Skip Nav
This Mother's Reaction to Her Son's Fit of Anger Can Teach Us All a Lesson in Parenting
Is There a Twin Baby Boom, or Are You Just Imagining It?
Shopping Guide
The Most Instagrammable Onesies For Your Sweet Baby

To Work or Not To Work?

The working versus stay-at-home mom debate always seems to rile up women. Either a working mom wishes she had more time with her children, or a stay-at-home mom has regrets about giving up her career.

The release of The Feminine Mistake earlier this year brought the debate back into national news and confirmed that there is no right answer. Whether a mother works at home or outside it, both jobs are tough.

According to the US Census Bureau, 55 percent of mothers with infant children work and 72 percent of mothers, ages 15-44, without infants work.

Do you have an opinion?


Join The Conversation
NinaG NinaG 9 years
I think it's absolutely essential to instill a work ethic in our children which is why I opt for part-time even tho' sometimes it is not always feasible. Asia84, the higlight of my day is not folding socks (especially after having spent loads of money on my education) the highlight of my day is when my little boy's face lights up when I walk into the room to play with him. I have been known to forsake the housework in order to spend QUALITY time with my baby. And I will do so until he is older. Then maybe I will look into focusing on my career again.
Drewsfan Drewsfan 9 years
I bring my baby to work!
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
I believe to each her own. but for myself, I believe that i need to have my own life. the hubby does, so why not me? there needs to be a balance of career, home, hubby,kids, and self. I honestly don't think i would be good at being a stay at home mom. i'd go stir-crazy. what do you do once they are in school full time? Clean the house? do laundry? wow. $80,000 worth of college education and the highlight of my day is folding socks??? i respect at home moms, because that is the type of women they are. and that's cool. but i need to be challenged (not by a child 24/7), mama can still come home and love the heck out of ya. besides, as much as you love your kids, you're telling me you don't get burned out from being with them all day????
Neural Neural 9 years
I work. I have to. I'm not sure what I'd do if I had a choice.
dleighl dleighl 9 years
I work, but would LOVE to stay at home if I could.
LilahMommy LilahMommy 9 years
Wow - so many people have so much to say - I wanted to chime in again on the nanny calling to say "baby 'x' took her first steps today and you weren't there to see it...." To begin with, most nannies and mommies (that I know) discuss these things. I specifically requested that neither our nanny nor my mother (who often watches our daughter) tell me if she took her first steps/said her first words without me around. I figured that if she did it at 3 pm, she would do it again at 7 pm. I know that that may sound like a big giant plate of de-nial - but it worked for me. Moreover, I discovered that Lilah was more apt to do her "firsts" with me around - so in fact, she DID take her first steps and speak her first words with me there. (Or at least that's the story that I am sticking to!!) The other misconception I think there is out there (that lends itself so well to feeling judged) is that working mothers don't "know" their children as well. I have to whole-heartedly disagree with that. Because I am a working mother I carve out time that my stay at home mom friends don't - when I get home from work I spend a solid hour JUST with my daughter. That means no laundry, no phones, no cooking (which kills me!), no television, no email.... No distractions. That means that I get a certain QUALITY of time with my daughter that my other girlfriends just don't get. It is so rare to be able to be totally undestracted - especially when you are worried about the cooking and the paying the bills and the laundry, etc. Because I am away all day I make double the effort to spend that time with her. My stay at home mom friends have also marveled that I rarely (if ever) lose my patience with my daughter - I can sit for prolonged periods of time doing just what my daughter wants to do, not getting fed up with having my hair done by a three year old or getting annoyed that she has insisted on putting curious george panties over backyardigans panties over tinkerbell panties, and so on. Anyway, my (again - long-winded) point is that if you feel like you need to stay at home to "know" your child - it is entirely possible to have an incredible relationship with your little one while continuing to work.
TheTiffy TheTiffy 9 years
I had to choose other. Though I really want to get back to work to help my husband out financially and make my own spending money (I refuse to spend his money on things that are only for me), the cost of a second vehicle and childcare would outweigh my take-home pay. It isn't lucrative until my son is school-aged.
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
Wow this is loaded and lots of people have opinions on this. Luckily for us - my husband stays at home in the morinings and we split afternoon baby time with the grammies that live close by. and then I am with her evenings. I think that our daughter is getting a great experience being with all of the people who love her. I really don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this. If given the choice - I would probably stay home, but I am also proud of my career and think that me working is instilling values too.
NinaG NinaG 9 years
I would have to say Part time is an ideal situation, but only then after the baby is about 9 mos old. I tutor from home and started that when my baby was about 6-7 mos old and not before. To be honest, I do it for a little cash, otherwise, I would be happy to be a full-time mum (believe me: there are MORE than enough things to get done around the house!) I did in fact spend a lot of time and money on my education but I agree with Pink Sparkle Grl, it would kill me to have the babysitter/grandparents/daycare call me and say: "your son took his first step today... "
Hmorris Hmorris 9 years
I left my hour commute teaching job with the intent to start a family soon. I'm taking classes now (during pregnancy) to study PR/Event Planning. In the meantime I'm also tutoring to make some wages. Hopefully, I can run my tutoring business in our home and continue to figure out what I want to do with the event planning/PR thing. I think staying home is good but even better if you can do something additional to make a little bit. I used to be a working-mom mentality person, but my mind changed over time. We'll see how things work out.
oiseaux oiseaux 9 years
I agree with you LilahMommy and it is definitely a personal choice respective to each individual's situation. My mother always worked and she's encouraged me to do the same to have something I can call my own. We don't have children yet, but are planning for it in the near future and with very busy and demanding careers, I'm not sure how we'll balance it all, but we'll find a way that works the best for us. Good luck to you. My attorney friends run the gamut from in house counsel to working past midnight wanting to make partner to becoming a stay at home mom and I do see how each have had to make different sacrifices for their choices.
amandachalynn amandachalynn 9 years
In our case it doesn't make sense for me to work full time because of childcare costs. I work three hours a day, four days a week in a childcare located in a health club. It's perfect for me because I can bring my 2 year old to work where he plays with all the regular kids, I get some adult conversation with great co-workers, and I get a free gym membership with free childcare. If I'm having a really bad day, I just drop him in the kids club, and hit the hot tub or the sauna. It's the perfect job! I can understand why some moms would want to stay home, and why some would want to work. If I had spent 10 years on my education, I would not give it all up.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I had to go back to work after my first son was born due to money, but in all honesty I loved what I did. I will go back to work after this one is born but I'm really hoping to have a more relaxed schedule that is a bit flexible. I love my work and don't think I could give it up completely :-)
LilahMommy LilahMommy 9 years
I work outside the home because I WANT to work - not because I HAVE to work. I love my daughter to death and there are days that it kills me to not pick her up from preschool and play with her all afternoon long, but I spent an awful lot of time and energy (and $$) on my education and value being a professional (I am an attorney). I firmly believe that am a better mother and a better wife because I have continued to work outside the home. I don't struggle with the identity issues that most of my stay at home friends do - many of whom are slowly going nuts and trying to find their way back into paid positions. Unfortunately, despite the fact that we are well into the 21st century, this is still such a loaded issue. While I often bemoan the fact that it is so difficult to not feel judged for working, my stay at homes say that they, too, feel judged for their choices. The important thing is that it really is such a personal choice - and we should all be thankful for the scores of women who went before us who helped pave the way for us to have a CHOICE about whether or not we want to stay home or go back to work. Sorry if that was preachy and long-winded - this is an issue that hits so close to home!
amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 9 years
I am a stay at home mommy but I also work about 10hrs a week with the youth. It's a lot of fun because I am working with the kids and my kid gets to participate. I love being at home. There are times when I wish I had my own financial freedom (I hate asking for money) but I wouldn't change what I am doing for the world.
PinkSparkleGrl PinkSparkleGrl 9 years
I read something once that it is more economic for one parent to stay home due to the cost of child care, gas, car etc. I think they based the study on a family with just one car. Does any one have an opinion on that? Is it more econimic to work and pay the cost of daycare, more trips to the Dr, gas, car insurance etc or not work? My boyfriend and I have talk about raising a child. We both want to be stay at home parents. We compromised on one of us taking the first 3 years and the other taking the 2nd 3 years off of work. I don't know I could have someone else (babysitter, daycare etc) calling me to say "your child took their first step" or "She spoke her first word" today. It would hurt deeply that I missed those special moments. I imagine is is very difficult to restart your career after taking time off. Anyone have any insights on this as well? I feel like a pest! Sorry, I have just been thinking a lot about this lately!
chancleta chancleta 9 years
like with anything in life i have a feeling that it's all about balance if you don't have to work that's awesome if you do i bet that's ok too - just make an effort to really be there when you're there
gatacrow gatacrow 9 years
I wish I had the choice. We need my income and health insurance. I do like my job, but given the choice I would stay home because I think my baby is more important right now than my career.
ylatan ylatan 9 years
yeah. i think either choice is ok. i stay at home. we are homeschooling, though, so having someone around to care for the kids and take them cool places is kind of important for that. my dp works at home, so it's works out really nicely.
rgrl rgrl 9 years
I stay at home, but I agree that children can grow up perfectly fine one way or the other. It's just what we decided works for our family.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Oh, although I do work part time from home in the evenings after the kids go to bed. Because money is an issue. Sigh. Would that it wasn't!!
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Its a completely personal decision, both have pros and cons for parents and for children. I really don't understand why some people are so adamant that either way is "right" or "wrong". :? I stay at home and I love it. One of my best friends is going nuts right now and can't wait to start up her new job in a few weeks. I don't think I'm a better mom than her and she doesn't think she's a better woman than me. We each take the path that's right for us!
runningesq runningesq 9 years
What about WANTING to work and ENJOYING what do you? Money is important (and, like alikat, we live in an expensive area that necessitates two incomes), but so is keeping your job and advancing your career (if that's what you want to do). I read "The Feminine Mistake" --- it's a great book with good points.
alikat07 alikat07 9 years
Unfortunately where I live we couldn't make ends meet if I didn't work at least part time... its pretty depressing but the reality of living in a high cost of living area. I don't know many couples that could live on one salary.
SummerBaby SummerBaby 9 years
if i could when i have childern i would like to stay home for a few years! :) to be with them..and get to know them
Beyonce at Wearable Art Gala 2017
Beyonce's Baby Shower Photos May 2017
Things That Only Working Moms Understand
What Is an Au Pair
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds