I have a confession to make. I’ve been watching you.
You, the working mom with your clickety-clack heels and train pass, trying to make it home in time for dinner.
You, the stay-at-home mom in the yoga pants and baby spit-up stained shirt, counting down the hours until the kids get home.
I see you because I was you. I am you.
Before I had kids, I’ll confess to sighing once or twice when the new mom at work missed a day because of a sick kid. Really? Again?
And then when I had kids, I suddenly resented those who didn’t. Those women who would, could, gladly put in the long hours at the office, just like I used to. Wait until it’s your turn, I’d say to myself.
During my brief stint as a stay-at-home mom, I thought I had to do it all perfectly—the house, the laundry, the meals, the carefully orchestrated activities.
And as a work-from-home mom, I simply run around like a chicken with her head cut off, trying —and failing—to do it all, never quite doing anything to my satisfaction.
We need to give each other, and ourselves, a break. In particular—stay-at-home moms.
While today’s culture is increasingly showing working moms the love—in sentiment, though not yet in action (workplace culture, I’m looking at you)—there still isn’t a lot of love for stay-at-home moms. I mean, they have it easy, right? What do they do all day, anyway? (At least, that’s what I used to wonder.)
But the more time I spend at my kids’ school, the more I notice: They’re the ones making sure your kids don’t choke at lunchtime. Watching over them at recess and on field trips. Raising money for school supplies and educational tools.
They help create a sense of community in our neighbourhoods when everyone else is off to work. They contribute at church. They participate in charities.
It’s not to say they’re better than everyone else—they’re not. And it’s not to say that working moms don’t contribute in the same way—I know they do, as much as they can while juggling responsibilities at work and home as well.
But for my part, I want to acknowledge and thank stay-at-home moms for the hidden, unpaid work that they do.
A woman’s work is often unacknowledged. We bear the brunt of domestic chores, with no remuneration. We’re still underpaid, undervalued and underpromoted in the workforce. Perhaps some feel that by keeping their place in the home, these stay-at-home moms are undermining the progress we’ve made, the progress there’s still left to do.
Who knows, maybe they’ll go back to work when the kids grow up. Or find a young family they can help. Or become caregivers until their kids give them grandchildren. To each, her own.
But if you think she’s doing nothing sitting in front of the TV all day, you might want to give her another glance. And thank her for everything she is doing.