This week Mommy Track'd is running a Parenting Comment Challenge with partner cocomment.com  and has selected this provocative post as the starting point for a lively discussion. The goal of this coComment Parenting Challenge is to promote discussion among parents using our popular vehicle of commenting on websites and blogs. This challenge will allow you to share your views on the topic below. By posting comments here and on the other sites listed below, you will have the opportunity to win cash or prizes equivalent to $150.
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When I was collecting essays for Mommy Wars , one of the questions I asked each contributor was the following question I ask you to ponder now:
Did you know, before you had kids, whether you wanted to work or stay home once you became a mother?
Everyone reported that they had known exactly what they were going to do once they had kids.
Everyone was wrong.
Ambitious moms called their bosses the day before maternity leave ended and admitted they couldn’t leave their babies for a minute, much less an entire day. Women who’d dreamed of staying home and singing lullabies fled back to work after six months home, shocked at how they hated the at-home routine and isolation. There is no predicting what kind of mom you will be, or how much you will like or hate parts of the job.
"I wanted these kids so badly," my friend said this morning. "What I never could have known was how hard it was going to be." She is 31. Her four kids are under age seven. Her husband travels almost every week for business, as does mine. So she knows about hard. "And I never would have predicted how terribly I miss working," she continued.
This is pretty much the same conversation we have every time we get together. In two years, we’ve yet to tire of it. We always seem to turn a new page of the story of the choices we’ve made about working and staying at home. This is what drives people crazy about the mommy wars, the real mommy wars inside each mom’s head. The conversation never ends. Because there is no resolution, no perfect way to be integrally involved in raising kids, and continue exploring work in the ambitious, gung-ho way we did before becoming moms. Combining kids and working isn’t like a soufflé. You can’t perfect the recipe over time. It’s always a sloppy, messy -- often delicious -- result. So -- Did you know, before you had kids, whether you wanted to work or stay home once you became a mother? How is reality compared to your predictions?