I hear/see this phrase a lot: “I’m/You’re so blessed to be able to stay home with my/your kids!” You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would honestly say that being a stay-at-home parent is ridiculous, stupid, or pointless. But many are eager to pity those who work outside the home when they have children. Allowing someone else to take care of your children all day long is a travesty, a great disservice, just plain awful. It’s so sad that you can’t afford to stay home with the children you chose to have. Why have kids if you spend your entire week somewhere they aren’t, letting someone else raise them?
I’m going to put something on the table that virtually no one wants to hear and no one is ever brave enough to say: I’m so blessed to be able to have a career outside the home.
Before you scroll to the bottom to leave an angry comment, hear me out.
No, my situation is not perfect. Yes, there are times I should be spending more positive energy on my children. And yes, my house suffers because most nights I just don’t freaking feel like doing the dishes, starting the laundry, or sweeping the floors after spending an entire day responding to and sending emails, answering calls, writing articles and press releases, and attending meetings. Allow me to point out, though, that many stay-at-home moms I know admit publicly that they, too, struggle to keep their house clean and find the energy to fold the laundry, and don’t always utilize the hours they are at home with their kids in a positive way. But they’re physically home with their kids and that’s just…right. What a blessing! (And it truly is.)
The truth is–and this is important–I LOVE WHAT I DO. I love having a career. I love working in an office. I love my coworkers, my field of work, and my life. Some Mondays I am actually excited to get out of bed because I get to go spend an entire day in an environment where my professional skills are valued and my opinion matters; where for eight hours I get to ask all the questions I want, listen to fascinating stories, and then retell those stories so others can enjoy them, too. I feel blessed to do what I love and love what I do, and ON TOP OF THAT have two well-behaved (most of the time) children and a happy, monogamous marriage.
The other side to that truth is–and this is also very important–I LOVE MY CHILDREN. I love having a family. I love coming home to two beautiful little girls as excited to see me as if I’d been abroad for a month and had just come home. I love their creativity, their intelligence, their senses of humour, and watching their amazing minds develop. I live for weekends. In addition to finally having time to run errands, work in my garden, and clean my bathroom, it’s also time for me to spend extra quality time with my family. More talking, more crafts, more going to fun places like the children’s museum, the zoo, the playground, and the beach. I have the opportunity every evening and weekend to really focus on my kids because during the weekdays it’s my time to enjoy the other part of my life. The other part I love just as much as being home with my children.
The old adage claims ‘different strokes for different folks’ and although sometimes I struggle to live my life as though that’s true, it really does explain why people make different choices from each other. Why some moms do everything in their power to stay home with their kids and others revel in the opportunity to work somewhere outside of that environment.
So yes, some moms are blessed to stay home with their children. But that does not preclude me from also being blessed, though my lifestyle is pretty close to opposite of theirs.
I, too, am blessed to have the life I have.