Being a mother is a full-time job

working mother
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

It’s an ongoing debate that all mothers endure – should they stay at home and care for children full time or maintain a career after starting a family? No matter their decision, they are constantly tormented by the criticism of others.

Being called lazy for leaving the workforce and relying on a spouse’s income or condemned for keeping a separate life outside of their family are just a couple of obstacles mothers deal with. The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to raise a family, it is completely subjective.

One untrue stigma about stay at home mothers are that they are lazy. Stay at home moms are caretakers, accountants, gardeners, chauffeurs and cooks, often all rolled into one. They are saddled with these responsibilities and are not spoiled or lazy by any means. Despite the various roles they serve, they often don’t receive the recognition they deserve.

Having a parent at home to take care of a home and children can be beneficial to a family, for some moms it is a necessity to spend as much time as possible with their children. I think this is absolutely true for the first year of a child’s life, when they need constant attention and care from their parents. But the belief that mothers are neglectful towards their children if they maintain a career is absolutely untrue.

Mothers are just as capable of generating income as fathers are, but the expectation that a mother must stay home with a child and serve domestic duties is an outdated tradition that deserves to be reexamined. It is a mother’s choice and her choice only, not the choice of critics or spouses. Despite what the situation may look like to someone else, it is up to the mother to make the ultimate decision about what she wants to do with her life after she is a parent.

I for one do not wish to be a stay at home mom. I think that it is absolutely possible to maintain a role in the workforce and strive to reach career goals as well as making time for a family, and I need to pursue a career in order to be fulfilled. But for another woman, family could be fulfilling on its own and she may enjoy spending the day with her children while her spouse goes to work. It is simply a matter of preference and financial situation.

Despite the title, stay at home moms often carry responsibilities outside the home, volunteering their time in local schools or organizations. They are invaluable helpers at school events and in the local community alike, and yet they are often looked over in terms of appreciation and value to society.

Whether it involves volunteering, working or simply taking days off, I think it is important for a mother to take time for herself as an individual whether she is working or not. Every worker deserves a day off, and the same holds true for a stay at home mom doing many jobs at once.

For me, this would be maintaining a career, supporting myself to a certain degree and putting time aside to spend with myself as an individual. Self-care looks different for everyone and regardless of a mothers daily life it is important to maintain that self-care. Even though there is no paycheck, being a stay at home mom is a full time job that can be both exhausting and rewarding.

No matter the decision a mother may make in terms of employment, the most important thing is to disregard the criticism of others. No one knows what is right for the family other than the family themselves. What matters is that a mother chooses to do what she believes is right, and maintains her independence and individuality while doing so.