By the way, that’s my mom, dad and oldest brother in the photo. Don’t they make a cute little family?
Stay-at-home moms verses working moms; the mommy wars are alive and well still. You can read about it online until your eyeballs burst into flames. You can read about it in magazines and overhear the debate in local mommy groups. Me? I don’t really care about public opinion or research papers. I am just happy that I live in a time and place where we each get to make our own choices.
Here are five things I learned by having a stay-at-home-mom.
1. Caring for a home is important work
Keeping it clean, having homemade meals and laundry done. My mom was an expert in these areas. Like a well-tailored wife out of a 50’s sitcom, my mom loved being in charge of her home and children. When people asked what she did for work, she always proudly answered that she was a housewife.
She, herself, was raised by a single mom in the 50’s…back when that was something to be ashamed of. Being the oldest, she was often in charge of her younger siblings, cleaning house and cooking dinner. Her biggest ambition was to marry and have a family of her own.
And when she did, she did an excellent job.
2. Caring for children is important work
My mom always said she never wanted to have kids only to have them raised by someone else. She wanted to enjoy those babies herself. Remember, she was raised by a mom who worked hard day and night and never had the opportunity to just sit back and enjoy her own children. My mom determined when she had her own babies, she would be the one to care for them full-time.
3. Having friends is important
When I was five or six we lived in a duplex. Directly across the street from us was my mom’s friend Yvonne. I still remember her after all these years; mainly because I was fascinated by her 80’s style cigarette holder. I can still remember how much I loved that case and how much I wanted one of my own. Never mind that smoking was a SIN (hey, in my 80’s pentecostal home, it was considered a sin).
Anyway, I can remember my mom and Yvonne sitting around the table chatting while we kids played outside, unsupervised. When we were too pesky they would send us outside and tell us to stay there. I know, I know that is child neglect now…in the 80’s it was called having an adult conversation.
4. Self-care is important
Once we children got a bit older my mom found more things to occupy her outside the home. She was an Avon lady for a while, sold Watkins, worked for Hallmark and at the voting polls. Working these jobs gave her a bit of spending money, got her out of the house and gave her a chance to talk to adults.
Even when all of us kids were in school, my mom didn’t work full-time. She cooked and cleaned…. and then still made us clean house on Saturday mornings. Why? Because were kids and we needed to learn how to work and keep a house too.
5. I get to choose my own path
I used to dream of the day I would greet my children after school with still-warm cookies and tall glasses of cold milk after school. When I played with my dolls, I gathered as many as I could to be my family. I dreamed of a career. I dreamed of getting married and having children. I knew the choice was up to me. I didn’t feel pressure to be a stay-at-home mom…nor did I feel the pressure to find a career. I knew the choice was up to me.
Recent studies show that the kids of working moms are better off. They have better and higher paying jobs. The New York Times says:
In a new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes.
I’m not really worried what the statistics or studies say. My mom was the daughter of a working mom, and both she and her sister ended up stay-at-home moms.
I always dreamed of having a houseful of babies….I had other dreams, which included: being an author (hey, look! I have a blog and am writing a book), a teacher (homeschool mom) and linguist…well, I didn’t quite make that one.
One of my brothers (who always loved planes) is an air traffic controller and my other brother (the one who was always hyperactive and taking things apart) is the multimedia director at a large church (married to a working mom).
Working mom. Stay at home mom. I don’t really care which one you are.
For me, I’m happy to spend my days with my kids, even if it involves cooking for them.
Now please excuse me, I’m off to fold another load of laundry.