When I saw the cover of last month’s Parenting Magazine, I knew what I’d read first. I skipped the baby swaddling how-to in favor of Sasha Emmons’ Essay, “Dear Daughter, Here’s Why I Work.” Emmons responds to a question that would make most working parents cringe: Mom, do you love your job more than you love me?
Like Emmons, I don’t love my job more than my kids. But what’s love got to do with it?
Before you put your dukes up, let’s clarify our debate
If you’re a parent, you already have a job, a very important one. Today, I’m not asking whether or not parents should work outside the home. What I want to know is just how much weight your child’s opinion gets when it comes to whether or not you have a job beyond childcare.
Let’s take a quick look at three flavors of working moms.
Stay-at-home mom (SAHM). Generally speaking, SAHMs stay home to care for their children and household. They averages 94 hours of work per week–work that translates to a six-figure income according to Salary.com. But of course we all know this job, with its 24-hour duties and non-existent vacation days, doesn’t come with a paycheck.
For a tasty read, check out Kim Tracy Prince’s post, “The Number One Danger of Being a Stay at Home Mom.”
Work-out-of-the-home mom (WOHM). Working mothers, or WOHMs, primarily work in a traditional office or company setting. WOHMs are now the sole or primary income provider in 40% of households with children, according to the Pew Research Center.
It’s great to bring home the bacon, some of us even fry it up in a pan, but every now and then that working mom guilt rears its ugly head. Check out Working Moms Against Guilt where a few fabulous bloggers are putting mommy guilt in its place.
Work at home mom (WAHM). WAHMs bring home the bacon, but they do it from their own kitchen, or home office.
If you’re interested in becoming a WAHM, I highly recommend the Work-At-Home Mom Strategy Hour offered by 5 Minutes for Mom. Bonus, if you’re an aspiring WAHM and you’re also interested in freelance writing, visit Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing blog.
A child’s opinion always counts…except for when it doesn’t
So, just how much influence should a child have when it comes to whether or not a parent has a day job? In my opinion, a child’s opinion on this has some sway, but not a ton. Most kids can’t fully appreciate the cost of food and shelter, healthcare, clothing…neither can some alleged adults.
Kids don’t understand your long-term goals for your family, such as saving for college and retirement…neither can some alleged adults.
But it’s more than finances, isn’t it?
In the essay mentioned above, Emmons shares with her 8-year-old daughter the reasons that she works that have nothing to do with money. Like Emmons, I like to be creative and problem solve, both inside and outside of the home. I want my children to be proud of me. I want them to know that a woman’s work is meaningful, no matter the locale.
Readers: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much influence does your child’s opinion have on whether or not you have a day job? What would you do if your child asked you not to work outside the home?
Play nice: around here all opinions are respected, encouraged, and appreciated.