Make Love...Not War!
The debate of working moms vs. stay-at-home moms is yet again rearing its ugly head. On Fox News, in the New York Times and many other news outlets, she vs. she is once again the hot topic. It may be surprising to some, but credible research already supports the fact that children of working moms are not at a disadvantage amongst their peers whose moms stay at home. So why more controversy and concern?
First, motherhood IS work. Period. It is the hardest, yet the most rewarding “job” on the planet. Secondly, isn’t it amazing that women actually get to choose? I suppose certain life circumstances may not feel like an actual choice. But whatever the path -- staying at home, working at home, working part-time, working outside the home – women are all a part of the same sisterhood, and as such shouldn’t we be there supporting one another? Each time there is a debate – and debates bring up all different points-of-view and ways of looking at things – hopefully, our eyes are opened wider, and we see progress, support and understanding.
For the record, I believe I am a better mom because I have worked. I have worked all of my adult life. Were there times when I thought I couldn’t bear another day of commuting and office politics? Absolutely. For instance, when my son was 4 and he had several emergency hospital stays resulting in his diagnosis of a chronic kidney condition, I wanted nothing more than to just be by his side – and I did.
Coincidentally (ah, yes, there’s no such thing as coincidences!), when the most challenging time in my life was unfolding, I had also been promoted to Vice President – the thing I had worked to achieve my entire career. But it paled in comparison to what was happening in my personal life at the time. I remember thinking how insignificant it felt after I had placed so much importance on it.
I’m not downplaying the achievement – for a kid from Brooklyn who didn’t go to college, this was the cherry on the cake! But compared to what my baby was going through, it was nothing.
This taught me 2 things:
1. Things and circumstances only hold the specific value we give them.
2. My self-identity was complex and a dichotomy of feelings.
This was an example of extremes, but there are professional women who feel this tug-of-war every single day. Our families are pulling us on one end, and our career is pulling us on the other. It’s easy to get lost in between both worlds, feel isolated, and that we aren’t doing a good enough job at work or at home.
Instead of trying to put “women back where they belong” as has been suggested in the news recently, perhaps it is a rally call instead. A call for all women – no matter their choice or circumstance to join a circle of solitude where there is plenty of room for individual choice and support. A call for corporate America to establish more policies that uplift professional moms (and dads too), so they feel empowered and good about their decisions.
I believe the day is coming. We – collectively – can make it happen, so that our daughters and sons will see a future of greater shared responsibility, love and respect.
Paula G. Rosario
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