Being a stay-at-home mom can comes with baggage, especially when you consider other people's expectations. Some people look down at those of us who have chosen "not to work." Others gaze at us with varying degrees of envy, from idealistic to jealous. As a stay-at-home mom (albeit one who works from home), I feel an internal pressure to just be cool about the whole thing. I don't want to make a big deal about my choices. Plus, I know there are things that'll never come out of a grown-ass stay-at-home mom's mouth and I am, my friends, if nothing else, grown-ass.
The things I avoid talking about fall into basic categories: talking about being a stay-at-home mom as The Right Choice™, making working moms feel like crap, and acting as though there is only one "right way" to be a stay-at-home mom. If you want to discuss any of the aforementioned, you definitely can't talk about it with me. Hard pass.
That said, it's a balancing act. I want to be cool, but I'm also not going to allow other people's judgments, pre-judgments, and expectations to alter how I live my life. That is exhausting and gets old real fast. Still, I don't think it's actually super difficult once you get down to brass tacks. I feel like it's all just about being considerate, mindful, and understanding. You know: grown-ass.
"It's Better For The Kids"
Because nope! A statement this broad can only be applied to the most obvious of situations. Like, "Feeding your child is better than not feeding your child," or, "Loving and nurturing your child is better than intentionally ignoring them and pretending they're invisible for the sole purpose of messing with them."
Grown-ass stay-at-home moms, like all grown-ass people, know that there are innumerable excellent ways to raise a child. There is no one-size-fits-all model you have to squeeze yourself into.
Moreover, we know that two working parents is often necessary in order to, you know, physically provide life necessities for your child... which brings us back to the whole "It's better to feed your child than not feed your child" thing.
"It's What Moms Are Supposed To Do"
"Supposed to?" What sort of prescriptive bullsh*t is this? There's no "supposed to." Again, short of caring for our children, physically and emotionally, there's no other "supposed to" we must adhere to. Everything else is a cosmetic detail.
Look, maybe being a stay-at-home mom is your calling. Maybe you felt deeply compelled that this is what you were "supposed" to do. That's fine. Great, even! I'm glad you're doing what you feel you were meant to do. That doesn't mean it's what everyone "should" do.
"If You Really Cared About Your Family..."
Ah yes, because there's literally no way to care about your family unless you leave your career (and paycheck) in order to stay home with your children, whether or not it makes financial sense or is a good fit for you, your kids, and your situation. And — shock me, shock me — that just happens to coincide with exactly the way you have chosen to do things. Hmmm. That sounds reasonable and not at all judgmental and narrow-minded.
"I Do Absolutely Everything Because It's My Job"
OK. Look. Will a stay-at-home mom do more of the household chores and child-rearing by virtue of her being around both more than a working partner? Almost certainly. It's more practical and is likely part of the understanding you have about one person being a stay-at-home parent. But that doesn't mean you should be the only parent to do anything having to do with kids or home.
Last I checked, one person doesn't stop being a parent when their partner stays home. When you're both in the house, you're both responsible for what's going on there. A grown-ass SAHM knows that the "M" stands for "mom" not "martyr."
"I Could Never Do [X], I Stay At Home"
"X" could be any number of things. "Go back to work." "Get a highly visible tattoo." "Go away for a weekend with your friends."
A grown-ass stay-at-home mom won't limit herself based on the image anyone else has about what it means to be a stay-at-home parent. Instead , she'll simply be herself and do what works best for herself and her family.
"My Partner Is Babysitting"
Pop that into a translation app, put it into as many different languages as you can, and spread the word far and wide because, seriously, you guys: I need this to sink in.
Just because one parent spends more time with the kids than the other doesn't mean the latter is "babysitting." They're parenting. Saying otherwise makes literally no sense whatsoever. Above and beyond being a feminist issue or a stay-at-home mom issue, this is a logic issue.
"Stay At Home Parents Should Never Complain"
"Because this is the life I chose, which means I can never show any frustration, anger, sadness, or negativity whatsoever. Especially since I know other moms would love to be in my shoes but simply can't afford to be home with their precious babies."
Guys, I've actually heard people say this. But a grown-ass person knows that everyone is entitled to their emotions, and sometimes you have a bad day. Complaining or venting or just having zero f*cks to give sometimes doesn't mean you don't appreciate being a stay-at-home mom or that you don't love your children or that you regret the choices you've made. It means you're frustrated and want to be heard. Yes, maintaining perspective is always a good thing, but so is understanding the reality that we're people, not robots programmed to love toddler tantrums and having children spill crap all over the floor you just cleaned.
"Working Moms Don't Have It Nearly As Hard"
Grown-ass women know that we're not in competition with other women. Working mom, stay-at-home mom, part-time working mom: the aspect of all of those roles that makes it most difficult? The "mom" part. Being a mom is hard you guys. Let's just leave it at that. There's no need to try to quantify.
Moreover, doing so would be damn near impossible considering everyone's concept of what's challenging is different. Personally, I found being a working parent (with a working partner) was absolutely harder than being a stay-at-home mom. I have friends who have thought just the opposite. We're all right because we know what's true for ourselves, and that's all that counts.
"They're Only Little Once"
A grown-ass stay-at-home would never, ever allow this mean-spirited, manipulative bullsh*t escape her lips. Because what an obnoxious thing to say.
"I Don't See What's So Hard About Keeping Everything Perfect At All Times"
If you hear this from anyone, take comfort in the fact that they're lying, they know they're lying, and they live in fear that you will catch them in their lie.
No one is capable of perfection and anyone who tries is in for a torturous descent into anxiety and madness. Truthfully, a part of me understands and pities these folks, because the pressure to be a "perfect" stay-at-home mom can get intense. And since we, as a society, associate financial earnings with value, there's this idea that stay-at-home moms aren't really "doing" anything, so they should have "no excuse" not to make every aspect of domestic life ideal. Certainly, there's a lot of external pressure and generations of media stereotypes out there to promote this concept (hello June Cleaver and Carol Brady). But, as any grown-ass stay-at-home mom (or, you know, person in general) can admit, no one is perfect.
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