A good friend of mine shared with me a link a while back.
I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first.
But since she shared it with me, I figured it was worth thinking about.
Apparently, our high school was asking alumni to share their successes. The goal being to help current students see the possibilities that await them after graduation.
She probably thought I’d be interested in sharing my own story.
Initially, I laughed at the idea of describing myself as a successful stay-at-home mom.
Really. I laughed.
I knew how ridiculous it sounded.
How could any sane mom describe staying home as being a success?
Success is Different for Everyone
When we were kids, every adult we encountered asked us who we wanted to be when we grew up.
And, not knowing anything about what being an adult actually means, our answers included doctor, lawyer, teacher, football star, President, Popstar, pilot, police officer, or even movie star.
We had no idea of all the job possibilities out there, let alone how much geography plays a part in what we end up doing.
We naively picked from the few options that we’d witnessed, perhaps choosing one that we felt society would love us more for, one that would make us feel proud to do.
To this day, I don’t know anyone who has ever answered that well-known question by confidently saying they wanted to just stay home and raise children – especially since little girls of my generation were told we could do and be anything we wanted.
After a bit more thought, I realized my reaction to the idea of describing myself as a success was exactly the type of reaction that other stay-at-home moms probably have – that there is no way we could convince anyone that what we do could be considered successful.
So, because of this limiting belief, we choose to sit back and not talk about it.
Making the Decision to Stay Home
While we most definitely all had dreams of being something other than a stay-at-home mom, somewhere along the way, we decided that staying home was the best option.
For some, the decision to play homemaker is temporary, with intentions of returning to work sooner rather than later.
For others, we put our careers on hold for many, many years, perhaps decades.
Yet, no matter what we do, we mothers seem to always feel the need to defend that decision.
To other parents. To friends. To our family.
Yet, nobody goes around hearing teachers, doctors or lawyers defending that they made the right career choice.
No. They are applauded (and rightfully so) for sacrificing so many years towards higher education and for working such long hours in the classroom, clinic or courtroom.
So where does that leave us? What about us!
Our sacrifices are just as real as theirs. Our hours are just as long (if not longer) than theirs.
Yet, knowing full well that staying-home is definitely hard work, we tip-toe around and brush off our job as if it isn’t worthy enough.
We don’t view ourselves as doing work that is as important as the teachers, lawyers, and doctors.
And that’s why we need to shift our perspective about this stay-at-home mom life that we’ve chosen.
How are others going to value the work we do, the contribution we have made to society, if we are constantly beating ourselves up in our minds about our decision to forgo a career outside the home?
Why do we stumble over our words when we are asked what we do?
Why do we brush it off and say, “oh, I just stay home,” like it’s no big deal?
What are you so embarrassed about?
Stats to Help Shift Your Perspective
According to this article from Pew Research, “those who are home to care for family are more likely to have a college degree than stay-at-home parents who are home for other reasons.”
It also goes on to say that most of us are married, like over 70% of us.
That’s totally me – college educated and married!!
And I bet that describes many of you.
We have so much yet we still feel worthless, all because we “stay home” and don’t have a “real” job.
And yes, I admit, I have felt this way before about it.
It’s as if we think being just the parent who stays home with the baby falls at the bottom of this invisible scale that we all use to measure a person’s worth.
But, as I’ve gotten older (ugh), I’ve realized that we have the power to change that, to change the way society views us.
Be a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom
Success is a personal measure of worth.
It’s not something we should turn to others for approval.
You are allowed to think of yourself as a successful stay-at-home mom.
You’re allowed to feel proud of the impact your decision to stay home is making on the lives of your kids.
Because success comes in all forms.
And as long as you are living a life that serves you well in this season of life, then well, my dear, you are a success.
Paycheck or not.
Life Spark with Lauren is changing soon!
I’m not posting anything new on this blog, but I am sending weekly emails to my subscribers. If you’re a stay-at-home mom looking for guidance on how to manage your stress, you’ll want to get these emails and be the first to know about the new blog launch (May 2020)! Leave me your email address below and I’ll send you weekly updates every Thursday of how I’m managing my daily mom stress.