The Debate that Never Dies
In the eight years we’ve been doing Dr. Phil, we have done three or four shows devoted to a topic that is in my view important and always controversial: stay-at-home moms vs. career moms. Wednesday’s show is about that very topic and is, I think, the best we have ever done on the important challenges both types of moms face. In fact, something took place that’s never happened before in the history of Dr. Phil. One of the more outspoken stay-at-home mothers said — and I paraphrase — that if a woman can’t stay at home with her kids, then maybe she just shouldn’t have them! We asked this woman on the show to share her views, and appreciated her willingness to take a stand, but then our staff did too. At a break, my executive producer, Carla Pennington, a mother of twins, told me that she felt compelled to share her own views as a dedicated, working, single mother who wanted to speak for those moms that are in situations that require them to work outside the home.
I said, “Well, then, come on out here.” And Carla and two other staffers with similar viewpoints (our show’s attorney, Cindy Teele, who has a daughter, and producer, Anita Pepper, the daughter of a working mother) took off their headsets and uncharacteristically stepped in front of the camera defending the integrity of career mothers.
It bothers me to see any division among moms, working or otherwise, because both groups share such a devotion to their children. You would think by now that we would have found some common ground on this issue. Not so. A lot of working moms just can’t understand mothers who want to do “nothing” (seems like a pretty busy “nothing” to me!) but spend their days and nights with their children. And a lot of stay-at-home moms dismiss full-time career mothers as selfish women who blatantly pursue a career at the “expense” of their children. I’m guessing many are working to “cover” expenses, not exact them from their children. So it seems like a lot of misunderstanding to me.
And, in the end, how much additional time do stay-at-home moms actually spend with their children compared to working moms? Is it enough to make that big of a difference?
When the show is over Wednesday, I would love to hear from you. What do you think: How can the two sides get together?
Do you think moms should stay at home with their kids? Take a poll!
Here’s my video reply to your comments: