Do you wish you belonged to the "other" group?

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Lily left a comment on a recent post suggesting that “working mothers” and “stay-at-home” mothers often wish they were in the opposite category. I know I occasionally fantasize about picking up a briefcase and closing the door behind me each morning, leaving someone else to deal with the mess and the tantrums. I imagine how much more people would respect me, if I had a prestigious job.

I am leaving my family behind in a few minutes, as I am on my way to a two-day conference. My husband took off from work.

What about you? (I guess this question is mainly for mothers, but all input is welcome.) Do you think about what life would be like had you chosen a different work/home balance? Either now, or in the past?

Haveil Havalim, the Jewish and Israeli Blog Carnival, is up over at Frume Sarah. Check it out.

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Comments

  1. Every day I just say baruch hashem I am home with my children. Maybe it’s because I got married later and had 13 years as a full-time music teacher before raising a family. And I had many, many wonderful pre-family adventures, so I don’t have any of that wistfulness or wanderlust I see in younger mothers (other than the wistfulness that DH & I had met a decade sooner!! B’shaah tovah!). Being an older mom has its disadvantages too, but I sure enjoy the advantages. Even when my 3-year-old is having a tantrum, my 2-year-old is knocking her bowl of cottage cheese of the table (and breaking it), my almost-5-year-old is moaning because she is sick, and the baby is crying to be fed… all at the same time (that was just this morning). I can think of no greater job in the universe than to raise these little neshamas to be decent people, full of ehrlichkeit.

  2. Every day I just say baruch hashem I am home with my children. Maybe it’s because I got married later and had 13 years as a full-time music teacher before raising a family. And I had many, many wonderful pre-family adventures, so I don’t have any of that wistfulness or wanderlust I see in younger mothers (other than the wistfulness that DH & I had met a decade sooner!! B’shaah tovah!). Being an older mom has its disadvantages too, but I sure enjoy the advantages. Even when my 3-year-old is having a tantrum, my 2-year-old is knocking her bowl of cottage cheese of the table (and breaking it), my almost-5-year-old is moaning because she is sick, and the baby is crying to be fed… all at the same time (that was just this morning). I can think of no greater job in the universe than to raise these little neshamas to be decent people, full of ehrlichkeit.

  3. I have the luck of being home a lot and also working outsid the home. I’m a teacher in Israel so the school day is very short. I don’t work full time so I have two days off a week and another day when I start much later and get to spend extra time with my 2 year old. I spend every afternoon with my kids. I say that I kind of have the best of both worlds because I do go to work but I also have some days to stay home (with or without kids). To anyone who is envious of those who work I’d just like to remind you that a working mom doesn’t just leave the mess for someone else to clean up. Nodoby cleans like you do. Only if you have a nanny staying with your kids in your house do you have someone neatening up all of your messes. If your kids are in day care and you are at work, you are coming home to a mess and probably have no energy to clean it up. Unlike your kids who took a nap at gan, you didn’t have nap time at work.
    To those who are working moms and are jealous of those stay-at-home moms, just think about the following. How much harder would it be to support your family without the extra income? Also,being home full time isn’t for everyone. There are some who can’t stay at home all day with their kids. It’s very hard for some to even fathom how others can do that. I have a friend who knows herself and knows that she couldn’t even think about staying home with her three little ones. She probably wouldn’t last a week. It’s hard work entertaining your kids every day all day.
    It’s not worth it to be envious of what the other has. The grass is greener on the other side syndrome never got anyone anywhere. Be happy with what you have. Know what you need. You may be at a point in life where you work now but maybe in the future you may have to stay home (or the opposite). Appreciate what you have now. At each point, that’s the best thing for you.

  4. I have the luck of being home a lot and also working outsid the home. I’m a teacher in Israel so the school day is very short. I don’t work full time so I have two days off a week and another day when I start much later and get to spend extra time with my 2 year old. I spend every afternoon with my kids. I say that I kind of have the best of both worlds because I do go to work but I also have some days to stay home (with or without kids). To anyone who is envious of those who work I’d just like to remind you that a working mom doesn’t just leave the mess for someone else to clean up. Nodoby cleans like you do. Only if you have a nanny staying with your kids in your house do you have someone neatening up all of your messes. If your kids are in day care and you are at work, you are coming home to a mess and probably have no energy to clean it up. Unlike your kids who took a nap at gan, you didn’t have nap time at work.
    To those who are working moms and are jealous of those stay-at-home moms, just think about the following. How much harder would it be to support your family without the extra income? Also,being home full time isn’t for everyone. There are some who can’t stay at home all day with their kids. It’s very hard for some to even fathom how others can do that. I have a friend who knows herself and knows that she couldn’t even think about staying home with her three little ones. She probably wouldn’t last a week. It’s hard work entertaining your kids every day all day.
    It’s not worth it to be envious of what the other has. The grass is greener on the other side syndrome never got anyone anywhere. Be happy with what you have. Know what you need. You may be at a point in life where you work now but maybe in the future you may have to stay home (or the opposite). Appreciate what you have now. At each point, that’s the best thing for you.

  5. I didn’t enjoy being a totally stay-at-home mom. I needed interesting adults to talk with about something other than diaper sales.
    Now I work from home, and I enjoy when I go to meetings, even if they are two blocks away at the library (I do their website) or at Rutgers (a five minute drive). And my kids are all in school.
    I would make more money if I worked full-time. But I like my kids. And since I get to spend a bit of time doing my thing, I enjoy them more. There’s only so many hours in a day.
    Maybe when you find your theme, Mom in Israel, you will be running out to give lectures. Or book talks (your book).

  6. I didn’t enjoy being a totally stay-at-home mom. I needed interesting adults to talk with about something other than diaper sales.
    Now I work from home, and I enjoy when I go to meetings, even if they are two blocks away at the library (I do their website) or at Rutgers (a five minute drive). And my kids are all in school.
    I would make more money if I worked full-time. But I like my kids. And since I get to spend a bit of time doing my thing, I enjoy them more. There’s only so many hours in a day.
    Maybe when you find your theme, Mom in Israel, you will be running out to give lectures. Or book talks (your book).

  7. I’ve done both. And agree that there is good and bad to both. Here in Israel I feel like my kids need me more so I’m debating about how much to work, although it’s pretty clear we could use the extra income.
    I’ve always enjoyed working but as a speech pathologist in the school setting I was always home before my kids (when they were very little I worked part-time and they had a babysitter who was with us for 8 years). I know women who came home after their kids (sometimes hours), and it was hard for them and their kids. I am grateful that I was in the situation I was in.
    I think that as women, we are lucky to live in an era where we can choose what is best for our families. And it goes without saying that we should be respectful of the other’s choices.

  8. I’ve done both. And agree that there is good and bad to both. Here in Israel I feel like my kids need me more so I’m debating about how much to work, although it’s pretty clear we could use the extra income.
    I’ve always enjoyed working but as a speech pathologist in the school setting I was always home before my kids (when they were very little I worked part-time and they had a babysitter who was with us for 8 years). I know women who came home after their kids (sometimes hours), and it was hard for them and their kids. I am grateful that I was in the situation I was in.
    I think that as women, we are lucky to live in an era where we can choose what is best for our families. And it goes without saying that we should be respectful of the other’s choices.

  9. Since I see much of my life through the eyes of numbers, it is hard for me to imagine going back to busting my rear in order to turn over nearly 100% of what I would earn over to babysitters/day care, the government, and companies that make prepared food. I enjoy a strong bottom line, so I feel fortunate to find work, sometimes even low paying works, that actually nets green in the end.
    If I were to go out and work fulltime, I’d need a house husband. Since my husband hasn’t stepped up to the plate, I can’t look for greener pastures. He has come a long way. But, I’m certain if he had to take over more household responsibility, Shabbat would mean tuna out of a can and there is a good possibility we would all starve during the week.

  10. Since I see much of my life through the eyes of numbers, it is hard for me to imagine going back to busting my rear in order to turn over nearly 100% of what I would earn over to babysitters/day care, the government, and companies that make prepared food. I enjoy a strong bottom line, so I feel fortunate to find work, sometimes even low paying works, that actually nets green in the end.
    If I were to go out and work fulltime, I’d need a house husband. Since my husband hasn’t stepped up to the plate, I can’t look for greener pastures. He has come a long way. But, I’m certain if he had to take over more household responsibility, Shabbat would mean tuna out of a can and there is a good possibility we would all starve during the week.

  11. When I’m having a particularly bad day at work, I fantasize about quitting my job and staying home to write and be with my daughter. Then I think about the huge hit our household income would take (I earn slightly more than 50% of it), and the excellent extended health benefits we would lose, and start doing sums in my head and fretting about the mortgage. We don’t live extravagantly, but …
    What I would really like is to work part-time, such that I could take my daughter to school in the morning, pick her up when school ends instead of 2 hours later, and work in the intervening hours. I could probably do pretty well working freelance (I’m an editor), but it takes a while to work up to that point and because we just recently bought an apartment, we don’t currently have any financial cushion to speak of. If I could just sell my book (or maybe the next book, when I finish it), perhaps the advance would be a sufficient cushion that we could actually think about my going freelance.
    But I guess my actual answer to the actual question is, It depends. I had a ball going to a conference out of town a couple of weeks ago, but I also missed my husband and kid like crazy. I loved being on maternity leave for the first year of my daughter’s life, but to be honest for quite a while I really enjoyed being back at work, too. Hence my craving for part-time-ness :P

  12. When I’m having a particularly bad day at work, I fantasize about quitting my job and staying home to write and be with my daughter. Then I think about the huge hit our household income would take (I earn slightly more than 50% of it), and the excellent extended health benefits we would lose, and start doing sums in my head and fretting about the mortgage. We don’t live extravagantly, but …
    What I would really like is to work part-time, such that I could take my daughter to school in the morning, pick her up when school ends instead of 2 hours later, and work in the intervening hours. I could probably do pretty well working freelance (I’m an editor), but it takes a while to work up to that point and because we just recently bought an apartment, we don’t currently have any financial cushion to speak of. If I could just sell my book (or maybe the next book, when I finish it), perhaps the advance would be a sufficient cushion that we could actually think about my going freelance.
    But I guess my actual answer to the actual question is, It depends. I had a ball going to a conference out of town a couple of weeks ago, but I also missed my husband and kid like crazy. I loved being on maternity leave for the first year of my daughter’s life, but to be honest for quite a while I really enjoyed being back at work, too. Hence my craving for part-time-ness :P

  13. ah….the eternal question, isn’t it? the grass being regularly greener on the other side, i think that as a full-time working mom i often wish for a gig as a stay-home mom. but i do love my job. i guess i just can’t have it all!

  14. ah….the eternal question, isn’t it? the grass being regularly greener on the other side, i think that as a full-time working mom i often wish for a gig as a stay-home mom. but i do love my job. i guess i just can’t have it all!

  15. Dr. Toni Grant, a radio personality in Los Angeles, once addressed this question and said, yes women can have it all, but not all at the same time :>)
    Like the first word I learned on arriving in Israel, savlanut, patience. Everything in its time.
    For myself, I was fortunate to be able to be home, and also fortunate to have discovered The Better Baby Insitute when my first was nine months old, so that mothering became very stimulating and I grew and had fun as well (I even started violin classes for myself so I could teach my baby – it was the best thing that could have happened)

  16. Dr. Toni Grant, a radio personality in Los Angeles, once addressed this question and said, yes women can have it all, but not all at the same time :>)
    Like the first word I learned on arriving in Israel, savlanut, patience. Everything in its time.
    For myself, I was fortunate to be able to be home, and also fortunate to have discovered The Better Baby Insitute when my first was nine months old, so that mothering became very stimulating and I grew and had fun as well (I even started violin classes for myself so I could teach my baby – it was the best thing that could have happened)

  17. While I wouldn’t mind having some adult conversation, I know I’m not cut out for the working world. I know many women who feel out-of-place in either world, though. I think the most important thing is to not feel pressured to do either.

  18. While I wouldn’t mind having some adult conversation, I know I’m not cut out for the working world. I know many women who feel out-of-place in either world, though. I think the most important thing is to not feel pressured to do either.

  19. WaysofZion says:

    I used to wish that I was in the adult world. But now I feel blessed that I can be at home (my mother didn’t have the choice) and raise our children in the right path.
    I love being a SAHM and would give up my days with the 3 Goons for anything. Getting together with other young SAHMs has helped as well!

  20. WaysofZion says:

    I used to wish that I was in the adult world. But now I feel blessed that I can be at home (my mother didn’t have the choice) and raise our children in the right path.
    I love being a SAHM and would give up my days with the 3 Goons for anything. Getting together with other young SAHMs has helped as well!

  21. As a part-time work-at-home mom I have both the best and the worst of both worlds. I can be there for my kids, I’m available for all the shuttling around, appointments, sick days, etc., and I do get a paycheck and the opportunity to interact (even if only by e-mail) with other adults. The downside is that I never feel like I have enough time to do justice to either job. If I’m working I’m feeling guilty about the dishes in the sink and the unfolded laundry, and if I’m spending half the day taking a child to the dentist I’m worried about getting enough work hours in.
    Still, it works for me and just as importantly for my family. With no relatives within 6,000 miles it all falls on my husband and I. If I’m not available for all of these things there’s no one else to take up the slack. There’s a possibility things my change for me in the not too distant future and the thought that I might be unable to duplicate my current circumstances and be forced into a full-time out of the home job makes my blood run cold.

  22. As a part-time work-at-home mom I have both the best and the worst of both worlds. I can be there for my kids, I’m available for all the shuttling around, appointments, sick days, etc., and I do get a paycheck and the opportunity to interact (even if only by e-mail) with other adults. The downside is that I never feel like I have enough time to do justice to either job. If I’m working I’m feeling guilty about the dishes in the sink and the unfolded laundry, and if I’m spending half the day taking a child to the dentist I’m worried about getting enough work hours in.
    Still, it works for me and just as importantly for my family. With no relatives within 6,000 miles it all falls on my husband and I. If I’m not available for all of these things there’s no one else to take up the slack. There’s a possibility things my change for me in the not too distant future and the thought that I might be unable to duplicate my current circumstances and be forced into a full-time out of the home job makes my blood run cold.

  23. You have a prestigious job. You’re mom in Israel.

  24. You have a prestigious job. You’re mom in Israel.

  25. Therapydoc – your comment rocked!
    And Robin, I’m also a WAHM, and I agree that I often feel torn as to doing justice to either job. It’s a balance, like everything in life.

  26. Therapydoc – your comment rocked!
    And Robin, I’m also a WAHM, and I agree that I often feel torn as to doing justice to either job. It’s a balance, like everything in life.

  27. mother in israel says:

    TD: :)
    SS: Thanks.

  28. mother in israel says:

    TD: :)
    SS: Thanks.

  29. I’ve always worked and never had the choice so, yes, there are times when I wish I belonged to the other group. However I also guess I’d soon get bored at home.

  30. I’ve always worked and never had the choice so, yes, there are times when I wish I belonged to the other group. However I also guess I’d soon get bored at home.

  31. When my kids were little, I stayed at home and (almost) never regretted it. I always thought I could return to my career.
    It turns out that that wasn’t possible. Every once in a while, I think about what would have been “if….”
    But that is really just a curiosity thing.
    I wouldn’t have missed out on those early years of my kids’ lives for anything in the world.
    My children are my biggest blessings and there is no amount of money or prestige that would have been worth having someone else raise my kids.
    As is, my field was education, and the amount I would have taken home is truly minimal.
    In short, since there is no money, and no prestige, in education, it was not difficult to give that up.
    I always say that I stayed in my field, education, I just changed the type of education and took a pay cut. But, since the pay was never great, the cut wasn’t so significant!
    ;-)

  32. When my kids were little, I stayed at home and (almost) never regretted it. I always thought I could return to my career.
    It turns out that that wasn’t possible. Every once in a while, I think about what would have been “if….”
    But that is really just a curiosity thing.
    I wouldn’t have missed out on those early years of my kids’ lives for anything in the world.
    My children are my biggest blessings and there is no amount of money or prestige that would have been worth having someone else raise my kids.
    As is, my field was education, and the amount I would have taken home is truly minimal.
    In short, since there is no money, and no prestige, in education, it was not difficult to give that up.
    I always say that I stayed in my field, education, I just changed the type of education and took a pay cut. But, since the pay was never great, the cut wasn’t so significant!
    ;-)

  33. Sure, I’ve wondered what it would be like to work outside the home full time. And yeah, sometimes I think it would be great to just get away from it all, but the attraction fades really fast because I always think about my kids being raised by someone other than their mother. Nope, not worth it.

  34. Sure, I’ve wondered what it would be like to work outside the home full time. And yeah, sometimes I think it would be great to just get away from it all, but the attraction fades really fast because I always think about my kids being raised by someone other than their mother. Nope, not worth it.

  35. I go back and forth about this – I was never comfortable in a job, so I don’t really want to work full-time.
    I’m really happy that my baby loves me and is with me all day, but sometimes I get tired of being on call 24/7.
    On the other hand, being home and not having a job outside the house is hard on me.
    You just can’t get everything you want.
    But you can appreciate the good in what you have.

  36. I go back and forth about this – I was never comfortable in a job, so I don’t really want to work full-time.
    I’m really happy that my baby loves me and is with me all day, but sometimes I get tired of being on call 24/7.
    On the other hand, being home and not having a job outside the house is hard on me.
    You just can’t get everything you want.
    But you can appreciate the good in what you have.