“Stay-At-Home” Mom Needs to Go!

stayathomemomMy days look much different than that of five years ago.

I get to be available for my kids and spouse anytime they need me. I have more time to cook healthy meals and have a clean home (more time doesn’t always equate reality). I’m no stranger to the gym. If a kid is sick, I am the primary caregiver. My life is no longer privy to much of the narcissism, deadlines and undue stress of the corporate working world.

I am a stay-at-home mom. At least, that’s what society tells me anyway.

After resigning from a medical sales career, there is one silly thing that still bothers me: listing my occupation on forms!

I despise the phrase. Why? “Stay-at-home” is not what I do all day! It’s about as inaccurate as what our government tells us about its actions on a daily basis. It indirectly implies that a mother is “at home” and carefree during daylight hours. Rarely am I in one location for hours on end. When stay-at-home moms are at home, the majority are insanely busy, rushing to get things completed before the kids gets home.  This mother is on the go, working 24/7.

Interestingly enough, when I was caring for two young children working a full-time career, I still never felt the title of “Sales and Marketing Professional” to be precise. I may have been employed with a paycheck, but I was STILL a full-time mom.

If you really think about it, how we label mothers in our society can be offensive to all and is a great source of the whole “mommy wars” dilemma.

When faced with an instance where an occupation listing is required, I cringe inside. Of course, a title should never determine one’s worth. I just prefer that the terminology provided be ACCURATE.

Let’s get some things straight about motherhood and labels:

“FULL-TIME”

Every mama that lovingly invests and wholeheartedly involves herself in the life of her offspring is a “Full-time” mother.

Women that work a paying job outside of the home don’t stop being full-time mothers just because they draw a paycheck. An assumption that their paid employment title is more defining for them than being with their children all day isn’t fair. I’ve been there. The paying jobs they serve in may be something they love with their whole heart or endure for necessity but their children are always on their minds and actions. Many feel guilty for not being able to be with them more.

Furthermore, just because a mother is in a constant position of service to her family without pay CERTAINLY doesn’t suggest that her role is any less time-consuming or important. There is often guilt for not providing more to the family finances or concern that they are losing professional skills as a trade-off.

Regardless of the set up, all mothers are full-time. Period.

 “STAY-AT-HOME” versus “WORKING”

My pet peeve! This is just the worst.

To someone who has never been one, the phrase “stay-at-home” mom flashes up visions of a mother in her PJs, eating gobs of chocolate and watching Grade C reality TV all day. Wrong! It’s insulting. Ever had to explain a gap in employment with that title on your resume? Generally speaking, employers don’t get it.

Many are envied, yet are the recipients of mean-spirited remarks.

Mothers working in corporate careers get the shaft also. Why? Just because a woman works 40+ hours a week outside of the home should NEVER imply that she is not working in her home. When she is on the job she is thinking of her children incessantly and when home, she rarely sits.

Many a mother spending every waking moment with her kid envies the career mom because she gets financial validation, adult socialization and tangible successes.

Never bad mouth a mom for her occupational season in life. They are all busy, stressed and have their own set of guilt issues.

Every kind of mother is a working mama. Period.

NOW WHAT?

The next time I have to submit an occupation title on any form, in my current role, I plan on listing “Full-time, working mother.”

When I reenter the corporate world at some point, I also plan on indicating “Full-time, working mother.”

Why? Regardless of work circumstances, all dedicated mamas fit this description. It’s a title that unites us and doesn’t divide.

Sure, I’ll have to provide some answers. However, it gives me an opportunity to validate that mom working AWAY from her kids, struggling to give 100% of herself to family and employer. To build up the confidence of the mother that has little adult interaction and is desperate for confirmation of a job well done. To find commonality. A chance to help lift any guilt a mother may be experiencing regardless of what her motherhood role looks like.

There is zero percent chance of being a perfect mama but a 100% chance of being a good one.

Full-time, working mothers…period.