I’m on a Soapbox People, and I’m Asking for a Big Change Here

I gotta say it. I’m over the “I work”, “I’m a stay at home mom” as the identifiers many women now take in defining their role as mothers. It’s become as if your financial needs and professional status somehow define who you are and what you do for your children as their mother.

The quality of parenting you’re delivering has nothing to do with how many hours you spend one on one with your child.

You are a mother. Regardless of the time you spend at home one on one with your child you are their mother. Whether you work out of the house or stay at home every day all day with your children, you are a mom. You, mom, among a million other things in day to day life:

Love your child unconditionally.

Support and nurture your child as the unique individual they are.

Show them how to love and be loved.

Teach them about where they come from, your cultures, your traditions, their history.

Teach them to respect others. You don’t have to love everyone but respect them.

Teach them to respect themselves, and show them how by respecting yourself.

Show them how to be healthy and well by being their example of a healthy lifestyle.

Teach them to live a balanced life through setting the example.

Are their advocate in all areas of their life, from the doctor’s office to the school system.

Share your values and what you’re passionate about with them. They will be your living legacy.

A sum of hours spent with your children does not make you a superior, more caring, more dedicated mother, and fewer hours in order to dedicate time to your professional life doesn’t make you a selfish, less caring one. Vice versa, you’re not undoing Betty Friedan and her counterparts’ life work by staying home with your kids and not “leaning in”. Whether you have every waking minute to be with your kids or a few precious hours in the evening, it’s how you spend them that counts.

The real question becomes not what category we fit into, stay at home or working mother, but what are we doing with the time we have with our children. Let’s change the conversation.

7 thoughts on “I’m on a Soapbox People, and I’m Asking for a Big Change Here

  1. Wow, the universe must be aligned. I was just reading a post similar to this one. Looking around scratching my head. People are so crazed – really. I choose to just stay away from them. Just do my own thing. I can’t do mommy groups and all that crazy mess. I choose not to. I reject it. I don’t need others’ insecurities placed on me. Life is too short.

    • It’s been on my mind pretty much since I became pregnant with my now 18 month old and found myself surrounded by women in the mommy wars. Rather than scold one another lets help and support one another, I hope that was the point I made! I too avoid mom groups. They are nut magnets!!

  2. Yes! I couldn’t agree more. I work full-time and struggle with that everyday. Recently an older woman was talking about how she stayed home when her kids were young because she “didn’t want anyone else raising her children.” She put off a career until her kids were in school because of this. While I completely respect this choice, I do not appreciate the tone – I am not choosing to have someone else raise by boy. I am choosing the village that helps me raise my boy.

    • Isn’t it amazing how quickly people judge other parents? It’s unreal! I hope we as moms and women in general can get to a point where stop shaming one another and instead learn to support each other where we’re at. I like how you put that, choosing a village to raise your child. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. You are so right about this! I live in the Netherlands and it’s pretty uncommon for a parent to stay at home. I do, and my in laws are constantly asking me about my ‘job hunt’ and when I will go back to work. A friend of mine is also a SAHM (she’s from the UK, but lives in Holland, too), and her in laws do the same thing. So do other friends. I hate it when people bring up work because I don’t see why it matters. Who cares if/where I work! It’s not like I ask people where they work and why they are working/not working/how much money they are earning/how they are managing to take care of their children.

    • That is so interesting, I wouldn’t have thought that. I’ve only been to the Netherlands briefly but it appeared very family oriented. I for one say YAY! for choosing to be a SAHM, it’s a tough job but well worth the lack of $$. I get off the hook little since my husband is in the military, so we move a lot. A career for me is a strange mix of freelance writing, blogging, and consulting with women on skincare and makeup, but a LOT of military wives are SAHMs. I taught preschool for over 5 years and have a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Ed so I have a deep respect for the first 5 years of life. Who better to teach their child than a willing parent? Clearly if you have no desire to teach your child with an enriching environment, then yes, send them to a place that does, but if you are willing to do the work, and run a house, that choice should not only be respected but revered! We need a societal overhaul of how we see early childhood and its importance for the rest of one’s life. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I couldn’t agree with you any more! You word it so beautifully, too! It’s really strange here because people are definitely family oriented and within our social circle, tend to have around three or more children or want to have that many. We live in a rural-ish region and my husband explains that that is why we tend to see larger families here (because of the region). At the same time, they do not stay home with the kids. What we do see is – one or both parents take a day off from work, and the grandparents get a day, which may lead up to four different caregivers during the week for one child! Also, what happens frequently is that the mothers will work part time. I’m originally from Russia, and there, the grandparents pretty much raise children all the time.

    I don’t know, but for me none of those options sound appealing. I wanted to have a child, and I feel unbelievably lucky to be able to teach him, to spend time with him, to feed him (it’s important to me to make sure he is getting healthy meals and I wouldn’t trust my family to follow my wishes sadly), and just to be there for him when he needs me. I know that my son loves to socialise and be around other children so we are going to be starting him in a sort of pre-school/play group for two hours a day, two days a week once he turns two, but I definitely don’t want him away from me for longer than that. That is what works for my family, and we are proud of that! I just don’t understand why people always need to share their opinions of what should work for other households.

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