Thursday, August 7, 2008

Working mothers versus Stay-at-home mothers

This morning I read with interest a spate of letters in The Straits Times, written by stay-at-home mums rebutting a letter by a working mum. The working mum's previous letter was to the effect that stay-at-home mothers have it better. The common gripe of the stay-at-home mothers was this was far from the truth. In fact, stay-at-home mothers work 24/7 with no perks like annual leave/ sick leave or pay.

I have been both a working mother and stay-at-home mother. My point of view is a lot depends on your choice and also family support. For those with good family support, it will help them to manage work and family. I have friends who are doing great - doing well in their career and also having fabulous family bonding. At the same time, I also have friends who quited their job to focus on being a mother. For the latter, it is really due to the hectic work life that culminated into a feeling of guilt of not being able to spend enough time with their children. For me, the reason I am still hanging on here is my belief that I can balance work and life. As I have earlier blogged - work is like a creche, providing me with stimulation, structure and sustenance. I am also very lucky to have an understanding boss and colleagues. A family-friendly workplace is also crucial. The telecommuting scheme which I am currently on, is a boon as it allows me to work from home and take care of my children at the same time.

Having said that, personal belief is also very important. Even with all the support, there are times when I felt like giving up. It is no joke when I have to be the main caregiver - send my children to childcare, school and enrichment classes - all on my own and without a car (as my hubby drives the family car). This is most trying when work piles up. But the greatest gift I have is the appreciation and the strong bonding that I have with my boys which my hubby could only envy.

For mothers - whether working or stay-at-home, we all love our children with all our heart. Quoting Mark Twain "The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation." Yes, love what we do and make every day a joy. When things are tough-going, remember the following:

"Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees."
- J. Willard Marriot

I will want my children to be strong and this is the strength and keep me going.

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