Why are working moms so angry and defensive?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
Why are working moms so angry and defensive?
Fri, 02-24-2012 - 1:26am
This whole board is extremely scary to approach if you are a sahm and love doing it or at least feel you are doing the right thing for your child. The minute a sahm says my children love me at home or I don't want anyone else taking care of them during the day, the working moms immediately start making sarcastic remarks, such as "oh, I guess I am hurting my kids by working" or you start acting as if they are more intelligent or have a higher education than sahm's. Frankly, I believe the defensiveness and anger comes from guilt and insecurity. Maybe, deep down inside you think that your child wants you around more. Ok, start going crazy on me for stating an opposing thought that goes against the mob.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2001
Sun, 06-10-2012 - 5:47pm
I'm not angry and defensive, and I never have been. I don't feel guilty or insecure. But that probably has a lot to do with my own personality, knowing who I am, and being 36 when I had my first child. Now I'm almost 42, due soon with #2. And when the HR director said "don't you wish you could have stayed home, or want to do it this time?" And I said "nope, that's not who I am." Of course, she was fishing to see if I was going to collect maternity leave pay and then abandon them. And I knew that.

In real life, there were only a couple of SAHMs who were outright rude and nasty to me for going back to work at 13 weeks. And wait! Within a year, about 75-80% were working again, and after 2 years...well...there might have been one or two (out of 60) who were still FT SAHMs.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2005
Mon, 04-09-2012 - 11:53am
I think most moms, regardless of work status, want what is best for their kids. Many of the pro-WOH arguments that revolve around the kids center on tangibles related to finances, so it is easy for a SAHM to shrug it off if it does not apply to them. If a WOHM says she does it so her kids can have food, or a better school district, or a college fund, the SAHM can easily say that either her kids can have those things without a dual-income family, or that those things simply are not a priority to her.

But few mothers can say it is not a priority for the kids to be happy and secure, and when your children are especially young, it can be difficult to say with certainty that my kids will be happy and secure for life. So the pro-SAHM argument that rests on SAH making for happier and more secure children may hit the nerve of that mom who still has even the slightest doubt about her kids future happiness and security (and frankly, I think having a slight doubt is fairly normal, not a reflection that something is wrong. I'd be more worried about a mom of toddlers who feels 100% certain that her children will always be happy and secure).

You may notice (at least I have) that the defensiveness tends to exist more among mothers of younger children, and that as the children grow and present as well-adjusted, the defensiveness fades. Also, the moms who are confident that their work status has nothing to do with a child's happiness/security tend to not be defensive. The pro-SAHM arguments that rest on more tangible things, such as academics, behavior, health are also not met with the same defensiveness because it's easy to say "nope, my kids are straight A students, or healthy as a horse, or have never had a single behavioral issue in school".

I have seen more of the defensiveness on birth boards, with young children. Here, I have seen it very, very rarely, and generally only with a young mother with few role models of older working mothers and only in response to pro-SAHM arguments that rest on perceived benefits that are difficult to measure, quantify, or assess at the child's young age. The rest of us tend to be aware that whatever imperfections are children have are not because of work status.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2009
Fri, 03-30-2012 - 4:55am

Any defensiveness comes from insecurity or a response to being attacked.

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Sun, 03-04-2012 - 5:15am

Well, if you have to go and get all logical and stuff, whatever will we do for entertainment around here? ;)

I do agree though, that it ought to be in the interest of all parents, fathers, mothers, working or not, to have sensible family policies that would be of benefit to all kids. Unfortunately, in the US, many people seem to think that providing reliable, affordable, high quality daycare, for example, is equivalent to telling people they can't SAH. There also seems to be widespread opposition to some kind of paid and longer maternity leave. It is odd to me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000
Sat, 03-03-2012 - 6:16pm
I am married, but for most our marriage, I've made 3 - 4X what he made, so for several years, he stayed home with the kids, since his income barely covered daycare and expenses. The thing is, who cares who stays home or works as long as the kids are fed, watered, loved, and safe??? Why are we wasting our time debating who loves their kids more instead of working together to solve real issues, like providing a good education to EVERY kid, making sure they all have food, shelter, etc? We get so caught up in proving who's best that we tend to forget that if we women worked together as a united front, we could literally change the way the world works and make most children safe, healthy, and cared for. Just saying.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000
Sat, 03-03-2012 - 6:04pm
Very well said!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011
Sat, 03-03-2012 - 12:05pm

It makes me angry to be painted with such a broad brush.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 03-02-2012 - 10:57am
Sharington wrote:

Having to meet the needs/demands of the children, husband/boyfriend/commonlaw partner on a 24 hour basis.

Inadequate parking facilities at work. Of all the complaints I've heard from working people (not just women) i don't really think this qualifies.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2011
Wed, 02-29-2012 - 11:38pm
Maybe working moms bristle when you preach at them and tell them they are defensive and angry. I wonder why you feel like such a target of sarcastic attacks when you post a passive aggressive one of your own...
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Avatar for mom34101
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 02-29-2012 - 9:14am
Yes, and if the second earner wouldn't make enough to pay for childcare, it wouldn't even increase family income. Sometimes, if a family has enough with one income, it isn't "better" to have more money--they find it "better" to have more time.