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Both & Neither: The Mom Dilemma


As you know I’m a ‘working’ mom of 3 awesome kids.  Currently, they are 11, 9, & 7.  Two girlfriends and I were visiting the other morning on what we like to call “The Bridge”, a conference call that takes place most mornings while two of us drive to work, and one of us starts her morning with her two babies.

Topics range from silly to deep, high to low; we run the range, the full gamut, nothing is really sacred.  Like a plucked chicken in the sun, we’re exposed.  We tell each other how it is, and how it isn’t.  Everyone needs these kinds of people in their life. Everyone.

I digress. Point being, we were sharing and these are my thoughts on a recent topic:

I’ve been both a ‘working’ mom and a stay-at-home mom.  I use ‘working’ as a loose term–it’s ALL work.  If you say otherwise, you are probably male and ever-so-slightly Neanderthal-ish.  Just sayin’.

Though I’ve always done some sort of part-time work, I was mostly a ‘Momma’ to my kids when they were born until 4 years ago when I went back to work as an account manager for a technology company.

I know there’s always been a battle between “Who’s Got it Easier?” or “Who’s a Better Parent?”  So.  Once and for all, I’m going to settle it here.  The answer is simply:

BOTH and NEITHER.

They’re both hard.  Both rewarding.  Both demanding.  Both wonderful. Both a blessing. Both an opportunity to be great.

They’re also neither.  Neither is perfect.  Neither is appealing at times.  Neither easy.

As a stay-at-home mom, i was often made to feel overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, unappreciated and slightly batty by 3 sets of feet and hands that were needing something right away.

I looked forward to naptime.

As a working mom, I am often made to feel overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, often unappreciated, and yes, slightly batty by co-workers, bosses, or clients who need something right away.

I too look forward to naptime.

I know EXACTLY what stay-at-home moms are feeling:

  • Often, every day feels the same.
  • No one thanks you.
  • The bathroom. Me. Alone. Please. Just once.
  • You must draw from deep within your soul to produce magic with pipe cleaner and Tupperware lids.
  • How does a 2-year-old not know that you can’t drink the bath water?
  • Didn’t I JUST clean that?
  • Get dressed? Really? Why?
  • Stop farting on your brother, it’s driving ME crazy to hear him screaming.
  • No, I rode the bus for your first field trip, I would like to drive my own car for this one.
  • I beg of you:  Just be happy with the chicken nuggets today, you loved them yesterday!
  • For the LOVE OF MUD, non-leaking SIPPY CUPS are like UNICORNS–they do not exist!

And I know what working Mom’s are thinking:

  • I’m supposed to work 8 hours a day, but when do I get to buy groceries?
  • I must not hum the Dora song. Ever!
  • I just worked 8 hours and bought groceries, I’m supposed to cook something?
  • I can’t ride the bus for your field trip because I can’t go.
  • At least I don’t have to ride the bus. <silent cheer>
  • DON’T hum Barney either!
  • Remember when I just wanted a reason to get dressed? I take it back.
  • They mustn’t know I have gum in my hair.
  • Not only must I buy the cupcakes this time, but I need them delivered.
  • Falling asleep in 3.2 minutes flat–at any given time.
  • Waking to The List
  • Comfortable HIGH HEELS are like SIPPY CUPS and UNICORNS!

In summary, both have perks. Neither is perfect. And I believe there is humor and contentment to be found when the world of crayons finds its way into your 6-page proposal. No matter what though, one sweet hug and kiss goodnight from any one of mine and all is right in the world–as I drift off to sleep in 3.2 minutes……

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