As I write this, I’m mentally running through my must-do list for Monday.
Remember the bass clarinet for my oldest daughter’s band practice, write a cheque for her volleyball jersey deposit, and sign the field trip permission forms for her class ski trip. Enrol my son in spring soccer, reschedule his dentist appointment, and return his library books that are nearly past due. Register my youngest for kindergarten, remember to put her favourite dress in the dryer so it’s ready when she wakes up, and pick up some more sandwich meat for school lunches.
These are just a few of the things on my list and none have even touched on the running to-do list that I have for my upcoming work week.
When it comes to managing the household, the list of menial tasks for parents is endless - working or not. But there seems to be this ongoing desire to differentiate between the status quo of modern-day moms, with people constantly asking: “Does she work outside the home, or is she a stay-at-home mom?”
And then passing judgment based on the response, assuming that one role has it harder than the other.
This dated debate has dragged on through the decades, and continues to come up in conversations today.
In a recent interview, Catherine Reitman (creator, executive producer, writer and star of CBC's comedy series Workin' Moms), was asked, “Who has it worse: working moms, or stay-at-home moms?” and her answer was spot on.
She began by sharing that she has been on both sides and that whether you’re a working or stay-at-home parent, the juggling act remains the same.
She explains, “As a stay-at-home mom, I just never felt present with my child, I always felt this guilt and longing for selfish development.” I know firsthand that for a stay-at-home mom, it can be easy to lose yourself in your familial responsibilities. Reitman explains, “there has to be something that is strictly mine, where I can exercise my identity” - a key to surviving the selfless act of devoting your time entirely to your children.
She continues, “As a working mom, it’s also impossible because you’re constantly longing for your child, you’re feeling guilty about where you are and what you’re missing.”
On her show, Workin’ Moms, viewers often see Reitman showing the darker side of returning to the corporate world after maternity leave, pumping in the restroom and missing out on milestones while trying to make her mark in the working world. Reitman concludes, “The landscape is an impossible one, and I have a lot of compassion for both sides.”
Whether working, or stay-at-home mom, parent to one child, or mom of five, the question should never be which role is tougher, or who has it worse. Instead, we should commend her on how she manages to keep it all together. Show compassion, don’t question a woman’s worth.
Regardless of parental status, the juggle is real.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her Twitter and Instagram at @bitsofbee.