I had a conversation with a relative recently. I won’t get into the details, but he told me that stay-at-home moms don’t deserve a “day off” and that what they do isn’t a “real job”.
I’m a stay-at-home mom. I have been for the past four years. I’m also a person who likes to feel accomplished and satisfied in the work I do everyday. So, it stung to have a member of my extended family basically tell me what I do every day is not worthwhile or even really necessary.
I ended my conversation with said relative at that time so I didn’t say something I’d regret. After all, it’s not the first time I’ve heard such mumbles about being a stay-at-home parent. Oftentimes, the opinions come from people who have never been a stay-at-home mom or dad.
I don’t want to demean working parents, because I’ll be totally honest, my hat is off to you. I don’t know how you do what you do and you have my full respect. No, this is about me and my fellow stay-at-home parents. The ones who have the privilege of being on the front lines of seeing our babies grow up. The ones who are in the thick of it day in and day out. The ones who have to multi-task our families needs with our own feelings of self-worth. The ones who never truly get a day off from our jobs because our jobs are our lives.
I want you, my fellow stay-at-home mama (or dad) to realize you are worth so much more than what others have to say about your “occupation”. Your title as a stay-at home parent doesn’t define who you are deep down inside. It doesn’t define the person who has a life outside of her home and children. It doesn’t describe your education, your passions, your thoughts on life.
Sure, we are in this phase of life when, the majority of the time, our needs come last and personal time is few and far between. We have babies grabbing at our pants, toddlers yelling to us from toilet seats, and we are always on the hunt for whatever possession our older kids have lost this time, not to mention making sure our spouses are happy, supported and taken care of. Heck, even the cat comes first sometimes.
We are the centers of our families, the little engines that keep on ticking all hours of the day and night so the train can keep moving. Because there’s no slowing down, not ever. We all do so much for our children, our homes, and our families that when someone we thought was in our corner demeans what we do every day, it really hurts. It makes us look inward and question everything we have become. It makes us wonder if everything we do every day is worthless, pointless, fruitless?
Well, I’m here to tell you it does matter. It is not for nothing. What you are doing is so important. You may not see it yet, but someday, you will. You will see it on his first day of kindergarten, as he turns to look at you one last time before he walks through the door. You will see it when she takes her first step, and you are there to catch her before she falls on the second try. You will see it when he calls you from work to thank you for remembering to put the fork he forgot in his lunch pail for him.
They will show you. The ones you stay at home for. The ones who rely on you to drive them, feed them, teach them, care for them, and love them. The ones who need you to be at home right now so your little tiny humans can grow under the daily care of one of their parents.
Maybe you stay home because you don’t have a choice. Maybe you stay home to save money on childcare. Or maybe you are laid off and this gig is just temporary. No matter what your situation is, whether you are a stay-at-home mom by choice or circumstance, do not ever let anyone ever make you feel you are not worthy of praise, time to yourself, or acknowledgement.