Mom Wars: The Stay At Home Mom Vs. The Working Mom

Something unusual happened the other day, something I don’t usually do.

Recently I became friends with the owner of a page called “Crazy Bitch Society”– that’s not the weird part. She wanted to run a contest to win a signed copy of my book- but that’s not the weird part either. The weird part is that the contest was for people to suggest blog ideas for me and I pick the one that I want to write about. Why is that weird? I’ve never written that way before. I took a journalism class in high school but dropped it quickly because I have trouble writing about what other people tell me to. I’ve always been a “write what pops into my head” kind of gal for better or for worse.

I gotta tell ya- it was hard to pick a winner- but one sparked something in me that has been dormant for a long time.
“being a stay at home mom isn’t as stressful as working”. I think it’s MORE stressful and here’s why.. First
 of all it’s not healthy to spend 24/7 with any other person and never get a minute to yourself, and I have two (one named HOLDEN!). Second, at work, all you have to do us do your job and your boss typically leaves you be. With children, you can nurture, love and entertain them till the cows come home but they can STILL whine and fuss as if you haven’t done your job today. Third, it’s one thing to deal with whining and screaming and then go to work, but to hear it all say for days on end, there is no way that’s healthy for the human psyche. Plus I haven’t dealt with adults in so long and I’m use to children being the only things without common sense, whenever I do encounter adults I’m very impatient with stupidity and I snap a lot more. Doing the same thing every day and bight, especially when that thing is listen to crying whiny boogers, it can mess a person up.”

Now before anyone gets all huffy- let’s take a step back. As a stay at home mom, I get where she’s coming from. I understand the frustrations- and I also know it is a HARD unrelenting job with no scheduled breaks. What I REALLY get is the frustration stay at home moms feel when working moms make light of what we do compared to what they do.
There is this e-card that always goes around and EVERY time I see it, it pisses me off:

That shit right there nearly sends me into a blind rage every time it circulates through my newsfeed. But probably not for all the reasons you might think.
What I’m tired of- what I’m the most angry about is that MOM WARS are still going on. It’s like the babylympics but instead of bragging about the shit you claim your kid can do at an age much younger than all of the charts and scales say they “should”- now it’s pitting mothers against each other for who has the hardest day. Who should be able to have the heavyweight belt at the end of a long week. Who works the most, is more tired- or who even is ALLOWED to be more tired. 
And I know it comes from both ends. And both ends are both right and wrong.
Stay at home moms stay at home. They might not have to get dressed at the crack of dawn- but they have to get up and take care of however many kids they have. Maybe take some to school, maybe keep some at home. All day long dealing with tantrums and food refusal and gigantic messes and booboos and shit accidents. You know those sour patch commercials where that little freaky looking thing beats the shit out of someone and then snuggles up next to them so all is forgiven- even though the person has a black eye and a bloody lip? That is what staying at home with kids is like. There’s no one else to really talk to- there are no real breaks- and they don’t get paid. Ever. There are no sick days or vacation days or lunch breaks or bathroom breaks (not alone anyway.) It’s manual labor all day every day. Is it rewarding? Absolutely- but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean it’s not completely and wholly exhausting. And staying home with the kids doesn’t mean sitting around eating popcorn all day while the kids throw legos at each other’s heads. And I personally found one kid more overwhelming than two. It’s the mommy show- ALL the time.
Working moms (even just part time) don’t have it easy either. First, you have to find daycare. Then, if you don’t get it for free- you have to afford it. Which comes out of your ass. So you’re going to work- a job most people need to get by- and leaving your kids and not getting to spend as much time with them, while you’re paying a large lump of that money you’re making to someone else to spend time with the kids. I’m not a working mom, I’ve never been one- but in my mind, having to leave my kids- even if I CRAVE the mental break, would be incredibly hard to do. To have to work all day at a job maybe they like, maybe they don’t- with people that maybe they like, maybe they don’t- and the stress of getting shit done on time, only to have to come home and make dinner and feed the kids and only get a few hours with them (some of which I’m sure is spent with them being a-holes)- only to wake up and do it all over again. Some even work nights and try to get some sleep in during the day, and not always successfully. 
Honestly, I’m just exhausted thinking about it. We’re ALL exhausted. We may have all had different days with different hours, full of different kinds of attitudes and maturity levels- but we’re ALL tired. 
We get so little time that is actually OURS- just ours; time that doesn’t belong to thinking about work or kids or meals or all of the gazillion things we have to do in the little time we have to do it in- why are we wasting the precious time we DO have thinking about how the other side has it so much easier that we must rub our hard work in their faces? Why? 
Don’t we ALL have better things to be doing? Like… thinking about a lovely alcoholic beverage or sinful dessert or SLEEP. I quite enjoy thinking about sleep- far more than I like someone assuming that just because I’m a stay at home mom, I do nothing all day and that it isn’t hard- and I’m sure working moms feel the same way.
Maybe you didn’t want to go back to work but had to for money. Maybe you wanted to go back to work because you liked your job or needed the “break”, maybe you couldn’t go back to work even though you wanted to because daycare is too expensive. Maybe you wanted to stay home. Maybe you didn’t. None of that makes a difference! None of that makes anyone better or any more hardworking or a better parent than anyone else. It’s ALL HARD. All of it! No matter how you swing it. Hard.
MOTHERHOOD IS NOT A COMPETITION. Shit. Can’t we just accept that and move on already? I’m hungry!
Posted on January 18, 2013 by Holdin' Holden 7 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • I agree 1000%. I was a stay at home mom for 19 years. Now I am a working mom. Both situations are very hard. I have at least 18 years for ny youngest of seven goes to college, so I’m thinking in 35 years I can retire from work and semi-retire from motherhood. I sure hope I make it to 75 to enjoy it.

  • AMEN!! Thank you!! I have been on both sides of the fence, and no matter how Ive faced it… a mom is a mom… and no matter what? Im getting Grey hair. LOL Be it in a workplace, or at home with the kids!!

  • I’ve done both. I have a very strong opinion based on personal experience with both sides of the issue – BUT – I’m not going to share it in this venue for the very reason you stated. My experience is not anyone else’s experience. I hate the fact that I feel muzzled on this topic simply because other people have used my position on the topic as a means to belittle people who hold a different position on the topic. Why do we have to beat up on each other? Sometimes I think women are more oppressive of other women than men are. Being a mom is hard work. period.

  • I’m a working mom, and it is incredibly difficult. I’d stay home if I could, but as a single mom, that isn’t an option for me. But these stay-at-home versus working moms competitions bother me. My best friend (practically my sister) is a stay-at-home mom and her problems are every bit as stressful as mine are, just in different ways. We both daydream of actual sleep and someone else having to clean the house. And, in regards to daycare, I will never allow a stranger to watch my kid again, certified or not.

  • I agree wholeheartedly! I also have been on both sides and both are exhausting…Along with this argument, I loath the Single parent vs dual parent argument…Ish being a parent is hard, regardless if there are one or two adults in the home…Again both have advantages and disadvantages

  • I’m a stay-at-home mom that also home schooled three kids (one autistic). Wouldn’t have wanted it any other way and we ALL benefited from it!

  • 100% with you.

    A good mother does what she has to do for the well being of her child(ren).

    Whether it be stay at home with them, or go to work.

    The ones who gripe about which is “harder” are obviously the ones who think that they deserve an award for just being a “good parent”.

    I don’t do it for the FAME. You know with the papparrazzi hammering down my door…

    I do it because my son needs me to, and no one else is going to do it for him.

    It’s my responsibility, and I love to do it.