Sunday, April 15, 2007

stay at home? i don't think so!

i was lucky enough to be able to visit with my cousin and his family the other night. chris and kim live up in the sacramento area and have 3 lovely children. we have not seen them in YEARS! and so it was nice to have a little reunion even if it was too short :o(

in the course of the evening my mother asked kim if she was working or if she “just stayed at home.” what?! did she really just use those words?

the thing is, i don’t know any moms who do not work ‘outside’ their homes that would consider themselves a “stay at home” mom. when most people think of the word stay i believe that the following definition comes to mind : “to stop, halt, or pause; a standstill”. that in no way describes what a mom who society says “stays at home” does. mom’s who do not work outside their homes work at them. being the primary caregiver of a child is a lot of hard work! there are the feedings, diapers, tears, owees to mend, games to be played, errands to be run, lessons to be taught, discipline to give, cleaning to be done, play dates to attend and host, meals to be cooked, pta meetings, trips to the park, doctor appointments, grocery shopping……..the list goes on and on. for those who say it isn’t work, they should consider the incredible amount of money families pay child care professionals to do the (ummmm?) “staying” for them. in fact, they should consider the fact that there is a whole slew of professions related to the tasks that moms have to accomplish on a daily basis.

now i don’t think that my mom meant the question in a derogatory manner but i think that it doesn’t make it less insulting. perhaps my mom used the ’stay at home’ term because she has been a mom who worked outside of the home while my brother and i were young or more likely, perhaps she used it because that (for some reason) is the term that society uses to describe a mother does not work at a place of business outside the home. who knows?…but it did remind me how much of a problem i have with the label “stay at home mom”. i used to be a “stay at home mom” and i never stayed put no matter how many times or how many days i wished i could just sit, stay, good mom! but that is a luxury that i never seemed to have.

i’m not making any judgements here about whether a mom who works in the home or out of the home is better. i have been both and realize that both kinds work hard every day to care for and love their children to the best of their ability. each day moms complete task after task after task and very very little of it ever involves staying put. unless of course, you count the times we finally get to crash after our little ones are tucked in bed….at least until we are called back to duty because of hunger, or a bad dream or a sore throat or…….

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