The debate about whether working women make better mothers has been going on since time immemorial and probably won’t end any time soon. While at the end of the day, this boils down to a personal choice, let’s try and decode the reasons in favour of working moms.
Any rational adult will agree that for any choice we make – you win some you lose some. So there is no one straight answer to the question ‘who is a better mom’. So let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of being a working mother and a stay at home mom.
Advantages and Disadvantages of being a Working Mom
Let us take a look at the different aspects of being a working mom, and how they affect different areas of your life.
Jobs present a unique opportunity for growth and exposure to a wide spectrum of people and situations that just won’t be possible if you are a stay at home mom. In turn, this can lead to overall personality development (yes, personality development is not just limited to college kids!). The financial stability and independence that a career and job bring can also prove important in times of crisis for the family.
However, having the same things expected of you as are expected of a single woman or a male colleague can take its toll on your health. While working moms are full-time employees they are also full-time mothers, and if due consideration is not given to this aspect, then life as the employee of an organisation can become quite stressful. Add to this the fact that, once you are home, your attention will immediately be called upon by your family and your baby, which leaves you very little time to relax and pamper yourself, or do things that make you happy.
Spending an average of 9 out of 16 waking hours in an office (and 2 hours on an average commuting to and from office) means your family only gets about 5 hours with you... which is not a very big number. Factor in your daily and monthly chores, keeping the house in order, and there is almost no time left for your husband and your baby.
One can choose to look at this situation in a positive light too: an additional source of income means your children can go to a better school, you can provide for them beter, maybe even buy that dream house you and your husband wanted in 3 years instead of 5... all of which is for the benefit of the family, no doubt. But it cannot be ignored that all these things come at a very heavy price.
It is not unheard of partners getting competitive with each other when they are both working. While most men and women consciously try and accomodate each other’s work now more than in the old days, they often don’t quite know a way to make it work. Things can get especially messy when one partner is doing better at work than the other – leading to feelings of resentment. What couples need to realise that at the end of the day, they are both on the same side, they are on the same team. Hell, they ARE a team. But this is easier said than done.
However, there are also brilliant example of ‘power couples’ that both understand and respect each other’s work and profession, and in a way this brings the couple much closer to each other. They see each other as two equals, who are both committed to the relationship, the house, and the kids, and out of this realisation comes mutual respect, love, and a bond that is unbreakable.
This is perhaps the biggest pain point for any working mom – not being able to spend enough time with her child or children. We always want to say and do so much
when it comes to our children, isn’t it? And this makes the working moms vs. stay at home moms debate even more painful.
As working moms, you can imbibe your children with a lot of precious values – independence, confidence, commitment, discipline, being organised and focused. What’s more, you can do this by yourself becoming an embodiment of these values, by becoming the perfect role-model fo your child.
However, it is undeniable that this comes at the price of not actually spending that much time with your child. A mother’s care is irreplacable, and a lot of factors of your child’s overall development and growth depend on how much quality time you spend with them, such as their sense of security, their performance at school, their social skills, etc.
Advantages and Disadvantages of being a Stay At Home Mom
Now, let’s take a look at what it means to be a stay at home mom, and the advantages and disadvantages of the situation.
Definitely a stay at home mom (SAHM) gets more time to look after herself. With 9 extra hours to herself (as compared to a working mom), the sky is the limit to what an SAHM can achieve. She can chalk out enough time for her baby, the household chores, and her hobbies and ‘me’-time, while also managing to make time to be spent with her husband.
Unfortunately though, somehow SAHMs end up spending all their time just tending to the house and their children! Talk to any SAHM and the first thing she’ll probably say is that there’s never enough time!
Being always present ‘at home’ can mean a stay at home mother gets a lot of time to spend with her family. She can develop close bonds with just about everyone in the family, while also stay in touch better with her maiden family. However, always ‘being available’ also means SAHMs get taken advantage of a lot. There is a general notion among a lot of people that stay at home moms do not need to hire a maid. This kind of thinking overburdens a stay at home mom to the point that somehow she always become responsible for everything.
While we all love our husbands, stay at home moms make for the most conspicuously caring partners because they can actually demonstrate it through their actions. A working mom may want to cook a fancy dinner for her husband but not be able to do it, but a stay at home mom actually can! Making plans is easier because only one of the partner’s schedule needs to be taken into consideration since the other partner is relatively free. This gives the couple more time and opportunities to do things together, bringing them closer.
However, there can be a situation where the husband does not feel understood because the wife has no context or perspective of what it’s like to hold down a job and deal with the challenges that come with it. A lot of times this can lead to feelings of disappointment that can be enough to wedge a rift between the couple.
The biggest upside of being a stay at home mom is the fact that the children always have their mother around. The constant presence of the primary caregiver goes a long way in making children socially well-adjusted. It is very important for children to feel loved, cared for, and heard. Being able to see their mother as soon as they come home from school every single day, when they are bursting with stories to relay, boosts not only their confidence but also emotional stability.
The flip side of the situation is that children sometimes get too attached to their mother, and may take longer to become independent and self-sufficient.
So... What’s the Verdict?
Well, it’s simple – moms are awesome!
That’s the final verdict.
No matter how you choose to work it out, you know – and so do we – that you are doing it all for the love of your child, your husband, and your family. As with any other situation, there are a lot of gains and losses on either side of the debate, and what you choose to prioritise is completely your decision.
However, it would be advisable to be aware and alert of the ‘cons’ of your side, and try your best to not let them get in the way of you being an awesome mom! Make your husband your best friend, and enrol his help and co-operation in whatever you choose to do. Do not brand your family as ‘uncooperative’, try your best to make them see your choices.
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While there is no right or wrong choice, every woman should make a decision based on her circumstances and the support infrastructure available to her. However, it definitely is true that children of working mothers exhibit certain advantages over kids of stay-at-home moms.