Am I a better mama because I work?

It’s a debate as old as I am, yet it continues on. So who’s the better mama – the stay-at-home-mama who devotes 110% of her energy focusing on her family, or the working mom who has to split her energy in several different directions, both in and outside of the home?

I don’t really think there is a “perfect” answer, because if you ask 20 different women this same question, you’re going to get 20 different answers. Much like how you prefer your steak cooked and which wine you drink, it’s a matter of opinion.

I've been on both sides of the fence, so all I can attest to is my own opinion. After I quit my full time job 3 years ago to be a stay-at-home mom, shit got done. I managed that house like a mofo. The house was (relatively) clean, meals were cooked, homework was inspected, chores were delegated, kids were driven wherever they needed to me, clothes were clean and in their place, the fridge and pantry were always fully stocked. All was right with my little world, and I rocked that world. Hard.

Yet, at the same time, I kinda missed the “professional” me; the other “me” that would wear real pants, cute shoes and put on makeup everyday. I had something that was mine, and mine alone. I always felt accomplished as a mom, but to achieve fulfillment outside of the home was a whole different sense of accomplishment. And it felt good. Really good. Almost as if my Bachelor’s degree and decades of life experience didn't go to waste. After all, I was more than just a wife and mother. I was a productive part of society, with the brain and abilities to make a difference. My patience level was that of a Buddhist priest. All was balanced. All was well.

But over the course of 3 years, I guess a sense of resentment began to set in, manifesting in the most inappropriate times, at the wrong people. I became short-tempered, snippy, irritable. At times, when the kids would fight, I would become so frustrated I would send them to their rooms, for the sake of my own sanity. If Hubby came home in a bad mood, I would bitch at him for bitching at me. If they didn't like the dinner I spent hours cooking each night, I would burst into tears. If Little Woman came out of her room, dressed like a dime store hoochie because “oh yea, I forgot to tell you I need my laundry done, like, 2 weeks ago”…….FUCK! Are you kidding me?! Getbacktoyourroomandchangeyouarenotgoingoutofthishouselookinglikethat!

Everyone had their own agenda, and me, as the mom, was just supposed to be there whenever they said BOO! It got bad. Sometimes real bad. I would beg for a few hours of alone time, a concept they couldn't understand. I literally would have to grab my purse and laptop while throwing on my coat and announce that I’m going to take some “mommy time-out” for a few hours. The looks I received were priceless, as if saying ‘how will we feed ourselves? Who’s going to run the dishwasher? Who’s going to tell us what to do? How will we entertain ourselves? How do we work the DVD player? For the love of Christ woman, this house will fall to anarchy!’

Ok, I exaggerate. But not by much.

To be honest, there were times when I didn't like who I became, and that scared me more than anything. I could be a downright Bitch. Capitol B.

As a SAHM, I did the best I could. But overall, I needed more. Was I the best mama at that time? Yes, yes I was. But was I the most effective person I needed to be? Maybe not. When you feel that there is ‘something missing’, everyone involved suffers. Now that I've been back to work for a month now, things have changed. Sure, we’re still in a huge adjustment period, but for now, I find myself feeling more accomplished, having more patience and obtaining a clearer vision of the future. I honestly feel that when we present ourselves as happy, well-rounded, positive role models to our children, they become better people themselves. I want them to be proud of their mama. I want to empower them to become the Rock Stars I know they can be.

Am I a better mama because I work? My answer is a definite yes. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your spin on this subject.

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