Here’s My Side of the Story

posted in: Motherhood, Parenting 115 comments
Choices quote

Living with, and loving my choices

I’m a stay-at-home mother. I am not better than a working mother. I am actually in awe of working mothers. They don’t get to do yoga at 9.30 am when the kids are in school. They don’t have the luxury of brunch on a Wednesday morning with a friend, purely for leisure. They have to go to work day in, day out, whether or not they feel like it. Their day doesn’t end when they get home. They still have to make dinner, give the children baths, put them to bed. Some have to work shifts, or overtime. I am in awe. 

I’m a stay-at-home mother. I have many, many hours with the children. You can look at this as awesome, or as something you cannot possibly imagine, because OHYMGOD. That’s okay. As much as it’s joyful, I can tell you that it’s not easy. When you have a lot of something, sometimes, you tend to appreciate it less. A friend of mine told me that when she went back to work, she was a better mother. She was more patient, she yelled less, she appreciated them more. I can understand that. Some days, I think about going back to work, and feel little guilt about considering putting the boys in daycare all day. But I choose to stay home, because I know myself. I will miss them, wish I was with them. So I allow myself moments where I imagine I work, and revel in that for a little while. Then I realize that being able to stay home with them is my privilege, that I should not bitch about it, nor feel superior. 

I’m a stay-at-home mother. I made this decision before I had children. Because frankly, I stopped enjoying going to work. I did not like the inevitable office politics, the need to kiss ass to move up, and working long, stupid hours. Of course I liked earning my own money, traveling on company coin, meeting people I would never otherwise meet. I will forever hold onto those fun moments of spending my hard-earned cash guilt-free, sleeping alone in luxury beds in strange cities, and building lifelong/ short-lived friendships. I can live with that. I’m at peace with my decision. It is MY decision. No one influenced me. No one told me this was “better”. No one. It’s no one’s beeswax. 

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I guess I just want to say, in my mind, there has never been any “mommy wars”. I have never judged a mother for her decisions, nor have I been outwardly judged. I never have – still don’t – care, question or judge someone’s decision to give birth naturally, with drugs, or have a C-section. Nor do I give a thought to who breastfeeds, who gives bottles; if they co-sleep or don’t; if they sleep trained or not; if they made their own baby food or bought it from the store. All I care about, as selfish and self-indulgent as it sounds, is whether I am doing a good job with my children. The only person I judge, is me. 

And you know what? I think I’m doing okay. And so are YOU. 

This post is not a response to recent er, events in the blogging world about working versus stay-at-home mothers. This is just something in my mind and heart, that I’ve been pondering.

Are you happy with where you are right now? Is it your choice? Or is it circumstance? 

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • October 21, 2013 Herchel S

    Beautifully put. We all have our own circumstances and priorities. As a mother of a child with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, the quality and cost of healthcare is of utmost importance. There are days when I feel immense guilt over having to work all day. My husband has been working overseas so I have moments when I feel as if I deprive them of both parents. Then there are days when she flares and I am grateful for a job that allows me to afford the best doctors and doesn’t penalize me for taking the time off I need to care for her. As a mother, I know that we each have to make choices based on what is best for our own families.
    Herchel S recently wrote…For the love ofโ€ฆ.Shhh! Stop Pointing.My Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      Herchel, you are exactly the kind of mother I am in awe of. You’re doing what is best for your family, and that is really all we can hope to do.

  • October 21, 2013 Kerstin

    Good for you!
    It’s exactly as it should be – you taking responsibility for your decisions and claiming your right to do so.
    I never got/get what those mommy wars are about either. Every person has a somewhat unique situation to deal with and I personally only want to be the judge of my own.
    I’ve done both. I worked full-time/part-time/not at all and now from home while I had/have kids. And each and every decision was right for a certain amount of time. Things tend to change faster than you blink, just another reason to not be cast in a mould. xoxo
    Kerstin recently wrote…Talking TeenagerMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      Yes, you’re right. Circumstances change as the children grow up. We do what we have to at that very moment, and it’s what is right for US. That’s all that matters.

  • October 21, 2013 Ilene

    Amen. If we truly know ourselves, we make the right decisions, and they inevitably the right ones for our families as well.
    Ilene recently wrote…What If I Told YouMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      Yes, exactly!

  • October 21, 2013 Mandi Noel

    I’m not a mother yet, but I can related to some of what you are saying. Despite having a Master’s degree, I’m currently a stay at home wife while my husband is part of a special program for his job that has us moving around a lot. It’s not feasible for me to get a “real” job while moving every few months, but it doesn’t keep people from making judgements about me. I’ve just learned to not care what people think and enjoy my time off, filling it with things that make me happy, like art and reading. I recognized that I am very blessed, and I’m not going to let other people’s judgements get to me. I applaud you for doing the same!
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    • October 21, 2013 jasi

      If someone wants to give you a hard time for your lifestyle decisions you can let them know “Of the millions of things I can say about you, judgements I could make, I wouldn’t dare. I won’t even let it linger in my mind because it’s none of my business. Your life clearly works for you and your family. Please accept our decisions as what works for us.”

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      That sounds awesome! I was a stay-at-home-wife before I was a mom. I loved it. I’m glad you do too.

  • October 21, 2013 jasi

    Agree, wholeheartedly! I am a SaHM also and I have nothing but appreciation for all the mommies out there that love and respect their children. To me, what you do is a family decision and none of my business. SaHMing it doesn’t guarantee greatness, nor does WaHMing or WaW&WaH2 (work-at-work & work-at-home too!)

    Seriously Ladies, we have to work harder on building each other up rather than cutting each other down, in every arena! I mean, we’re women after all and far superior to men. I KID! Kidding. Just kidding. But no, let’s be kind to each other, okay?

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      Kindness – yes! I believe that is the key to world peace.

  • October 21, 2013 Robin

    I’m pretty happy, even 3 weeks after returning to work from mat leave. I need the routine and stimulation and time away from my kids. (Yes, I said it.) I’d sort of like to work 4 days instead of 5, but overall I think it’s the right decision for me.
    Robin recently wrote…On High Standards and Hating MyselfMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      Nothing wrong with saying that you need time away from the kids – I do too!

  • October 21, 2013 Natalie

    Yep! I completely agree with this…and yep with when I was at work with crazy bosses and long hours…totally get this and remember this. I love this post…that is all!
    Natalie recently wrote…Don’t Stop BelievingMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      Your blog name is exactly that, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • October 21, 2013 Tenns

    I could literally go on about this topic forever! I constantly struggle with my decision to become a stay-at-home mom. I even have a post on my blog about it that I write several months ago. My little one is due any day now (I’m actually a bit past my EDD), and I know I will want to spend every waking moment with him or her. I grew up in a traditional household, where my mother had the privilege to stay at home with us kids. Its all I know as a mother, my only frame of reference. I have always planned on becoming a stay-at-home mom when i had kids. Like you, I made the decision long before I got pregnant, and my husband has always been okay with it. As a matter of fact, he prefers it and would rather work a FT and PT job if he had to in order to support us, so I can stay at home with the kiddies. I have yet to make the transition, however the day my little one arrives, I know where my heart is.

    I can really relate to your post and its posts like this that make me more confident in my decisions. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Tenns recently wrote…Ultimate Southern Style Cheddar Cheese GritsMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      If your heart feels that is right, then it is. I hope your baby gets here soon!

  • October 21, 2013 Shana Norris

    Amen, Alison. My mom has always said – and I am eternally grateful to her for passing this along to her children – that there is rarely any one right answer in any given situation. There is no one right way to do something. Oh, of course in some cases there is. Some things ARE black and white. But so many times, there is gray. Because we are all so different, and the paths we’ve walked to get to where we are are so different. Sometimes we each have our own right answer and right way to do things.
    Shana Norris recently wrote…Weekly Menu PlanMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      Following our own paths is exactly what we need to do – that;s all that matters, right?

  • October 21, 2013 Marta

    I don’t think working makes me a better mother. Make me yell yes, appreciate more. I actually feel like it does the opposite. I’m tired, and stressed and lately am having the hardest time trying to juggle “having it all” now that I work in a higher position with a lot more responsibility and work. I’m so happy that you’re happy with your decision, that it works for you. I’m not certain I could be home all day, and I love my job. I just need to find a way to find balance, because currently I don’t have any at all.
    Marta recently wrote…Making Time.My Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      I hope you find that balance too, Marta.

  • October 21, 2013 Leah

    Good. Better. Best. And it changes as circumstances and seasons change. I always wanted to be a SAHM. Never in a million years did I think I would work – and I never wanted to. But circumstances changed and I was forced to work to support myself and my kids. Even though it wasn’t what I thought I wanted, it was what it was. And we have all survived and thrived. I try to not look back or ask myself “would I have been a better Mom had I been at home?” – I am the best Mom I know how to be given my kids, my circumstances, my life. I think we need to stop trying to see if there’s a right way and a wrong way. In life, there are many “right” paths to take – we may choose our path, or one may be decided for us – but whatever the path, we can choose to be amazing Moms!
    Leah recently wrote…Quote of the WeekMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      That last line – yes, exactly right, Leah!

  • October 21, 2013 Poppy

    The conflict I feel about staying at home has to do with me and not others perceptions. As rewarding as it has bee, I do miss working sometimes. The thought of going back and starting from scratch scares the hell out of me.
    Poppy recently wrote…How to Organize a 5k Without Pissing People OffMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      I know. When I think about going back, it scares me too. C’est la vie.

  • October 21, 2013 Ma Teresa Grech Racal

    I so love your post. Guess what?! When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I DECIDED ON MY OWN to be a stay at home mom. I have my reasons why I chose to be one. No one told me that this is going to be a good or bad decision, cause at the end of the day, MY DECISION WAS FINAL. I am college degree holder, meaning that I could work and all yet I chose to stay with my daughter, taught her everything I know. Do I regret making this decision? No, because I have seen how my 2 older girls, are turning out to be. They are good girls, they prioritize their studies. With my youngest daughter, she may be difficult to deal with (hahaha!) but at the end of the day she makes me smile and forgets what a tired day I had. Thank you for this post.
    Ma Teresa Grech Racal recently wrote…The Sunshine Award: 11 Random FactsMy Profile

    • October 21, 2013 Alison

      I’m glad that you made the decision you did, and that you are happy with it. That your children are turning out well, that is much to be proud of!

  • October 21, 2013 Andrea

    I think if a lot of parents stopped to think about their roles, they would agree with you. We are all just trying to do our best as parents. Most days this has nothing to do with anyone else. Thanks for putting this in such simple, eloquent words.
    Andrea recently wrote…SuperMy Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Stop the interferers!

  • October 21, 2013 Lady Jennie

    I feel very privileged to stay/work at home, but I also admire/envy working moms. There are working moms who do a better job parenting than I do, but then (on balance) I’m able to be present for my kids a lot of the time. I feel like each of us do what we can and there is no need for competition.

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Exactly – there is no competition. We do what we can, all of us.

  • October 21, 2013 Allie

    You are speaking my language today! I’m a SAHM and, although I didn’t quite chose it, I wouldn’t change it. It’s absolutely crazy hard and some days are awful but, at the end of it, I’m grateful for all the time I get to spend with my boys. I can always go to work, open a business, but I will never get this time with them back. It fills me up and I’m satisfied.
    Allie recently wrote…My MeltdownMy Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      That was one of the main things that motivated me to choose staying home with the kids. The fact that they are only small once, and this time will never happen again.

  • October 21, 2013 Amelia

    I am also a STay at home mum and an expat wife! So I am not able to legally work here…before moving to India I was working full time and my son was at day care. So I respect and appreciate working and non working mothers. Either side, both ways can be difficult and both have their positive side.
    Well done on your choice. If it feels right for you and you can stay at home, why not?!!
    Amelia recently wrote…Our visit to Delhi ZooMy Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      It’s a privilege, not a sacrifice, as I continually tell myself ๐Ÿ™‚

  • October 21, 2013 Kathy Radigan

    Amen! I have been very happy with my choice to stay at home with my kids. It works for me. It’s not one that all women have, or even want. And that is fine with me. I have never been at war with anyone. I don’t feel I”m better or worse because of my choices. They are what works for me and my family. Thanks for sharing your point of view! Great post!
    Kathy Radigan recently wrote…Don’t Buy A Black Lipstick and other life lessons I wish I knew when I was youngerMy Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Thanks, Kathy! Glad to see that so many women aren’t ‘fighting’ and there’s nothing but respect for each other. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • October 21, 2013 Tamara

    I feel similarly about leaving the office world. I had zero energy for it. And this was before kids. I just couldn’t lift a single finger to care..about things..I didn’t care about. I wasn’t good at it anyway, after awhile. I don’t really know what I am! I am a stay-at-home mother, but I always try to work as much as possible when they’re napping or at school, or in bed for the night. I really never stop working – on this or that – but I guess there’s not a steady income so I’ve been told I can’t call myself a work-at-home-mom.

    I totally am, though.
    Tamara recently wrote…And At The End Of The Day..My Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      I don’t get enough of a steady income or enough of it to really call what I do work- but I suppose I must? Since I charge? Maybe I should charge more? Do more? But I don’t really want to. I like this stay-at-home thing quite a lot. I’ll stick with the SAHM-ness.

  • October 21, 2013 Elle

    Couldn’t agree with you more Alison. I’ve often looked at the consciousness of those who criticize because someone chooses to do or be different than they are. Valuing yourself and being happy with the choices you make must come in to play here, not forgetting all the beliefs we’ve picked up along the way that now run our lives in so many ways.

    Personally I say get up, find joy in your day and in your beingness fill yourself with love and radiate it into the world – we can all use it.
    Elle recently wrote…12 Simple Suggestions For Living An Extraordinary LifeMy Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      I love that – finding your joy and spreading it out. Thank you, Elle.

  • October 21, 2013 Kir

    I don’t know if I’m doing it right or not. Would I love to be at home more , yes, now that the boys are in Kindergarten, I would love to be able to go to school more often. However, I also like getting dressed up and going to work.

    Like Robin, I’d love to work 4 days instead of 5 and not have to worry about money but that is not in the cards at this point. I need to work for our family and I so I do.

    I just really try to spend time with boys when I can, to stay off SM in the evenings and weekends so I can give them the attention I can’t during the day. It’s a balance and I don’t know if I’d change it. I guess I’d like a job that I really love that still helped to pay the bills and one I could do on a fragmented and flexible schedule.

    this gave me a lot to think about…thank you Alison.
    Kir recently wrote…For When I Wish I Had all the AnswersMy Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      I hope you find a good balance soon, Kir. You love your boys so very much, and I think that matters the most. xo

  • October 21, 2013 melissa

    I agree 100 percent with every. single. word. You took them right out of my mouth. This is one of the reasons why I love your blog so much. I share a lot (not every, but a lot) of the same opinions as you yet you write them down with a sincerity/clarity that I could never pass onto people. I think I come off more of an asshole then I mean to.

    But to answer your question being a stay at home mom was my choice and my husbands. As I have mentioned in the comments of some of your other posts it’s all I wanted to do when I was younger. My husband and I have always been ok with money. In fact when I did try to work due to choice of trying to find myself beyond being a mom it actually cost **more** for me to work. I didn’t have a drivers license. So I would have to pay for a cab ride. My pay SUCKED due to the fact I didn’t know anything besides retail and to top it off I had to pay for day care. So my husband and I sat down and looked at what was coming and going and it was actually expensive for me to work!
    melissa recently wrote…Pintober day 20My Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      I have friends who say the same thing – it costs more to work than to stay home. There must be something wrong with the system when that happens. So sad.

  • October 21, 2013 Kimberly

    I am not a stay at home mom by choice. It’s by circumstance. Am I grateful that I can be at home with my family? Absolutely.
    When I was working, I will not lie and say that I thought that moms who stayed at home had it easy. I would always scoff at my sister in law who had laundry piled up to the ceiling since she wasn’t working. Like what do you do all day? Then I became the stay at home mom and I fully get it. Staying at home is stressful job too. I lived on the other side of the front lines and it’s just as stressful.
    Both are jobs with high expectations. I have mad respect for both choices.
    Kimberly recently wrote…The Stupid Things We DoMy Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Ditto everything you said. xo

  • October 21, 2013 Tiffany

    I love the way you put this. I have had the same conversation in my own mind before. I have recently gone back to work full time after being a stay at home mom for the past 10 years. There are many things I miss about being home, but I can also say that there have been several benefits for myself and my family. Basically, I can relate to yourself and your stated friend, and I’m sure many other moms out there. I know I am my own worst critic, and I also know that I am doing the best I can. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Tiffany recently wrote…Winterizing your House: Check!My Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      As one of the commenters above said, our situation changes as our children grow older. We do what is best for our family at the time. I’m glad you can relate, Tiffany.

  • October 21, 2013 Nicole

    Love this, especially the idea that the only ones we should really worry about/judge are ourselves. We can never really know what is going on in someone else’s life, what the circumstances are, why they made the decisions they did. All that matters is that we do the best we can in our lives and support and lift up those we love, inside and outside our families. Having said that, I’m very fortunate that I can continue a corporate career from the comfort of a home office. I’m somewhat isolated from the office B.S., although I miss out on some opportunities too. I’m totally ok with that! I had the flexibility to go to my daughter’s daycare to nurse her, and it’s easier for me to re-arrange my schedule when the inevitable sick day pops up. For this time in my life, it’s a good place to be. I miss my girls during the day, but by Sunday night, after a weekend of non-stop quality time with them, I’m ready for Monday morning!
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    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Sounds like an ideal situation, Nicole!

  • October 21, 2013 Keely

    Amen. It reminds me of something my mother said (over and over and over- “Back in my day, we didn’t have all this crowd-sourcing. We just DID our jobs.” )I like to apply that to motherhood, “working,” and anything else I feel overly pressured about. ๐Ÿ™‚
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    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Your mother is a wise one!

  • October 21, 2013 Kerry

    I love this, and can relate on so many levels. I hate when I read “mommy war” pieces – this motherhood journey requires many individual decisions and you just need to feel OK with the ones you make for your own respective family. Truth be told, I wish I could pull back from work for exactly the reasons you cite – the office politics, kissing ass, etc. But it just isn’t in the cards for me and my family right now. So we do the best we can with our circumstances and are so thankful for the family support we receive from grandparents.
    Kerry recently wrote…โ€œI do what I do, so that โ€ฆโ€My Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      I hope that you will be in the ideal situation you want to be in the future, Kerry. And yes, we all do what is best for our family. Thank you for reading.

  • October 21, 2013 Kim

    I love your thoughts on this, Alison. I don’t understand how someone outside another family can know that family’s needs better than they themselves do. We do what woks for us, we do what we must. And as long as everyone is cared for and their needs are being met, it really is none of anyone’s business, is it?
    I have been a work out the home mom and now I am a stay at home mom. Both are challenging in their own ways – but so is everything worthwhile, like parenting itself.

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Mind your own beeswax should be a daily mantra ๐Ÿ™‚

  • October 21, 2013 Jackie

    I work outside the home and I would prefer to be home more with my kids even though most of them are in school all day. I feel with my youngest at daycare I am missing out on things and that they’re raising him. On the other hand he has learned a great deal by being there too.
    I work outside the home because I have to and have yet to find that job where I can stay at home & work.
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    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      I hope that you find your ideal situation soon, Jackie!

  • October 22, 2013 Elizabeth

    You said this beautifully! I have all of these thoughts on a regular basis. I, too, imagine going back to work, but then jump back into reality and realize how great this short phase of being a full-time mom really is. There will be many years in the future to work and have a clean, quiet home. This is but a wonderful moment in time that I cherish, even if I do have to remind myself of that on those tough days with small children. Great post!
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    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      We can’t have these times with the children again, they are only small once, right?

  • October 22, 2013 Elaine A.

    I NEVER judge working moms because I was one. And because what the hell is the point? I believe the majority of us ARE doing the best we can, and what we know is best for our own family. And what it really comes down to is that either way – at home or at work most of the day – this parenting gig is challenging. Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts, Alison. xo

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Oh yes, IT SO IS. xo

  • October 22, 2013 Leigh Ann

    The line about someone being a better mother now that she is working is exactly how I feel about my girls being in school, and I know I’m very fortunate to not have to go search for work for those kid free hours. What money I do make form the writing it allows me to do, some of it goes towards preschool and some of it goes towards my pocket. I’ve spent 5 and a half long years taking care of kids almost 24/7 and hardly buying a thing for myself or allowing me to do something for myself. I’m so glad I am getting the chance now, but I do feel guilt because I know a lot of mothers can’t
    Leigh Ann recently wrote…This is how you know you found the oneMy Profile

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Don’t ever feel guilty, you absolutely deserve the kid-free time!

  • October 22, 2013 Katie Sluiter

    I work. It’s not a choice, but it would be if it could be a choice. If that makes sense. I love my job. Love it. It brings me something much more satisfying than a paycheck. But I do get to stay home with my kids for four months of the year (if you count summer + holidays), so I get the best of both worlds, really. ๐Ÿ™‚
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    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      It does make sense. I know you love your job, and your students are ever so lucky to have you as their teacher! And yes, you do get the best of both worlds, that’s so awesome.

  • October 22, 2013 Greta

    I feel the same way. I know that I’m extremely lucky that I can choose whether to work or not, and I stay home because I want to. It’s easier for us, better for me, and I’m SO grateful. Because I also have no desire to go to work. I do have plenty of hard days when I fantasize about going for coffee or yoga or brunch. ๐Ÿ™‚
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    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Totally normal, Greta! Before the little one started school, I did too. I am so grateful that I get to enjoy some kid-free time now.

  • October 22, 2013 Tracy

    Great post. I’m not quite getting all the fuss about us vs them mess. Who has the energy?

    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Some people do – the ones who go on and on about the “mommy wars”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • October 22, 2013 Mo at Mocadeaux

    So beautifully put, Alison. Imagine a world in which mothers – and women in general – wholeheartedly supported one another without judgement, without comparisons. Imagine if we all strove to do the very best we can and be the very best person we can be. And imagine if we were all encouraged and supported, even when we stumble once in awhile. That would be amazing!
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    • October 22, 2013 Alison

      Looking at my comments here, I think we already have that. For that I am so grateful.

  • October 22, 2013 Arnebya

    I work outside the home. I hate it, but it’s needed. I don’t begrudge anyone who can afford (and wants) to stay home though. I care if you abuse your kid but outside of that? Nope. Whether you work? Nope. Because ultimately, your life doesn’t affect mine. What you choose is best for YOUR family and I commend you for knowing what you want/doing what you want. I hope to get to that place where I can be home (even though my kids are in school all day (which of course lends itself to the fake war because what’ll I do all day grrrrrrr)). Until then, I work eight hours and commute one and some days I rush to get home to them and some days I wish I was going to an empty house. Sure, there’s guilt, but it’s all in my head and I know it. There is no war among moms for who does what, who feeds what, who co-sleeps, eats organic, baby wears whatever. That’s all I’ve got for all of it: whatever. My family is my family and we’re doing what we need to do to get by and my kids will be just fine.
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    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Yes, they are fine – you’re a good Mom. I hope that some day, you will either find a job you love, or find an work-at-home option that works for everyone.

  • October 22, 2013 Katy

    I don’t think it matters if you decide to stay at home or go to work while being a mom… everyone has their own personalities and opionions and they really have no right to judge other people if they do something different. Your old job sounded exciting though.. except when you mentioned office politics, I know I would never want to be a part of that. I work in the tech industry where it’s very laid back… and I work with mainly guys too so there is not too much office drama.
    Katy recently wrote…Cyclist ProblemsMy Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Oh yes, I had a really exciting job. I did love it, and the travel was awesome most of the time. The office politics was unfortunate, sigh.

  • October 22, 2013 Susi

    Alison, loved reading this. In the end, what we feel we are doing with our children is what matters – they are the ones that will look back and say, “Hey, thanks mom for doing this.” Not anyone else. It’s tough to have to sit there and try to justify your life and your choices. No one can walk in your shoes but you, and sometimes, I feel people need to be reminded of that.
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    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Yes exactly. Our children are the ones who matter in the long run. They are the only ones we answer to.

  • October 22, 2013 Jennifer Hall

    I am in awe of working moms too. I actually have a draft started sort of like this. I also have a draft started about judging. Hmm. Maybe I need to finish one or both, hu?
    Jennifer Hall recently wrote…Why I Like Being a Soccer MomMy Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Since I know you finished the judging post, go ahead and finish the other one!

  • October 22, 2013 Susan ~ Designs of Home

    Well said, Alison ! Very well said.
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    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Susan!

  • October 22, 2013 Maureen

    This is so beautifully written, Alison.
    I know how it feels – sans two kids – but I know what it feels like to be stay at home mom, work from home mom and now back to working mom.
    What I love about your post is it came from your heart and that is beautiful. We all have different lives, what works for us might not works for others. We just all need to live in harmony and sing Imagine? Hahaha Love your post!
    Maureen recently wrote…To Inspire Not To HateMy Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      I wish we could live in harmony and sing John Lennon songs. ๐Ÿ™‚ And thank you!

  • October 22, 2013 Christine

    So well stated. We all have our priorities, life circumstances, preferences, etc. We make our decisions based on what’s right for us and for our families. I’m where I am now by choice – wanting a flexible career and schedule so that we could create the lifestyle that suits us.
    Christine recently wrote…Yoga Teacher Training: Week-long IntensiveMy Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      I’m glad you’re in a good place, Christine!

  • October 22, 2013 Amy

    I had never even heard the term “mommy wars” until I quit my job two years ago. The whole topic still baffles me. Really? We are battling? I never planned to stay at home, but am so grateful I’ve had the chance to do it. My job started to drain me more than parenting all day ever could. But I have plenty of friends who feel the opposite. And they are amazing mothers too. Different strokes for different folks.
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    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      YES, exactly, Amy!

  • October 22, 2013 Sarah

    This is probably the most reasonable thing I’ve ever read that addresses the whole SAHM/WOHM issue. I think you’re right that most people are their own worst critics, and I think a big part of the “mommy wars” is people hearing comments about their choices and interpreting them through the lens of their own self-criticism. Not to say there isn’t judging going on out there! But just like anything else (weight, appearance, etc.) — most people are so tied up in their own issues that they really aren’t as concerned about ME as I think they are!
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    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      I think all the negativity of any issue, is because people view it through their own lens of self-criticism. Well said, Sarah.

  • October 22, 2013 Amber

    When I lost my job in May, I took a step back to analyze my 10 years in corporate politics & the Hubs & I decided that as long as we could make it one income right now I would be hanging at home & the looks I’ve gotten from some of the women I’ve done business networking with… they say “so, you just sit at home?” I simply smile & say yes that is all I do, watch Y&R & eat chocolates… makes me ill… When I worked in the corporate world, I never gave stay at home moms enough credit, it is a TON of work & my daughter is a 4th grader but she is involved with 3 different choruses afterschool… SO KUDOS my friend! excellent post!!!
    Amber recently wrote…Sing off Sunday- โ€œSingle Ladies (put a ring on it)โ€My Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Kudos to you too, for not letting the judgey ones get to you, Amber!

  • October 22, 2013 Amy

    My mother worked outside of the home. She worked all the time, because she was the primary bread winner for my family. When I wanted to go to New York with my high school choir to sing, or study abroad in college to experience a new country, it was my mother who had to figure out how to pay for it. And she did. At times, when I was younger, I resented the fact that she worked so much, but I look back on it now and I’m in awe of what she did. Just because she put in a ten hour day didn’t mean I didn’t have to be fed, my homework didn’t have to be checked, and I didn’t require her attention for another few hours of her day.

    I guess I say all of this because I think that being a good MOM, regardless of whether you work outside of the home, makes you a rockstar. Who cares what choice you make, as long as the choice is right for you and your family? I don’t know what I will choose when the time comes for me to decide, but who has time for “mommy wars” or judgement. I say get on with your life (the universal “your”) and let everyone else get on with theirs.
    Amy recently wrote…Fitness Tips for BeginnersMy Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Your Mom sounds like an amazing person! I think she gave you the right attitude toward motherhood. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • October 22, 2013 Carolyn Y

    I have always liked MY decision to be a stay-at-home mom. Before we moved to the US, my husband and I discussed this.
    And while I enjoy being a SAHM, I still feel the need to do something outside of mothering. This keeps me sane ๐Ÿ™‚
    So I’m going back to school. Me doing my thing, makes me a better SAHM. I don’t feel like I’m all about my kids all the time, you know?
    And as they grow older and more independent, I can fall back on “my thing”. Gosh does this make sense?
    Bottom line, I like where I am and what I am doing!
    Carolyn Y recently wrote…If You Let A Three Year Old Dress HerselfMy Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      I’m excited for you, Carolyn! And I totally know what you mean – that’s the reason I started my business and doing freelance writing, I just feel the need to do my own thing, on top of the mothering.

  • October 23, 2013 Janice

    Beautiful post. I “used to be” in the “working world” too. But stayed home after having my 2nd child. That was 4 years ago, and now I’ve got 3. It’s very hard to explain myself to others as to why I did that. I don’t particularly know the exact reasons myself, AND I have my moments of “Holy crap, why did I do that???” moments. But after all’s said and done, I think I’m, happy where I am. I may wish to have a 9-5 job instead once in a while, but that’s to be expected. My sanity can only take so much sometimes. Thank goodness my husband never listens to me when I say “I want to go back to work!” HAHA!
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    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Oh believe me, I’ve said that to my husband many times too! He doesn’t listen to me either, heh.

  • October 23, 2013 sarah reinhart

    Love you Alison. My favorite part is where you said you imagine yourself going back to work. Revel in it. Then realize you are doing exactly what you want and think is best for you. I love that you let yourself do that. So smart. xo.

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      You’re so sweet, Sarah! Love you too. xo

  • October 23, 2013 Slap Dash Mom

    I don’t know if it’s because I’ve *had* to work before, when I was a single mom with no choice, or if it’s because I just don’t give a shit about the personal decisions that other moms make, but I don’t understand the mommy wars at all!! As long as the kids are taken care of.. clothed..fed… WHO CARES if they are at work.. WHO CARES if they stay at home?

    Perhaps women judge because they’re jealous or insecure of the other side.. or they think they are. The grass is never really greener.

    /end random rant on your post
    Slap Dash Mom recently wrote…6 Reasons We Hate Maria KangMy Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      I don’t understand the judging either. As long as the kids are fed, healthy and happy, right?

  • October 24, 2013 Amanda Jillian

    This is something I think about all the time, I have blogged about it before I think. I’m really home cause I missed out on things with AJ when he was younger cause I was working and cause I can’t afford daycare for 2 kids even if I went out and got a “real job” so I work from home.
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    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      Working from home is working for me too!

  • October 24, 2013 Jin Ai

    Wonderfully said. I can so relate. There are days I love what I do and hate it both at the same time, when I deeply appreciate the time at home but also wish I were back out there without all the niggling demands, able to enjoy a meal, pee in peace and enjoy earning my own money. Who’s to judge another woman for her choices? It’s a hard choice to make and we all deserve support from each other instead of crap.
    Jin Ai recently wrote…Toddler nursing, tandem nursing and nursing while pregnant (Part 1)My Profile

    • October 24, 2013 Alison

      It is a hard choice for many, and support should be the only way to go. Fortunately for me, my decision was easy!

  • October 24, 2013 Jessica

    It seems like there are always mommy wars going on. Sigh. Maybe one day they will stop.

    But really, we can only do what is best for us and our family.
    Jessica recently wrote…Pumpkin Spice BrowniesMy Profile

    • October 25, 2013 Alison

      Yes, and yes.

  • October 25, 2013 Runnermom-jen

    That may be one of my favorite pictures of you ever. You look so full of joy!!! And you’re right, the only person that needs to be judged is myself (or one’s own self)…you get it.
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…Running…Full CircleMy Profile

    • October 25, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, we were having a good day!

  • October 27, 2013 Michelle

    This is such a great post. Yes I am happy with my decisions and where I am now. If I was back working in the corporate world, I wouldn’t be watching my kids soccer games or xc meets at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a work day. I wouldn’t be able to drive my daughter to her beloved club team practice during the week after school once the high school season ends. I wouldn’t be able to drive my son in the morning to the private school he felt so strongly about going to that he filled out everything to do with the application himself, and only came to us for financial aid forms. He’d have to go the public school, where he’d feel lost. There are great benefits to working for a company vs being self employed like I am…the big ones being money and health insurance. But for me the bigger benefits are being there at those things that my kids will remember. “You’ll be at my game later, right?” They say that every single time.
    Michelle recently wrote…Getting Spooky with our Halloween Bash {Ladies Only Blog Share}My Profile

    • October 27, 2013 Alison

      The bigger (sometimes, intangible) benefits are definitely the ones I love!

  • October 28, 2013 Korinthia Klein

    Very nicely put. I’m tired of posts that seem intent on pitting moms against other moms. There is no one right way to parent just like there is no one right way to be. My husband and I run our own small business and arrange our days so that one of us is always home with the kids. It’s a balance I’m proud of. I’m with my kids enough to enjoy them but apart from them enough to feel I have my own life and to miss them a little. It works for me, but I would never insist it would work for everyone.
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    • October 28, 2013 Alison

      That sounds like a GREAT arrangement! I’m glad you have found something that works for your family.

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