I know Practical, By Default is about helping busy parents homeschool grade 7+ . I do this by helping you save time, money, providing recipes, resources, printables, tips, encouragement etc. That being said, please bear with me as I go off topic a bit.
This topic is dear to my heart and has been weighing on my mind for a while. Up until a few years ago I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling. I loved (almost) every minute of it, even the bad days had treasured moments. There was this little thorn in my side though, and since returning to work, I have heard and seen that I am not alone.
“I’m just a stay-at-home mom.”
“Hey! I haven’t seen you in ages, I work at (insert amazing sounding job and income). So what do you do?”
“I’m just a stay at home mom.”
This conversation sound familiar? This is the conversation I’ve personally had about a hundred times, when I was a stay-at-home mom. Every time resulting in me feeling useless, good for nothing, a nobody. It’s the sneaky word in that sentence that implied I was a nothing. Nobody.
So today we are going to get rid of that little word and start realizing just how important your job is! I want you understand that what you do every. Single. Day. has meaning. Worth something.
The sneaky word “Just”
And the sneaky word is… “Just”.
According to Dictionary.com the word as an adverb implies “By an narrow margin, barely. The arrow just missed the mark.” Or “only or merely. He was just a clerk until he became ambitious.”
As you see, the word just can imply that what we are saying or doing really isn’t that important at all. That we are merely doing nothing. That we are bearly raising our children, looking after a family, balancing life and running a household.
So whether you are a stay at home mom, working at home mom, homeschooler-if you are a parent you are important!
To prove I am not alone in this thinking please note the following quote:
“The proper role of the parent is to provide encouragement, support and access to activities that enable the child to master key developmental tasks. A parent is their child’s first teacher and should remain their best teacher throughout life.” (source)
This little word is so troublesome that G-mail has an extension for their email called “Just not sorry”. Why do we need this? The “details” tells us that this little extension helps us to stop “qualifying our message and diminishing our voice”. (click here to get it for yourself)
Some of us have this habit of making what we are about to say, or what we do, less important than it is.
However by using the word “Just” we are giving people permission to belittle what we do by implying it is not important. Then when they treat what we do as not important, we feel hurt, upset, disappointed, angry and our self-worth can plummet.
We need to set the tone, stop using the word just in that context.
The upside of being a stay-at-home mom:
The blessings of a being a stay-at-home mom are truly priceless. I am going to be completely transparent here and let you know I thought I valued the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom. I thought I knew what I had and what it was worth.
However when I had to return to work, then I truly knew what I was missing. Now my favorite day of the week is the one where I get to stay home all day. Yes doing laundry, Yes doing dishes, Yes reading to my kids and doing so much “nothing” that I fall exhausted into bed and need to go back to “work” to recuperate.
My personal pluses are:
- I get to spend time with my kids and watch them grow up. I don’t have to miss a thing. (bonus time because we homeschool)
- I know I am helping to shape my children into responsible adults, as a parent.
- Help in maintaining the home.
- I am a valuable part of a team.
- Keeping the household running smoothly
- Less stressful than now (working outside the home)
Being a stay-at-home mom is truly a blessing. One to be cherished. However it is not always a walk in the park.
The downside of being a stay-at-home mom:
Being a stay-at-home mom can be draining. It is long hours, little sleep, and often thankless. You are so busy you don’t know which way you are going half the time. You spend too little time actually at home. You learn to multitask out of necessity, walk fast, write lists and juggle a million things at once. No wonder half of us love our coffee 😉
However, it was always dealing with how others viewed me that was exhausting, disheartening and would lead to me throwing myself under the emotional roller coaster.
One conversation I used to hate having was one with banks, insurance, cell phone contracts, credit cards of any sort. Anything that had the dreadful question:“what do you do for a living?” and “what income bracket are you in?”Being a mom is the hardest job ever, stop pretending it is no big deal #Sahm Click To Tweet
Watching them write in that goose egg was devastating to my self-worth. I wanted to sink down and disappear. In fact, I usually avoided all of these types of encounters if possible.
One day I was with my husband and the Insurance Broker asked the questions. I answered with, “Oh I am just a stay-at-home mom, so whatever that is listed as. I don’t make any money.”
He leaned over and said something amazing! He told me that I had the hardest job ever and to stop pretending it was no big deal. He praised mom’s in general for all the hard work that goes into being a stay-at-home mom.
I had heard it all before but from a complete stranger-no. It was like he knew how uncomfortable, how worthless those questions made me. I am thankful for those kind, understanding words to this day.
Price of a stay at home mom:
Sometimes we need to put a dollar amount to see value, which in my opinion is sad, but true. So please check out these resources and see how much you really are worth, dollar wise:
- A few years ago the Vancouver Sun newspaper (Feb 2006) did a labor analysts estimate that if a Canadian stay at home mom with two school aged children were to be paid for all the works she does, including overtime she would make $163,852 (Canadian) (source)
- I found this article which is updated in its income amounts for April 2015 Here a husband writes his wife a letter, he states how much she would make if someone paid her.
- Lastly, if you are still not convinced check out this video from last year, where people are being interviewed to be a mom.
- UPDATE: This post entitled: The True Value of a Mom, has an updated graphic worth checking out!
When you list some of the everyday tasks you do as a stay at home parent then add in working / homeschooling it is quite a list. Imagine if you had to pay someone? I know we couldn’t afford it.
How to over come this “just” a stay-at-home mom mindset:
I struggled personally with this mindset for a long time, even surrounded by an amazing family and friends. Below are two steps that I found really helped.
- Remember why you do what you do, write it down somewhere you can see it if need be
- Stop using the word “just” to minimize what you do every day
Being a stay at home mom is a hard, sometimes thankless job-but it is still the best job ever! I look forward to the day I get to return to being a stay-at-home mom!
This post is dedicated to the stay-at-home mom’s who get it done every day, with a smile! You rock!
Do you know someone who would find encouragement from this article? Please share it with them. Thank you for sticking with me!