The Dichotomy of Momming

According to feminist Julia Wilson, moms today face a dilemma: “stay at home  and sacrifice their family’s financial future, or work for pay and sacrifice the satisfaction of time with their children.”  I am by no means a mother, nor even a woman.  However, my mom worked for the period of time that I was growing up, and stayed at home for the time that my younger twin brother and sister were growing up, so I feel I can contribute to this issue with my personal experiences.

I grew up with two working parents.  My father, an attorney, commuted to work for several days each week.  My mother worked full time at the UN.  While they were at work I was taken care of by a nanny.  Personally, I don’t feel like I missed out on some sort of intimate bonding experience with my mom, nor do I feel like I experienced the cliche of the nanny filling the role as my mother figure.  Honestly, I wasn’t acutely aware of my parents being away from home most of the time.  If you are a mother considering staying home solely for fear of somehow damaging your kid by not being around, I’d advise you not to stress about that.  I think I turned out OK; so should your kid.

That’s not to say there aren’t benefits to being a stay-at-home mom (or dad).  You will probably end up closer with your children, as I have seen happen with my younger siblings.  If you enjoy spending all day with your kids and feel like you’d be missing out if you weren’t, by all means, stay-at-home momming or dadding is one of th most noble jobs you can have.  Keep in mind, though, it’s not easy.  You’re not giving up a job for a life of leisure; you’re giving up steady hours for being on call 24/7.  No sick days, few breaks, and no pay; it’s a tough job, but an extremely rewarding one.  Of course, I can’t speak from personal experience, but I’ve experienced this all second hand.

It’s tough to choose whether to work or stay at home with your kids.  When you look at it from a lose-lose perspective, it may seem overwhelming.  The way I see it, however, it’s a win-win: your kid(s) will probably turn out just fine either way as long as you’re a good parent, it’s just the matter of choosing to spend all day with them, or part of the day with them.

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