We’ve all heard the story of the woman who is wasting her education being just a stay at home mom. I can’t tell you how offended I feel when people say I’m just a stay at home mom. I don’t understand the purpose of that word. Why do people feel the need to downgrade what I do? Yet even when I feel this way, I find myself slipping at calling someone just a stay at home mom. Being a stay at home mom is so much more difficult than people realize, but I already make noise about that particular subject too often. I want to examine where this word just comes from.
When people think of the word feminism, they likely think of women who want to be treated like men. There are many stereotypes of the woman with short hair who wants to work in manual labor or be in the army. What you don’t probably realize is that feminism is actually about choice. Once upon a time, women couldn’t get an education. Women couldn’t work outside the home. The only option for women was to stay home and take care of the children and the home. Feminism came about because some women wanted to do more. Emphasis on some.
Don’t get me wrong, I do want to work outside of my home one day. I also want to be the one to raise my children. I never want to look back and regret that I was working instead of watching and helping my children grow. Being a mother and wife is my first career. The majority of people change their occupation multiple times throughout their lives. This is just my first occupation–and the most important of them all.
Back to feminism. While there were women out fighting for the right to chose what they do with their lives, there were women in the background that were happy with staying at home. Not to say that they didn’t want a choice–it’s just that if they were given the choice, they would still chose to stay home. The purpose of feminism is having the choice.
In our society, young girls are brought up being told that they can be anything. You could be a doctor! You could be a lawyer! You could be The President! So what do you want to be? How often do you hear a little girl say “I want to be a mommy!”? Almost all little girls do, but they don’t see it as a career choice. They just assume that they’ll be a mommy and have a career. No one thinks of being a mother as a career. What other hobby do you do that takes your whole heart, requires your full attention 24 hours a day, and make you want to pull your hair out? If anything, it sounds like a job to me.
So please, try to make an effort to stop saying just a stay at home mom. Being a stay at home mom is so much more than sitting on the couch watching TV. As for those women who are “wasting their education” being a stay at home mom, did you ever stop to think that part of parenting is being educated so that you can educate your children? Also, having a degree means you’re more likely to make educated decisions about regarding your children–which I believe is a very important part of parenting. There is nothing just about being any kind of parent–especially a stay at home mom (or dad for that matter).