Wednesday, December 1, 2010

in which i justify that which needs NO justification.

Sometimes I wish we lived back in a time where staying home with your children was considered a "job" and valuable.

Recently I was a part of a conversation in which other women and mothers were sharing about their jobs (incredible ones I might add) & one of these women looked at me and asked if I was staying home with Lucy.

my reply: "yes, and I'm also working 20 hours a week from home to help make ends meet."

Her reply: "oh, but you're not really using your degree?"

me: (gains composure) "well, I majored in Family Studies & Human Services...and did several semesters of coursework in child development and elementary, I'd say I'm using my degree."

another woman: "don't you get bored at home?"

me: (laughs...) "um, no...not really. Again, I'm working from home part-time AND taking care of a toddler all day who naps less than 2 hours of that time...and that's if I'm lucky. So no, I'd never say I'm bored."

What's my point? I'm tired. Tired of justifying that staying at home is valuable AND really is a full-time job in itself. Tired of justifying the fact that I don't need a career on my plate to feel successful as a woman. Tired of feeling as though mothers who work full-time outside the home are the "best kind", because they can "do it all." Tired of people thinking my days are filled with soap operas, ice cream, and luxurious naps. Tired of feeling like I have to provide an explanation why my husband and I chose this route...which, even if we had felt like I should continue working, almost 75% of my take home pay would have been put towards childcare during Lucy's first year of life. so NOT worth it to us.

Now, I know several moms who work outside the home and this is is NO way an attack on them. My point here is not to say there is a right or wrong, a better or a worse. Everyone has to make decisions that make sense in their situation.

I personally know several moms who desire to be home with their babies, but it is simply not an option. I know moms who work outside the home (part and full-time) to help make ends meet or simply for the sake of insurance benefits (another soap box topic for another day, health insurance that is) I know moms (like myself) who are generating income from home part-time...which presents it's own set of challenges and I know several moms who have some of the neatest jobs that they feel called to do & I'm so thankful for their talent to continue what they're doing.

But, using one's degree in a full-time career outside the home does not make them a better mom than me...anymore than me staying at home full-time does NOT make me a better mom than them.

And I'm sure moms who work outside the home feel judgement just the same. And I hate that...we're all moms. We're all doing the best we can in our given situations (stay at home, work from home, work outside the home, etc...) And honestly, every situation looks incredibly different---even when comparing two stay at home moms.

I just wish I didn't feel the need to justify my husband and I's decision...or explain to others what our days really look like.

(and, I'll admit those newborn days, there were a few luxurious naps and soap operas....and maybe some ice cream :)


  1. heh...well...let me tell you...moms that work out side the home can't do it all. :) Not that I EVER claimed to...but you should see the size of the dust bunnies I have on my kitchen floor right now. :) I agree with this whole post and would like to climb on your soap box about insurance's just hard either way. Let's move back to 'the olden days' together. :)

  2. I'll gladly move back with you--ever since seeing the cute outfits in the church fashion show this fall, it's hard to resist! :)

    For the record, stay at home moms can't do it all either---none of us can, that's the funny part. We somehow make one another feel guilty (often without trying) about not "doing it all" no matter what our "status" is, yet none of us our capable of "doing it all."

    Oh, and you should come see my kitchen floor. dried spaghetti from a few nights ago...yup, true story! Discovered that when Lucy came into the living room eating a piece :)

  3. I'm also sorry that moms feel this strong competition and the constant need to feel like they are 'doing it all'. As moms we are all doing the very best we can for our families. I think the key words to your post above are "my husband and I's decision" because ultimately what is right for both of you is the right decision. Degree, no degree, working full, part or "just" at home. . .no two situations are the same and no two answers or decisions as to what is 'best' will be the same either. I know you know you are a great mommy- because you are doing what is BEST for YOUR family.

  4. I get tired of jusifying too! You should see James wiggle his way around it - daycare costs, lack of job options, "Full time ministry" are all things we throw around when explaining why Daddy is at home with the kids.
    I don't think degrees have anything to do with it. I'm definitely not using mine! I think you have to do what is right for you at the moment.
    It's right for you to be home now and working part time.
    It's right for me to be working full time - though every day I feel closer to that time ending (and James agrees!).
    Houses don't have to be spotless, kids don't have to be in clean clothes with combed hair all the time, meals don't have to be gourmet - these are all things we need to remember - making pay or not!