I hear a form of it often. It came from my husband’s peers and teachers at school, it comes from people at church, it comes from my husbands employees, it comes from online articles and bloggers. It comes from both men and women, from fellow stay at home moms, from mothers who work full time, from women without kids.
I hear it everywhere. Sometimes it comes as:
“That is so amazing that you stay home with your kids. That’s crazy admirable, I don’t know how you do it. I wouldn’t be able to.” or “This is the most important job in the world. Thank you for being a stay at home mom.” or “This is the hardest job in the world, with no thank you’s and no breaks. But OH! It is SO worth it!” … to name a few.
And every single time I CRINGE.
Maybe you are wondering why I would cringe with such wonderful compliments coming my way. I cringe because for the most part they don’t feel like compliments, they feel like statements soaked with pity and a tone of “I’ll give you this boost because you obviously wouldn’t be doing this job if you didn’t feel like you had to.”
So I cringe but I smile and try to brush it off and I’m cordial. But really, what I want to say is,
“Thank you, but please know that I don’t stay at home because I feel like I have to. I don’t stay home because I feel like it’s my higher calling, that I’m doing my kids a favor, that it’s more important than anything else I could be doing. I don’t stay home because someone else told me I should. I don’t stay home because I feel like I’m not qualified to do anything else or that I’m not good at anything else.
I am not sacrificing my time, my personal fulfillment, my education, my career, my happiness, or my life to be a Stay at Home Mother.
Being a stay at home mother doesn’t define me, it doesn’t consume my existence. I do get out, I do have friends, I do have a life outside of this just like you have a life outside of work, and fatherhood/motherhood etc.
I stay at home because I want to, because I am damn good at it, damn proud of it, and am fulfilled and uplifted by it. I am a stay at home mom because I LOVE it. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be doing it.
So, thank you for the compliment, it came with good intentions and heart but really…it isn’t needed.
Now, if you’d like to rephrase and tell me just how amazing I am at being a stay at home mom, I’ll take it … because I am… like REALLY good.”
Like this post? You might like this one too: I am not “Mom”