Career

An experiment in doing it all (I’m a stay at home mom, again)

Before motherhood, I had read much about how to balance it all, or the marriage, children, job, and sexy figure. “It will be tough,” they often said, “but, you can do it. It can be done.”

I guess in choosing to take on “it all,” you could say that I believed them, or the voices that said it could be done.

The stakes, it seemed, of not believing, or not being able to balance it all as a woman in the 21st century appeared too high. So, I gave “it all” a try. I worked a full time job, breastfed, rocked, and burped a child, exercised every other day of the week, and remained married, all evidence that it all was possible.Image result for stay at home mom

“Yes! I did it,” I told myself in the first few weeks of my project of “it all.” “I did it all.”

(sigh)

When times got tough, I stuck it out, convinced that was what any woman who wanted it all would (and should) do. I found “strength” in the images of those celebrity moms who managed it all so easily.

The wrench in my plans of continuing to do it all came soon after my proclamation of “success.”

Fatigue.

I was tired, dead tired.

Doing it all, as I assumed everyone else was doing it, was exhausting. I couldn’t think straight. My skin seemed to show premature signs of aging. I found another gray hair. I sometimes forgot my keys atop my car when taking trips with Nya to Target. Oh, and doing it all was also expensive, what with childcare, convenient foods to save time, and creams to mask those aging eyes.

Despite these inconvenient truths of doing it all, I wanted to continue to prove to myself that if anyone could it, I could. I wanted to set an example for my daughters (and sons). I wanted to know that on my grave someone could engrave “She was the woman who did it all!”

So, I went on until I could no longer fool myself into believing that everything was ok beneath my picture of “having it all.”

No longer fooled, I changed my mind about having it all and gave a big part of my picture of “it all” up, namely my job.

So, I write this in the same place that I started this job as a stay at home mom with a renewed sense of what having it all really means. (sigh)

My statement on being a stay at home mom

It’s one question that used to make me sweat profusely and get all hot and bothered. Asked with an ease and nonchalance, “So, what are you doing now?” The one doing the asking, of course, is employed, my age, and interested in knowing my career status. “What are you doing now?”

(sigh)

For some reason, even writing it out makes me cringe.Image result for My statement on being a stay at home mom

While perfectly OK with being a stay-at-home mom on most days, whenever asked about my career status (or lack thereof) I once got defensive, very defensive. No. I didn’t sound defensive or even look it. I just felt it (or defensive.)

“I’m raising my daughter!” There, is that what you wanted to hear?!? (deep breath)

Of course not.

To most of my twenty-something, college graduate peers on the up-and-up in their careers, the thought of leaving a job to stay home with a child is mostly unfathomable.

I know because I once thought my current life circumstance unfathomable for any woman of “promise.” So, my old thoughts on the matter drove my insecurity in twenty-something settings. If attending a friend’s engagement party, I would wonder, “Will they ask what I do for a living?” “Will there be an awkward silence when I respond honestly.” “Will they somehow think less of me for choosing this path?”

And, there would always be an awkward silence, then tripping over words to cover the silence, words about “daycare being expensive” or something else about it being good that we’re able to afford all that we have on one income or “good for you!”

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Making the decision to be a stay at home mom is tough and was tough for me. Most women, myself included, don’t as young girls, imagine that they will grow up to wipe their children’s butts all day and have to schedule in “lunch times.”  Most women, no, most human beings who have worked in their life find earning an income and receiving favorable performance reviews empowering.

But many women do choose, in becoming mothers, to become stay at home moms, not because they can’t do anything else or because their husband’s put them up to it, but because they’ve decided that they’d rather stay home. And, there’s nothing wrong with that or with mothers who choose to go to work each day. It’s their choice. Both realities are tough and come with their share of sacrifices. Trust me, I know.

In becoming a stay at home mom, I’ve learned these truths, and it is these truths that I’d most like to get stamped on a card or maybe even a flyer that I can then give to anyone who asks what I am doing now. I’m doing what I think is best for me and my family right now. Please, don’t judge me for that.

This is supposed to be a rant from a stay at home mom feeling misunderstood or unappreciated, but it may appear that way and for that, I apologize.

Moms who work inside and outside of the home for pay or not, what do you wish to tell the world about your lived reality as a “working” woman? Please use the comment field to speak your mind to the world.