Raising littles with love and affection, running through their demands daily, keeping up with the tantrums, and yet, somehow finding joy, a role of a stay- at- home- parent entails wearing too many hats.
It does not deserve shaming or being ambushed by the popular question 'what do you do all day at home?' (Louder for the people at the back!)
I was once genuinely asked by a group I had just recently met about what I did for a living. The group had ladies that were doing pretty well in their careers. I remember vividly how I clenched my shoulders, and my heart ran a marathon in the second before words finally came out of my mouth, “I am a stay- at- home- mom”. I was a new mom back then, the whole feeling of being home with my child had not fully sunk in.
The ladies were so very nice to me and replied with many affirmations. They thought that their words would help me cope with the anxiety or the shame they saw in my eyes. But those words were only hitting me more because I didn’t need sympathy. I needed that moment to be indifferent, irrespective of what I do. I needed that moment to be the same as the moment when someone says that they work outside of their home. I only cried hidden tears and flashed a fake smile.
Its been almost four years since I took on this role and I have worked myself out of feeling guilty of being home with my kids. I have come a long way in this journey. It still hits me in the bone when people assume that my job entails watching Netflix and wine at any hour.
I have realized in the process that the people around you, especially those who work outside their homes, have meandering ways of conveying that a role of a stay-at-home-parent is not worthy. There is an unobtrusive silence for a moment when you say it. I have worked my way to keep myself above those moments. I have learned my worth for the job I do being ‘jobless’. I work for my home, for my family and for my people. I don’t need to serve explanations.
This constant need for working side gigs, or maybe owning a small business, have not taken birth unanticipated. All stay- at- home- parents at some point want to feel 'worthy' and that worth is often weighed by the money you bring to the table. Raising kids into good humans with successful careers and lives does not sound like money but it is the sweetest melody of life of a parent!
My job doesn't pay bills but significantly reduces them! If I had to bill my working hours, they would far exceed what an average person makes.
If you’re a stay-at-home-parent reading this, remember you rock, quite literally, you are the anchor of your family, no less, and your people know that! Staying home doing what you do is not for everybody!
If you are a stay- at- home- parent, did you ever need to explain the value of your job?
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