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Friday, June 5, 2009


It’s about that time, summertime, when kids transition from school to home, and that means that some parents will notice their kids around more often, and that will spark a small flame of interest in the question of whether it’s better to work or stay home with the kids. And that small flame will spread from the parents with school-aged kids to parents in general, until several small conflagrations dot the parental landscape and Smokey the Bear starts tromping everywhere saying “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” It’s the most fun time of the year.

Basically, the “debate”, when it reaches martyr pyre status (which is not to say there isn’t a legitimate question about what’s best for kids overall, but that level of reasonable discussion isn’t what I’m talking about here) looks like this:

From the Stay at Home Parents: Parents who work and rely on daycare instead of raising their own kids have no soul!

From the Work Out of the Home Parents: Parents who sacrifice income and their kids’ quality of life and futures have no brains!

I’ve seen this debate before.

Liberals: Conservatives don’t care about anyone. Their policies are heartless. Conservatives have no soul!

Conservatives: Liberals are bleeding-hearts who can’t see that their policies are disastrously stupid. Liberals have no brains!

And I’ve seen yet another version of this debate:

Zombies: Vampires are demons inhabiting the undead and reanimated corpses of real people. Vampires have no soul!

Vampires: Zombies are shuffling, decaying undead and reanimated corpses of real people. Zombies have no brains!

Guess what? These criticisms only work against zombies and vampires. Because they’re not real.


Mommy Melee said...

I don't get where work at home moms fit in. The whole topic gives me a stomach ache anyway. I'd much rather argue over whether or not Twilight is the worst thing that's happened to YA fiction ever ever.

Miss Grace said...

I hate these debates because they don't talk about people who have no choice in the matter, either way.

Single parents, parents of children with disabilities, etc.

Kris said...

I'm a working mom and I've never once thought mom's who don't work have no brain. I think they're lucky, and I think they are more patient than I am. I fully admit that I need to work for my own sanity - maybe that makes me a bad mom - but my kids are loved and cared for and they are totally happy. To each his (or her) own man.

bejewell said...

The only time I care what side of this fence someone else is on is when THEY make judgments about MY place. Live and let live, I say.

(But conservatives ARE actually both brainless AND soul-less. Just sayin'.)

Swirl Girl said...

when I was a working parent - I had so much guilt about leaving my wee ones in daycare...but had no choice.

now I am a SAHP - and I have so much guilt about not being one of 'those moms' who: mill their own wheat, only serve organic and sugar free, don't let them watch tv, home school and all that earth mother stuff.

can't win either way - you just gotta do what you gotta do and pray for the best.

McMama said...

There's always something to feel guilty about, and there's always someone out there hoping to make themselves feel better by making you feel guilty.

SP said...

I'm reading you on your site. I promise.

As for the debate, it's only an ugly thing when we refuse to see and admire what the other people are doing. This parenting thing is hard as shit people! Anyone who thinks they have the answers for everyone is an asshat.

That's my opinion though. Feel free to flame away. I'm a conservative liberal who stayed home and went to work. I've tried it all. Gotta do what works for your family I think.

anymommy said...

What if you're a conservative, stay-at-home zombie mom? No soul, no brain AND undead. Harsh.

Anonymous said...

My solution has been to be a WAHM...I work about 15-20 hours a week normally and watch my 2 kids at home. They go to Parent's Day Out twice a week. We have the best of both worlds. Luckily we can make that happen--I realize we are fortunate. I love it!

Single Parent Dad said...

I know this argument is done, and continues to be, to death, but I've never really understood why each camp has such opinion on each other. Like everything there are pros and cons, and it's a simple matter of choice, circumstance and balance.

kittenpie said...

I also love the argument that anyone can have one parent stay at home if they just sacrifice a little, like not going on fancy vacations or living in mansions... really? Because we don't do any of those things and are both professionals with medium incomes, but I'm not sure how it's going to work when I start having to pay for the Bun's daycare in the fall as well as Pumpkpinpie's. That argument baffles me.

But really, I think some people do what they do because they believe it's best, some people do what they do out of necessity, and some people make their choices based on what will suit them best.

furiousBall said...

I'm totally pro-zombie

The Book Ladi said...

I have no brains and I have no soul. I take my children to work with me. And I make them work. Apparently it's the worst of both worlds (just ask my children)

mommymae said...

how did you know i was a sahlz (stay at home liberal zombie?)

Jenni said...

I firmly believe that all parens, SAH, WAH, WOH, etc., are doing what they think is best for their families; or they are doing the best that their resources allow. I hate it when people sit in judgement of their fellow parents work/life decisions.

That said, as a SAHM I am clearly a superior parent. Heh.

badassdadblog said...

Do people really argue about this? I mean, soul, brain, whatever, vampires are so much hotter than zombies. And I'm not even talking about that Twilight bullshit. Have you seen Lestat? Dude! Also, he can f'ing fly! How many zombies you know who can fly? If being a SAHP meant I could fly, I'd totally do that.

caramama said...

Way to bring it down to the vampire vs. zombie level! Brilliant! But to say they aren't real... Do you know that for sure? Cause the latest facebook quiz I took said I would kick zombie behind, and I need to know whether or not I should be working on my training montage...

Assertagirl said...

What about the people who are somewhere in between, like those who work at home full-time? Are they like the Green party?

the new girl said...


The new season of True Blood starts on Sunday.

Don't tell ME about the not-realness of vampires.

Or I'll have my Zombie come and eat your brain.

Elisa said...

These debates only happen because people aren't willing to respect other people's choices and opinions.

Except with vampire and zombies, that's just the zombies being jealous because vampires are hot. Just ask those crazy middle-age ladies lusting after Robert Pattinson ;-)

Dijea said...

I've always worked until this summer. My husband did weekdays and I did weekends. Then the kids started school and I worked while they were in school.

Then summer and it didn't make sense to give my money away to let someone else shape my kids - so I quit. I'm lucky enough to have a workplace that is keeping my job open and letting me fill in when I can.

I've always been of the mindset - whatever floats your boat. Everyone is different you have to make it work for you.

Kari said...

That was awesome.

Yup, that's all I've got. But it was really awesome.

EarnestGirl said...

I'm with kittenpie - basically, parents have to do what they can manage. There are a few true things (Zombie rules? Vampire laws?) I have learned about parenting:
a) I have never liked that verb. You ARE a parent, working, at home, a little of both, a lot of each. Always a parent.
b) Judging other parents is not in the spirit of the enterprise.
c) Guilt is part of the deal no matter what.

We are all Zompires.

Earth_Mommy said...

Hey, what about the werewolves ?! new camps because of embombing. No zombies because of Bruce Cambell. Werewolves survive :)