The Not-So-Great Debate: To Work or Not to Work

It seems lately that many moms I know are struggling with the issue of working vs. staying home. A couple of friends are pregnant with their first child, while others have children already and are just burnt out from working and having a family at the same time. I worked full-time with my first son for eight years, not because I loved to work, but I was the breadwinner in our family and I had no other option. We needed two incomes and that was that. Now, in my second marriage, I had toyed around with the idea of taking a break from work for a long time, even prior to getting pregnant with my second child. I would day dream as I was supposed to be working about all of the things I could do with my life if I could only quit my job. I never would have quit if I didn’t have another baby, but the idea of it helped me through many mental meltdowns!

I’ve realized that it takes guts to be a stay-at-home mom. It also takes a lot of guts to be a working mom. So you see, the decision is never easy. It would be nice if society wasn’t so tough on women. Maybe it is possible to be superwoman- work full-time, raise outstanding little humans, keep a tidy house, an immaculate, sexy appearance AND have a healthy, homemade dinner on the table every night. Not to mention all of the other little things that we do day in and day out. Oh, and let’s not forget about your duties as a wife! It seems as if we have to pick and choose which things we do best and outsource the rest, with the exception being the wife duties, right?Advertisement
I want to give my friends and women everywhere the easy answer, but have come to the conclusion that there never is an easy answer. So, I just listen to them talk it out and tell them bits and pieces of my story when I’m asked. A couple of them have asked me to bring this topic up . Maybe you can share parts of your story on working or staying home in our comments to let them see how others are managing this thing called mom.

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

3 Comments on The Not-So-Great Debate: To Work or Not to Work

  1. Hi, I’m a first time visitor to the site and this article really struck a chord. I’ve been a stay at home mom since my youngest was born and before that I was a working mom for three years. Now both children are in school, my youngest just started Kindergarten, and I always *thought* I’d go back to work. So I tried and it just didn’t work for me, after five years at home, I just wasn’t able to go back. So now I’m perfectly happy staying home, volunteering, exercising, cleaning the house, while the girls are in school but I really feel like society looks down on me and even other moms; it’s like it’s perfectly acceptable to be a stay-at-home mom while your children are in diapers or even preschool but after that. . . you’re either lazy or your husband earns a crazy amount of money. (which isn’t the case.) Anyway, so I’m struggling with that I guess. I really liked the balanced view of your article though. :)

  2. i hadn’t even gotten far enough to consider the situation caroline’s finding herself in. like a lot of moms, i also argue with myself all the time about working or not working. i am finding that i change my mind a lot and need to keep the situation flexible to keep my sanity. i have been working as a p/t contractor for the last several months, and this seems to be the best situation for me b/c i do not feel tied to a company. i feel like i can keep my loyalty and focus on my family b/c i don’t “work for the man”. i don’t really know why being a contractor vs. a permanent employee makes me feel this way, but it does. plus, i’ve been taking on short-term contracts, so that helps me feel free, too. i can always see an ending point and a way to gracefully exit the situation if it’s not working for me or my family. i really have no idea what i’ll do as my DD gets older/starts school…i don’t see myself working f/t b/c i don’t want her to be home alone after school…but, i’m sure i’ll argue with myself about this, too, when the time comes!

    thanks for giving us a place to talk about this, catharine. i often feel like this subject is taboo or just too controversial in many mommy settings.

  3. I am 24 weeks along in my first pregnancy. My husband and I work for ourselves, together, in our home. My plan is to go back to work full-time after 3 months and to gradually work up to that after a month… needless to say, we have no idea what to expect. And who knows if I am totally dreaming. We will be relying on lots of help – and probably a nanny. My career is very important to me and to our lifestyle, however, I do anticipate an intensely strong pull from my maternal side. Luckily, my husband is amazing and the plan is to truly partner in this adventure (aside from the breast feeding), much as we do in all of our endeavors.

    Wish us luck! I will be sure to keep you all posted as to how it goes come May.

    Thanks for the great article – and for providing a safe place to discuss this issue.

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