Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All Women are Working Women

We all have days where we take a self analysis. I guess mine began about a year ago when I see my children off to school at 6:40 AM in my sweatpants, complete with no makeup. In the mornings my main goal is to see that my children are up and ready and have all they need after that comes me. Thus every day at 6:45 the sweatpants are my uniform. And so it was one morning when a group of adults were standing around and I walked up. It was then that one of the other adults made a remark to the another {in my presence}, "It must be nice to be a stay at home parent and lounge around in sweats all day, sleep and do nothing." They all just laughed and agreed. I was shocked and perhaps I was wrong in assuming ("makes an ass of u and me") but I completely felt the remark was for me-as I was the only parent that stayed home. Sure, I have gotten the run of the mill jokes from others but it was something about the delivery of that line that didn't sound like a joke. It was said like I wasn't even standing there.
I didn't shoot back. I didn't even think it deserved a reply. That was an opinion, though ridiculously incorrect, it was an opinion that they owned and were entitled to. I personally spend all of my day doing the chores, errands for our household as well as my husband's business and tend to other family members that need assistance. There is no "down time" to lie and lounge. That being said, they had no idea what my family plans are and where my husband and I put importance on things, one of them being our children. That is not to say that they or any working parents do not value their children. I know for a fact that they do. They are both good hard working parents with lovely families, whom I like very much. Put simply, Big Daddy and I always had that want...for our children to have a parent in the home, especially in their prime youth. In my opinion people work outside the home because they #1 either love it and love the contact with other adults or #2 they have to perhaps it is a mixture of both. I have nothing against a paying taxable job, but again, it isn't what my family chose to do. For whatever reason that remark has sat idling in the back of my mind all this time. Words cut deep and while it shouldn't matter to me what other people think of me, I felt belittled. I felt inadequate. I questioned my own worth to my family and our finances. I felt terrible in thinking that is what the world views a stay at home mother as. Long ago, it was the norm to sacrifice our own careers for the family but today there is a different light shed on stay at home moms as being lazy. I suddenly began to think that this was the worlds view on me. It felt personal and it was hurtful.
Fast forward to a week ago. I found out about a position at a local hospital as a surgery scheduler. It paid well and it was a part time position, perfect I thought! I filled out an application online and received a phone call from a gentleman that was eager to talk to me. We made an appointment to meet following the weekend. I hung up and immediately called my husband with the news, who had no idea that I had even applied for a job-or much less was looking. There was silence on the other end of the phone, followed by a hesitant, "Great!, If that is what you want. Is this what you want?". I hadn't even asked myself. I didn't know. I knew it would be nice financially but was it what I wanted?
Honestly, no. I always wanted to be a stay at home, just as my mother had been to me and my brother until we were in high school. I wanted that life for my children. My husband was just the opposite, his parents were working parents. They worked hard, but in doing so it left him and his twin brother at home and in doing so alot of times in trouble. While the idea of someone being interested in me for a job position after 9 years was exciting.....No, it was not what I had always wanted.
"Then why are you doing his", asked Big Daddy. "For the family", I answered back, " to financially take some of the burden off of you". "Financially we are fine. This was our plan. The finances are my only burden. You have the majority of burden of running the house and caring for the children and the day to day of that. I have no real burden. If you wanted a job because you wanted it for you, or if you wanted your own pocket money (because what you earned would be yours not go into the home) that would be one thing, but do not do it because you feel it necessary. You are far more valuable to me and our family at home than being somewhere else."
It was that last line that got me. It was then that I realized once again (it happens daily) how truly wonderful a man I married. He values me not for my financial attributes (which is next to nothing on the big scale of it all but what I get from my freelance work, which I have always highly regarded, because it does give me some freedom and most importantly the ability to do what I am passionate about-photography and writing) but my husband values me for my ability to be home and raise our children as we see fit and to see that they are reared in the values we see important to us. I tear up just posting about it.
This weekend I got opinions from some peers-every one of them working moms (three of them being counselors). Each of them said the same thing, "Don't do it. If you have the choice stay home with your family." And so, I follow my heart and do what I feel is right for my family. I called the gentleman I had an interview with and explained my situation and told him that I did not want to waste his valuable time and thanks for the consideration and time he put into even talking with me. He was so very kind and told me that if I changed my mind to give him a call.
I do not want to belittle anyone else for the decisions made for your family. I do not want to make it out to seem that working moms do not have the same skills or agenda as I. We all want the same thing-what is best for our family. I applaud working moms for being able to get it all done. I couldn't and I know at best things would be lacking because I couldn't juggle. But that is my own inabilities. I do not want to open a can of worms on the debate of working moms vs stay at home moms. Just to be a mom is enough no matter how you do it. Everyone must do what they have to do for their own family. Everyone is different and the choices made are the right ones for your family.
I just fell in love with Big Daddy all over again for his sentimental qualities, for the values that we share as a couple and for never making me feel second rate by not bringing home a big paycheck or that I do not put as much into the family as he does. We share that responsibility as a couple. We both work and each job is as important in the vitality and goals we put on our family. I am so blessed and moved by the loving words of him. We are ALL working moms, no matter the size of our paycheck.


AlabamaGal said...

Lovely post and so refreshing to see a Stay at home Mom who works freelance and is there for her children and family.
Your family is blessed to have you.

(Perhaps the people who made the comments were jealous of your ability to be home and they are not as fortunate in having that choice.)

Leigh said...

Thanks Alabama Gal. I appreciate that. Perhaps you are correct.