So, lets look at the question that seems to torment so many moms. Do moms who work have greater life fulfillment spreading themselves between a busy career and parenting, or do stay-at-home moms feel the greatest happiness? I wish there was a clear answer. I read a study that maintained that moms who worked part-time were the happiest. But then their are arguments around a child’s development needing a constant parent. Some stay-at-home mother argue that what they are doing is creating the healthiest outcome for themselves, their child, and family. While many working moms argue that the fulfillment and empowerment they gain from their career spills over to their children. Their has been a steady decline in the last five years of women in the the workplace, after it had been rising for quite some time.
Lets look at this closer. In my practice I see a lot of moms, both working (part-time and full-time), as well as stay-at-home moms. Some struggles I have seen with stay-at-home moms is actually within their marital dynamic. They feel that their husband began loosing respect for them and gaining resentment when they stopped working. At times, their husband wants to spread the financial burden once their children become school aged and ask their wife to go back to work. Well, how the mom asks? She has been out of the workforce for years and breaking back in seems impossible, plus she may feel that she no longer has any skills the working world would want (she is greatly mistaken on this one). I also hear stay-at-home moms stating they feel there is no reward to their job and they see their husband being rewarded for his work wether it is a promotion, bonus, pat on the back, etc. On the other hand, I see many stay-at-home moms who are perfectly content in their role and feel cherished by their husband and children. This brings them the perfect amount of fulfillment.
So, what are some of the struggles of the working mom? Many working moms feel torn and that they are missing many of their child’s milestones. Some feel a constant exhaustion and that they are not doing anything good enough, rather just trying to get it done. The exhaustion and demands from work may hinder their connection with their child and husband. But, the financial gain of their work may positively impact their family, allowing their child to have incredible experiences. Many children look up to their working mom and their mom serves as a role model in this realm. Some working moms see the child learn great skills in their day care environment and find fulfillment in this area.
Now we ask, what is the right answer? The correct answer is what is right for you. I work with a lot of men and women who feel they are missing fulfillment in their life. Wether we know it or not, we are constantly seeking life balance. At times we may be unaware that we are out of balance, but we know something does not feel right. Therapy can help anyone search for the answer that is right for them. Therapy can also turn out to be a very creative adventure. I have worked with a lot of stay-at-home moms to create their own businesses where they can make their own hours and call their own shots! When I mention this as an option to most women, I get a deer in the head lights look in return. What I am mentioning is so out of their view that they do not think it is possible. I believe with proper awareness, vision, and action really anything is possible.