We can be so dismissive. Here we go around all day trying to build up our families, build up our children, and yet we often describe our own role as one of little value.
“I’m just a mom.”
“I just stay at home with the kids.”
Why all the “justs” in these statements?
We are important. We help keep things together. We are what makes it possible for the family to sit down to dinner together, to not get yelled at for making personal calls during work hours, to go to bed before midnight since some of the tedious jobs required have been taken care of. We are important.
It is 100% fine if mothers want to work outside the home. They are just as important to their families and no less mother-y. And it is 100% fine if mothers want to stay home and not leave for a job. Lord knows there’s enough to do around the house just to keep things under control, kids in school or not. There is nothing “less than” about being a mom. Until people have done it, they can’t really understand how all-consuming it is, how much work it really is, and how wonderfully rewarding it can be.
Let’s agree that not everyone can stay at home with their kids. Some would if they had the choice but the economy of their family make-up dictates they produce an income. Some don’t because they have a desire to engage in their field of study or expertise. Admit it, you know there are some people who would go nuts if they stayed home with the kids. It’s just not the way they are wired.
We as women have an important choice – we can criticize one another or we can acknowledge that there are days when those of us who stay home wish we had a job to go to; staying home can be hard. There’s no reason for us to tear each other down. Women who came before us worked hard to see that we have the right to hold jobs and get equal(ish) pay for that work. And now we have the right to choose to stay home, even if it is only for a season.
Many times we think there is a commentary being made by someone who has not made the same choice we have. But what we don’t consider is that the reverse is true as well. Maybe we can all agree to think the best about one another, that we are doing the best we can for our families and for ourselves.