Some points from yesterday's comments

You guys did a really great job pulling apart the issues for Julie yesterday. It does sound like she's got several things going on at once.

I did want to address some things mentioned in the comments yesterday.

A couple people felt like Julie's anxiety was misplaced because it was her who was upset about her son being in daycare, but it wasn''t hurting her son. That may be true--kids thrive in all kinds of different childcare situations. But it's also completely valid to miss your child and want to be the one caring for him! If you spent nine months (at least) working hard to get this kid, then hell yes you have a right to want to be the one there most of the time.

On the other hand, not wanting to be there all day long doesn't make you a bad mom. Different people have different temperaments. I look at those moms who run around at the playground playing elaborate games with their kids and think "I am not from the same planet they're from." But I'm a great mom to my kids in my own way. And most of the day I miss my kid (and the texts my babysitter sends about what the little one is doing make me jealous). But I am so relieved not to ahve to deal with the playground politics, and naptime, and all that crap.

I'm reading the Stay-At-Home Survival Guide by Melissa Stanton (to review next week for Mothertalk, but so far two thumbs up) and one of the things I think she does an amazing job with is being realistic about how nothing's perfect. You are never going to love everything about staying at home with your kids. Frankly, a lot of it is drudge work that most of us would pay to outsource if we could. But if that's what your heart pulls you to, then you deal with it.

If you work outside the home, you know that you don't love every minute of it. Even if you really enjoy the essence of your job (which makes you lucky because a lot of women show up for the paycheck and insurance only) and your coworkers (big shout out to most of the people in my office), there are parts of working that frankly just suck (and is drudge work that we'd outsource if our bosses would pay for it). And we haven't even gotten to the whole aspect of how stressed out the morning is before you leave for work and the evening when you come home, trying to get everything done.

Any time they do one of those surveys about women working at home or out of the home, the consensus among the respondants seems to be that the best thing is to work part time. That way you get enough time to be an adult with other adults in an office (or on your laptop, or massage studio, or whatever you do). But you also get a significant chunk of daily time with your kids. And, having been SAHM, WAHM, and now WOHM, I'd have to agree.

To me the question is how is the world going to change in the next 25 years. Are things going to shift so that there is meaningful part-time work for parents (because I don't think working full-time is good for dads, either)? Or are we going to be stuck in this nasty tug-of-war? I think the angst about working full-time or not working at all (for pay) is our generations Feminine Mystique.

What do you think?

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