Choosing to stay home to raise my children is the most empowering choice I’ve ever made.
It wasn’t something I fell into or felt forced into by my husband, my church or my guilt. I wanted to stay home to be a full-time mother to my children. I did not want someone else raising them for me.
So, I walked away from a career I loved as a journalist. I remember a male boss at the time telling me I would be back in six months, tops. I wasn’t the sort of woman who could just stay at home, he said.
The comment smacked of a sense that staying home was somehow a worthy but unrealistic back-up plan to a career. It’s a sentiment I have felt from lots of different sources since becoming a mom. Sometimes I am even the one to perpetuate that myth when I hear myself tell other working moms that I am “just” a stay-at-home mom —like raising my children is no big deal and definitely not as impressive or important as a career that brings home a paycheck.
So I was so happy to read this article in “New York Magazine” last week about feminists who are having it all by choosing to stay home with their kids.
Rather than being at odds with feminism, the movement to stay at home and raise children rather than pursue full-time careers is a truly feminist act. Moms are taking control of their lives and doing what they think is best for their children. If that’s working a traditional job, fine. But if it means staying home to be a full-time, deliberate mother, then that’s every bit as empowered and conscious of a choice.
“Home, to these women, is more than a place to watch TV at the end of the day and motherhood more than a partial identity. It is a demanding, full-time endeavor, requiring all of their creativity, energy, and ingenuity. …” the article says. “By making domesticity her career, she and the other stay-at-home mothers she knows are standing up for values, such as patience, and kindness, and respectful attention to the needs of others, that have little currency in the world of work. Professional status is not the only sign of importance, she says, and financial independence is not the only measure of success.”
I love that motherhood is becoming more of a respectable, admirable life choice.
Some days I love being a stay-at-home mom. Some days I hate it. Sometimes I battle with jealousy that my husband leaves every morning to a job where he has adult conversations and receives accolades for hard work. Other times, I feel sorry that he doesn’t know what it feels like to have a kindergartener run at you at full speed off the bus with a hug that’s been waiting all day.
But good days or bad days, this is who I am at this stage of my life. I am a full-time mom. And it’s the best choice I’ve ever made.