When did the world become so anti ‘stay-at-home’?

My mother did me an injustice. She raised me to be the best I could within any situation I choose. With family values, not to be just a housewife, but rather a housewife and mother and everything else I want, if that’s what I choose. Over the years I chose to work, to study, to climb the corporate ladder and to try better my own life. I made mistakes and took wrong turns, but never ever sat lazily by as life passed on. I am a fighter, and I choose my battles.

When I reached my thirties, I chose to become a wife, to study music, and motherhood. While for some, being stay-at-home is not even an option (and I in no way believe that if you have kids you MUST be willing to give up your career, and I also know full well that many parents out there would love to stay at home with their child but simply can’t) I had the privilege to choose to be the primary care giver of my child.

I chose not to use a night nurse and so I am woken up hourly every night since he was born. REM sleep is a thing of my past. Sleep deprivation is no joke, but something that can not be understood second-hand. So reading this, you either will or won’t get what I am going through. And that’s ok, because it is my choice. But I keep getting scorned for my choices.

I chose not to get a nanny, and so there is no ‘down’ time for me. There is no weekend. There is no holiday, except for the one where I do it all in a more exotic location. When I do use the occasional baby sitter, it’s so that I can run errands, and I rush around like a headless chicken trying to get as much done in the 2 hours I have without my son, including the errand of trying to maintain some level of sanity. I chose to co-sleep which presents its own plethora of difficulties. I chose to breastfeed exclusively till he was ready for solids even though it caused me unbearable physical pain. And then I chose to make his food at home – peel, steam, purée and freeze everything that goes into his little hungry body. I chose to use bamboo nappies as much as possible for the sake of the environment, and so I wash baby poop from the soft cloth with my own bare hands and a bar of sunlight soap every day.

I realize that I chose all this and so I am not complaining about any of the work load at all, even though it is the hardest ‘job’ I have ever had. For now, motherhood is all consuming! While I know this is a period in my life, one that will pass, for now I am in it – boots and all.

But the world rejects me for that choice. And this is where I have issue.

I am seen as the ‘stay-at-home’ mom doused in filters that range from ‘privileged bitch’ to ‘poor brainless creature who had nothing better to offer’. I see how little respect some have for me now that I no longer pull in any kind of salary at all. When I report to no one other than His Highness The Baby. When I do nothing other than entertain and change a grub of a (gorgeous) human, and make nothing other than the money my husband ‘allows’ me as ‘pocket money’ each month.

It’s dehumanizing for a woman who was once a national brand manager for an international company. It’s insulting to a woman who once went to night school while working 2 jobs to right her wrongs and better herself. It’s disdainful at best for a woman who wrote a novel and a children’s reader that is being used for an educational program (with book 2 in the pipeline). But I stand tall against this patronizing diminishing of my purpose. I rage forward in the face of being labeled a ‘kept woman’. Not even in the hopes that one day I will be recognized for the equal I am, but because I can only do what I believe is right. And for now, that is to report to my husband and child.

This is not a popular thing to say. But listen carefully. I am not promoting the patriarchy. I am not saying the 50’s housewife needs to make a comeback. I am a proud voter and don’t even wear my pearls all that often!

But I am a full time mother and house wife currently by choice. With a few side projects (teaching piano and freelance writing) that make not much more than chump change. It’s not ideal, but I rely on my husband’s salary. I don’t have my own money. It’s not perfect, but I wake up and go to sleep (if it can even be called sleep) attending to a 6month olds needs. I am at their constant beck and call, and it is my choice.

My mother did me an injustice. She taught me to live the life I choose to the fullest, but not many agree with that. They see my life choice as lazy and a waste.

However, I intend to keep doing what I choose with as much integrity as I possibly can. For me, that means raising my children myself for as long as humanly possible, running the household my way, keeping up with what I find important for myself and my family, and holding my marriage together.

A friend passed away this week, and as so often happens when we lose someone, I was shocked into stopping a moment and paying heed. As mortality once again brushed its icy winds against my eyelashes, I was reminded of the important things in life. If I were to go tonight in my sleep, I want to know that I spent every last ounce of my fiber doing and being true to myself. To my family. To my husband and my child. I would not waste an iota of time worrying that I didn’t make enough money, or couldn’t attend a birthday party, or never got that elusive 6pack I was working so hard on pre-baby.

For me, in my unique situation (I realize that so many are not fortunate enough to be in this situation) I know that I have so much more to give than a salary or a career away from home. I have my motherhood to give. My love. My care. My careful consideration of our household. My attention to detail. My creativity in spreading a loving net across our lives. My tenacity for making a comfortable environment for others to retreat to. My ability to uplift. My resolve to do and say what is best for each and every person I love in my life. My dedication to raising my little boy to become a solid, gentle, respectful, delightful man.

I give my time. My life time. It is the ultimate thing to give.

For now, for a period, I am reserved 100% for my son and husband. They get the best of my time, my sleep, my nutrition, my body. My everything is for them, to keep them safe and grow them well. To listen and to nurture.

My mother did me an injustice because she raised me to believe I could do what ever I wanted. Yet I am belittled for wanting this.

…Or maybe the injustice is the anti-stay-at-home-mom society that wasn’t raised right.








IMAGE: 1. Via Artazine.org