when I am wrong, I apologize

You know how you can tell someone is a true friend?  They always tell you the truth, and they are not afraid to point out when you have made a mistake.  Last week, in an attempt to adequately describe stay-at-home moms’ frustrations with returning to the workplace, I made a big mistake.  I overlooked the feelings of fellow working moms.  Thankfully, my good friend, AG, kindly pointed this out to me.   AG spoke about looking forward to my success.  While in the same breath, she pointed out that although at-home moms feel like they have to sacrifice themselves when they go back to work, career moms have made various sacrifices for years.  Thank you AG!  That is a good friend.

The ultimate goal of the post was to push for greater respect between stay-at-home moms and career moms, but it seems as though I undermined myself in the process.  Thankfully, life is a learning curve, and I was able to see the holes in my argument after some help from a good friend.  SO, I am rephrasing my argument a bit.

I believe the ultimate goal is collaboration between stay-at-home moms and working moms.  I spoke about it in my first blogging attempt  – a mentorship opportunity between career moms and at-home moms.  Can that exist?

I am sure that over the years, career moms feel as though they have given up certain experiences with their children, struggle with the debate of quantity vs. quality, and feel torn most of the time.  On the flip side, stay-at-home moms often feel ill prepared to get back into the working world.  This is where the respect part comes in.  Career moms can take advantage of their life experiences and better positions to mentor the stay-at-home moms.   Concurrently, at-home moms can reserve judgment about the career mom’s choices.  After all, we are all women and we should be allies instead of foes.

When I told my almost 10-year-old that I was starting a business, he exclaimed, “Mom, I am only 9, I still need you”.  As working moms or moms contemplating working opportunities, we all struggle with similar dilemmas.  By working together, we could at least solve part of the dilemma.

For stay-at-home moms who are looking into work options, this is my personal list of tidbits!  I think that we cannot even enter the discussion of (presumed) work life balance that career moms struggle with until we do the following:

1)   As a preliminary step, evaluate what you absolutely cannot give up as part of your role as an at-home mom.  Do you still want to be there most mornings as your children leave for school?  Can someone else wash your kids’ dirty socks sufficiently?  Do you want to make dinner every night or can your partner? Or even better – delivery pizza is just fine?  In this process, look at your what your typical week looks like and what you can and cannot give up.

2)   If your kids are in grade school, it is best to be open with them about your decision and leave room for dialogue.  Tell them what is still going to be important for you to do with them.

3)   Find a friend who can be your sounding board.  Do not try to go about this alone.  It is a fun and exciting time filled with ups and downs, so you will need someone to discuss it all with.  AND, someone who is going to be honest with you.

4)   Remind yourself to take a DEEP BREATH!  Pace yourself in your endeavor and enjoy each minute because it is a brand new adventure for you.

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • Sharon Hiebing December 13, 2010, 2:07 AM

    Well I’m not a mom but I think your goal to strive to have all moms support each other is a very justified one. It’s great you have such good friends.

    Sharon Hiebing
    Follow Your Dream Compass

  • Irene Turner December 12, 2010, 10:37 PM

    I am not a mother, but I fully believe in women supporting women as we travel through all roads in our lives. Everyone needs mentoring, understanding and cheerleading at certain points in life, and being as we are the nurturers we can be our own best support and that of other women! Yea Rah!

  • Jennifer Duchene December 13, 2010, 3:00 AM

    Having been a women who became a stay at home mom for a while, I can definitely relate. It is tough on both sides of the fence. Who can know which is better. You do bring up a valuable point Rachel. Mentorship is something that all women should be engaged in. A it could be a powerful hand up, for the mother who returns to the working fold. I do like your list of questions, as well. Every women, with children, needs to know her limitations, before committing herself to working outside the home. Thanks for bringing up an important topic.
    I also agree that friends who tell one the truth, are worth their weight in gold.

    Jennifer Duchene
    Home Makeover Mixtress

    • backngroovemom December 13, 2010, 4:09 PM

      Thank you for the support, Jennifer.
      I have definitely found that self-reflection is the first part of this process.
      As for mentorship, that is a work in progress.

  • Julie Labes December 13, 2010, 9:08 AM

    As a Mom who has been both, a career mom and a stay at home mom I( can certainly relate to both sides of this but I am in full agreement that as moms, we do need to support each other no matter our life choices. I applaud your honesty and the fact that you are able to stand up and say “I made a mistake or I did not take someone else’s feeling into consideration” I have a good friend who, every time I pick up the phone to talk to her, berates me on my parenting skills and on my decisions or has some remark about my husband or kids. I know as a friend I need to talk to her and let her know how this makes me feel but so far I have not done this. I have taken to just not telling her about what is going on in my life. I also know that it is because of what is going on in her life (her husband has been out of work almost 12 months) that she is feeling the way she does as she was not always like this. But I usually just bite my tongue. As a friend I know what I should do but as yet, have not plucked up the courage to do it. Perhaps your article will help me find the courage I lack and live up to my “Fierce Over 50” status

    Julie Labes the…Fierce over 50 feels much younger, point and click junkie, loves to travel, does not use a jogging stroller, and before you ask, this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

    • backngroovemom December 13, 2010, 2:10 PM

      Julie – sometimes, all we can do is be good listeners…

      Thanks so much for the great perspective on being happy with our choices!


  • Andrea December 13, 2010, 12:14 PM

    Backngroovemom –

    I’m so flattered that you dedicated your new post to me; I was only able to express my true opinions because I knew you would interpret them as I intended.

    In today’s blog, you offered great tidbits of advice for at home moms who are considering joining the workforce. I will be your sounding board any time and I know you will (and always have) return the favor!

    xo, AG

  • Pat Zahn December 13, 2010, 1:45 PM

    I never understand why this is an argument…it seems like every so often there are news articles that pit stay-at-home mom against working mom, why? I chose to quit my 6 figure income to raise my child but I never thought that those who don’t were wrong. I believe ultimately you have to make the decision that is right for you and YOUR family. I eventually decided to run my own direct sales business and I have been able to do that at whatever level I needed to at the time, but again, I don’t think other SAHMs have to do that. Maybe where the insecurity comes from is when we have to make choices we don’t want to for practical reasons.

    Pat Zahn, Photo Solutions Superhero

    • backngroovemom December 13, 2010, 1:59 PM

      I agree Pat. I wish that all moms could work more hand in hand. Just this morning – there was a 2 hour snow delay – I had 2 extra kids at my house for breakfast and another 2 that I had to give rides to school (in addition to my 2). I have a few core working moms and SAHMs that we help each other in this way. Would it not be great if this could happen in the work sector, too?
      That is an excellent theory that you have on the argument stemming from having to make choices that we do not want. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Louise Edington December 13, 2010, 3:30 PM

    I agree that women should be supportive of each other and their choices. I have almost always been a SAHM/WAHM but many of my friends had careers that they did not want (or could not afford to) give up. After all, if they did then they would drop right back down the ladder.
    However! Whilst I am supportive of choices I find it easier to actually hang around with women who made the same choice I did as we understand our own problems etc. I have NO idea what it’s like to work full time and still juggle everything. Doesn’t mean I’m unsupportive though.
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears and Frontiers Over Fifty

  • Judy Stone-Goldman December 13, 2010, 8:05 PM

    It’s sad to see competition come in between at-home working mothers and in-the-workplace mothers. I am on the outside of this issue–as a step-mother never had to face this as only older kids lived with us–but I can appreciate it’s huge for parents dealing with kids. I think your suggestions can serve a purpose even beyond the mother issue. As for friends who tell the truth–pure gold!

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer

    • backngroovemom December 13, 2010, 9:28 PM

      Thanks Judy – I absolutely agree that the list would be helpful to many! We have to prioritize in order to be successful.
      AND – YES, if you have a few true friends that is pure gold!

  • Brandy Mychals December 14, 2010, 12:46 AM

    HOT topic! In fact, when Oprah covered it years ago, that episode received the most response ever! I think the reason it is such a hot button is because as a mom you want to do the absolute best for your child and you want to do it right. The truth is that mistakes will be made in all choices…there is no perfect. Stay-at-home moms may feel guilty if they feel bored at home, working moms may feel guilty if they enjoy their work…or they feel guilty for leaving, or guilty for not making money. Sometimes I think being a mom can seem like a career full of strange fluids and guilt – LOL! I believe moms (& ALL women) are just amazing in what they do on a daily basis and what they offer their families, their partners and the world. Whichever way they choose to do it, I believe they are doing their best.
    Brandy Mychals
    Split Second Perceptions

    • backngroovemom December 14, 2010, 5:44 AM

      Thank you Brandy! Great thoughts……no matter what a mom chooses, their job is DIFFICULT!

  • Donna McCord December 14, 2010, 6:01 PM

    Such a sensitive and personal subject that I struggled with as a young mom — I had no choice but to work when my daughter was a baby, and it was not by choice; but I did what I could to change things, and was able to at first have one day a week that I could work from home, and then when my daughter was in grammar school, I was able to work every day from home, and it was the best situation for us. I could take my daughter to school, pick her up, be there for her sports activities, take her to piano, ice skating, and swimming lessons, etc. and still get all my work done. I have never really felt any competition or negative feelings for either SAHMs or working moms, maybe because I could relate to both. But I agree with you that it is so important for all women to be supportive and encouraging to one another, and understanding and open to each woman’s individual situation. And congratulations on your new job!

  • Jen Sako December 14, 2010, 9:24 PM

    Good Lord! I am a work at home mom with my own business as well as contract work with another company. I don’t know whether I am coming or going! But I do know that I am happy and ready to serve my Church, my family, my customers and all those that are moms, working or not. I told that to another woman once and she looked at me reproachfully and asked me when do I serve myself. She meant it as something that should stop me in my tracks. I do think that I serve myself when I give myself. I’m not a martyr by any stretch and I don’t jeopardize my health over anything, but I love to be of service. Great post!

  • realestatecash December 14, 2010, 11:07 PM

    I think the idea of having career Moms mentor “returning to work” Moms is a great idea. I would have been interested in doing so.

    I never had a choice, I had to work. I didn’t have the work at home option until he was a teenager. So no agonizing dilemma for me there. But I think that Moms that had the opportunity to stay home should really count their blessings. It’s too bad society doesn’t provide better choices (party time / job share) and pit people who have the choice to work or not to work against each other.

  • Rob Wallis December 15, 2010, 11:03 AM

    Excellent tips! And the ability to admit to a mistake is a lost art these days. As they say, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying.

    That said, mompreneurs (like it!) are really unsung and definitely need the support of each other, probably more than, um, non-moms. 🙂

  • Fiona Stolze December 15, 2010, 11:06 AM

    This has been a great discussion and it’s lovely to hear what all these other women have to say. I’m a mum of 3 and opted to be a stay-at-home mum for a very long time. I think it’s so important to get clarity for yourself on what you feel most comfortable with. I used to enviously eye up the mums who went to work and juggled both family and career but looking back I can see how I have developed great skills. We’re all one big clan and can definitely support each other, no matter what path we chose.

    Fiona Stolze

  • backngroovemom December 15, 2010, 12:20 PM

    Thank you everyone for the compliments!
    Fiona – we share a lot of the same sentiments…..
    Rob – admitting a mistake is so hard, but makes you feel better when you do!

  • Rachel Lavern December 15, 2010, 6:56 PM

    I think it is a great idea for both type of mothers to share both the good and uncomfortable experiences. They would benefits from the communication and learn that someone knows what they are going through, perhaps because they had similar experiences.

    Rachel Lavern
    Personal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development

  • Candace C. Davenport December 16, 2010, 1:35 AM

    I always worked with my kids. But I had my own practice (lawyer) so I brought my kids until they got too loud then they went to day care. Although I didn’t work from home, I at least had the option to have some control over my hours. I coached my son for years in both baseball and soccer and I don’t think I ever missed a play performance for my daughter.

    So maybe I had to best of both worlds. I had my career and kids and was able to usually do what I wanted. It was just the way it was. But I’ve definitely been on the receiving end of comments about not being a good mom because I put my kids in daycare. Moms should do what works for them and it’s not for anyone to make judgments about the choices they make. (And my kids aren’t in therapy, so maybe I didn’t screw them up too bad… )

    Candace Davenport
    http://www.ourlittlebooks.com ~ Little Books with a Big Message

    • backngroovemom December 16, 2010, 7:24 AM

      Candace –
      I definitely think that you had what most want. A career, flexibility, and did not miss the precious moments with your kids. Not only that, you seem like the type of person who would help another mom/woman. You are an example for others! Thanks for commenting!

  • Robbie Schlosser December 17, 2010, 5:59 PM

    I’m not a mom, but my mother was, and I grew up watching her struggle to balance family and work responsibilities. Thanks for writing this post — you’ve managed to strike a sensitive spot with many readers, and I’ve enjoyed reading their articulate comments from so many perspectives. Everyone has a history, and this family vs work issue seems to figure to some degree in everyone’s story. BTW, I love how you describe yourself in part as CEO of your household.

    • backngroovemom December 17, 2010, 7:14 PM

      Robbie – thank you for the sentiments! I think whether moms work or not, their plate is full! We moms are always juggling something!
      as for the CEO of my house – I always tell my hubby…there can only be one CEO! haha

  • Lisa Ann Landry December 18, 2010, 4:26 AM

    I am not a Mom, I have been a career woman since 1981. I can’t imagine the internal struggle that goes on for working mothers. I remember though how conflicted my Mother always was given she felt she had to make a choice between her true calling – Registered Nurse and being a stay at hone Mom. I feel saddened that she had to make that choice. My Mother new from the time she was a little girl her calling to be a Nurse. I think that is extremely rare.

    Lisa Ann Landry
    Vibrating Positive Energy


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