Just as mankind has long pondered what is more delicious, chocolate or peanut butter, so have women debated what is better, working in an office or staying at home. I don’t know the answer to either of these timeless riddles any better than I know if Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears was the bigger mess-up. All I do know is this: I wish husbands would stop all the sanctimonious blogging in praise of their stay-at-home wives.
I am not saying that stay-at-home mothers don’t deserve praise. They do. As do working mothers. Personally, I’m a bit like a Reese’s peanut butter cup (no, I am not saying I am round—and if you are now imagining me as round, know I am trying to fix this with cross-fit). What I mean is that I am a mother who works from home. Stay-at-home/work-at-home mothers (or STORKS as I like to abbreviate us) are an increasingly common hybrid mother-type who works from the house in an attempt to also get to experience the joys of being a stay-at-home mom. The result is that STORKs get to experience the good and bad of both sides of the fence. You get the yoga pants but you also get the conference calls. You get the volunteer time at school but you also get the boss calling wondering where you are. (Which, by the way, is always at a medical appointment for yourself. A female one. No one wants to hear about that.)
As a STORK I can tell you that stay-at-home moms have a lot to be thankful for. They get to be there every step of their child’s journey. They never have to worry about missing a first word, a first crawl. They never have to hear their child call their nanny Mama and cry when she leaves. They get to volunteer whenever they want at the grammar school. They never have to miss a school play because of a business trip or, worse yet, a rainbow-loom wearing male boss who is a hero when he leaves early to coach his kid’s soccer team but gets mad when your kid needs to go to the doctor. Stay-at-home moms have no boss. No boss. Working moms, close your eyes and feel that freedom. Now, I know what you stay-at-home moms will say, the kids are your boss. But just because your child thinks you made the sandwich wrong, you won’t miss a bonus. And kids could care less if you forget to brush your hair or wear the same mysteriously stained shirt a few days in a row. And, like I said before, stay-at-home moms get to wear yoga pants. Every single day.
But working moms also have it good. What stay-at-home wouldn’t kill for 45 minutes alone in their minivan, singing 80s power ballads on the way to work. Stay-at-homes, imagine: You and Jon Bon Jovi. Alone. Screw you, Music Together. Working moms get to leisurely stroll alone to Starbucks, with no overpriced kids’ hot chocolates or madeleines involved. They get to have adult conversation and sometimes even adult beverages. They get intellectual stimulation and put their degree to work. Working moms can go pump in a nice quiet room and read magazines instead of having a baby attached to them all day. They can go places, meet people—even people who don’t have kids. And they can justify buying fancy high-heeled shoes. Shoes you simply cannot wear with yoga pants.
There is a bright side for each group. And for both groups, there is at the core one thing in common. We are mothers. We change diapers, we hold hands, we chase away bad dreams. We do homework, we throw pitches, we practice lines. We sing our children to sleep, we wake them with a smile. We tie all of our hopes for the future in their tiny, honest faces. We love, we worry, we fail, we start over. We figure it all out. Because we are women. And we are strong.
I can tell you one thing we don’t need, and that is husbands posting blogs in praise of their stay-at-home wives. Women didn’t fight to give us a choice for us to be standing behind our husbands. We can fight for ourselves. Women—and mothers—can stay at home. They can work at home. They can work in an office. All their kids need is their love. True love is rare and beautiful. When you are loved you feel it, whether your mom is with you all day or only at night.
So, yes, to the most recent husband-savior being circulated online, mothers are as elemental as the sun. And guess what, the sun shines just as brightly in an office as it does on a playroom floor.