The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars - Are They Over?

BabyCenter Survey Shows a New Level of Respect Between Working Moms and Stay-at-Home Moms

May 12, 2014, 09:00 ET from BabyCenter

SAN FRANCISCO, May 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- BabyCenter®, the #1 pregnancy and parenting digital resource, surveyed more than 1,000 moms to understand the state of the so-called "war" between working moms and stay-at-home moms. While there are distinct differences between the two groups, and a bit of envy on both sides, the battle that's raged for decades has cooled considerably.

"Deciding whether to return to the workplace after the birth of a child is one of the toughest decisions many women face - and they're the lucky ones. For a lot of women, going back to work isn't a choice at all, it's a necessity," said Linda Murray, BabyCenter Global Editor-in-Chief. "Somewhere along the way, women allowed this decision to divide them, but we're happy to report that the battle between stay-at-home moms and working moms isn't raging as fiercely as it once did. Our data show that today's moms see the pros and cons of this decision clearly and have a great deal of respect for each other. Hopefully this signifies that an end to the Mommy Wars is in sight."

A New Level of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Moms agree that whether a woman stays at home or goes back to work after having a child, the decision is difficult. Despite their differences, moms have a mutual respect for one another, understand that they are all doing what is best for their own families, and agree they are all facing the same challenges, for example 58 percent of all moms worry about finances, while 55 percent of all moms have a hard time finding time for themselves and keeping fit. Stay-at-home moms see themselves as better role models, but nearly 40 percent are also "in awe" of working moms and how they manage to do it all.

The good news for any new mom struggling with this decision is that both groups are happy with their choice. Overall, stay-at-home moms and working moms are highly satisfied with their lives (81 percent vs. 80 percent) and their parenting skills (78 percent vs. 76 percent), and they have similar levels of fulfillment (53 percent vs. 56 percent). At the end of the day, moms aren't as different as they think.

Who's the Best Mom?
Two lingering sticking points among moms is who works harder and who is a better mother - nearly 40 percent of working moms think they work harder than their counterparts, while nearly 35 percent of stay-at-home moms feel they do. In fact, nearly all stay-at-home moms (90 percent) believe others underestimate their work - and they may be right. Fifty-four percent of working moms admitted to thinking stay-at-home moms have more free time and 71 percent think stay-at-home moms have more flexibility.

Additionally, stay-at-home moms feel they are more likely to have a happy family than working moms, but working moms think they are more appreciated by their spouses because they work.

A Little Envy on Both Sides
Whether moms decide to work or stay at home, there are clear challenges to both decisions. Seventy percent of working moms are envious of stay-at-home moms because of the time they spend with their kids, which can also lead to feelings of guilt. And six in 10 working moms would quit their job if it weren't for money.

On the flip side, three-quarters of stay-at-home moms agree they have the best job, but half miss the adult interaction and wish they were at work. And two out of five stay-at-home moms also envy working moms' incomes.

"The stay-at-home moms we surveyed described themselves as loved, happy, and fulfilled, but there's also a strong sense of loneliness, while working moms admitted they feel stretched and stressed," said Murray. "The key takeaway here is that despite being happy with their decisions, moms on both sides can't help but look at their peers and feel a tinge of envy."

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About BabyCenter® LLC
BabyCenter® is the voice of the 21st Century Mom® and modern motherhood. It's the #1 pregnancy and parenting digital destination worldwide, reaching more than 37 million moms monthly in 11 languages across 14 owned and operated properties from Australia to India to China. In the United States, 7 in 10 babies born last year were BabyCenter babies. BabyCenter is the world's partner in parenting, providing moms everywhere with trusted advice from hundreds of experts around the globe, friendship with other moms like them, and support that's remarkably right at every stage of their child's development. BabyCenter also works with some of the world's most prominent brands and institutions to provide life-stage marketing solutions and a direct line to highly engaged moms. BabyCenter established a Global Giving Program and partners with esteemed organizations to help make motherhood safer for all women. BabyCenter is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.

SOURCE BabyCenter