Are Stay-at-Home Moms Too Lazy For Real Jobs?

Nope. And career women aren't bad parents either. Tips on how to choose which path is best for you (and your kids)

Dear Monica, My maternity leave is up and I am totally torn about staying home with my children versus returning to my career. Any suggestions on how to make my decision? —L.D., Roxborough

I am a big proponent of stay-at-home moms as long as they are actually staying at home, raising their children. I also envy successful women whose careers have taken off due to the years of dedication and hard work they put in. Regardless of which path you take, there will always be some guilt associated with your decision.

If you stay at home, people will always ask you if you “work.” When stay-at-home moms say that they do work since they are raising their family, this is usually met with rolled eyes and a snarky comment. There is also the stigma of not contributing to the finances of the household. Yes, staying at home is very hard work and often overlooked as an important job. If you were to add up the costs involved in hiring child care, you would have to be making a bundle after taxes to be able to afford this kind of ’round-the-clock help. And that’s not counting the ’round-the-clock TLC.

Working moms always have the guilt of not being at the school plays, book fairs and French festivals. These moms have to rely on others to tell them how their child’s day was when they get off of the bus, as well as what happened on the playground or lunchroom that day. Working moms need a lot of energy when they get home since their second job is about to begin. This includes homework, baths, bedtime stories, laying out clothes for the next day, as well as listening to your child’s recounting of the day’s events. It takes an abundance of patience and energy to rev up your batteries for Round 2 after being at the office all day.

What troubles me is when you have a stay-at-home mom who delegates her parental responsibilities to others. Women with children need to pick a job. If you decide to stay at home, then do just that. Do not hire nannies while you shop, play tennis and beautify. Having help is fine in small increments so you have some time for yourself. Having help full-time because you do not want to be home is another story all together. It does not take a village to raise a child. If the nanny can do it alone all day long so can you. If you do not want to be home, get a job. If you have a job, be proud of the strides you are making in your career and the financial contribution that you are making to the family. Remember that you are the example for your children. Happy productive mothers raise happy productive children. A child who sees their mother with a briefcase has a role model. A child who sees their mother volunteering at school has a role model. A child who sees their mother with a tennis racquet and tennis bracelet does not.

The decision to be a full-time mom or a career woman has to come from your heart. Playing on the floor with toddlers and changing diapers all day long is not for everybody, nor is putting on a business suit and heels. If you are confident and fulfilled with your choice then you have made the right decision.

Monica Mandell, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Selective Search, the premiere (off-line) upscale matchmaking firm for the most eligible singles. Please send your questions to: