Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:48 PM
I'm currently a stay at home mom. In September, I will be going to school when my son will be a month shy of two years old. I never finished getting a university degree; I now plan on getting getting a technical diploma at a CEGEP.
I don't know if this was exactly my choice. I was planning on staying home for the first year of his life and returning to work when my maternity leave was finished. My plan was disrupted a few months into my leave when I found out that everybody at my job was getting laid off, myself included.
I've looked at job postings, sent out CVs, and gone to job interviews. I saw a job counselor who suggested that I try McDonald's. My son is still on waiting lists for the $7 a day daycares, so a big chunk of my hypothetical McDonald's paycheck would go to a private daycare. This plan didn't seem to be worth my trouble; my time would be better spent at home taking care of my son. Staying home was my choice when I was looking at the alternative. If I hadn't been laid off during my maternity leave, I probably would have chosen to go back to work (I was a relay operator for the Deaf and hard of hearing, which I would prefer to being a burger flipper.)
Regardless of whether or not this was my choice, being a stay at home mom is an option that many mothers choose. It's a valid career choice. I've mentioned this on my blog before, but in this piece the author recounts a story about meeting a stay at home mom who handed her a business card:
Those four words on that business card speak volumes about this woman. Some people will think, "Oh, that's sad that she feels like that's all she is now: Greg's Mommy." But I could tell this woman obviously thought her baby was the bomb, and she saw it as a real privilege to be attached to that radness. Seemed like the words on her card were there to say, "Yeah. I made that with my magic lady body. Jealous?" Or maybe she just made the cards as a public service to every frazzled mom she meets who's got zero chance of remembering her name, let alone her kid's name.
Some may feel that this is a silly idea, but why not? They may not work in offices, but stay at home parents are still important people making a valuable contribution to society. It's wonderful that women have more choices than they used to and that they now have the option to work outside of the home, but it's crucial to remember that staying home with the kids is a choice for some mothers, too.
This sums it up quite nicely:
Feminism is all about the power to choose. Half a century ago, it is likely that my current stay at home status wouldn't have been mine to accept or reject. Instead it simply would have been the way it was. That was the case for the brilliantly stifled Betty Friedan, an Ivy League educated genius who launched the modern women's movement when she wrote The Feminine Mystique after finding herself literally imprisoned by societal expectations that she confine her interests to home and hearth. Twenty years later, Friedan re-explored the lives of American women in The Second Wave, in which she argued that the assumption that every woman should construct a life centered primarily around earning a wage could be just as limiting as previous social paradigms.