Why is there even a Debate ?????????????

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Why is there even a Debate ?????????????
11
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 3:29pm
How about a debate, about why there is EVEN a debate ?

I can understand how topics like spanking, different school techniques, etc. are debateable, but to me debating someone's personal lifestyle is like haveing a debate about who is better, people who's favorite color is green, or people who's favorite color is something else.

I see some very arrogant answers from BOTH sides, like the one person who posted that their work arrangements go so swimmingly, that anyone who finds their work, family balance a hassle, must really not want to work. And over many months of posting I see SAHM accuse WOH moms of not really loving or caring for their kids. I think it is just such nonsense.

OH, and there's always the anecdotal stories about the SAHM or the WOH and how horrible she was, but there are bad mothers in both camps, and good mothers (and fathers too) in both camps (and there are actually more than 2 camps) so I don't think weather or not one works full time, part time, not at all etc. has much to do with the overall quality of parenting. There are so many factors involved in parenting, that to hinge it all on a single issue is redicoulous. And while most people I know are good parents, nobody is a perfect parent. It's really easy to magnify someones flaws, and chalk it up to weather or not they work, if you disapprove of their choice. But since no one if perfect, what is the point of that.

I am not even a SAHM or WOH mom, and after reading so many posts, I can see that alot of people don't fit so easily into one mold or the other. I am kind of a back & forth MOm, I work temp jobs during the school year, and I take off during summer vacation, and Christmas breaks, and Spring Break. My hubby is off (usually) Mon & Tues, and he can usually accomodate those annoying and ever more frequent half-days, and 1 day holidays that seem to crop up more & more. (MLK day has turned into a 2 day MLK break, and our school through in a one day Autumn break 3 days before Columbus day). But just because we can make it work, I wouldn't get on my high horse & see, "hey look at me, I work, we work it out, if you can't its just because your lazy" nor would I say, "what, you work full time in the summer, well I stay home, you must not give a rat's eyelash about your kids" One person even posted the suggestion that school cafeteria workers can easily accomodate the work family thing, as if that is a solution for everyone. There are more working mothers, than there are opening for that particular job, so what exactly is the point? I even looked into jobs with the school district, (I am not a teacher) and all the cafeteria jobs, and cross guard jobs, etc. pay VERY LOW hourly, have very few hours, but they are spread out throughout the day (1 hour in the am, another hour in the PM) so for alot of people, it wouldn't be worth tying up essentially your whole day, to get a few measly bucks for a few measly hours. (However, for someone else, it may be the perfect job)

In conclusion, I think just being a good parent (not perfect) is more important than counting how many hours you work for a paycheck and how many dollars you bring in. Every family works this out, according to what works for THEM, why do so many people feel the need to pass judgement on such a personal decision anyway ?

Thanks.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 5:45pm
There's really two parts to this question: why is there a debate, and why does it get so nasty? To deal with the second one first : I think there are lots of undercurrents, lots of different types of people, and like true stereotypes, noone fits the bill completely and they don't capture the whole truth, but there are some themes that contribute to the nastiness.

You get the people who have all their personal worth vested in sah and who also have their gender identity built up in it - and who place a lot of value on the 'sacrifice' thing. So if you get a woh who has perfectly okay kids and is having a great life, that is somehow seen as negating their sacrifice, so of course, woh can't possibly be a good thing, because that is too threatening! Similarly, you get some wohms who have worked really hard and have a lot of their personal worth vested in *that*, and who have perhaps made a lot of sacrifices in order to woh, or aren't particularly willing wohs, who resent the ability some parents have to sah, and so rather than deal with their own disappointments or frustrations, it's easier just to bag the other 'side.'

Then you get the people who have a self esteem problem. They are the ones who see any life lived differently as a criticism of their own lives. And the people who just don't 'get' that there is any way other than their own. I think they irritate me the most.

(And there are people who just find the politics of the whole thing intensely interesting.)

Now for the first part: working mums and stay at home mums alike get comments made about them, judgements passed on them, every single day, without any chance to really have a say. I think debates like this are important because they give people a chance to vent their frustrations, address some of those issues, and crystalise what they think. It's also great to learn a little bit more about how other people live their lives, and to rub away some of the less rational assumptions that we tend to make in daily life. These boards force an examination, and while there will be some people who never learn a darn thing and who just take a contrary stance for the sake of the attention, there will be a lot of people better off for them. I certainly think I've been influenced positively by this board - my working status today was strongly influenced by a thread where we were all encouraged to argue the 'other side' and after thinking about it deeply, I decided that was what I actually wanted! (Or maybe I'm such a good debater I convinced myself LOL. Maybe not ;) )

We are also talking about something that we all value immensely - children. We all here believe that the way the community decides to parent children has enormous consequences for the community, not just with regards to the children but also public policy, funding, etc. As our community changes, gender roles change and people adjust to those changes, I think it's vital that we do have these debates - it's just a pity that some people have to be such idiots about it.

pax

Jane

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 6:34pm
Very well said. At least about why things get nasty. I still don't get why it is a debate to begin with as opposed to a discusion, ie: weighing the pros & cons of each choice, sharing with different people their different experiences, but I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that people get their whole identity vested in the sah or woh thing & feel threatened or critisized if someone else makes a different choice.

I guess I would fit into the cateogory of someone who finds the politics of this debate interesting. I lurk & sometimes post on this board because I find it interesting, not because I feel the need to tell someone that they have to balance work & family exactly the same way I do.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 6:34pm
oh, thank you, jane. you said what was swirling in my head and had no idea where to begin to put it down "on paper".

i did want to bring out a point that i always found interesting, actually two. first, i did sacrafice to sah with my children when they were little, not only because i wanted to sah with them, but also because i would have been working only to pay for daycare, as i didnt have a degree/career to make it worth it. but my point being, i never thought to even try to prove i was a good mom *because* i sacraficed. that was just one of the gives in this give and take world, for me. i kind of get tickled when someone says, "well, i sacraficed to stay with my children". i say, bully for you. that is your choice, and yours only, because it takes a lot more than sah to be a good mom.

second is, i personally never had anyone make a comment to me about my sah/woh. actually, i did have one person say something, but i took it from where it came. i didnt have any respect for him before he said it(long story) which was, something about me spending my dh's money......i responded, "yes and i keep his half of the kids". my dh and i agreed for me to stay with the kids, and it worked for us. this guy thought anyone who sah, did not deserve any "extra spending money" because the spouse was already giving them a place to stay and feeding them. whew. we changed the subject that day, because i really wasnt a person to back down very easily in those days!!LOL.

my sister has had many, many people make comments to her, and it really hurts my feelings too, as she is an awesome mom, and her work status has absolutely no effect on her mothering skills. (........you can pay me later, lauren. LOL)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 6:59pm
I am appalled when I hear people say things to the effect that SAHM should not have any of the "niceties', that if they SAH and "sponge" of their spouse that they should just be happy to have a roof over their heads, & food to eat. In the thread about SAH once the kids were in school, the orignal poster said if she SAH w/o children while her spouse worked, she would feel guilty getting a hair cut or buying shoes. How silly is that ?

I guess by the same logic, someone who is a professional house cleaner, or a professional nanny doesn't deserve to make any more money than what would allow them to buy the bare neccesities in life.

I say hats off to ALL moms, who do the very best they can for their families & children, through whatever combination of work at home or work out of the home.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 7:00pm
Here's the short answer... we don't actually hardly ever debate the title topic anymore, except when a new person jumps right in without lurking and makes a blanket statement. Mostly we are debating about side issues, and it gets hot because whenever you are talking about your kids, you are talking about something that you are very passionate about. (general you.. sometimes I wish we had a word for that like in spanish!)
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 7:08pm
i used to be extremely opinionated about most things, and thought i should strive to be perfect and do everything the best way(which was my way of course,LOL), until i was advised by a psychologist to read a book called "co-dependent, no more". the psychologist said, "i think you will see yourself on every single page", and omg, was he right!! it was like someone was looking in my window!! i never finished the book, but of course have every intention of doing so before i die!LOL, but the first half hit home for me, and one thing i did learn was, there *is* more than one way to skin a cat!! i'll be darned. after that, i backed off, chilled out, and life has been pretty darned good for me since then.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 7:11pm
gotta say it.... thats some pretty fancy grammar, there sparky!!LOL

not criticising, just got tickled.

Avatar for outside_the_box_mom
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 8:36am
Yep. I started off on this board as a die-hard WOHM. No way was I ever going to be one of those SAHMs and waste my education, blah blah blah. When I first started out, I wouldn't even "take" money from my DH -- I paid 50% of everything because no way was I going to be "supported" by a man. It was only through reading posts over and over from SAHMs that I realized it was *ok* to be one -- and that my DH and I were a team, not two people paying dutch on a date. Now I'm in the middle -- I enjoy being a working mother (for reasons many WOHMs state) but I am very very very glad I was at home for the early years -- and for the flexibility my WAH schedule gives me.

outside_the_box_mom

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 8:44pm
Agree with everything you said. It really shouldn't even be a debate! Its someone's own business if they stay at home or if they work. We should all learn to be more tolerant.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-2003
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 11:15pm
Not just "what works for them." I'm so tired of hearing that.

But what is required. I agree.

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