Are you a stay-at-home mom? Or a work-at-home one? Does anyone else get the feeling that such positions are looked down upon, instead of admired? I'm sure this is a topic discussed and revisited many times among moms, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.
Growing up, I had dreams about my future. Depending on the day or my mood, I wanted to be a lot of things. A teacher, a nun, a doctor (for about two weeks), an occupational therapist, a Marine, a costume designer, a yoga teacher, a dancer, and of course, a mom.
I still remember being about 8 years old, talking to another little girl about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I told her, "A mom."
"But what else? You can't just be a mom."
Back then I could become pretty indignant when challenged, and I remember saying, "Um, yes, I can. My mom's just a mom."
"But my mom is a mom and she has a job."
I remember this very clearly because even back then, I didn't see anything wrong with becoming "just a mom." But apparently a mindset had already been pressed upon this little girl that being a mom wasn't good enough. As I got older and started to make life decisions for higher education, everyone talked about college and what they were going for. I started off my journey by going for two years in the Early Childhood field. By then, I knew all I wanted was to get married and be a mom, and stay at home with my children. I figured since there was no actual degree or training for this path, this avenue would at least help.
I'm very glad I made that decision. I'm no professional, but I learned different viewpoints and strategies that I apply to my everyday life with Little Olive. You are a teacher in every sense of the word. Not that it takes a teaching education to raise a child, but it gave me many ideas.
Which is why I get defensive and offended when people look down upon the life of a stay-at-home mom. When I announced to a well-respected teacher that I was engaged, she wouldn't even look at my ring. She wanted me to get my master's degree and become an English teacher. She knew once I got married, I wouldn't. But being a mom was something I wanted more than to become an English teacher. She understood, but the hurt I felt from her views on my choice stuck around for a bit - as if I had done something horrible to disappoint her.
I'm happy that I didn't go to graduate school and bury myself more in debt, when all I wanted was to stay home. I wanted this life, not because I'd get to lay around in my pajamas all day and talk on facebook with my friends, but because children grow up so fast. Have you ever met one person in the whole world who has said, "My kids grew up so slowly. Time dragged by." ?
No. Ask anyone and they will tell you the exact opposite. You have a darling newborn in your arms, you lay down to take a nap, and the next thing you know, she's a spunky toddler poking you in the eyeballs saying, "Weebean??"
(Weebean is how Little Olive asks for "one jelly bean.")
Deciding to stay home is not an easy decision. You know a second income would be glorious. You know "time away" would be great. But being there for your kids 100% of the time is irreplaceable. I have never missed a first, a milestone, or all the little things that happen every day that I consider to be amazing.
I wish our society would embrace this fact instead of looking down on the moms. Or pitying them. Or thinking we have it easy because we don't have to leave our house every day. Or that we have tons of time to do things that we want. (How I wish some days that were true!)
Mommyhood is one of the hardest, but most worthwhile, jobs ever. We don't get paid, at least not in money. But the compensation is beautiful.
Share the best thing about being a stay-at-home mom. Then, if you want, share the hardest thing. :)