late and a dollar short, but that's the way we rollllllllllllllllll over here and we are cool widdit.   

The parenting community has been a-buzzin' with all kinds of fascinating chitter-chat, articles, blog posts and the like about a new trend in mommy-ville where being a "bad" mother is now actually a "good" thing.  

All kinds of angles are being tossed about (check out this, and this, and this for starters) and the conversation is developing to be quite a compelling one because from my perspective, well, I'm living it.  I'm living smack-dab in the middle of the modern-day "good mother/bad mother" battle and I think any conversation that gets me out of my head and my routine of pure day-to-day survival is a good thing.  

So this week I've asked the women of MWOB to write from their perspective on the issue. I hope you're inspired to add to the conversation.

Written by Annie

Do you feel it? I mean, do you really feel it? Or are you able to just let it go? 

I'm talking about pressure. THE pressure. Pressure to be a good Mom. It is very easy to give in to the pressure, to change the way you do things or question how you parent or even how you are as a parent if you succumb to it.

I feel it. I live in the burbs. The burbs where over half of the moms stay home, drive SUV's and mini-vans, have perfectly bobbed hair and 3.2 kids. They work out, without sweating, and keep Mommy calling cards in their purse. I choose to have a bob and an SUV, but I try to do my own thing. Me and my 2.0 kids, that is.

I'm going back to work in August. When I told my neighbors some of them asked if my husband's job was in jeopardy. It isn't. No one could understand why I would WANT to go back to work, to get in the groove, to earn some money and exercise my mind in a different way. 

I'm just not that mom.......that mom who ROCKS at being at home. Who juggles it all and does it well. I'm thankful for the time off and on over the years I have stayed home. I've reveled in the moments I got to capture with my girls I may have not gotten to otherwise. But the day in day out of being home has always been a challenge to me. I don't do it without flaws or headaches...and I don't really care! 

I own it. It's a mixed bag for me. 

So the pressure to wait out my youngest heading to full-day kindergarten in a year is not even felt by me. I'm doing what is best for my family. You see, she and I, we are not the homebodies, so we are both ecstatic to be going to "school" full-time next year. And what will I be doing that had my neighbors so perplexed? Teaching. Yes, I'm a teacher.

Why do they feel like I'm maybe not doing the right thing? I'm not sure. I think once a "trend" starts, its harder to
not join in than it is to join in. Staying home with your kids in my area is what is expected, at least until they start full day school. And even then, many of them will still stay home. Kudos to them. I'd be 400 pounds and have one of every item Target offers if I did. I just don't think they understand why I CHOOSE to leave my kids when I don't have to. But I'm used to that age old debate.

So, I feel it. I feel it when I choose what activities my kids will be in (the ones they want, not me) and where we will vacation, and what PTA committees I should join. But I feel it roll off my back even more. And I try not to put it out there. 

I say if you do what is best for your family and for yourself, who cares if you don't bake the cookies?

Class is dismissed,


  1. I've done it both ways, Annie. I've stayed home full time, and worked full time.

    And I'll tell ya...they're both equally difficult, equally important, equally rewarding, and unfortunately...equally judged.

    Hats of to you for just doing what YOU know is best for your family.

  2. I'm with Sass. I say, as long as you don't chain your kids in the basement, I support anyone who does what's best for their own, individual family. Sounds like you've got it going on.

    I have friends who know for a fact, and I agree, that they are better mothers because they work (outside the home - how PC ;-). I often think that that might be me as well, but SAHM I am, for now.

    And I'm pretty sure I'm not going to hell, and my boys aren't going to end up in jail.

    Well, a mother can hope.

  3. As I've said, I've done both and both have their positives. The best for me would be part time.Unfortunately, high schoolers go to school full time.Well, they are supposed to! LOL

  4. I took a year off after I had my first, but not by choice. I planned on going back to work when he was 3 months old.

    I'm lucky though, as a nurse I can work the 3-11 shift. I get a baby sitter for the few hour lapse between me going to work and Daddy getting home. The kids get much needed Daddy 1:1 time, he rock the dinner/bath/bedtime routine... I thinks he's better at it than I am anyway...

    I'd lose my mind if I couldn't get out of the house a few nights a week.

  5. It's so true that each individual family (and MOM) has their very own best. To compare to the trends in any way is just plain defeating.

    The perfectly coiffed non-sweating moms out there are just as flawed as the rest of us, it's just that many moms are afraid to admit that. We're all "good" and "bad" at the same time, all the time.

    When a mom can recognize what's best for her and her family, that's real bravery. Especially when it goes against the "norm" of the culture around them.

    So kudos. You know yourself and your girls, and that means YOU ROCK.

  6. I like working. I just do. I'd like to be working doing other things some days....but I'm a better working mom then I would be a stay at home mom. It's just who I am and luckily enough Lexi loves me just the way I am. Where we moved the Mom's are die hard SAHM'ers - god bless em but I just don't have it in me.

  7. Like many others, I've done both - full time and SAHM. I work VERY part-time now and it's perfect for us. All have their rewards and challenges and you are SO RIGHT - you make the decision that is best for your family. Everyone will survive and flourish no matter what. I've never understood why women fight about this working or not working - I think we should support one another in our choices!!!!!

  8. I keep thinking that a part-time job outside of the house would be great for me but I just can't bring myself to give-up weekends and nights with my husband to make $8-10 an hour at Target or Barnes and Noble (or something like it).

    I do feel the pressure though, especially from my mother-in-law. (but she still hasn't come to terms with us having one child let alone the idea of me going back to work one day.)

  9. i don't know... this is a weird one for me. i feel the pressure in the air all around me, but not really about staying, or not staying, home. in my necks of the woods, there really is a very even distribution of workers and non-workers. moms who had high powered and high paying jobs choosing to stay home. moms with crappy low paying jobs having to work to help defray the exorbitant cost of living here in the d.c. suburbs. Military moms (those who ARE the parent in the military, not to be confused with military WIFE) and Military wives. the pressure is more about the kids. whose are going further, whose are more athletic, whose are going to the best school. i am not sure why we all give ourselves a break on the working vs. non-working debate, but we seem to.

    the other thought that occurs to me as i read this is the fact that what we see and what really exists are two very different things A LOT of the time. some of those perfect moms don't have such perfect home lives. i think they hope that if they have the "good" label, no one will be the wiser. this is SORT OF off topic, but i keep thinking about the coverage of the dad who strangled his wife and two kids in their beds, and everyone was all, "oh they didn't seem to have any problems. the wife never complained about any cheating, they were very religious, she was a devoted stay at home mom"... a lot of good that did her, huh?

  10. Wow - well done Annie! I'll take your class anytime.

    I think it all comes down to COMPARING our lives with one another. Really, what purpose does that serve - but we all do it. And why? Why? I know I'm guilty of it in so many ways. Comparing children, schools, jobs, husbands etc. And I know I shouldn't and I know it doesn't do anyone any good. Ok ... I need to STOP comparing. It's not a race! Thanks for the lesson Annie.

    Hey I actually think this would be a good topic word Lee ... comparisons or comparing or something like that.

  11. Annie, I love this work angle because it is something I have truly struggled with over the years in my career in television production. It is not a kid-friendly career as the hours are too long and most employers are simply not understanding to the sometime "surprises" (sick, school stuff) that having kids brings. So it's been really hard to keep one foot in my former identity and one foot in home. I have been more at home recently and it's funny because I feel like I'm being a "better" mom if I'm at home with the kids instead of spending long hours away from them. Even when I'm yelling and screaming at them, I think "Oh, it's better than me NOT being here." Hmmmmm.......that's something to think about.

    Anyway - I think we are all seeking balance. Isn't that what it is? BUt it's so damn hard to find....

    Kids tend to tip the scale....don't ya think?

  12. It's so amazing that we are all still so worked up with this topic - maybe the debate will continue to the end of time, but I hope not. I love that you brought this up, Annie, because it is true, we as moms KNOW that raising our children is TOUGH and we all know that its the most important job we'll ever have - regardless if we have another job outside of the home or not.
    No mother should ever judge another until they live in that persons shoes EVERY SINGLE DAY. And we need to bolster each other up, not talk about each other in any way but positive and supportive (is that unrealistic??).
    We had a kindergarten teacher at our school who used to say in the beginning of the year parent/teacher conferences..."Let's agree from the beginning...Promise you won't believe everything your child comes home to tell you about me and I will promise not to believe everything your child comes to school telling me about you!" :)
    Kudos to TEACHERS - you rock Annie! Good luck in the fall!


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