With all the political talk in the past few weeks, this topic hits home most for me during this season of my life. Modern day “feminism” or whatever you choose to call it… has got me thinking a lot about parenthood and more specifically, motherhood. This is my story about being a mom, being a stay-at-home mom.
It’s what makes the world go ’round. In my belief, a man and a woman who love each other and vow to spend the rest of their lives together make love and that leads to a baby, which leads to parenthood. The cycle goes on. It’s where we all came from… a man, and a woman. It takes two to tango. Do you catch my drift yet?
Let me explain the beauty of being a stay-at-home mom. That “label” doesn’t offend me like people might think. I don’t feel any “less valued” like people might think. I could care less actually what people think because I know most people aren’t politically correct, and I just don’t get easily offended. I think the reason is because I have confidence in my decisions as I take the time to weigh all options, I sit down and write that old fashioned pros and cons list.
For those who don’t know me and my work history, I am confident enough to say I have good work ethics. I am thankful for my parents teaching me the basic foundation of work ethics. Work hard and you will reap the benefits in time! Start from the bottom of that totem pole, swallow that pride, and work your way up. It’s humbling when you find yourself at a more successful place than you once began. You know where you started and you can excel by putting in the time. You might think, “what does this even has to do with motherhood?”
With the basis of work ethics and starting from the bottom, I bring you to my experience. It’s not the coolest and most glamourous life, but it’s real and it’s how I got to this particular season of my life as a stay-at-home mom.
I got my driver’s license when the first opportunity showed itself when I turned 16. I didn’t want to wait years later like I could have. My motive for getting my license was so I could drive myself to work and make my own money because my parents were not the type to just hand me everything without me earning it. So my dad bought a little 1989 Toyota pick-up (stick shift I might add). I wasn’t in love with the fact I had to learn how to drive a manual, but now I am thankful my dad insisted on making sure I knew how! THANK YOU, DAD. I drove that little truck around town to my interviews and landed my very first job at Applebee’s as a hostess. Once I made enough money to pay my dad back for the truck, I gave him that $500 and paid for my little truck. Once I had my income from my job, I was officially an adult paying for my small bills as a high school student. Working late into the night after school, and then finishing high school. I then continued my strides and held on to my work ethics, cleaning tables, seating guests, and being at the bottom of that totem pole. Not glamorous, but getting the job done! After graduating high school and moving on to the community college in town, needless to say, I paid for my own books, and semester fees. I have to give credit to my parents for picking up the tab for one semester of books that one time! It was like Christmas getting those couple books paid for! Later on I saved enough money to buy myself a new-to-me car. I upgraded to my little ole 2004 Honda Civic. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t flashy, but I saved money to upgrade my car. I was working up my totem pole all by myself (with the encouragement of my parents). Later, I land at the highest paying job I’ve had before getting married. It wasn’t super glitzy, just better than the previous. I worked with what I had, commuting 30 minutes back and forth from work, to night classes, and then home. I ended up moving out on my own into my little 700 square foot apartment. I felt so proud of myself, but never boasted about it to others. I was the only one out of most people I knew my age who had now paid off my first car, moved into my own apartment alone with no roommates to help with rent and bills, and had a hefty saving account by the age of 22. It was just unheard of in my town and age group. With this particular job, I didn’t make a big fuss (most the time) about working overtime. There was a ton of work for just two girls, so there was opportunity for overtime. I did what I could and worked around class schedules and instead of looking at the overtime as a burden, I looked at it as an opportunity to load up my savings account. I still had my school work, and I still kept a social life. But I put on my big girl pants and just made it happen the only way I knew how. I didn’t live with ALL the thing and materials I WANTED, I kind of lived a frugal life and lived simple.
Fast forward through getting married to my man, and paying for most our wedding, I picked up and moved to a different state. This military wife lifestyle is for another story, but I started from scratch again. Found a job in our new state, met new people and it was back to the bottom of the totem pole. But I didn’t let that stop me, I didn’t view it as a handicap because it’s what I do. I know how to start at the bottom. I rolled with it, and I have confidence again saying I still kept my strong work ethics throughout that season.
My husband and I both wanted our children to grow up by our side. We both wanted to be involved as much as possible, and that decision of me staying home to raise our first child has been agreed upon. I get joy out of motherhood and all the crazy things that come along with it. I am so thankful my husband is on the same page as I am with family values. You might think we must make a ton of money to be able to pull off living on one income, but that’s not entirely true. Why I take so much pride in the fact I get to be home during this season of life is because we work hard at finances. We sit down and look at our numbers so often it’s just annoying sometimes. It’s not EASY giving up some luxury things. It’s not easy to window shop and not buy that thing we have our eye on every time we want something. It’s not easy spending money on baby formula and bills and rent instead of new clothes, expensive dinners, and fancy things. We do have our nice cars, but we worked hard for the big down payments and low interest rates. We shop smart and plan our big purchases. We still have nice things, just not all the time and not the most fancy things. But, we have learned that we value our family above all during this precious moment of parenthood. We value the things that don’t cost money too, the things like family, and our love for each other. This is just a season, and we won’t get the beginning months and years of parenthood back. I am proud of our little family for starting at the bottom of the totem pole and not expecting to be handed anything. I am proud of my husband who works his booty off for more than the average 40 hour work week to provide for our family and not complain about it. He also started at the very bottoms of his totem pole in the military and has worked very hard to get promoted to the next rank each time. My husband and I both work hard for what we have, it’s just in different ways. We both respect each other and the ways we contribute to our family. We both appreciate what each other does during the day. We both come together in the evenings after work and continue the rest of our day helping each other. I love that about us, we see eye to eye and we don’t tally up who we think does “more” in a day. We both are in the kitchen, we both clean up, and we both treat each other. And most off, I am thankful for his chivalry towards me, he is gracious in his role as my husband, our baby’s father, the protector of our family, and the provider.
These are the reasons I am not offended when people look down on me for staying home with my baby. For thinking I’m not living my “fullest” life, or not doing more with my life. Believe it or not, I actually still get to do things I love, like graphic designs, and artsy stuff. Things take a little longer to accomplish, but I still get to enjoy things other than “mom stuff”.
This is just another season I am in and I surely worked hard to get to where I am. I value every single day and I have such joy that I am able to raise my own baby. It not only fills my heart, but I feel so accomplished, again! Keeping a tiny human alive is fast paced. There is no handbook or training for this job. It’s hard sometimes when you have to learn by trial and error and not knowing what to expect. Being a mom requires full attention and taking complete care of someone else. You have to put their needs above your own for most of the day. You have good days and hard days. But every day that I get to take care of my own baby, I feel rewarded by her innocent and precious love. I am so thankful for this season and I do not feel any sense of degrade from my job right now. Our baby and future babies will not be small forever and neither will my “stay-at-home mom job”, I will move back into my next totem pole and my next season of life when the time comes.
I respect my husband even more now that we are parents because he leaves his paid job and comes home to the parenthood job. Parenthood is the job that is 24/7, that has no lunch breaks, that has no clocking out, that has no vacation time off, and that pays ZERO money. Motherhood is no less work than any other job, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t define me, but if I could pick a word to best define it, I’d pick the word “selfless”. My hope is that this perspective sheds light on the beauty of motherhood and for those women who feel the need to prove themselves to everyone else. Just work hard at every role and be proud of accomplishments you worked for. Jobs don’t define anyone and I hope no stay-at-home mom ever feels degraded by their huge selfless act of putting their kids before “success”. At the end of the day, those babies we take care of and raise grow up and we eventually go back to the work grind. Our time comes back around just like it once did before.
YOU GO GIRL.