This is a very sensitive issue for me. I literally dread meeting new people that eventually ask me, “So, what do you do?” My stomach squeezes, my heart starts pounding, and my pride cramps and twitches with convulsions. I really just want to say, “Nothing. I do nothing. I sit around, waking up late, drink my organic coffee on my back patio, watch Fixer Upper reruns, take a nap, sort of clean my house, go shopping, make dinner, watch more TV, and then go to bed.”
I feel like this answer would be the only one that would perhaps spare me of any judgment when I utter the words, “You know, I’m a stay-at-home mom.” And most often, people respond with “Oh, okay. That’s neat”—which to me translates into “Wow, she only has two kids, and she stays home?” Or some people respond with “I hear staying at home with the kids is the toughest job”—which, again, to me translates into “Oh, I wouldn’t know. I work full-time and take care of the kids. I’m obviously a tougher cookie than this gal!”
Call me unreasonable, paranoid, whatever, but that’s how I feel—especially when one of my kids says to me, “We have career day at school, but you wouldn’t be able to come because you don’t have a job.” Or, my other sensitive kid says, “You don’t really work, Mom. You just stay home.”
So, yes. Here are the facts. I stay at home, not because I feel like it, but because I don’t have a career of my own. I went to university, but dropped out, due to circumstances I couldn’t do anything about, followed different paths that didn’t turn fruitful, met this really great guy who married me, had two awesome kids, and I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my life.
Many of you are stay-at-home moms; so then why do I feel so guilty to admit that to others? Why do I feel lesser than moms who work? Why do I feel beneath them? Of course it’s not true that I do nothing. Staying at home with the kids when they were little was very hard because I never got a break, and I never knew if I deserved one either. The expectations were higher, of course, to have everything perfect in every aspect of my life. I felt like I had to feed my kids organic homemade food, teach them how to read and write before they turned three, work out at the gym (since I have all this time on my hands), clean my house when kids napped, do laundry, dust, vacuum, make beds, do dishes, and I never allowed myself to not work at doing something out of guilt.
I found it hard to be just a stay-at-home mom. I told my kids after they expressed their feelings so openly about me not doing much, that staying home is sometimes a choice, sometimes a necessity, but it is never “just” or “less than” or “do nothing” or “don’t really work.” I worked my booty off every day; I rescued you from preschool whenever you were sick and immediately had the time to take care of you. Being home ensured spontaneous hugs and kisses, and twirls about the living room. It allowed you to nap comfortably in the crook of my arm while thunder scared you.
Yes, I fantasize about going to work, wearing gray pencil skirts and white silk blouses, making a professional difference in the business world, but dear children don’t EVER say to me that I do nothing, or that I don’t really work. And really, for career day, I should be able to walk in in my yoga pants and say, “Let me just tell you about the frustrating, but wonderful world of being a stay-at-home mom.”
In the end, regardless of staying at home or not, the most important worth is first that of a Christian woman, then mother and wife. 1Timothy 5:10 says about a woman: “She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers? Has she served other Christians humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?”
Does anyone identify?!
By Roxana Phillip-Hackett
Roxana is a wife of one, mother of two, who loves to share her faith with sincerity and honesty from her home in Hendersonville Tennessee.