My Real Job: I Am a Stay-at-Home Mom
By laurenflake on August 26, 2014
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I've been having trouble writing lately, trouble finding my voice and trouble finding time to write in this season of motherhood. I feel myself being pulled in too many directions and struggling with self-doubt as a stay-at-home mom.
I always hesitate when someone asks me what I “do.”
Well, I take care of two small children (a baby and a toddler), two large dogs, an exhausted, overworked husband, and our very lived-in, dog-hair-filled house every day. I also frequently find myself filling my mother’s role in the lives of my grandparents, after managing my mother’s care through her battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
My “real” job
Of course, people really want to know what I do outside the home, you know—my “real” job.
Going back to a “real” job has been very tempting. Growing up in the progressive and fast-paced Austin culture, where we based one's identity and worth primarily on their professional achievements, I must admit that putting my career on hold has been hard on my ego. After all, there's no Austin Business Journal award for potty training.
In my family, mothers have sort of been expected to work. Both of my grandmothers worked full-time out of necessity, and I know there was always tension between my parents regarding my mother's employment or lack thereof. Like me, my mother continued working after having her first child but stopped when she had the second (I just had mine a lot closer together). She put me in daycare to return to teaching when I was just a few months old, but decided to quit working full-time when my brother was born three years later.
Being a stay-at-home mom
Sometimes God has to speak really loudly to get my attention.
A brand-new, bright yellow preschool just opened directly behind our house.
“How convenient if I decide to go back to work!” I thought, upon discovering the new business.
When my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter was curious about their playground equipment, I explained to her that mommies and daddies will bring their kids there while they go to work. My sensitive and inquisitive little daughter looked very concerned. I asked if she wanted to go play there, while I go to work like Daddy does, or if she wanted me to stay home with her.
“Stay home with me!” she exclaimed.
In that moment, I realized how blessed we are to actually have that choice, how lucky I am to be a stay-at-home mom. Because of my husband's job, I am able to teach and care for my children instead of paying someone else to do it. I am able to watch their curiosity and amazement with my own eyes every single day.
My vivacious, almost-nine-month-old is already learning to wave, clap, walk, and imitate words. Meanwhile, my sweet, detail-oriented toddler is learning letters and numbers, saying “I love you, Mommy” spontaneously throughout the day, and soaking up information about everything from her extended family members to the days of the week.
I realize now that my mom quit working because she didn't want to miss this opportunity to watch her children grow. As a stay-at-home mom, I don't get public recognition, sick leave, or raises, but I get to care for and play with the people I love most.
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