Before I write even one sentence I want to make sure that anyone reading this knows that this is a judgment free post. As I write about why I choose to stay home that does not mean I am judging women who do not choose to stay at home. I also acknowledge the fact of how blessed I am to even have the choice of whether I want to work or stay home. I am writing this blog post because it’s been on my mind a lot lately. Actually constantly. As I see society embracing working moms and encouraging women to get outside the home and chase their dreams I wanted to point out that for some moms like myself staying home is the dream.
Confession, as I see women find success outside the home and receive praise the pride in me desires it. You see I didn’t think I was good at a lot of things when I was a teenager. However, there was one thing I knew I was good at and that was getting straight A’s. When I was in college I received a full ride scholarship based on my grades that was contingent on me keeping my grades up. I did the entire four years. Once I graduated, got married and started having kids I noticed I didn’t have that extrinsic recognition I had always based a lot of my self worth on. I craved it and when I didn’t have a report card coming or a promotion to apply for I felt empty and depressed. Being a mom is not a job that is praised enough. Kids have no idea how much it takes to keep them alive and happy and they certainly don’t thank you for everything. It really is a thankless job at times. Fortunately, I noticed this and was able to work on my self worth internally. I learned that I have value regardless of outside reports or praise. However, even with knowing my value it doesn’t mean that I don’t need some reassurances that I am not a total failure at motherhood.
With all of these thoughts roaming around my head I have found myself wondering if working outside the home is something that I want and if I even have what it takes to have a successful career? I’ve decided that I do have what it takes. I don’t stay home with kids because I’m not capable or qualified to do anything else. On the contrary I actually think I could go far. I like control, I know how to work hard and get things done and I’m great at bossing people around. Haha However, my dream job is at home, being a mother. Which I must say capitalizes on those strengths I just listed. Even on hard days when I’m pulling out my hair and need to get out of the house for a bit because my kids are driving me nuts I still don’t want to go back to work. It’s on those days in particular, after I get my break, that I come home and know in my heart that this is where I am supposed to be and there is nowhere else I’d rather be. I truly love being at home. Life is not a fairy tale at the Crane house. We struggle but still I choose it. It is still my dream.
My career goal has always been to be a mother and more particularly to be a stay at home mom. I’ve been blessed with a husband who supports that goal and even when we were struggling financially we cut our spending way back and went without a lot of things so I could continue to stay home. Right after we graduated college we moved to Washington D.C. Ben got a job working for the Census Bureau and I was 8 months pregnant. Because we were fresh out of college and his position was entry level we were broke. We ended up living in a tiny one bedroom government subsidized apartment right on the line of where hood met freeway. We had one car, which when someone hit us we decided to get a junk yard door replacement (that wasn’t even the same color) and use the insurance money to buy a computer that we needed. Talk about ghetto. Ben’s commute started with a bike ride followed by something people in D.C termed “slugging” (think organized hitchhiking). It finished with a train ride and a walk and it was over an hour each way. We lived further away because that is where housing was cheaper. I bought minimal groceries from a grocery store known to be as cheap as possible and I stopped dying my hair. Crazy I know! haha We cut corners every where we could.
All this is to paint a picture of how cheap we were living. This continued for years. I remember several of his co-workers commenting on how lucky we were that I could stay home. His boss in particular. She was a high level government employee who her income was her family’s second. She lived in a large house and had a very comfortable lifestyle. She commented on several occasions on how LUCKY I was to stay home with my kids. We had two by this point. While I didn’t take offense to that (because I truly feel blessed to stay home) I also wanted to explain that it was a choice. My husband and I chose to have me stay home with the kids and live on one paycheck. We went without a lot of things during that time because we were living so lean. I don’t regret it for one second.
Like I mentioned earlier I’ve been noticing a trend lately. A good trend. Working women who create names for themselves are being praised in society. I applaud that. I also want to applaud women who choose to stay home. It’s not an easy choice and many of them do it despite the encouragement from the world to build a career and despite the praise they are missing out on. I see now how it goes both ways. Working moms sometimes feel guilty for having a career away from home and stay at home moms often feel like they are missing out on a career. We need to cut ourselves some slack, acknowledge that we all have different circumstances, and support one another whatever we choose.
I feel like my post would be incomplete without also mentioning the women who had the dream of staying home but due to circumstances have to work. You are brave and strong and selfless. Once again you put your family’s needs above your own. I hope you are still chasing your dreams even if your dreams had to shift.
Whether you choose a career, staying at home, or are forced to work, I hope you follow your dreams. The world needs more women who follow their dreams. I love, support, and salute you. I am so grateful to be in this world together.
So which is your dream: Career or staying at home? Tell me in the comments.