*This post is not intended to offend or take away from those mothers who must work for their families. Single mothering has been on the rise for years and most of these mothers would've never chosen to go down that difficult path of being both parents for their child/children. So if you're a full time working mother outside of the home and you are easily offended by anything that praises and encourages stay-at-home mothering, then just don't read any further. This post is intended to encourage and remind those mothers who do stay at home, how precious their work, albeit, completely monotonous and emotionally draining, really is. Also, this is not meant to start a debate about who has it easier/harder/better amongst both working outside the home moms and SAHMs. There is nothing here to suggest which group may struggle more. Women have been following the cult of feminism for the last century. Feminism tells women that they are equal to men in everyway....it's paved the way for countless societal changes. Most recently, congress has been arguing equal pay amongst the sexes. Some changes have been necessary and good: the right to vote in elections, the right to own property, and attend universities to name a few.
But in the peak of the feminist movement there was found a growing desire for women to secure jobs outside of the home. In the US, half of all women prefer to have a job outside of the home. In contrast, just one century ago, only 6% of all mothers worked outside of the home, and almost in all cases, it was because the husband was unemployed.
As feminism creeped in and infiltrated almost every area of our society, women began to divorce more, embracing life and activities outside of her homestead, and felt enlightened in controlling her own family size by using readily available contraception and abortion.
While mothers working outside of the home full time is not the only factor contributing to the decline in the family unit, it is definitely a big one to consider. And now, just a measly 14% of mothers in the US don't work outside the home. These mothers are now a minority and they are full time mothering during what I feel is the most difficult time in history to be a mother.
Mothering is hard no matter if you work outside the home or not. But I feel as though society looks at those mothers who do stay at home in a set of rose colored lenses. Here are some misconceptions I've experienced and would like to clear up.
the BIG one: "you can afford it/you must have $$$"
Living in typical materialistic America makes it difficult to live on one income. Everyone has more bills than money in the bank and more stuff than they can fit into their homes. Storage units are on every corner, it seems, and people regularly clutter up their homes with more junk and excess than probably any other society on the planet. We actually have a storage unit ourselves. And it's full. We got one last year to accommodate our extra in order to prepare for the sell of our home. Little did I realize that after a few days of transferring items to the unit, I would grow detached from those items. Now I'm to the point where everything in there, I could care less about. I cannot wait until we unload it all next month during our move and hopefully, give away almost all of it.
All of that to say, one income families must be creative. It isn't the norm anymore to live this way and a family is really going against the grain when they do. So no, we are not rich because I stay at home. We have bills and hardships just like two income families do. And to all the one income families out there struggling, I believe God really does honor the home where the husband works hard outside of the home and the mother tirelessly cares for the home in the roles He originally designed. You should be encouraged. Your struggle is seen and your family is blessed in spite of the struggle. Your work is beautiful and your children couldn't benefit more from way you cherish your family. Living on one income is not easy, but it is possible. It is very possible if you nix the extra and focus on the necessary.
"Stay-at-home moms sit around and eat twinkies and watch talk shows all day"
Um....this one is a huge no. Not only can we not pee in peace, but some days we're lucky to finish our own lunch. And that's all I have to say about that.
"it's all play dates and frozen yogurt"
Actually, it can get pretty lonely being a SAHM. Most days, your calendar is empty and you're lucky if you have an intelligent conversation before bedtime at all. Not to mention, it's not always reasonable to go out for frozen yogurt everyday...or to go out at all. With gas being so expensive, and every activity costing more per person than I really ever care to pay [especially for the little people that you'll really spend the entire time chasing and/or entertaining], it mostly isn't worth it to get out. So to the moms who feel trapped in their homes right now, in the trenches, and not having any real good reason to put earrings on and maybe some mascara, you are thought of and understood. You are not alone and you are beautiful and necessary. Your children love you and the work you feel so readily unappreciated for. You may look at "Career Mom Suzie" and think you may want to have a good reason to stay gone doing important amazing world changing tasks all day while wearing the latest fashions. But, dear sweet mother in the sweats and kid-stained shirt, you are doing important/amazing world-changing tasks already. Every moment. You are actively raising the next generation on a full time basis. Your children will be the better for it and I betcha they won't remember a bit that you didnt wear lipstick everyday or have the cutest shoes. Kids are kinda cool like that. They just love you for you.
If I could wish for something today, it's that more mothers could stay at home with their kids. That more mothers would make the very hard choice to do so and really grasp how fulfilling it still is [not old fashioned/outdated] to fulfill the role God intended for them. To be keepers of their home, to care for and provide the necessaries for their household members, to create a safe haven for everyone within those walls, and to encourage growth, life, and creativity by not being distracted or tied down to a career. But to make motherhood their career. Their calling. Their life.
You are not "just a mom". You may not receive a paycheck but the payoff is beyond anything tangible anyway. You are needed, wanted, valued, and today, rare. A beautiful gem of what selflessness embodied is. Even on the days you have more selfish thoughts than unselfish ones, you are a beautiful human example of how much God sacrificed for us all.
May we all embrace motherhood. May we all cherish the precious few years we have with each child. All too soon, it will be over, and I don't want to regret a second.
How happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways! You will be happy, and it will go well for you…You…will see your children’s children. Psalm 128:1-2
Ps.One more thing....it may just end up being cheaper to stay at home. Sometimes career moms may only clear a couple hundred dollars at the end of their hard-working month. By the time one pays for child care, transportation, lunches, and wardrobe, sometimes just simply the emotional benefits of being out and having a career are the only real perks. I've attempted to have a little job on the side while juggling motherhood before and it just made my life harder and more costly and complicated. If you're on the fence about staying home with your little ones, really weigh the costs involved. It may not be worth the paycheck after all.