The stay at home mom versus the working mom is red hot button issue right now and I think will be for many more years to come. Having been on both sides of the fence, so to speak, here is my personal take on the issue:
When I found out that I was expecting 17 1/2 years ago it was decided that I would stay at home and raise our child, I was still working at this time, but my pregnancy became high risk due to the seizure disorder and other complications so I stopped working. Bed rest was horrible, however my son is healthy and 17 1/2 years old now. So all worked out. Looking back I am glad I had a few years with my son, although short due to an unexpected, drastic life change (divorce). I enjoyed those firsts, bonding moments, walks, bathing him, teaching him, reading and singing to him. It was a joy, but a Mom's work inside the home is still not done, there is laundry, cooking, cleaning, taking out the garbage, taking care of the pet, doctor appointments, grocery shopping and the list just goes on.
Enter in the working mom (in my case re-entering the workforce) and single again with a child with added responsibilities. Along comes with being a working mom, is besides working outside the home, paying the bills, you still have all the duties of a stay at home mom now combined with being a working mom and the constant worry of getting the dreaded telephone call from the sitter, nanny, daycare, or school - your child is throwing up, please come get him, or the call from the daycare when the child ends up having chicken pox and so on.
Talk about stress...imagine hair sticking straight up at this point and frazzled!! :(
Imagine doing this all by yourself, with not much help at all, I still do the laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, handling doctor appointments, car repairs, pet care, paying bills, sports activities, some scout activities, school activities, and the list goes on endlessly. However, now as my son is much older it is a little easier and his dad usually will do the scout thing with him the majority of the time, except when I need to fill in sometimes which this works out actually just fine. But back when he was much younger I was the one doing it all.
So having been on both sides and still on the one side as a working parent (have to provide for myself and help provide for my son) I have determined whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, our jobs are never done. Now think about if you are doing it all alone, the added pressure, more stress, worries about money, and more. What bothers me more than anything is what I did miss out on due to the divorce.
I missed out on being a room mother, being involved in the parent teacher association, volunteering, attending play dates, going on school field trips as a chaperone, taking a vacation and more. I will never be able to go back in history and change things, I have no other children to do things with, I will never be able to give my son those things I wanted so much to do with him when he started school.
The other side is yes I have contact with the world, however there are days I wish for just a bit of peace and those young years when your child viewed you as the most wonderful person in their world.
Fast forward to 2013 my son is currently a Junior in high school, will be turning 18 this summer, will graduate high school in 2014 then is off to college.
Suddenly, I find that the things I missed during his younger years brings me to tears and breaks my heart, though in life changes happen but at a high price, it cost me the valuable time with him I will never get and neither will he.
Even though I love my son and I know he loves me too, the ache I have in my heart will never go away and I often times feel that I failed as a mother, excluding the fact I failed at my marriage too.
So with this hot issue of stay at home moms and working moms, we moms know we work hard, but remember how blessed you are if you are able to stay at home and raise your children for as long as you can and the benefit for your children, for working moms I totally feel for you, you are managing two worlds and your children will also benefit just in a different way, for working single parents you have my sympathy as the benefit to your children is much more different and more challenging.
With that being said and my own personal view, heartache, and the guilt I have knowing I can't change what happened, it leaves a hole deep in my heart and soul that will never be repaired. For my son, whom I love with all my heart to the moon and back, I am so sorry I failed and could not stay home longer to be with you during your growing up years. I love you always and forever.