I Think I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom, But I'm Not Sure

I Think I’m A Stay-At-Home Mom, But I’m Not Sure

not-sure-sahm-1
Scary Mommy and SSPL/Getty

I don’t have a category. I feel like I never have. I’m not a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. I’m a working mom who’s not allowed to call myself one.

For the first time, I feel understood by the world, and there is no validation because I am still isolated as ever.

Since the pandemic hit, everyone is very grateful for stay-at-home moms and teachers. The world has recognized how important they are.

Especially the parents who have found out how hard it is to try and work at home with children.

I’m a SAHM

I have always believed that a true feminist is someone who believes in a woman’s right to do whatever she wants. That means if she wants to work she should be supported in pursuing her career aspirations, and if she wants to stay home she should be respected for that choice as well. Still, I see why it’s easy to hate the way stay-at-home moms are perceived.

If I’m at a party and someone asks me what I do for a living, I truly don’t have an answer. I don’t know how to explain what I do and I don’t know how to just say I’m a stay-at-home mom. Either way, I brace for inevitable judgment — or worse, follow-up questions.

Can I straddle the fence and just say… “um, everything?”

The words “you’re so lucky you get to stay at home,” used to drive me nuts, because it wasn’t luck; it was a lack of options. I chose to do what was best for my family. That meant not going out and getting a job that would barely cover the cost of any form of child care available to us.

I never thought I would be a stay-at-home mom. My husband is military, we don’t live near any family, and that’s that. I take care of our children. They are beautiful, happy, healthy, and driving me batty.

I always planned on having the perfect career, whatever that means. While I was building my great career, I started to hate every job I had. That’s when I began to realize no one was paying me enough to be away from my babies.

Thus my SAHM life began, and my personal respect for stay-at-home moms grew. I wish the job title of stay-at-home mom was treated with the same respect as any other title, so that when asked what we do for a living, we could raise our heads high.

I’m a WAHM

I Think I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom, But I'm Not Sure
Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

Eventually, I found my passion for the job I was going to do. When I could finally explain the career I was going to build, I was excited to answer the dreaded career question. I was ready to let everyone know that, WHAM! I’m a … writer.

Crickets.

Apparently, a writer is the worst possible career to tell someone. I’m a blogger — “that’s a hobby.” Worse, I’m a mommy blogger — how cute that I think that’s a real job.

Still, I was seen as lucky. I heard, “It must be nice to have a husband who can take care of you while you stay at home chasing your dreams.”

No matter how hard I worked as a stay-at-home mom or as a work-from-home mom, neither was quite perceived as a job.

Sometimes it came down to money. Have I seen your work? If you’re not J.K. Rowling then you aren’t a “real writer.”

Even when you bring in money, people just can’t seem to wrap their heads around how content writing or blogging is work.

Sorry everyone, no you haven’t read my work, unless, you read any good content writing websites lately. And even then, you still probably haven’t read my work.

And Now, the Pandemic

I just wonder, now that the rest of the world has seen what it’s like, has anything changed?

What I mean is, the loneliness, pain, and inadequacy of the pandemic has become more prevalent in day to day life.

If you are struggling while trying to work while your kid cries for another snack, or you are pulling out your hair trying to teach your child, your frustration is real.

Before becoming a parent, you don’t know that trying to teach your toddler their ABCs and how to count to 100 could leave you feeling so inadequate. That inadequacy turns to guilt, because you know that someone else, a teacher, could do a better job. As much we know we can’t do everything on our own, it doesn’t stop us from wanting to.

Being far away from friends and family and support systems is hard. When you need to take a five-minute break, or work and try and make money for your family, you can’t. It’s an isolating feeling being everything for your little ones.

Having no one to turn to for help in those situations is now a reality for anyone on lockdown.

Now working parents also cringe every time they hear how lucky they are that they’ve spent every second of the last day, week, or month with their children.

Please remember that feeling once everything goes back to “normal.” And the next time someone tells you they’re a stay-at-home mom or work-at-home mom, don’t judge them. Recognize all the hard work they do. Because, yes, it’s a job.

A Combination of Everything

Now that we’ve all had this unique peek behind the work-at-home mom curtain, let’s agree to support each other. Let’s not judge each other, and maybe we can even change moving forward. So that moms aren’t fired because a kid cries in the background. And so that people who don’t fit into one parenting category can still be accepted for who they are.

I mean, look at me. I think I’m a stay-at-home mom — but honestly, I’m not sure.

We are all a combination of everything. I’m a working mom who stays at home with her children. One category doesn’t fit me. I’m happy to be called a stay-at-home, or work-at-home parent, because at the beginning and end of every day, I am known by my most important title: Mom.

And now, at least someone has read my work.