The stay-at-home mother is as archaic as dinosaurs, or so some people think. Recently, I went to the ophthalmologist to have my eyes examined. The doctor made small talk about the weather, the Red Sox and then he asked what I did for a living. I told him that I was an At Home Mom. He actually stopped what he was doing and frowned at me. “You just don’t hear that anymore,” he said. Then he went on to say, “Good for you.” before he focused on the exam. Honestly, I couldn’t tell if he was being condescending, or not. I’d like to think he was being nice, but “good for you”? As if I’d told him I recently took up running.
When Angelina Jolie went public with her mastectomy story, everyone in the media called her brave. While her decision may have been a brave one, I’m not sure, I do know it was a personal one. Deciding to be a stay-at-home mom is also a personal decision and definitely takes courage to walk away from a career.
I know that stay-at-home moms still exist, mostly because I am one, but also because I know several. When my girls were younger, (now 14 and 12) I believe there were more stay-at-home moms than there are today. I am home with my 5 yr. old son now and definitely feel that there are fewer moms home raising their kids. I do see, however, tons of grandparents caring for young ones these days, and dads. Why don’t mothers want to stay home anymore? Is there shame in being a stay-at-home mom? Unfortunately there is. People look down upon stay-at-home moms as if raising children is not as important as your “office job.” When did raising a family become passé?
I am often told that I’m “so lucky” to be able to stay home with my kids. Luck has had absolutely nothing to do with it. I knew when I married my husband that I wanted to be home with any children that we had until they went to school. I wanted to be the one to kiss their boo-boo’s better, to see their first steps, to be the one to take them to the library, and swimming lessons. I didn’t want to have any regrets about not being there when they were little because I know how fleeting that time is. So when it came time to start thinking about having children, we made a plan. A wise financial adviser told us right after we got married, “If you want to be a stay at home mom then you guys need to start living on one salary, now.” So we did. We began by putting my entire salary into our savings account and lived solely on my husband salary before we had kids.
Being a stay at home mom is not glamorous, it’s thankless and you never get a break, However, being home with your kids every day is the most important thing in the world that you could ever do –even if you can’t quantify it.
Think of being a stay-at-home mom as you being a Navy SEAL. Navy SEAL’s are the best of the best, right? Heck, they are downright badass! They work under extreme conditions against impossible odds and yet they do it all for us. In order to become a Navy SEAL candidates must pass the most physically and mentally demanding training. They are the ultimate warriors but most of what they do is never reported about in the media. After their training, SEAL’s are expected to take on any situation (or enemy) without hesitation, every day. I love their motto: “The only easy day was yesterday.” As a parent, I can definitely relate to that!
The point is that a Navy SEAL may not get the recognition he deserves on a daily basis but we all know we are better off because of them. When a Navy SEAL makes the commitment to be a SEAL they take their commitment seriously and they do it all because they love it. Being a stay-at home-mom takes commitment, planning, a sense of humor, and the confidence of knowing that what you are doing on a daily basis is the most important job – even if no one sees you doing it.
If you, or someone you know, is thinking about whether to stay home with their children or not, just know that it is possible with some planning, and that it’s not the end of the world to give up your career for a little bit. And remember, being a stay-at-home mom is as badass as a Navy SEAL and most definitely is not archaic like dinosaurs!
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