Recently a post published on a blog site stirred up some controversy with its title “Being a Stay-at-Home Mother Is Not a Job.” The author wrote the post from her viewpoint as a former stay-at-home mom, and explains how staying home with your children is a privilege and a gift and should not be defined as a job.
Being able to see every moment and milestone in your child’s life is a privilege that many parents don’t get to experience. I’m so lucky to have had the chance to see every bit of Owen’s infancy and to see Kayleigh growing from a baby to a child. When I worked full time during Kayleigh’s first year of life, I was all too jealous of her caretakers. As happy as I was to hear about her progressing, it was painful to know I had missed those important moments that I should have seen first as her mom. Everyday that I get to spend seeing my children growing up is a true blessing.
That being said, what I do is hard work. Yes, I said WORK! I deal with temper tantrums from an ornery three-year-old; clean at least a dozen dirty diapers; vacuum more times than I can count on one hand and do so much laundry you would think I have 10 kids. Being a stay-at-home mom is so much more than just taking care of children, it is running a household smoothly. For every fun memory I make with the kids, there are 20 more frustrating ones. I realize that tasks such as laundry and cooking, are things that everyone does even if they work full-time, but that doesn’t change that this work comprises the majority of my day along with getting screamed at and pooped on. Most of my day is not fun, games and relaxation.
The opposing blog post states that women need to own up to what being a stay-at-home mom really is- a lifestyle choice and a hobby. Every bit of my chaotic life is totally worth it and every little moment that makes my heart smile reminds me why I love what I do, but in no way would I classify this as a hobby. I don’t get days off; I am on 24/7. Even if that means I have to wake up at 3 a.m. to rock a crying baby or wipe a stuffy nose. If I’m tired I can’t just pack it away and take it out a few days later like a pair of knitting needles.
Honestly, even if I wanted to work full-time I don’t know that we could afford it. The high cost of childcare has made it nearly impossible for most people to live a comfortable lifestyle, pay their bills and work a full-time conventional job. I refuse to work at a non-enjoyable full-time job, just so I can pay for other people to raise my children. There are many different reasons why a mother chooses to stay home with her kids, and it may not be a choice at all but a financial necessity. To categorize the act of staying home with your kids as a hobby is disrespectful. It’s often a financial sacrifice and it can be a solitary lifestyle. I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself in sweats still at 3 p.m., covered in spit up and having my only conversation of the day with a 3-year-old. Just because I made a personal choice to stay home doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes get jealous of those women who go to an office, dress up and speak with people their own age all day.
If I did nothing all day, I’d be more than happy to admittedly call it a hobby. The truth is…I’ve never had a harder job. I am sick of having to defend myself and my choice of a ‘job’. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of what I do because it’s not classified as a actual job. I work just as hard as anyone in the corporate world, even if I do get the gratification of watching my children grow and blossom into little people. Lets just call it what it is: WORK. Yes, that’s right WORK. It may be the most important job of raising and keeping alive little humans, and I may do it for free and in my home, but I still bust my butt to do it right and I want the proper credit for it. I think myself and other stay-at-home mothers deserve that.
You can read the original full blog post the above article was written in response to here: http://www.xojane.com/issues/being-a-stay-at-home-mom-is-not-a-job