Sunday, May 27, 2007

Battle in my mind, SAHM vs. Career mom

This post will drag, it has been heavy on my heart and I feel I just didn't say it all in the last post. I am a very passionate person so this is an emotional write for me. First off I want to say to all my friends who chose to work with their kids in a child-care of one type or another, that I still love you and I know that the decisions that you made were well thought out and are what works best for you. I still love you and do not judge you, I respect your decisions. goes again... I have been thinking about this job I now have as a professional stay at home mom and the more thougt I have put into it the more important I have realized it is. In Ann's comment on the last post she mentioned that some moms just aren't cut out to be SAHM's. I do agree, absolutely!!! When there is alcohol abuse, physical abuse, drug abuse, or other forms of abuse or neglect in the home it is definitely better for the child to be elsewhere. But I still feel very strongly that in most cases it is better for the child if the mother(of father) is at home.
When I was a kid I grew up next to a daycare and the owner was a great lady, I loved to go over there and play with the kids. However, every morning there were kids crying for their mom's when dropped off and they would cry when it was time to leave because they wanted to stay.

Over the last few years I have been paying huge attention to the behavioral differences in children in day-care and those at home. My general observation (of course there are exceptions) is that the children that are in day-care are rowdier, louder and rougher, more demanding and fussier than those at home with their mom's day to day.
I have heard mom's say that it is the quality over quantity and it is making the most of the time you have with your child. However, a child does not understand that concept. They understand when their mom is there and when she is not.

Danielle Crittenden makes an excellent observation in What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us — that quality time with kids can’t be scheduled into a day.
Children want a mother’s presence, the knowledge that she will be there when they have a question or a story to tell — but quite often they simply want her to do her own work while they color and play with pals. And those memorable times — their first steps and words, their profound utterances of child wisdom, the moments of belly laughing together — happen at the most unexpected times during day-in, day-out living. The chances are much higher that a mother will miss out on them if she is working outside the home.

A mother's life is about sacrifices, giving up certain things for the sake of greater long—term benefits. Sacrificing what you want to do for yourself to be a mom to your children is hard but the rewards are huge. I know there could be times of financial strain in my marriage. I know I might encounter tension with the majority of my married female peers because of my choice to stay at home. I’m not saying that I’m going to derive pleasure from changing diapers and cleaning up puddles but I know that I am a huge part of my children's lives and it is a small stage so I try to enjoy every part of it. I will probably miss those little things someday. It is only by sacrifice that we understand what true love, commitment and maturity really mean. Being a mother forces you to look outside yourself to the needs of others.

I want my children to know that they are as important to me as a career and put them first rather than the career, which can wait till they are in school or grown. I would be selfish to leave them to be raised by a system for my own self gratification.

I do think that a nanny or day home are better than a day care centre, but none of them replace a mommy. It all comes down to who you want to raise your kids and who you want to be there for them when they experience all the little day to day things that help them grow.
I want my children to reap the benefits of having a full-time mom, one who is available for conversation, hugs and laughs and cries any time of day.
I want to give that gift to my children. If it means I don't get to drive a loaded pearl finish with the gold package Lincoln Navigator(drool) but instead my 7 yr old Durango and shop at thrift stores and Walmart for the next 5-10yrs, so be it. Children don't know the difference between Goodwill and GUESS. I certainly didn't. If those are some of the small sacrifices I have to make to stay home with my kids they are totally worth it!!!!

Now the big question is, do all these children turn out the same in the end once they are grown, or is that even a factor? Is it the here and now and living in the moment with your child that matters? What is the outcome? Am I way out of line in how I see this? Do Dr.Phil, Dr. Dobson and other conservative family psycologists have it all wrong when they say a mommy at home is best?
I really would like to see this whole thing through the eyes of a working mom and see how she thinks it affects her child and their growth and development.
I know I rambled on again. So ya, I am guessing I have formed even more enemies, I really am puting it all out ther aren't I!? Remember theses are just my opinions.


prettyinpink said...

What a great rant! I love hearing someones sincere opinion on something so crucial. Again, I completely agree that having a mommy or daddy at home is ideal (I grew up with a SAHM and it was heaven!). The one thing that I would have to say that as a teacher, we sometimes see with kids who have been at home instead of daycare or homecares is that the social skills still must be nurtured directly. SO often I see preschoolers who have been at home with mom for the first three years not only struggle with sharing and turn taking, but general social interaction. SO, keep setting up those playdates Anna! I also notice that most kids who are with a SAHP have issues with autonomy. They have not developed necessary skills to cope on their own yet...also a critical developmental stage. If you would like some resources that address this directly let me know, I have a couple of great ones!
I'll call you later today (I was thinking our little walk could be tomorrow after work).

Alabamabrands said...

good post