To Work or Not To Work – The Mommy Decision

| August 20, 2009 | 2 Comments


It’s that time of year again…time to tackle the To Do lists, prepare the kids for school and anticipate the new experiences that lie ahead for everyone in the family.

It is also that time of year when moms tend to question whether or not they have made the best choices for themselves and their families. Specifically, I’ve heard women expressing some concern about the emotional conflicts that they feel about the decision they have made to be a stay-at-home, a working mom or work-at-home mom. The process of making this decision starts early in your child’s development, yet it seems that some moms struggle with this decision every single day as their child grows. For those moms who feel this conflict, please know that it doesn’t have to be a part of your reality. You can be free from this emotional conflict with just a slight shift in perspective. Let’s explore that a bit.

In reviewing the responses to a survey of my amazing women friends who are moms, there were three common factors that contributed to their individual decisions to be a stay-at-home mom, a working mom or a work-at-home mom. These factors include 1) Maintaining a stable presence for their children during the infant, toddler and early school years; 2) The ability to have a flexible schedule in regards to the children’s activities and their own activities; and 3) Helping to meet the economic needs of the family.

I think we can all safely admit that society is still very mixed up about the true definition of a “good” mom. Women (and men) are still being held to the old school standards that don’t fit into the lifestyle of the modern parent. They are made to feel inadequate and lazy for being a “domestic engineer” yet at the same time they are made to feel guilty if they spend too much time working. When comparing ourselves to standards that are outside of our reality, we just can’t win! So, do yourself a big favor and put the expectations of others aside. This is your life and this is your family. You have the right to make your own decision to do whatever you feel is right for you and your child. This is the moment to go with your gut.

With regard to the emotional conflict that women feel about their decision to be a stay-at-home, working or work-at-home mom, there are two basic emotional elements that keep popping up – guilt and fear. The guilt comes into play when moms feel that somehow they don’t quite measure up to the standards of motherhood, however those are defined. The fear comes up when thinking of missing out on the milestone moments of your child’s development. There is also the fear of missing out on critical career opportunities and the satisfaction of having a challenging career. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just let go of all of that guilt and fear? Well, you can.

Deal with the fear by seeing it clearly for what it really is – False Evidence Appearing Real. Try the same for the guilt when society throws unrealistic expectations your way. Shine the bright light of reality on that guilt and fear and it will disappear. Understand how these emotional conflicts do not apply to your life because everyone has different needs and desires. Most importantly, when you see thru the guilt and fear and put it in its place, then you have a clear perspective of who you really are and what you really want. Guaranteed, your children and family will joyously, lovingly benefit from the shift in your own perspective.

So next time you begin to question your choices, ease up on yourself. Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to recognize and accept where you are in this moment. Quietly repeat this simple affirmation to yourself every time you begin to question – Today, I am the very best mom that I can be because my love for my child is limitless and unconditional.

One of the moms from my survey responded with this all-encompassing statement: “In my opinion, it doesn’t matter whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or a work-at-home mom. All that really matters is the amount of unconditional love you give your children. There’s no title on that.” – C. Graham, mother of three kids and step-mom of two

Simple and wise words for every mommy to consider.

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Category: Featured, Health & Fitness

About the Author ()

Marlena Gray - CCP, CPC, ELI-MP, is a Intimacy and Relationship Life Coach. Marlena offers personal relationship coaching to individuals who want to be completely authentic in all of their relationships. Learn more by visiting

Comments (2)

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  1. Bradi Nathan says:

    Hi Marlena,
    I’ve actually devoted my own “return to work” to this very topic. The site that I launched was born out of conversations had with moms like the ones you’ve mentioned. I’ve surveyed nearly 900 moms nationally and GUILT was the number one reason preventing them from returning to work. And, when I sat down to conduct a video interview with Malaak Compton-Rock (Chris Rock’s wife) she offered this advice, “Push through the guilt.” Malaak believes, like many, that she “was put on this earth to be more than a mother an a wife.” It is an individual decision. Know too the we can be both… it is possible to achieve personal and professional aspirations.

  2. Well-written article, keep it up!
    I am going to visit you frequently 🙂

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