Before I get into the stereotypes of the typical stay at home mom, I think it is important to address the silliness that is the Stay at Home Mom vs. the Working Mom “smack down”. I’m going to break this down into several subcategories.
First, you have the stay at home mom who loves what she does and truly enjoys staying home. She sometimes lies about just how much she loves staying home, feeling like she has to pretend she is missing out on some career goal, so that she can be more relatable to other moms. After all, who has the sanity to stay home with their kids all day every day! There would be something wrong with her if she didn’t act like it was awful.
Second, the working mom who has to work for financial reasons, but wishes she could stay home. She sometimes lies about how much she loves her job so that the other working moms who are killing the mom/work life don’t scrutinize her. On the inside, however, she’s miserable at work. But she bucks up and gets ready for work every morning because her kids will have a better life than she did.
Third, the stay at home mom who wants a side gig because being a mom just isn’t quite enough. She sometimes lies to her other stay at home mom friends, telling them how much she loves staying home, afraid they may exile her from their mom group for wanting a part time job. I mean how could motherhood not be enough?
And finally, the working mom who loves what she does and wouldn’t trade her career for anything. On her days off at her mommy and me class she sometimes lies about how much she hates her job and wishes she could be home more, fearful that if she told the truth the other moms would judge her for being an absent mom.
Notice a pattern here? All of these moms are lying, and all of these moms are afraid what other moms think. I’m calling bull crap (this is me working on keeping my language PG as my two year old is in the “repeat everything I say” phase)! We need to join together, realize we have a lot more in common than whether or not we work, and support each other for the personal choices that we have made. Stop lying. Be proud if you stay home and love it. Be proud if you work and enjoy it. Be sympathetic towards those moms who work and wish they could stay home. Empower those moms who want a side gig. We are all in the trenches of motherhood together, and no matter the category you fit into, motherhood has its challenges. Be a pillar of strength for your mama friends. If we would just stop judging, we could all stop lying.
So, with that being said, know this post about stay at home moms is not to put down working moms, but rather to encourage stay at home moms and make them feel relevant again. I just finished watching the Netflix Series “Working Moms” and loved it. It was witty, funny, and real. Even as a stay at home mom I could still relate to the many mommy mishaps, and even personally connected to the stay at home dad character, making dinner for his wife, only to eat it all before she got home from a late night at the office. But I did finish the show wondering, would they ever make a show about stay at home moms? And I think the answer is no. Today’s society has transitioned to a society that admires the do it all working mom (rightfully so), and diminishes the roll of a “gave up all of her hopes and dreams” stay at home mom. So stay at home moms, this is for you.
We all know the many stereotypes of a stay at home mom. They have so much free time, they gave up their dream job, they are super lazy, and how could they not be totally in shape with so much extra time to workout? Well I have news for you, false, false, and false.
I recently read the book “Girl, Wash your Face” by Rachel Hollis. She is an amazing writer, a power female, and a phenomenal mom, but I finished the book feeling like it just wasn’t written for me. No doubt there were several great messages to be taken away, but I can’t personally relate to her type of motherhood. Which she rocks at by the way and deserves all the praise! You see, I am a proud stay at home mom. There is no job I would rather have, I am not suppressing some inner dream or career goal, and I feel no need to constantly set new work goals. I am content setting goals within my motherhood. That’s the part of me I like best. That’s the part of me that makes me happiest. After I finished reading Hollis’ book, I immediately dusted off my computer at naptime that day and started writing, in hopes that I could reach that stay at home mom who feels all alone. And while this blog isn’t just for stay at home moms, it’s for ALL the moms, I would hope that this post would make stay at home moms feel appreciated again.
I mean even the deodorant commercial I saw the other day only showed working women putting on their deodorant before putting on their suits. Don’t get me wrong, mom or not, working women are strong, awesome, and busy, so of course they need deodorant. But they could totally throw a stay at home mom in their commercial too. I worked out this morning, kids in tow, played at the park (sitting in my sweat), came home, made lunch, put the kids down for naps, prepped dinner for that night, and uh oh the baby woke up so no longer any time left to shower. Yeah, I would say I am a pretty good example of a woman who needs a no stank, no sweat, long lasting deodorant. If my story doesn’t help sell deodorant, I don’t know what does.
As for all my free time, in my household I am the wife, the mom, the chef, the chauffer, the housekeeper, the paramedic, the launderer, the barber, the dog walker, and sometimes even the lawn gal! How would you like to interview for a career with that job description? It would also have to include: must be willing to wake frequently in the middle of the night! Being a stay at home mom ain’t no joke! And yet, I wouldn’t want any other job in the world!
So why does today’s feminist focused society make me feel like I have made the wrong choice? Like somehow I am setting women back rather than moving them forward. Today, women, and girls who someday dream of being wives and moms, are told getting pregnant will destroy your career. Having children will erase your identity. And when I think about the definition of feminism these days, I no longer think of equality. I think of sacrificing your children for your career. Whether that means never having children to pursue your career goals, or working full time after having children, you’re not a true feminist unless you have put work first. After all, staying at home is not a real job, and therefore no stay at home mom can be awarded the title.
Today, I wouldn’t call myself a feminist, simply because the meaning behind it has strayed so far from a woman’s right to equality, but, that doesn’t mean I don’t support other women. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe women can do all things and should be treated equal. I 100% believe those things. I will, however, proudly sacrifice every bit of my being for my children, and that, for me, will always be enough. When I look at true female awesomeness, how does carrying, birthing, and caring for a child not top the charts? We sacrifice our bodies, our independence, our finances and our time. And when today’s women of influence are flooding social media with messages of “stay true to yourself”, “never give up on your dreams”, and “be selfish in your career” we get confused and conflicted as we hold our newborn who needs every ounce of our attention. How can I be selfish when this baby relies on me 24/7, and in fact, I am learning the true meaning of selflessness? Can this tiny miracle not be my dream come true?
As I said earlier in my testimony, I always knew I wanted to be a wife and a mom one day, but I never felt comfortable shouting it from the rooftops. I was raised in a time where girls were told, “you can do anything boys can do”. You can go to college, become a doctor, a lawyer, a news anchor, the skies the limit. So despite knowing my inner most desire to have children, I did what was expected of me. I headed off to college and enrolled in the Honors School of Journalism at the University of Missouri to one day become a female sports broadcaster in a male dominated field. I was instantly unhappy, and when I met Brayden, fell head over heels in love, and knew I would one day marry this man, I changed majors and spent the rest of my college days dreaming of the day I would become a mother.
When I had Walker, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I would no longer be judged for this dream of wanting to be a stay at home mom, because here I was, goal achieved. Little did I know, the judgment would continue into my motherhood.
I have always felt like I was born a natural mom. When I say “natural mom”, I’m not talking about the crunchy, “all natural” granola mom, who by the way also deserves praise. Any mom that can make homemade organic baby food has a dedication that I admire, big time! I’m talking about the “motherhood comes naturally to you” mom. I don’t claim to be perfect in my motherhood. I don’t even believe it’s possible. But, I want to be. I strive to be. Having always wanted to be a mom, and having that wish quickly granted, and then just as quickly taken away, I want to be the best mom in the whole world. I want to be a part of every aspect, every moment of my kid’s lives, and I get serious FOMO (fear of missing out) when I’m not there.
Just the other day I was eagerly awaiting my son’s first ever-Preschool Easter Egg Hunt. I dropped him off that morning, letting his teachers know I would be back to watch the hunt, and they kindly said, “you really don’t need to come, its only going to be two minutes long and I don’t think any other parents will be there.” Umm, don’t invite me to something in the newsletter if you really don’t want parents there, cause I will be at every little thing! Whether it’s two minutes long or two hours long, I want all the pictures and memories. So right here you can stop and judge me. Label me that crazy, overinvolved stay at home mom, it won’t stop me from signing up to be room mom, just so I can plan and attend my son’s thanksgiving feast, (because only room moms get to go).
I have come to accept that I will probably be forever judged for being a stay at home mom and maybe even the “little too over the top” mom. I love planning my kids’ birthday parties, I love cutting Walker’s sandwiches into cute little shapes, and I love cooking dinner for my family. These are some on my strengths, I own them, and I am confident in them. From a young age God blessed me with motherly instinct, and I am honored that I get to carry out His plan.
I wont pretend that there aren’t hard days, the saying is true, “the days are long but the years are short”. Even with my passion for being a mom, there are days where I want to pull my hair out, lock myself in the pantry, or just plain lose my cool on my kids. Those are the days I learn from. Those are the lessons that make me a better mom the next day. Just like career women want to learn, grow, and improve in the workplace, I want to grow in my motherhood. I know I am not the perfect mom, but I am the perfect mom for my kids.
We celebrated Mother’s Day this past weekend, and I couldn’t help but get emotional. I thought about my mom, and how she shaped the mother I have become. I thought about how blessed I am to even be called mom. I thought about how lucky I am to have the choice to be a stay at home mom. Many women struggling with infertility long for that choice, and I pray that when they are blessed with their long waited child one day, that they can make that choice, whatever it may be, with confidence and clarity, because whatever they choose, will be the perfect choice for their kids.
So, if you stay at home and have been made to feel not good enough, not woman enough, know that you are not only good enough, but also admired. I admire your bravery to stay true to yourself in a day and age where taking care of your family is met with eye rolls. Where putting your children first is seen as weak, I see you, and you are strong. Pride yourself on putting dinner on the table every night for your family, that is not an easy task. Take comfort in knowing you are doing exactly what God designed you to do. Being a mom, and only a mom, is enough. Staying at home with your children is a privilege.