Contrary to all things hip, I still catch an occasional Oprah. I don't bother with the majority shows, but when I hear an interesting topic, and I happen to have an hour, I watch or at least listening while I'm folding laundry. A few days ago she had women on her show representing both sides of the working verses stay-at-home moms. I think it was a repeat. Both sides of the issue made me think.
One woman took her child out of daycare and quit her job at the suggestion of a care provider to place a disposable camera in the diaper bag to catch the milestones which might arise while the mom was working. During the woman's story, I remembered the time my husband took our middle son across the street to a birthday party and announced that Tater took his first steps. I wasn't mad or hurt that I missed those first steps, because the milestone is to be celebrated no matter if I was watching or not. I'm not saying the woman on Oprah felt this way, but I would have been a complete train wreck if I hadn't let someone else give me a break from the daily grind sometimes. All this is to say, even as a stay at home mom, I missed milestones.
On the other hand, I have been sheltered from what another working mom called "Sophie's Choice". Everyday at the daycare door, her son would cling to her leg and cry out, "I'll be a good boy, Mommy. Please don't leave me here. I'll do whatever you say." How difficult! Hopefully, that mom took time listen to the voice inside in order evaluate her circumstances apart from that difficult moment to be sure she was making the right choice for her family. If so, her decision's noone's business including mine.
Another stay-at-home mom regretted not making more of herself. She felt like it was a poor example for her daughters to simply make dinner, clean house, and shuttle her girls back and forth to events. I say it's never too late, and that the mom can find her dream again and begin to live it if it was lost in the mothering shuffle. I think of how the author of one of my favorite all time books, Cold Sassy Tree, was in her 80's when she published.
I'd say the debate came down to something simple on Oprah's show. Working mothers feel judged by stay-at-home moms as not loving their children enough. I was unclear about any stay-at-home mom conclusions. Either way, the stakes of women being at odds with others due to different choices indicates insecurity at best, competition at worst. Noone wins at those types of games.
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