Whether you are a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) or a working mom, it becomes part of your identity. Our society puts labels on us, no matter our role in or out of the house. I am probably seen as ‘career-driven’ due to the fact that I commute into a government job in DC each day despite having a young child. I also have an advanced degree. But I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I remember once, while I was attending school and working full-time, being approached by a coworker. He had observed that I enjoyed doing things a typical homemaker would do (such as sewing and baking) and asked why I was going to school if I was simply going to become a mom and have babies. In other words, why would I waste my time on an education if I was just going to be at home with kids someday? Mind you, I wasn’t married at the time and this coworker was older and married, with no children.
I think it was really the first time I had been put into the position of feeling like I was supposed to choose. Even at the age of 22, I knew it was wrong to put a person in a box and assume they could only do one or the other. After all, maybe I wanted to be educated so that I could pursue a career before, after, or (gasp) while having young children at home. I ended up not having my first child until 36 so it certainly seems unreasonable to me that I’d just sit around waiting for Mr. Right, hoping he was the one and also that he’d be able to support me as a stay-at-home mom. And I definitely had not decided if being a SAHM was the route I wanted to go. And wait a minute, I didn’t need to justify any of my decisions to this person anyways!
But it definitely got me thinking about how we, as women, are labeled. I also had people assume that I didn’t want children, simply because I had not had any by the age of 30. Obviously, if the goal was to have children, I’d be married with a couple little tykes roaming around by that point in my life. But, despite trying, I had not found Mr. Right. And I chose not to marry someone who was convenient, or who checked all the right boxes, so that I could start my family on a society-imposed time table. So sue me. Overall, I am happy with the choices I have made. They put me where I am now, and while there are some areas of my life I’d like to improve upon, being a wife and mom in the way that I became a wife and a mom are not circumstances I would change. And I certainly wouldn’t change my decision to get an education. No one can take that from me, and I feel I can be an even stronger role model for my son by having those degrees under my belt.
Whether I decide in the future to stay at home with my son or continue to work is up to me and my family. It is based on our needs and desires. Please don’t judge me, as any decision made in this area will have been put through enough scrutinization by myself and my husband. And don’t assume, for that matter, that the SAHMs you see out there aren’t educated or have no ambitions outside of being a mom (or that being a mom isn’t enough, for that matter). Any more than you should assume that I don’t want to be with my son every day when I leave the house to go to work. I do, but sometimes it is not that easy of a decision. And, oh yeah, it is my decision.
How do you deal with the judgment of others of your decision to stay at home or to work outside the home?
This post is linked up at Treasured Tidbits.