Dear Judgmental Stay-At-Home Mom


Dear Judgmental Stay-At-Home Mom,

You might remember meeting my family a few weeks ago at Five Guys.  We were the exhausted looking parents with two super cute little ones.  Our conversation started out great!  You reminded us that even though being parents to a 1 and 3 year old could be overwhelming, that this is an awesome time of our lives that we will miss when our kids have grown up.  Had the conversation stopped there, we would have went on with our day a little happier and a little more mindful about how lucky we truly are.

But you didn't stop there.

You continued by asking if I stayed home with my kids.  I explained that I have been fortunate to be able to take an extended parental leave from my job as a special education teacher for the last 16 months.  I told you that I have treasured the extra time I have gotten to spend with my little ones while they are so little but that I needed to return in the fall.

You laughed.  And then said, "You don't NEED to return.  You are choosing to."

Puzzled and feeling like I needed to explain, I told you that we considered me staying home longer but we found that we could not afford it.  We have bills to pay and so I need to return.

You shook your head and said, "Nope.  Everybody has a choice.  You can make sacrifices and stay home like you should."

Cue the GUILT.

I don't remember what I said to you in that moment but I do remember the weight of your words hitting me like a ton of bricks on my way home.  Am I choosing a career over my kids?  Am I a bad mother for going back to work?  

Ever since then, your words creep back into my mind and I have thought about what I should have said to you.  Here goes:

Everybody does have a choice.  The choice is mine and not yours to judge.  There are so many factors that go into making decisions for what is best for a family.  You know none of mine.  You are assuming what worked best for your family is the only way to do it.  That is unfair.

It is unfair that you made me feel like a terrible mother.  It is unfair that your words still whisper in my ear when I think about returning in a few weeks.

Parenting is the hardest job in the world.  It is the most important job in the world.  Whether you stay home with your kids all day or work, you can still be a great mom!

I am a mom.  You are a mom.  Something I learned since becoming a mom is that there are many
"right ways" to be a good parent.  I love my kids as much as you love yours.

I have let your words play in my head enough times.  As I get ready to go back to work, I am going to put my focus on the time that I do get to spend with my kids.  I will focus on all of the benefits that going back to work has for me and for my family.  I am letting you go.

Please, the next time you run into exhausted and frazzled parents, remind them that this is the best time of their life.  Remind them to soak up every single moment.  Remind them that time is fleeting and that one day they will miss their babies being so little.

And then, go back to eating your dinner.


A Soon To Be Returning To Work Mom

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  1. People are awful. Boo on her! Every family makes choices and decisions that are best for their family!! Glad you aren't going to let her words get you down!

    Katie :)
    KTP: Keep Teaching and Planning!

  2. What a horrible thing to say!! I wish I could have stayed home with my son, but it really wasn't an option. You have to do what ever suits your family and financial situation. I love how you would have responded to her.

  3. Your response is fabulous! Every family is different and every parent must make the decisions that are best for her family. It was difficult when I had to go back to work after only seven weeks with my sweet baby, but my family couldn't afford for me to miss any of my paycheck. So sorry that she felt the need to make you feel like a bad mother. You are NOT a bad mother! You love your children and that is all it takes to make you a wonderful mother.

    One another note, I LOVE the design of your blog. It is beautiful!

    Thinking Out Loud

  4. Amen sister! You always have to do what is right for your family, not someone else's. My kiddos are teenagers, I worked, and guess what? They are just fine!

    Smarticle Particles

  5. This was so well written and so many valid points. There is nothing wrong with getting the best of both worlds- parenting AND teaching! Put your chin up, your babies needs you at school just as much as your babies at home do :)

  6. Thanks for sharing. I had decided to take off sometime after my second son was born. I joined a mom's group at church and I remember one of the stay at home moms saying, :How does it feel to be a real mom now?" and I replied, "I have always been a REAL mom!"

    All moms need to support each other because it is HARD no matter what our "day Job" is! I went back to school a year later for financial reasons but learned I am a better mom when I work.

    The Resourceful Apple

  7. Seriously! What a rude person to say that to you. I know so many working moms that have to work and that WANT to work. There is nothing wrong with doing what's right for you and your family. I think I'd go crazy if I stayed at home full time. I cherish my moments with my child and love him to pieces, but I do what is right for my family and I - and that means I work full time. Kudos to you for not losing it there when someone should have zipped it.