Hey Y’all! Have you ever been in the midst of conversation about careers, goals and the future? Sure, we all have. Maybe you, like me, have even discussed aspirations and things you still hope to accomplish with friends, family members or like-minded acquaintances. But, as a SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom), there is a question/statement that comes in a couple different forms that used to chap my lips like a salt scrub while you’re dehydrated on a Southern summer day. They go a little something like this:
“Are you going back to work?”
“So, you don’t have a job?”
“It must be nice to be able to stay home and not work.”
“Is that all you do?”
“I could never see myself being with my kids all the time.”
Listen, I get it. Most of us never saw it in our futures either! For those who have never and/or don’t stay at home with their children, it may seem like an odd concept but the reality is people have been doing it for centuries. And while I don’t mind having actual, unbiased and non-judgmental conversations about my career of choice, I had to learn where to draw the line internally. Truly, there are working mothers who would love to be home and those who choose to work. Whatever your reason or choice, it’s okay but that is what works for you. Yet, after years of trying to convince myself that being a mother was “enough” of a job, I still had to deal with the criticisms and sly remarks from others.
In case no other SAHM has said it, eventually those seeds of disdain that are planted by snarky (and let’s call a spade a spade, hella rude) remarks will take root if we don’t do the immediate mental work of plucking them up. But as any of us will tell you, trying to manage the day-to-day operations of children with a variety of personalities and skill-sets (like climbing from the floor onto the marble dining room table in a matter of minutes while you are across the room and scared to death) just don’t have the attention span in that moment. And a few weeks later when the house is a mess, kids have been on level 100 since breakfast and you’ve had to spank someone for the second time…those small sprouts start to bloom. We doubt, we question and I’ll speak for myself on this one…we cry. See, staying at home means we are solely responsible for our children. Not just their safety and well-being but their personalities, education, skills, and everything else that molds a person. What if we are doing it wrong? What if our family would be in a better financial position if we went back into the workforce? What if I didn’t have all these student loans from earning degrees that aren’t as heavily utilized because “all I do is stay home?” Maybe that last one doesn’t apply to everyone, but we’re being real here and Navient knows my name all too well!
For the SAHMs out there, sister, lift your head! We have all been there before but the reality is you accepted a calling that isn’t for the faint of heart or weary of spirit. Those Little Human(s) in your care will flourish even in your weakest moments because they will see humanity, forgiveness and grace worked out before their very eyes. YOU GOT THIS! And for my working mothers out there, I salute you! I could not imagine dealing with adults all day and then having to mediate the personalities and attitudes of my children. But you do it, and that too teaches perseverance and work ethic to the Littles who call you Mom. So, before you shell out judgement attempted to be delivered as curiosity, do us (or me, no need to be passive aggressive)…don’t!
My point is, regardless of what we have accomplished, certifications or diplomas earned or level of education completed…choosing to be a SAHM isn’t the easy life of every day is Saturday that some think it is. And even if you don’t understand it, remember that the Mom who is living it may not be able to comprehend it at that moment either. Seriously, we all quit in our minds like 18 times a day and search for jobs online at least once a year when our level of Fed Up hits a peak. But Homemaking is the career of choice in the season of life we are in and the worst thing anyone can do to the other is belittle the calling we’ve chosen. So, next time you see a Mom in the store with her Kiddos during lunchtime trying to grocery shop between nap times and you know you are headed back to work to eat lunch alone, ride in your car alone and take a bathroom break alone…shoot her a smile and encouraging word instead of glares and stares. I’m sure she probably hasn’t sleep since the previous year and if she’s like me, she’s waiting on bedtime like a kid on Christmas Eve!