I used to work. I've caught myself saying that. More recently, it was that I'm "just a mom." I really don't feel that way, but society has molded these utterings and I unfortunately have let them slip. I am a stay-at-home mom of two young boys. Yes, I did "use" to work as a teacher but when it came time to have kids my husband and I made the choice for me to stay home. For the past four years I have been amazed at how this choice is now viewed as opposed to when I grew up and almost everyone's mom stayed home. I have had people ask me when I'm going back to work. I've seen the condescending look in a "working" mom's eye. I have marked the box "other" on forms to avoid the limiting label of "homemaker." Why is there such a negative view of what I do?
For those people who think this is not work, they could not be more wrong. This is a 24x7 job. There are no breaks, no vacations from it. Many times a stay-at-home parent has to be able to do more than one thing at a time. Ever try cooking dinner while holding a wailing infant and getting a potty-training boy to the bathroom on time? Multiply that type of incident by ten and you have a typical day. I do not sit around watching soap operas and eating bon-bons as many a stereotype depicts. I am there for my children for their every need all the time, a skinned knee, a messy diaper, a bored moment. I am exhausted at the end of the day and I receive no monetary reward for any of this work.
Society may not respect what I'm doing. Because of this, my own sons may come to be embarrassed to say that I'm "just a mom." My family may not live in the biggest house or be able to go on exotic vacations. I may miss my career in teaching or even just being able to do what I want when I want. But, none of those selfish reasons will make me quit my current job. This is my career because it's what is best for my children. I think there's a lot of respect in that.
NOTE: "Mommy Minute" is a place for me to share my mommy experiences. I hope to share stories, tips, etc. I also plan to occasionally get on my stay-at-home mom soapbox not so much to offend "working" parents but to share my point of view. Please feel free to send comments, questions, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org
Next month: "The Poop on Potty Training"
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