I'm not proud of it.
After all, my own mother was a homemaker who stayed home with me and my sister and I never once thought any less of her because she didn't punch a time clock or receive a paycheck.
But somewhere in between my freshman year of college and the final semester of my Master's program, my indifference towards about stay-at-home moms had morphed from apathy into bitter cynicism. The liberal education I received sort of brainwashed me into thinking that women can and should work in the same fields and positions as men, and any woman who doesn't take advantage of our progressive society is lazy and anti-feminist.
I won't go into the responsibility that every mother has. Many pens (and keyboards) have covered the subject so thoroughly (and more poetically) than I could ever begin to describe: the sleepless nights, the 24/7 work schedule, the constant physical and emotional demands that often feel under appreciated--and often unnoticed. All of which is unpaid.
Anyone who has children will attest that stay-at-home moms have the most difficult job there is.
No, I wanted to talk about how I really didn't expect to feel heartbroken every single day that I have to get in my car and drive to work. Like every mile I put in between myself and my infant daughter makes me feel a kind of despair I really wasn't expecting. How the things my co-workers and customers say to me in an attempt to make me feel better actually drive me into deeper discouragement. Things like
"You can be a better mom when you haven't been around her all day. You need to do something for yourself."
"You're still breastfeeding?? That's too much work. You need to switch to formula."
"It's better for kids to be at daycare, you know. There's structure there. And you have to think about yourself."
Every time this happens (which is almost daily), I feel like screaming. I want to grab these women and shake them and say "NEWSFLASH!! Having children isn't about YOURSELF! It's about them!"
My last intention is to hate on moms who have chosen to work because they love what they do. People who are making a difference in the lives of others through their work: teachers, health care professionals, counselors, and the like. Or even moms who are just passionate about their careers, or the ones who work part-time to bring in additional income. I also don't want to hurt moms who sincerely NEED to work because they don't have a husband, or because they're faced with insurmountable student loans or medical bills.
No, I'm talking about moms who are running the rat race.
The ones who work--not because they genuinely cannot make ends meet without their salary--but because they can't keep the lifestyle they are accustomed to: The manicured nails and dyed hair. The fancy car. The latest fashions and newest iPhone.
As if they are saying, "I care more about my appearance and the size of my house more than I care about my children."
Hear me out--I AM A WORKING MOM. But I would give absolutely anything to stay at home with my daughter. My husband and I have considered everything, including selling our house and moving into a mobile home that we could purchase outright with the equity in our house. Because we don't care what other people think about us.
I don't care if people notice that I never buy new clothes, or that my husband and I cut each other's hair. Or that the only bills we have that fall into the "want" category and not "need" is cable.
At the end of my life I seriously doubt that I will lay on my deathbed and wished that I had earned more money so I could buy more crap.
No, I think I would be happy if the things I was leaving behind weren't things that were purchased with a magnetic strip on the back of a plastic card. The Lord tells us in his Word to store up treasures in Heaven where moth and rust don't destroy.* I want to leave a legacy, and the way I think I can do that is to raise Sarah in a way that is honoring to the Lord.
So I want to encourage other women (and men!) to value mothers who choose to stay at home and raise their children. Don't discredit her. Understand that she is making a sacrifice not for her own sake, but for her children.
Recognize how backwards our society is: that we WORK so we can have money to PAY someone else to raise our children, clean our houses, and cook our meals. Instead of saving that money by doing those things ourselves.
And I think it's hard. I think it's why so many women say they HAD to go back to work, but if they were really look at their heart, they CHOSE to go back to work because they just don't desire to be home with their children all day. Everyday.
I admit that I used to judge women who labeled themselves as "homemakers." But I never will again. I will NEVER scoff at a woman who has perhaps given up a rising career, a big income (and the comforts that come with it), or the accolades of working in the corporate world.
I applaud the SAHM for your sacrifice. And I can't wait to join you one day.