Parents in this day and age have to figure out what their parents never had to do. So much has changed from previous generations. Parents are now raising children in a world entirely different than the one they grew up in.
Once upon a time, it was expected for women to be stay-at-home mothers. Nowadays, many women are expected to balance mothering and working.
Nicole Beniamini writes about her experiences in a blog post on Working Mother. She describes her role as “a blend of what my parents had to do”. The clear-cut parental roles that dominated her childhood are gone in her adulthood as she and her husband work while they raise an adorable three-year-old girl. She describes her role as being extremely different from her mother’s. Since she didn’t grow up with a working mom, the challenges of being one are striking.
Her story mimics many others. This isn’t a downplay of the hard work stay-at-home moms put in every day; it’s a reflection on how different her mother’s difficulties are compared to Nicole’s now. Also, there are challenges that she had to face that her father never did.
Here are 11 Things Her Parents Never Had to Do
Homemakers are more often than not able to attend every party, celebration, and school function. Although Nicole enjoyed having her mom around during these events, she’s pained at not being able to do the same for her child.
“This year I missed my daughter’s Halloween parade…” she wrote, “and sobbed for an hour.”
Condense personal time into the weekend
While her mother was able to keep house, shop, and occasionally meet with friends all week, Nicole has only two days a week.
Fear losing her job
No one can take the “job” of motherhood away, no matter the level of performance. With Nicole trying to balance this role along with a job that she could be fired from, she can’t enjoy that same sense of security.
Have to spend limited time with the children
While homemakers can see their kids all day — even when they’d rather not — working parents’ time with their little angels are cut short.
“I’m sure my mother was tired after spending all day and night with me,” wrote Nicole, “but the other extreme is just as unfair. I only see my daughter a little in the morning and a little before bedtime during the week.”
The stress of childcare
Nicole could depend on her mom to be home, and on the rare occasion she couldn’t be, she had family members to help. Nicole, however, has to scramble if her daughter wakes up sick. She has to figure out who could drive her to afterschool activities and playdates. Let’s not get started on the days she’s forced to work late.
Suffer through judgmental comments
It’s obvious that stay-at-home mothers raise their kids, but there seems to be a question about working moms.
“If I believed comments from social media and strangers, daycare is raising my little girl,” wrote Nicole. “Apparently, daycare also tucks in my daughter at night, lets her puke all over them and instills my values and morals in her.”
No one should be judging the choices of parents, let alone strangers on the internet who don’t know the situation at all.
Earn a salary
In the home Nicole grew up in, her father was the only one who earned money, but now it’s her responsibility as well.
Pump at work
Speaking of her father’s role, it never included pumping.
“I, on the other hand, had to base client calls around my pumping schedule and had to excuse myself early from meetings because I was leaking.”
All mothers know what it’s like to collapse from pure fatigue, but Nicole’s case is different than her mother’s. She takes on the exhaustion of both of her parents.
“My stay-at-home mother let my father sleep through colicky fits while she tended to me,” she wrote. “Since I was nursing, I found myself napping in my car during lunch breaks to make up for my sleepless nights.”
Manage the house from work
Household chores like planning doctor’s appointments are made from the office by working moms. Between meetings and lunch breaks are packed with picking up dry cleaning, grocery trips, and calling teachers. This is a far cry from Nicole’s father’s workday.
As she wrote, “When my father was at work, he was at work.”
When Nicole’s father came home, he put down his briefcase and relaxed. When Nicole comes home, a new kind of work begins: cooking dinner, cleaning, and whatever social engagement is required.
“My husband helps,” said Nicole, “but it still requires my overall direction.”
This could be where working moms may divide. Some invest in a cleaning lady or rely on their husband to take care of household chores, such as dinner, depending on both of their schedules. Every home looks different, but all parents face their own challenges.
Working Moms VS Stay-At-Home Moms
Women who balance motherhood and careers should be immensely proud of themselves for what they accomplish. Staying at home comes with its own challenges, but both life choices are unique.
The big question that both face is often “Am I a good mother, really?”
For working women, it is usually accompanied with wondering “every day if having a career is worth the time missed with my small child,” in the words of Nicole. More often than not, the doubt won’t go away if the career is gone (unless it was directly interfering with the child’s wellbeing).
In short, it’s up to each family to decide whether the mom will work or not, and it’s always helpful to be aware of the oncoming challenges beforehand.
- Nicole Beniamini. “14 Things My Parents Never Had to Do Because My Mom Didn’t Work.” Working Mother. November 9, 2018