Happy Monday everyone!! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. This weekend was very relaxed and happy for me and my family. I experimented with a few new recipes and they actually turned out to be yummy, healthy and filling, so I am happy as can be.
So let’s talk about something I began to notice almost three years ago- the silent sometimes rivalry between working moms and stay at home moms. I was a stay at home momma for the first two years of Ugo’s life. I felt so grateful to be able to stay with him because he was very sickly as a little boy and my husband was deployed and gone a lot as a sailor, so I was glad that I was able to provide him some stability while his dad was away.
While I was a stay at home mother, I was always on the hunt for some sort of career. I knew I wanted something that will allow me to have somewhat flexible hours because I still wanted to be able to take my kids for doctors’ appointments, extracurricular activities, etc. And added to the flexible hours, I also wanted a job that made me feel like I was using my natural skills and helping others. After much research and thought, I decided to choose marriage and family therapy.
Ok, so quick rewind. Before I went back to school, I tried to make my 2 years as a stay at home mom as fun filled and memorable as possible. Because for the most part, I was alone at home with the baby (because my husband was deployed for a long time), I tried to fill in the days hanging out with other mothers and being active in church. As I was hanging out with mothers, a constant was the question, “So what do you do?” My reply was always, “I am a stay at home mom.” Now that reply was always sufficient for other stay at home mothers who understood and appreciated the day to day responsibilities of running a household. But when I would hang out with moms who worked outside the home, I noticed that sometimes they would make the assumption that they worked harder than I did or that my life involved sitting around the house, watching tv and eating bon bons all day. I almost had to justify my existence to some of these women. Now, of course a lot of working mothers appreciate the hard work that stay at home moms put in, so I am not making a generalization. I have also heard people say that I was choosing to stay at home with my son because I was probably not smart enough to work outside the home or go back to school. it is sad because I think domestic work is grossly undervalued in many circles. Stay at home moms are not lazy, unintelligent or under creative. There are many reasons why many women stay at home and take care of their families that way. Sometimes it is a personal choice, sometimes it is not personal choice, and sometimes it is just the situation that suits their families’ needs. Either way, I do not feel like one has to justify their existence to another who has a different lifestyle or holds a different opinion.
On the flip side, when my son was approaching the age of 2 and his healthy had gotten much better, my husband and I decided that it would be a great time for me to go back to school so that I could take the first step in pursuing the career I always wanted. With that, I had to make arrangements about day care and everything that comes with working outside the home. Some of my ‘supportive’ stay at home friends turned their noses up as if I was doing something illegal. Some of them felt as if it was a travesty for me to place my son in day care. I had someone say, “why would you have a child if you know you do not want to raise him yourself?” That shocked me. I do not feel that there should be any competition between moms. Staying at home does not make you a better or smarter mom, and working outside the home or going to school does not make you a worse mom either.
I believe that as women, we should support one another. because I am a mother, it does not kill my dreams. I have always desired to be a working mother and build a career from the ground up. I have always loved books, education, reading and applying that knowledge in the field. I also love the satisfaction I get from sitting down on the floor with my kids and pretending to be a cat. I love to make meals for the family. I enjoy scrubbing down toilet bowls and watching TV with the little ones. All these things make me whole. If I chose not to follow my passion of becoming a therapist, I would feel incomplete. I am not better than anyone who is a stay at home mom. I am just a mom following her passion and doing her best for her family.
So for all the readers out there, have you ever experienced another mom looking down at you because you are a stay at home mom or because you are a working mom? I am so curious to hear if others have experienced this.
Think about it.