This has been on my mind for over three years. I never thought about it actually until a few people I was acquainted with dwelled on it over and over again. Mothers who stay home vs mothers who work. I mean really does it matter what other people’s choices are whether they decide to be a mother who works “outside of the home” or a mother who “stays home”? I really do not even care for the term” stay home mom” because it implies that this woman is not working, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I can assure you these mothers who “stay home” are busting their tails just as much as the next person, maybe even more. If you “stay home” you never get a break. If you work “outside of the home” you never get a break either. So tie. Both sides win. We all sacrifice in our lives, and we all have responsibilities. It always shocked me how much it mattered to these individuals that these mothers were not working outside of the home, because it had zero interest for me. A “career” or “work” is how you personally define it for yourself, not for others.
I have always been a mother who worked outside of the home, until late last year. Actually, the way I see it, I have been a mother who worked inside and outside of the home, because raising a family requires a lot of work, commitment, devotion and sacrifice. It wasn’t planned to change course, but sometimes things not planned are those in which the best rewards are found. Either way, I learned to navigate a new territory of being home and learning new things about myself and my new role. The transition wasn’t easy at first because working outside of the home was an integral component to my identity. What did I do with this new vast amount of time? Lie on the couch? Chit chat with friends at Starbucks? Take up a new hobby? None of it. The responsibilities and new to do lists changed and sucked up all the time in the day. I still was going going going until 11 pm at night and up at 6 starting the day with everything that needed to be done.
But the topic of mothers and how they spend their days was one that I heard in many conversations and social settings within those last three years. Why can’t women support one another as a group regardless of where and how they work? I have never once heard a guy say that about another guy. Not once. A few of these acquaintances could not start out a conversation with ” oh she stays home,” or ” “oh she doesn’t work.” I never thought about a person in that way before. When a name pops up in conversation my internal catalog associates that name with their character, not their employment status. I chalked it up to nothing, and moved on. But as I walk down this new path, I realized that I had not heard that description of a mother in almost a year! Conversations were not headlined with a mother’s title. It was extremely refreshing.
This is a controversial topic, and I truly shy away from them because I do not want to go there. People have their opinions and everyone is granted to have them, whatever they may be. Now that I am home full-time, for how ever long that may be, I can assure you that I am working just as hard. I am just as dedicated and am not lounging around or planning my next tennis session. Although, there is nothing wrong with that either if that were my reality.
We all have priorities. Mine are personal to me and because of that my choices are individual to my life. My days are filled to the brim with activities, responsibilities and enjoyment. I cherish every single moment. I do see my life differently now. I see my children differently. I see myself differently. I am open to unchartered waters. I think seeing life differently has nothing to do with whether I am a stay at home mom or a working out of the home mom. I see things differently because I am growing older and things have different importance and value now.
Either way, let’s support one another regardless of where or how we spend our day. Whatever your life decisions are, they are yours, and do not let anyone make you second guess yourself.