The Working Mom Debate by Sara R. Fisher

sara fisherThis is the Tenth entry in “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” a series of guest posts about the working mom/stay-at-home dilemma.  It’s written by Sara R. Fisher, co-founder of Moms 2 Media.  A graduate of the Medill Integrated Marketing Communications program, Sara has managed integrated marketing communications campaigns for internet companies, sports teams and Fortune 500 companies. In her time at the world’s largest independent public relations firm, Edelman, Sara ran international and cross-functional marketing programs for United Airlines, Toys “R” Us and Johnson & Johnson. But when she became a mom, she found her voice, and started her funny and popular mom blog, Self-Made Mom, which told her tales of trying to balance work and motherhood. After leaving the corporate world to focus on her children (yes, she did the “mommy track,”), Sara’s blog changed focus to parenting in Chicago and she started writing for Chicago Parent magazine, where she’s been a contributing writer for the past three years. While scouting out what’s hip for the mom, baby and preschooler set in the city, she was able to marry her love of writing with marketing to her mom friends. It was a match made in heaven and 2 Moms Media was born. Sara has a passion for helping brands find their purpose and connect with the right moms. In her non-existent spare time, Saracan be found in the carpool line, at a Bubbles’ crawlers class or aimlessly strolling the aisles of Target pushing the bus cart. She tweets at @selfmademom


I obviously didn’t start the debate, but I had hoped that by starting my blog I could add productive and (sometimes) funny conversation to it. So when my friend Jean posted a link to my Facebook wall about this widely-read post by Glennon Melton on the topic I had to read, and of course, chime in. And then Monica chimed in and we all had a “we hate the old mommy wars debate party” and called it a night. Yes, our lives are THAT exciting.

I REALLY don’t care that much about the mommy wars anymore. I really don’t care if the SAHMs hate me or if I’m stuck on a phone call dealing with a client crisis during my son’s mommy and me class (who, me?) or about the moms that go to the office every day and have nannies or day cares or a fairy godmother taking care of their kids. I don’t care.

But what got me to actually writing a blog post 5+ years after I wrote my first one on the topic is that I am getting a bit irked with the theme of blog posts that trend towards teaching invaluable lessons to their daughters and how as either a stay-at-home mom or working mom or if we’re debating our choices, that we should be professional and productive because we are trying to raise our daughters to be strong women.

I’m all for raising strong women and the best daughters in the world, but when I look and think back over the years about this tired topic the conversation always trends towards the mother/ daughter dynamic.

What, then, for the moms of boys?

Because as a mom, working or not working, I’m trying to raise my sons to be all that you all with daughters are trying to as well. And let me tell you, the working/ non-working debate certainly shapes a young man as it would a young woman.

There are plenty of times where my eldest complains because I can’t pick him up from school, or I have to drop him early to head to a meeting and “he doesn’t get enough alone time with me.” I sometimes think those times make him stronger even though I feel badly that I couldn’t go chaperone the class field trip or volunteer for lunchroom duty for the umpteenth time. When he’s older and his brother is older, they’re going to see the ugly debate too and it could shape the kind of women they meet, date and potentially marry. Because I’ll be damned if he marries a sanctimommy hoe bag. Just saying.

The working mom debate is not a female-only issue.

My sons see in me the possibilities that they too, could implement in their lives down the line. That the definition of woman and wife and mother don’t have to be black and white, just as Glennon’s daughter doesn’t have to grow up in some antiquated mold of soccer mom vs. corporate mom.

I’d just like to say that moms of boys have just as much at stake in the debate.

(BTW – This whole conversation also says nothing of the husbands who are often off working their tails off just so moms like me can enjoy flexibility and some stay-at-home-ness. I know the guilt of missing events and the like wrack my husband constantly, but we’ve made our choices for now.)


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  1. Thank you. I’ve written a bit about this topic too, and somehow it always comes as a surprise to moms with daughters that moms with (only) sons might also have a dog in this fight. Sometimes I think it’s even MORE important for mothers of boys to demonstrate what it means to have balance (or try, eternally & always) in our lives, to see that moms are people with independent identities (at least, I used to have one of those, right?) … because if WE don’t teach our boys, then who will?

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