I’m a stay at home mom. I do work about two hours per week teaching birth classes out of my home, but I don’t really identify myself as a working mom. First of all, my “work” is in my living room and it’s something I love and truly look forward to every week. It feels more like a break.
Secondly, when I think of working moms, I think of magical super heroes who get themselves and their children up and ready every day, out the door, and then put in a solid 8 hours of labor to financially contribute to their family before coming home to a house that needs cleaning, laundry that HAS to be done (because most work places frown upon staying in your jammies all day), and a family that, if they’re anything like mine, expects to be fed Every. Single. Night. I think working moms are amazing, and my weekly two hour shift just doesn’t compare.
I recently came across a thread on Facebook in one of my local mom groups asking what everyone’s occupation is. The responses were mostly from moms who work outside of the home. Most of them simply stated their titles but a few added in their responsibilities and work places. Among their answers was a sprinkling of responses from stay at home moms. I immediately noticed their answers were a bit different. It went one of two ways:
“I’m a SAHM, but I used to…..(fill in the blank: brain surgeon/teacher/accountant/etc.). ”
“I’m just a stay at home mom.”
I have used both of these responses myself when posed with the same question. But somehow, seeing them repeated among the straight forward and unapologetic responses from working mothers, I was struck with the realization that even SAHMs are contributing to the sentiment that our life’s work isn’t as impressive or important as a “real” job.
I have read countless articles and blog posts in defense of the stay at home mom. I have even seen a meme that added up the monetary worth a stay at home mom brings to her family through the labor she freely provides. And in case you haven’t seen it- we would be BANKING if we were paid in dollars instead of hugs and wet kisses. However, all of these posts seem to be directed outward- an effort to convince the world of our contributions and worth. This post isn’t for them.
This post is for my fellow stay at homers. This is directed straight at YOU. Yes, you in the yoga pants wearing yesterday’s make up reading this blog in the bathroom, trying to ignore the little fingers under the door asking if you’re done yet. And, in case your pint sized boss is demanding your attention, here’s the gist: Quit apologizing. Quit justifying. Stop referring to the professional life you used to have when asked what your contribution to society is. It’s not necessary.
Among dozens of responses, I didn’t see a single working mother provide her employment history or past degree. She stood solely on who she is today. So why aren’t we doing the same? We can’t ask the world to value us for the work that we are doing now without first taking pride in it ourselves.
There isn’t one of us who would say that our jobs are easy. In fact, it is stinking hard. We are never off the clock. We can’t call in sick. My lunch break usually happens around 2 when the baby has finally given in and taken a nap. I spend most of it trying to decide if I should shower, eat or sleep. (And somehow laundry and Food Network usually win out.) Our jobs are endless.
We are multi taskers.
We are nannies.
We are teachers.
We are CEOs and financial planners.
We are chefs.
We are maids.
We are taxi drivers.
We are nurses.
We are personal shoppers.
We are event coordinators.
We are counselors.
We are moms.
And We. Are. Enough.
Please be proud of yourself. Not your previous education or past titles- your today self; because your SAHM self is as valuable as your corporate self. She is sufficient. She is life changing. She is making a difference. Her work ethic is strong. She is contributing to her household, and she is contributing greatly to society.
From one stay at home mom to another, I’m pleading with you to value my work by acknowledging the value in yours. I’m asking you to drop the “just a” before stay at home mom, and to answer proudly when you are asked what it is that you do without feeling the compulsion to use a degree or past employment to validate your worth. Instead of demanding respect and validation from the world, let’s turn our focus inward.
What do we do?
We are stay at home moms. Period.