Guilty Moms: Audience Debate

The Audience Debate
Jamie explains the criticisms she receives as a working mom. "I've had moms say things like, ‘We didn't tell you about the meeting because we didn't think you could make it.' One mom told me that her job was to take care of kids, even thought I had my own job," she says.
 
"You said you wanted a good comeback," Dr. Phil observes.
 
"Next time, yeah. I'd like a good comeback."
 
"How about, ‘Hey, step off,'" Dr. Phil says with a smile. Then, growing serious, he says, "Would you feel better if you did say to them, ‘Look, we all have to make individual choices. This works for me, and it works for my family. I support your decision; I would appreciate it if you would support mine'?"
 
"I'll just tell them to watch this episode," Jamie says with laugh.
 
[AD]Jessica, a stay-at-home mom, strongly disagrees with Jamie's stance. "I think there are some jobs that you absolutely have to be present for," she tells Dr. Phil. "I don't imagine that you'd get into eight seasons of being on TV if for four of them, you had somebody else show up to do your job."
 
"Depends on who it was," Dr. Phil teases.
 
"You can't dial some things in. You need to be there with your children in order to call yourself a parent," Jessica says. "I don't really want to be told by women who pull on a pair of pantyhose every morning, and go hang out with their girlfriends, that I'm somehow less of a woman. I'm sitting here; I'm doing the most important job. I dare you go to go to your own mother and tell her that her secretarial skills are more important than her parenting skills."

"I am a stay-at-home mom. I can't be judged as a working mom, but I am dying to go back into the workforce," says Melina who has three children under age 2, including a set of twins. "They cry from morning until night. Mentally, I'm just not there." 

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"We've all had moments of feeling that way, but I don't know that catering to your feelings is the most important thing you do as an adult," Jessica says.

"I think it's important for your kids to have a happy, healthy mother. I did put my kids in preschool, and they are doing phenomenally better than they did at home," Melina says. "They started talking more. They're potting training."

 

Dr. Phil turns to Sherri, who says she's a better mother because she works outside the home. "Working gives me more confidence, and I'm able to face the world," she says. "It's not just loving your children and nurturing them. You also have to prep them, coach them and guide them."

Jessica takes Sherri to task. "What about the first five years? What about the nurturing? What about the attachment?" [AD]

"It's like you're setting this up as an all-or-none situation: You either love, and hug and bond with your kids, or you work," Dr. Phil tells Jessica. "Can't you do both?"

"I'm sure that somebody can. I personally can't," she replies.

"The research doesn't support what you're saying," Dr. Phil points out. "Children with 100 percent mom involvement don't do better in school. They don't do better in life than kids with working moms. In fact, kids in daycare have better developed cognitive skills, they have better developed language skills, they do better on school-readiness tests than kids who are 100 percent mom, if the daycare if high quality." [AD]

Dr. Phil also notes that kids raised in households by stay-at-home moms have stronger family ties.

"Some of the comments seem a little bit polarizing and maybe with a tinge of ignorance in them regarding working moms. I think it's very important to raise confident and competent women," says an audience member. "Not everyone who is putting on pantyhose and going to work is a secretary. There are people out there who really do impact lives and make a difference."