Being a Stay at Home Mother is a Full-Time Job
Published: April 5, 2006
The more I think about it, the more I realize that being a stay at home mom is more of a rarity in our society than the norm. In the days of my mother, many stayed at home until their children were “all grown up”- in other words – until they left the home. It was expected, and I’ll even take a step further and say, it was “desired” by most women. So what’s happened?
We, as mothers, seem to feel on the whole, that we must prove that we can “have it all” in today’s world. A great career with a great family- all perfectly balanced. But at some point, doesn’t something have to give? What was once considered the ideal family unit, comprising of the working father, the stay at home mom, and the two or more children, has now become the workaholic father, the workaholic mother and the daycare that looks after their children. When did it become ok to have other people look after our children? Are some mothers able but not willing?
When I tell people that I am a stay at home mom, I get the “look”. Suddenly I have nothing in common with the career mother and father who feel pity for me to be a stay at home mom. I’ve received comments like “I could never do that – stay at home all the time with my children – my brain would turn to mush!” or the “I have a career, and I’ve worked too hard and too long to just become a stay at home mom”.
Let me address these fears that have been expressed to me time and time again. Firstly, I am a university educated woman. I made good income as an Account Manager working for a very large insurance company. And by good – I mean great. And I decided once I started having children that they would become the priority in my life, and my life, would take a back seat for awhile. What is wrong with that? After all the years with the unlimited expense account and fine dining in the city, and the red convertible BMW that I just HAD to have, in the end, it never quite filled me up inside.
What I thought would give me a sense of pride, never truly compared to the feeling I have when I look at my three month old daughter, or my three year old son. Those are my true accomplishments, and I believe that like anything I have done in my life, they deserve one hundred per cent of my best. And that means being there all the time. And financially, we have sacrificed to enable me to do this.
Also, there is no such thing at “just” a stay at home mom. My contribution far exceeds any monetary contribution I once made. I am “on” from the crack of dawn until the ebb of night; feeding, caring, entertaining, washing, cleaning and dinner making. I ensure everyone is taken care of and that my children are happy and well adjusted. I am their teacher and I am their friend. I am there for all their “firsts” and I am the one who can console all their fears. I am a MOM, and I wear that badge with honour. And my mind has not turned to “mush”. If anything, my mind is constantly stimulated by my children. I have become a much more tolerant, patient and loving person.
In my opinion, I think it is ok for mothers to say we can’t have it all... or at the very least, not all at the same time.