Tara Gray is a stay at home mom in Hanover county. She says she was a mom in her heart before she became one. Tara enjoys any opportunity to get outside as a family. Carytown, Colonial beach, Belle Isle or a picnic in Maymont.
The question, is there a stigma around the title/role as stay at home mom, and or housewife? We do not get a cute, or cheesy catchphrase upon entering a room like the housewives on tv. It seems to me that a lot of stay at home moms feel the need to offer up a reason, almost as a child afraid of being in trouble or looked down on by pouring on the excuses. When you are a stay at home mom at some point and time we all get asked the generic question. Innocently when you have nothing else to talk about, here it comes…so “what do you do” or my favorite “where do you work”? Years ago, the decision was made for us as a family when the cost of childcare would outweigh the benefit of me working outside of the home full time. It was a very basic math problem. I would benefit us by staying home. For us parents that do not have free childcare, AKA a family member at your beckon call then the decision is much easier to make. I have been asked many times at a social setting or school function what did I do? Feeling in a playful mood one time when I was asked what I did, I answered “oh a little of this and a little of that”. We moved on to an easier topic, the weather.
Recently my daughter started high school and shared with me the class was going around the room telling what their parents did for a living. She said she did not want to contribute to the conversation. Her answer was like a punch in my stomach. I could read between the lines, she was embarrassed and not wanting to share I was a stay at home mom. I do not live my life or parent based around others. However, the issue, there is judgement. Without knowing the family situation there is a size up of sorts as if what is wrong with her? There is also a catch twenty- two. When you’re a stay at home mom, depending for how long there is a huge employment gap. Then it just becomes what you are, also who you are. The stay at home mom. Any mom worth her soul makes sacrifices for the good of the family. I am comfortable in my role. As a little girl, I dreamt of being a mom. Some aspire of being a nurse or a teacher. I know all moms struggle with “if the grass is greener on the other side” mentality. There is mom guilt no matter your situation. That all stems from love, wanting to matter, make a difference in your child’s lives, know you are doing the best possible for your family and contribute. As a family, you know what works best for your situation. I wish to just convey the message to all the stay at home moms, do not feel guilty or less than for doing what you deem necessary for your children. Please don’t feel as if you need to offer up apologies or reasons why you don’t work, obviously I use that phrase loosely. You are a vital member of the family without a W-2. We are not lazy or taking the easy way out or letting anyone down. Unless you have a chef, butler, chauffer, nanny or very involved hands on family members you are not just a stay at home mom. Yes, millions of moms do both. Work outside of the home and in the home. The point is no matter your role we are all moms wanting only the best for our children. We tuck them in at night and regardless of “what we do” we always wonder if what we are doing is enough. Whether you are the breadwinner or the bath giver. We are moms, never apologize for what is best for your family. If I were being honest, if I did have a lot of help I probably wouldn’t accept it. I know one day my children will understand my worth without the paycheck. After all, your children grow up then you will be onto the next phase of life and there will be new judgements.