Stop the Judgment! Put an End to the Mommy Wars
WASHINGTON - It's a decision all moms face and for some it's a heartbreaking one: Do you stay home or go to work and look for childcare?
That question has led to the so-called "mommy wars."
Some say motherhood is the toughest job in the world. And if raising children isn't enough, there's the added pressure of deciding whether to leave them with someone else to work outside the home.
Just go to Google and search stay-at-home moms versus working moms. You'll quickly see a range of heated discussions.
In one thread on Mommyish.com, Missy writes: "Seeing all these stay-at-home moms complain because they stay at home to watch a baby or a kid really annoys me... you are very lucky…"
Sherry replies: "I like how you assume that stay-at-home moms do no work at all... it's working moms like you that assume stay-at-home moms do nothing that p-- me off.
A Little More Understanding, Please?
Some of the moms CBN News talked to said the decision to work or stay home is not always an easy one, and they just wish other moms could be a little more understanding.
Nicole Pederson is a fetal care nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center. After she and her husband adopted two children from China, they felt she had to work because of financial reasons.
"I love my family and I love my job, and I'm actually very happy I have both. I feel like I've balanced things out," Pederson said.
But she said it's not always easy and one of the hardest parts for her is trying to fit in with the stay-at-home moms.
"You're kind of not included in the clique when you can make a class picnic and everybody knows everybody," she said. "And it's really hard to not sit there by yourself with your child."
Pederson also wants a little more understanding when she can't make all of her children's school and sporting events.
"You know, I would love to be there and be at every science fair, but you can't so I think there's a judgment on both ways like: 'Oh who's that? Oh, that's so-and-so's mom. She's never around. She's never here.' Which is tough," she said.
Hayley Dunstan from Northern Virginia stays home to raise her two children. Her 4-year-old son was not shy of talking about his mom in front of our cameras.
"Well she stays with us every day. That's fun!" he exclaimed.
Dunstan said she always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and had no problem quitting her job once the kids were born.
And the best part of her decision?
"Every day being here and experiencing every little thing they do and seeing them grow," she said.
Dunstan wants working moms to know that stay-at-home moms face unique challenges of their own. Rarely does a day go by where she has five minutes to herself.
"I can understand where they think we just sit around all day and do nothing, but I mean some days I don't even know what I did," she said. "It goes by so quickly."
"There's stuff I would want, but we can't afford," she added. "So being able to work would be nice just to have my little money that I could do and go out."
Still, more moms are following Dunstan's lead.
A 2012 study of government data by the Pew Research Center shows the number of stay-at-home moms rose to 29 percent, reversing a long-term decline over the last three decades.
The Guilt Factor
Darryl Arrington, a counselor with the Life Christian Counseling Network, has ministered to couples for more than 10 years. He said moms often feel guilty no matter what their decision.
"Mothers have a vital role and we would not be here if it weren't for mothers," he said. "That's a lot of stress in itself and it's just terrible if they're also taking on the question of, 'Am I doing the right thing?'"
Arrington said one of the biggest struggles for working moms is the guilt over leaving the children to go to work. He recommends they turn to the Bible.
"In the Church in recent days and recent decades, it was put forth that the completeness of a woman is found in the home, watching over her children. However, if we look at the scriptures -- specifically in Proverbs 31 -- that ideal woman, that woman of high esteem, that woman is working," Arrington noted.
On the other hand, Arrington said stay-at-home moms tend to feel guilty for not using their degrees or bringing home a paycheck.
Whatever the case, he said moms need to stop the comparisons and rivalries.
"We should be more cognizant and should be in pursuit, not necessarily of everyone doing what we do, but in pursuit of what our calling is whether it's a stay-at-home mother or a working mother," he said.
Whatever a mom's calling is, Arrington suggests finding a support group of moms in the same situation because all moms should remember that they share one of life's greatest blessings.