When people talk about stay-at-home moms, there's a whole lot of insinuation happening. For example, that they just sit around all day and eat Bon Bons a 'la Married With Children. Honestly, before I became a mom who chose to stay home with two little ones, I was part of that crowd. It's easy to assume when you've never been in the situation. However, there are some stay-at-home mom stereotypes everyone should ignore because, now that I've lived the stay-at-home mom life and can testify to its reality, most of those stereotypes are completely false (but, really, who doesn't love bon bons?!).
My decision to stay home with my firstborn was a result of my own childhood. My divorced mother of two worked hard to pay the bills and put herself through college. This meant my younger brother and I were often left in the care of whomever was affordable and/or convenient, and sometimes those people didn't live in places that were always conducive to our safety or wellbeing. Truthfully, I was scarred by those experiences, and knew that whenever I had children, I'd have to be the one home with them.
At the same time, I also knew I wanted to maintain my career, so mentally, I concocted a plan to do whatever I could to work from home. It took awhile to find my financial footing but I wouldn't' trade a single experience. For over a decade, I've been the primary person my kids rely on every single day, and that makes every sacrifice worth it. Still, there are some people who still believe those of us who stay home with our kids "have it easy." I'm here to set the record straight.
This assumption bugs me the most because, if anything, those of us who are home with children are the exact opposite of "lazy." My daily list consists of every chore, every school scenario, every meal, every everything. I don't get breaks in the schedule and when someone needs anything, it's me they come to. It's a lot of work, actually, so give us a stay-at-home moms a break already.
They Don't Have The Pressures Of A "Real Job"
Being a mom is a "real job," except you don't get paid or monthly accolades or time off or sick days. While I know some parents don't like to refer to caring for their own children as a "job," the way my days go I can tell you — it totally is. It's an amazing job, to be sure, and rewards me in ways money can't buy. However, the pressures of raising two decent human beings is sometimes more than I can bear.
I've stayed at home with my children and left them to work outside the home and I can tell you that, honestly, they're both challenging in different ways. So can we please stop telling stay-at-home moms they're not really "working," just because they don't physically leave the house? Thanks.
They Have Time To Stay "In Shape"
During the early years, when my oldest was a toddler, I didn't have time (or energy) to exercise as much as I wanted. My partner worked long hours and we didn't have any family nearby, so carving out any "me" time was next to impossible. Stay-at-home moms aren't (usually) using all their "free" time for anything other than what needs to be accomplished so their family can thrive.
Awhile after I had my son, my time management improved, we moved closer to family, and my partner's hours changed. This meant I could focus more on staying healthy so I felt better about me. However, the stereotype that I had all the time in the world to go to the gym and there should be no reason I still carried baby weight? Nope.
They Only Dress In Sweatsuits & Yoga Wear
I don't only dress in things made of stretchy material, but comfort is key when you're chasing a toddler all day. Jeans aren't going to do it.
They Don't Prioritize Self-Care
Believe me when I say that my self-care isn't always the first thing I focus on. However, taking care of myself teaches my kids patience as well as the importance of self-care. I love them, but I also love running, hot baths, and writing. Those things make me a better mother because they feed my soul.
They Resent Being Home
I have my days where things feel too hard, and at the end of those days I still want to be home. No one is forcing me to be a stay-at-home mom. It has always, and will always, be my choice. Mine. I don't resent a single second (except for when my kids are arguing nonstop) and I'm not miserable in the ways stay-at-home moms are portrayed in movies. There are hard days, but we get through it.
They Have All The Free Time In The World
I've had those friends who used to expect me to drop everything to go out on a random weeknight and, I'm sorry, I can't make that happen. My days are filled with kid-related things and as much as I'd like a break, my idea of "free" time as a mother has shifted from going out to staying in (preferably kid-free for a night). Scheduling is important because, honestly, without it I'll never find the time to do anything outside of being home with the kids. I'm not the woman I was before my children, and I'm OK with that.
They're Obsessed With Their Kids
When my oldest was a baby, and I had difficulty learning how to find balance, yes, I was probably "obsessed." As a new mom trying to figure parenthood out, I hope everyone understood.
Now that I'm well into my journey as a parent, I'd like to think I've chilled out a little bit and found a balance between work, kids, self-care, and life. Just don't expect me to stop posting things about my kids, because I can't agree to that.
They're "Wasting" Their Potential
The one stay-at-home mom stereotype I would absolutely love to never hear again, is the idea that, in choosing to be at home with our kids, we're giving up on everything else. Why can't my potential lie in motherhood? Or, better yet, why can't I do both (because I do)? Basically, my potential, whatever you think of it, is no one's business.
I love my kids, I love being home with them, and regardless of how difficult finding balance can be at times, I stand by my initial decision to be the one they come home to. It doesn't mean I'm lazy, wasting my future, miserable, or even a bad feminist. It just means I'm lucky enough to have a choice at all, and the choice to stay home with my children is one I am absolutely happy I've made.