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I know, I know—aren't we all a little
sick of the stay-at-home mom pieces by now?
Maybe. Maybe not.
I have to admit that when I thought
about it the other day, I could only think of one mother I knew of who
"just" stayed home—the majority of mothers I knew who stayed home with
their children managed to blend work-from-home or part-time
solutions that work best for them. The truth is, staying at home doesn't always
mean what the world seems to think. And I think it's time to dispel a few of
the common myths about stay-at-home moms (and dads).
No. 1: All stay-at-home moms love what they do.
News flash: You don't have to love every
minute of staying at home to be a good stay-at-home mom. I used to wonder
if something was wrong with me because I genuinely despised some parts of staying
at home. Now in my eternal mom wisdom (ha), I've realized that I can dread
parts of the journey and it won't mean I'm doing a bad job. In a way, staying at home is a job like any other; there are good days and bad days, great moments and tough moments, but it's all part of the gig.
No. 2: Only certain types of moms can stay home.
There is no one "type" of woman, or man for that matter, who possesses a key list of specific characteristics that make them perfect for staying home.
I read an article recently that talked
about the "type" of woman who chooses
to stay home and I have to admit it really made me upset. The truth is,
there is no one "type" of person who possesses a
key list of specific characteristics that make them perfect for staying home.
Nope, sorry, it doesn't work that way. There are many different types of
parenting styles that can make staying at home work for them.
Myth No. 3: We stay home because we love it.
For the most part, stay-at-home parents
may love what they do, but they don't stay home for their own personal
fulfillment—we do it for our children and for our families. Staying at home isn't
necessarily always about us. I'm not saying that every family needs a
stay-at-home parent to function, but for the families that have the choice and
feel it's best for them, it's not always a decision based on warm and fuzzy feelings
of the heart.
No. 4: We all are obsessed with drinking.
Now this one is just silly. Not every
stay-at-home mom lives for wine. Some of us prefer the harder stuff. Ahem.
No. 5: We stay home to spend more time with our kids.
But being home doesn't mean I'm spending every minute shoved in my kids' faces.
I have to be careful with this one,
because obviously in the baby and toddler stages, a stay-at-home mom will spend
more time with her children. But as they grow, staying at home for me has also
evolved to simply be more available
to my family.
This might mean the thrice-daily school
runs I am currently making or simply not worrying what we will do if a child
gets sick or allowing my husband (the one with the "real" job) to not think twice about texting me an easy, "Sry. Will
be late tonight" and have that be the end of it. But being home doesn't mean I'm spending every minute shoved in my kids' faces, staring at them in wonder. A lot of the time it's simply my presence and availability that is most important.
No. 6: That we play with our kids all day.
Nope, sorry, not happening. On a general
day-to-day basis, I purposely aim to keep the playing with mom to a minimum.
Not only is it one of those triggering things for me that just makes me crazy,
but I believe it's good for kids to just be kids and play with kids. (It helps that I have four of them.) It should also be noted that some days, I feel like I do
more house upkeep and cleaning than actual child-rearing.
No. 7: We don't care about the "outside" world.
On the contrary, I feel like staying at
home has only heightened my awareness and hunger on the issues happening
worldwide. Every baby failed by modern medicine, every soldier killed in war,
every accident that could have been prevented—those are all my babies in a way, and
I find myself wanting to know more and do
more. Some days, yes, all I deal with are poopy diapers and fevers and teething
and I absolutely don't even have time to change out of my pajamas, but for crying
out loud, that doesn't mean I'm an idiot. My brain did not fall out of the
birth canal along with my child.
First of all, one could make the
argument that the moment you pledge your lives together, it is OK to work as a team, but for the
sake of this myth, I will simply point out that this isn't the 1950s. A lot of
us have educations, keep our skills fresh and—even more likely—find a way to
merge work and family life so we are able to contribute financially and invest
in a future when the kids are a little older, too. We aren't looking for sugar
daddies, but rather partners who value us in and out of the workplace.