Well, here I am again. It’s another day in the life of a mom who doesn’t work outside the home.
Can I tell you how much I hate most of the terms that have evolved for the stay-at-home-mom?
Stay-at-home mom. Right there, doesn’t that seem to imply that that’s all we do--stay home with our little darlings? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m out and about all over the damn place. All the time. Even on a dull day, I find some reason to leave the apartment. We go to music class, to story time at the library, to the science museum, to the park. We meet friends to play together. (Don’t get me started on “playdate…” that’s for another day.)
Then there’s notion of the full-time mom. That’s even worse! Does that mean that the mothers who go back to work aren’t mothering full-time? That the mothering part of their brain goes dormant when they aren’t around their kids?
There has got to be some sort of middle ground – something that defines us as what we are – women who opted out of working at salaried traditional jobs to take care of our kids.
I had every intention of going back to work after a year of leave. It was what the husband and I planned on. However, when I discussed my maternity and family leave with my bosses, I discovered that the failing economy had stripped the place I worked of the necessary funding to continue the position I’d held. Before you get all uppity about the law – I knew it was more than likely when I was interviewed. It had nothing to do with pregnancy. My job would have been eliminated if I’d still been sitting in the office. It’s one of the perils of working in grant-funded academia. You’ve only got a job as long as you’ve got a grant paying for it. I started the job at the beginning of the fourth year of a 5-year study. Simple economics.
My friend A works Saturdays to afford staying home with her daughter. She’s a teacher, and got burned out, more or less; around the same time she found out she was pregnant. She and her husband realized that staying home was a better financial move, in the long run. They are making it work on a publishing salary.
J worked so many different jobs in her life – as a reporter, and as an EMT among others. When she had her son, she made staying home with her two kids a priority, but dreams of being a published author.
R made a different choice, when her son was born, she knew she wanted to be his primary caregiver, but her family couldn’t afford to live on one salary. She works nights in a medical research lab to make it work.
Every family has a story of some sacrifice that was made to make the family dynamic work. We’re all working mothers.