In my last post, I explored my personal journey towards becoming a stay-at-home-mother. The reasons Iâve decided to stay home can be summarized as follows:
a) Working outside of the home makes me utterly wretched. First, because waking up to an alarm clock destroys me; and second, because I suck at doing almost anything that an employer would want from employee, which makes me feel like poop.
b) My husband and community are supportive of me staying home and deeply respect my desire to do so.
c) I find being at home incredibly satisfying and enjoyable. It just feels right.
d) I would earn so little at a real job, it wouldnât be worth my time.
There is a little more to it, though.
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First, note that my list does not include, âBecause home is where a woman belongs.â
I believe that some women are better off in the workforce. Lots of women are good at their jobs, and we need female doctors, teachers, ministers, and engineers. Oh, and gynecologists. Why is there even such a thing as a male gynecologist??
Other women need to work simply to survive, and these women shouldnât have to feel guilty about their occupations outside of the home. Â Getting food on the table is sometimes more pressing than being able to snuggle with your babies every day. I get that.
And other women, quite frankly, just aren’t cut out to be stay-at-home moms because of their temperaments and interests. Some women really do feel imprisoned by domestic life, and thrive in out-of-home careers. In these cases, it makes sense to make alternate living arrangements.
I do think one-on-one care is ideal for a babyâs first year, and that the mother is the ideal person to provide this care because her breast milk is the ideal source of nourishment.
But that doesnât mean there arenât other good ways of caring for children in that first year. Dads, grandmas, grandpas, and plenty of other people can make excellent caregivers when mom canât be there.
After that first year, I still think it would be nice if children could get lots of one-on-one attention and care. But again, there is more than one way to raise a healthy, happy child, and staying home just isnât possible for every mom. Â Thatâs just the reality we live in.
However, I would say that itâs a shame that not every mom has the opportunity to stay home for at least the first year.
Lately, Lydia likes to wake up around 5 a.m. and stay awake for at least an hour. Itâs kind of annoying. But since I donât have to go to work, thatâs all it is: kind of annoying. I just lay there next to her while she wiggles and laughs until sheâs finally ready to nurse back to sleep. Then I go back to sleep, too. No biggie. I donât have anywhere I need to be in the morning. I can sleep in.
Itâs a shame that not everyone has that freedom, in my opinion. It would be wonderful if all moms could be that relaxed about their babiesâ sleep and other needs because they donât have other pressing responsibilities. Many families would probably be healthier and happier if moms didnât have to divide their attention between so many things in those early years.
But that isnât the reality we live in, and so we have to be realistic and gracious. We canât judge other families for the decisions they make about child care because we canât possibly know all the factors involved. And there is no universal law that says women should stay home with their children.
While I love being a stay-at-home mom, and I am fully confident that itâs the best thing for our family, and a big part of me wishes all moms could do the same, I canât say that itâs right for every other family. I have no way of knowing whatâs right for other people.
I do wish that moms who stayed at home could all recognize the dignity and beauty of their jobs. I wish they all felt affirmed in their decision, knowing that they are doing important, meaningful, and hopefully enjoyable work.
If youâre a stay-at-home mom, I hope you realize that what you do every day takes courage, intelligence, and dedication. If youâre a mom who has returned to work, I hope you realize that you are still a loving and nurturing mother while simultaneously blessing the world with your talents and hard work.
Weâre all kind of awesome.