This is a topic that is often talked about so I’m not breaking new ground here, but now that my kids are 13 and 16, I am finally coming to grips with the terminology myself. People often call moms who have children at home AND a paying job WORKING moms. The same people will call moms who choose to not work so she can support the family in other ways a STAY AT HOME mom.

As a woman who did not return to work when her children were born I would like to raise my hand and say, “Excuse me?” In the 10 years that I did not report to a salaried job, I rarely STAYED home. Even when they were toddlers, I was constantly on the go taking them to parks, the pool, museums and other places so they could interact with with “stuff” other than myself, the screen and their toys. I wanted to raise humans who were intelligent and curious about the world around them.

It is all well and good to show a child an illustration or a photo of a cow in a book, but when you pull over in a field so you can SHOW her a real cow she will suddenly have CONTEXT. She understands size, texture, color, noise in a very different way than just from a book. I will never forget the look on my first born’s face when the cow moo’d. Her eyes got big and she simply uttered “moo” quietly to herself. I could not have provided her with that kind of revelation in a book.

Moms are more than educators. There is no typical day for women who choose child care over a money making profession. At times we are also nurse, cook, housekeeper, nutritionist, accountant, therapist and so much more. The stereotypes about SAHMs (stay at home moms) need to be thrown out with the bathwater.

In addition, there is no perfect blueprint to being a SAHM – every situation is different depending on where the family lives, how much money is coming in from money earners, how many children there are and their ages. But the one thing that is absolutely true is that these SAHMs are indeed WORKING moms. They may not cash a paycheck at the end of the week, but they are most certainly working.

Kudos to moms who have TWO jobs – mothering AND a paid occupation. They need a new name too. They are doing the impossible. Choosing day care for their kids is not selfish – it is something they must do for their families. I did not choose to give up my career because I’m noble, I did it because I wanted to be their primary teacher and I wanted to drink in every milestone I could. We adjusted our spending habits, bought less expensive homes, cooked more meals at home and I’m pretty sure I’m still wearing shorts from 15 years ago.

While rewarding, I realize that I am no longer competitive in the work field. Other women my age have a much fuller resume and I feel I am starting all over. Is there some regret? Of course there is. I do not regret having children or staying home with them, but I do wish I had begun part time work a little earlier or taken some online classes to keep up with current technology. Is hindsight better than foresight? The world may never know.

Let’s stop calling women who choose a full time job of raising children SAHMs. Let’s stop saying they are JUST staying home with the kids. I’ve heard some terms being thrown around like “Mother Warrior” and “Slay At Home Mom”. While they invoke power they are too cartoony for me. “Lady of the House” is old fashioned and sounds like someone in a brothel. “Family Coordinator” sounds too cold and “Domestic Engineer” has long been laughed away. I’m not helping am I ? Truthfully, I don’t have a catchy term to throw out at you.

What I know is that I worked harder when I did not clock in with a paying employer. I am still choosing not to have a full time job because I realized teenagers need more time from me than toddlers. That’s for another post. So, to all the women who have are doing the impossible by parenting and pulling in a paycheck, I salute you. Let’s also toast the women who have chosen parenting over their careers for whatever reason. Women are simply rock stars!

Published by bridgey1967

Loyal. Funny. Sensitive. Loving. Creative. Survivor.

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