One night my husband made a joke that I had a Ph.D., to which my sister in law responded: “well that’s a waste of a degree being a stay at home mom.”
Ya’ll, when I tell you it took everything in me to hold my tongue, it literally took the spirits of all of my ancestors from both my mom and dad’s side of my family to keep me in check.
No, I don’t have a Ph.D. in anything, but once all of my kids are in school, I will be pursuing one in chemical engineering-if, not for any other purpose than to say I have one (oh yeah and to maybe teach).
But, even if I did have a Ph.D., what exactly would be the problem with my staying home with my kids?
Absolutely nothing. thankyouverymuch.
For some strange reason, there is this misconception that educated women wouldn’t make the choice to stay home with their kids. Why? Because apparently, who would want to spend thousands going to a private Christian college, then transfer to another school and spend thousands more, just to obtain a degree and then after all of that decide not to work?
Surely no woman with an education would do such a thing?
“Automatically believing that choosing to be a stay-at-home mother is antithetical to feminism relies on several axioms about men, women… perpetuated by the very forces feminism fights against,”
Choosing to be a stay at home mom does not diminish my value and role as a woman. My worth is in no way tied to my paycheck. I love the fact that I can stay home and be readily available if I am needed. Most women have had the unfortunate circumstance of dealing with employers who didn’t give a rats ass that their kid who was sick and puking their guts out at school needed to be picked up. Or that the daycare had an outbreak of hand, foot, mouth and their child needed to stay home.
Mine would say that women with children should be barred from the workplace and stay home where they belong. Sir….
In my case, having a special needs child only compounded things due to 504 meetings, subsequent IEP meetings, evaluations, him running out of the school or worse taking off and hiding in the school and them locking it down. Even though my husband, mother, and father made themselves readily available as well, it still wasn’t easy. This was when I realized that while my children were young, being in the workforce just wasn’t worth the headache and constant write-ups.
Even still the backlash I faced within my own family, was heartbreaking, to say the least. Of course, they couldn’t understand why I would want to stay home. Financially was it a great move. No. And Yes. It alleviated the $1200 in child care expenses per month, extra gas, and we could downsize a vehicle. However, expenses in other areas raised such as electricity and water.
Then there was the common stay at home mom myths that I had to endure on a regular basis. Being asked what do I do all day, why does my family eat out when I should be cooking, why can’t I watch your sick child since I “don’t do anything anyway”.
Yes, I went to college. No, my education isn’t being used in my current capacity. However, what I didn’t do is go to college to be your:
- backup sitter
- chauffeur (because I am asked this a lot)
- personal grocery shopper (because you don’t have time)
And what you’re not going to do is:
- Assume that I am weak minded for staying home
- Throw shade at my staying home
Let me break down the three biggest annoying misconceptions of being a SAHM because apparently…
We aren’t all obsessed with Target
I could care less about wine, Starbucks, and Target. I could careless that Target serves wine and has a Starbucks. No, I do not go around hi-fiving other moms I see at said bulls-eye merchandiser during the day; no, I do not walk in said store lose my mind, thus causing me to overspend. I purchase what I need and leave.
We play with our kids, hang out with friends or watch tv all day
Yeah, no. Most of my day is spent telling my 3-year-old to stop running around the house; doing laundry and wiping up pee because apparently she just doesn’t care that she needs to actually do that in the toilet. Gas is too expensive for our Tahoe, so I don’t go gallivanting around town to Mommy & Me groups, playdates, lunch dates or anything else. If a Doctor Who marathon is on, you may catch me watching television all day, but even still that’s few and far between.
Only uneducated women choose to stay home
I really hate to break it to you, but there are educated women who decide to stay at home with their kids. While the numbers may indeed be small (just 1% of the 35 million estimated stay at home moms), we still exist. Meaning, our reasoning for staying home is no less valid than anyone else’s. We have/had ain’t shit bosses, we want to see our kid’s first steps, we want to be there for the moments that we know we may miss because we work full time (not saying working mothers can’t enjoy these moments as well).
What we don’t want is to be judged; educated or not. Any woman or man who decides to stay home should be able to do so without someone making passive aggressive comments because it makes them feel better.
And with that…
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
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Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.