I Like My Job.

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This past week, Paige tweeted a link to this post, an article dealing with women in the workplace and how, despite the fact that women can now "have it all", many are choosing not to.  She goes on to say that despite all kinds of stereotype changes it's been that way for over a decade, and how can we change it so women understand they don't have to give up their career when they have kids?  That they really can have it all?

And I wonder what her issue is.

There are many women who want to be wives and mothers.  When they have kids, they want to stay home and take care of them.  That is what is known as the maternal instinct.  We have kids so that we can raise them, so we can teach them lessons and make sure they turn out right.  That's the job.  And it's a hard job and it doesn't pay well at all, at least in the ways that a "regular" career would.

But what's so wrong about wanting that job?

What is so wrong about wanting to make that career change?  I bet Ms. Belkin wouldn't have much to say if a lawyer suddenly wanted to be a professor, or an executive decided to become a journalist, for example.  Those are clearly acceptable career choices for the modern woman, unlike "giving up" a job for the career of stay-at-home mom.

But I have to tell you: I was happy to give up my often non-fulfilling job as a teacher.  It was easy to decide to take care of my child instead of 20 other people's kids.  I have always known that, if possible, I wanted to stay home with my kids at least until they are full-time in school.  That's what my mom did, and when I entered second grade, she went back to work (and not to the career she originally started out in, either).  She didn't see staying home as an interruption to working, it was just a change in career.  Being a mom is enormously rewarding- I reap the benefits of it every day.  

I want to be the one that sets up the daily routine.  I want to know what their eating, what they're playing with, and how much television they're watching.  It's my job to make sure they learn manners and follow rules.  Our rules, and not those of another caregiver.  I want to be able to pick Gus up at school if he's not feeling well or take Greta to the doctor for her well-visits and not have to work around a crazy schedule  Maybe that's a little too 1950's for Ms. Belkin, but I have to say, I think kids were much better behaved in the 50's than they are now, so maybe it's not such a bad thing.

Not everyone wants a job that they leave the house for every day.  Not everyone wants a stressful, high-powered, fast-track career.  I think we've gone a little too far in the other direction, making women feel like they need to have the big job and the family in order to be successful.  But I don't think that's really true and it puts too much pressure on women.

I'm not saying my job is for everyone; not everyone wants to be a parent, and that is okay. When I was teaching, I was across the hall from a lovely woman who loved kids but had too much else going on to want to have them herself.  And I commend her decision.  She knew she have the time and energy to put into raising children, so she didn't have them, and she has a wonderfully fulfilling life. It's all about choices.

I'm also not aiming this at those who need to work and cannot stay home with their children, or those who love their job and want to continue to work.  I know there are mothers who long to stay at home and just can't afford to do that, or those who need to get out of the house and be productive, and I understand both of those as well.  In those cases, their working is being a good parent and is the means for providing their kids with the things they need.  It's not an attack on the working mother.

It's just standing up for the stay-at-home careerist.


11 comments

  1. You made an amazing decision . I'll support it because I know how much a child need his mother to look after him and even to appreciate all his little doings :)
    Noor @ Noor's Place

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  2. I have very mixed feelings about SAHM. I didn't grow up with one and I was in a day care up until I was 10. That was perfectly normal and acceptable. However when my mother had her second marriage and second pair of kids my stepfather asked her to stay at home.

    She liked it at first and then became super bored.(she actually learned to sew during this time). I guess it was nice seeing her home when I got home from school but I never felt it was formidable in my raising.

    That being said I feel that some mothers stay at home because they feel obligated too and I'm guessing this is the group the article is targeting. Of course there are tons of women out there that want to be mothers just like any career but since there really isn't a 'union' for stay at home moms (unless you count bloggers) those mothers that want an out are kind of voiceless.

    I don't think being a SAHM is for me but then again I've been wrong before.

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  3. Great post! We need to respect people's choices for what is best for their families - and if someone decides to stay home full time after having kids, more power to them! Our kiddos are school-aged, so I'm going to keep working until we have some that aren't, and then I'll figure out what is best for our family at that time.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. That was a fascinating article. The author had a good point in there that I think got buried under all of the other stuff she said. She talked about how some women felt like they *had* to stay at home after having a baby because their workplace wasn't giving them the flexibility they originally promised. Working around a new mother's schedule turns out to be lip service a lot of the time, which sucks. If I had a job that made it hard for me to be a good mom, I would totally leave, too. Part of the reason why I'm so insistent on being self-employed for the rest of my life is the flexibility. If my baby needs me, I can be there.

    Anyway, there's nothing wrong with being a SAHM. My mom was home with us until I was 12 and my sister was 10, and we loved it. She was the one who encouraged us to be creative and had all sorts of crafts for us to do, so I wonder if I wouldn't have my current job without that influence. Who knows, maybe I'll decide to stop working one day, too, and there's nothing wrong with that if it works for your family.

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  5. I think it's wonderful that we live in a time where women have the opportunity to do what works best for them and their families. I love that we have the freedom to choose how we raise our children in the way that we see best fitting :)

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  6. At this point in my life, I wouldn't give up my career in motherhood for anything!

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  7. I am constantly blown away at how judgemental women are of each other, instead of supportive in whatever each woman chooses for herself. I just don't get it. Whether it's me, who chose to not have children and run my own business (now I didn't choose 'career' over children, I just chose what was right for me), to you raising two children. I say, what ever works for you is what you should do! I would hope that as women, we could simply learn to appreciate our differences instead judging them. We've come a long way baby, but apparently we sill have a long way to go.

    You go girl!

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  8. I am right there with you! When Luci was born I was the primary bread winner in our house. I thought that's what I wanted. In college I never wanted to rely on someone else to take care of me. I was naïve. The second Luci was born my world changed. I hated leaving her every day and cried to my husband about it. We agreed and he found a new job. It moved us back to Littleton but that was totally worth the sacrifice. I still had to work part time in insurance but at least I was with Luci way more. Now I work 3 days a week doing what I love and Luci can be with me while I do it most days. I am proud to be a mom and consider myself a stay at home mom who had a little side income. My college friends say they never thought they would see me do this but I couldn't be happier about it. Good for you! Being a mom is a much harder, much more rewarding job then insurance ever was!

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  9. Great post! Eric and I don't have kids yet, but I am longing for the day I get to quit my job and be a stay-at-home mom. I get angry with people who think that being a mom is somehow selling yourself short. Um, you are raising HUMANS.

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  10. Life is funny - I just came across this post and was shocked to see it's almost two years old! if I had read it when you originally posted it, I wouldn't have understood it. I was that fast track career oriented woman who couldn't quite understand women who wanted to stay home (or, honestly, have children to begin with!). I have a few ideas of what sparked that thought process in my head over the years (including having a mother who often wasn't home due to her work travel schedule), but needless to say I bought into it big time and it was all I believed. Now ... I willingly gave up that career at the THOUGHT of being able to start a family and to not be a miserable person when we did so, and took a job that allows me to be happier, and to also be home during the day. Kudos to you for embracing what you love and not letting another's perception dictate your life. And ... because i'm already on my soapbox ... I 100% do not believe women (or anyone) can have it all, all of the time. You make choices, and every day you prioritize! xo

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  11. I think in a way you can have it all, but you can't have it all working properly at the same time! Sometimes one thing takes the lead and then the other, but the balls are never evenly balanced in the air- one is always on its way down. And that's okay- it makes things interesting as we change from one stage to another. :)

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