Sarah Deveau: Money Matters


Going back to work

From stay at home mom to working mom

If you’ve ever read an article about working moms, or checked out an online forum or moms group about the issue, you know there’s this working mom versus stay at home mom debate. Millions of words have been printed trying to prove that there’s one perfect, ideal choice in the matter, and it can be scientifically proven. A recent study gained headlines for determining that working moms are happier than stay at home moms.

It’s absurd.

I’ve been home with my kids full time. I’ve worked full time in my own business. I’ve worked part time from home. And now, after 18 months of working part time from home, I’m going back to a full time corporate job. None of this qualifies me to tell you which one of those options would be best for you and your child. And neither would a degree in psychology or a hundred studies.

I don’t believe one way is objectively better. There is only which way is better for you and your family.

I’m so excited to go back to a full time job for awhile. I can’t wait to bring in even more bacon than I do now, and contribute towards some big financial goals we have. I can’t wait to pee in peace, talk to adults all day long, work in relative silence with an office door I can close without children hammering on it. I’m sure I’ll be thrilled to come home at the end of the day and have a few hours with the kids. It probably won’t feel like enough, but for me, the full time with the kids thing has been too much.

Some people like vanilla ice cream, others like chocolate. I’ve been a chocoholic on a diet of vanilla, and it’s killing me.

What I really don’t get is why women get so worked up over this issue. If you think every child is better off with mom at home (despite what that might mean to the family financially or to mom emotionally), then you should stay home. Why spend your time trying to make converts of those who disagree? Are you going to tell them what foods to feed their kids too? Instruct these mothers on how discipline their kids to your liking? Watch over them to ensure they’re doling out the correct (in your mind) displays of love and attention?

Because won’t those things have just as big an impact on the way our children turn out as whether  or not a parent is home with them during the day in their younger years?

I think the reason no one has this “right way” figured out yet is because the people debating this issue just haven’t gotten it through their skulls that an objective “right way for everyone” does not exist. It’s a myth. If there’s a way that worked fabulously for you, that’s awesome! Just don’t try to tell everyone around you, who have values, circumstances and emotions vastly different than you, that your way is the perfect way that will work for them. Because that’s just crazy talk. Your experience may help someone gain insight into their situation, or help them brainstorm a new idea, but they can’t copy and paste your solution because they can’t copy and paste your life.

Without disparaging other mother’s choices, I’d love to hear if you’re happy with your choice of working, staying at home, or a combination.