On at least three occasions I have started to write about the stay-at-home vs. working mom debate.
I wanted to tell you the story about moving to Arkansas and hearing women say “Well, I was going to get a job after college, but then I got pregnant.” The first time someone said it I laughed. I thought it was a joke. Then there was a REALLY awkward pause. Then we just moved on…. I chalk it up to a southern thing, because I NEVER heard that in Ohio.
Recently a friend said to me “You have a pretty nice life. It must be nice getting your hair and nails done all the time.” She’s a good friend and meant nothing by it. But thinking over her comment later I realized that I wanted to say “I do have a pretty nice life. I also worked full time for 14 years and that’s one of the reasons I’m going back to work…I like having the money to do what I want”
However, every time I tried to sum up my experience on both sides of the mom debate, I came off sounding trite and was pretty sure I was going to offend a lot of people, and I do somewhat try not to offend people….
Last weekend I attended a regional conference on teaching foreign language in Chicago. Amid sessions and some really good eating, I had an epiphany: This entire debate comes down to passion.
There are women whose passion is caring for a family and they do it really well. This is not my natural state, so I’ll admit that I was formerly just confused that a woman would choose this as her work in life. However, over the past eight months I have met stay-at-home moms that just have it all together. These ladies take pride in caring for a home, they volunteer, they keep their families calm and running smoothly. They feel blessed to be able to do it.
Other women are passionate about their careers. I get more excited about education than just about anything else in life. I do not throw around the word blessed often, but I felt blessed to be paid to do a job I loved. Sitting in sessions at my conference, I was so pumped up I could have run back in to the classroom the next day.
I have thought a lot these last few months about returning to work. Teaching is what gives me energy. But I have also experienced a new level of calm and harmony in our family when I am not stressed all the time. My husband said to me one day “Yeah, you were REALLY grumpy all the time.” Who wants to be the really grumpy mom?!?
But here’s the thing…When we are not pursuing our passion, we are sacrificing ourselves.
There are a ton of reasons for a mom to stay at home and just as many reasons for a mom to work outside the home, but if a woman is not passionate about the work she chooses, she is not happy.
And perhaps you’ve heard the saying… “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”