This is in response to the ludicrous post that was featured today (that eventually was deleted) that once again demonizes working mothers as selfish people.
First, I will state that I have NOTHING bad to say about SAHMs, if that is the choice you have made for you and your family and you are happy with it, great! Its none of my business and I am happy for you and have zero judgment. All of us have our own experiences that color our decisions for what we choose, and if it works for our families, that's all that matters!
So, back to the topic. This is why I have chosen to be a working mother:
My mother was a SAHM and waitressed nights. She had no other skills other than waitressing. My father worked full-time and was the primary bread winner. My parents fought constantly and my father frequently would take off and disappear, leaving my mother and I high and dry. Her tip money was not enough to pay rent, bills and food. I have known the humiliation of being evicted and having to stay with friends, or family. I have known the humiliation of watching my mother beg for money, steal food and pawn anything we had of value. I have been hungry. I have been homeless. As soon as I was old enough to get a job, I was responsible for paying for anything I wanted and needed outside of food. So, I've been working since I was 14.
I have been on my own since I was 18. I worked multiple jobs and put myself through college. I knew that if I was going to secure my own future so that I would never have to struggle like I did as a child, I was going to have to make that happen for myself through a solid education and hard work. Not once did I think I would just find some rich guy to take care of me. I graduated college and I have been working steadily in my career since then.
When I got married, never once did it cross my mind "Hey, if we have a baby, I can stop working and he can take care of all of us!" My husband is nothing like my father, but I still would never put my fate, and the fate of my child, solely in the hands of my husband. I don't think that is fair to him to be forced to shoulder that kind of responsibility, I see my husband as my equal partner in everything, and that means we share the responsibility of our family's survival across the board.
I also didn't merely want to eek through life. Yes, it is possible for me to stay home and have my husband work to support us. But that would mean my DH would not have the time to spend with his son, and that is not fair to him, or our son at all. Nor is it good for our marriage that he be working and gone so much that we never have time to connect. Not to mention the stress and exhaustion he would feel.
If I didn't work, we could survive, but we couldn't thrive. There would be no traveling, no treats, and I would constantly have to tell my child "No" to every request for a new toy, or to play sports, or go to summer camp with his friends, because we couldn't afford it. I grew up that way. The answer was always NO. I knew that and I stopped asking for anything at a VERY young age. My parents didn't even know when picture day was at school because I wouldn't tell them as I knew we were broke. Every fun activity that my school had from Secret Santa to Secret Valentines, etc, if it required money I did not participate. 9/10 times, I was the ONLY child in my class not participating and it was obvious. I was stigmatized as being poor and ostracized because of it. I never told my parents about any of it because I knew we didn't have the money and it would upset them. NO child should have to shoulder such adult responsibility so young. I didn't participate in anything unless I paid for it myself. I do NOT want that life for my son. My mother being home did NOT make up for all of the things I didn't get to have or do growing up, and the agony she went through having to always tell me no was NOT a positive experience to witness.
Me working has allowed me to retain my financial independence and help support our family. It enables my husband to spend more time with our son as he is not forced to work 2 jobs to support us. We are able to go on vacations and provide for our son all the things we never had. My husband and I respect each other and support each other's career goals and dreams, because we recognize that just because we became parents, it doesn't mean that our personal lives have stopped and its all about our child. This attitude will more than benefit our child because he won't have to learn the hard way that the world doesn't revolve around him.
I am very proud that I work, and I enjoy my career. I'm happy that I can share that with my son as he grows, so he can learn that women are just as capable as men, and that the reponsibility of supporting a family is not solely a man's role.
And no, my son is not in a day care. I don't have anything against those who use day cares, but my husband and I didn't want that. My son is watched in his own home. I am able to stay home with him one day per week, my husband has another day of the week, his grandmother watches him one day per week and we have an awesome nanny for the other two. Plus my husband works from home so there is always a parent around. I am VERY blessed to have this, and my son thrives because of it.
So, there you go, a working mother who is not a single mother who can stay home but chooses not to.
How about you?