What's In A Name? The Stay At Home Mom DebateBeth Anne Ballance
Lately there’s been talk of “rebranding” the Stay At Home Parent, shying away from calling primary in-home caregivers as “stay at home moms” or “stay at home dads.” There is argument that the term does not do justice to the work done in the home or convey the respect the role deserves.
I understand the sentiment, but I’m also a little confused by it. While it was brief, I did stay home with my son last year and I relished my title of “stay at home mom.” I mean, we didn’t really STAY HOME all day. There were errands and playdates and doctors appointments and house cleaning and dinner was rarely on the table before 7pm. But my office was my home and my duties were raising our child, nurturing him both physically and emotionally, keeping the house, etc. It wasn’t trivial work, but it was work done in the home.
The truth is that NONE of us have titles that fully encompass what we do each day.
My title is “Digital Marketing Specialist.” It’s a broad title that probably tells you very little about what I do throughout the day. I build emails and landing pages in a content management system, then I test them and test them again and then blast them out to thousands of people at once. I’m also the project manager for newsletters and online magazines and I dabble in wireframes for the company website. I attend communication summits and I clean lists and I train my coworkers to empower them in their own jobs.
But still, I am simply known as a “Digital Marketing Specialist.” Even now I am simply listed as “Contractor” on my employee page and badge, which goes even further down the rabbit hole to tell you absolutely nothing about what I do.
When job hunting, each listed position usually comes with a disclaimer at the bottom of the job descritpion – usually “performs other duties as assigned.” Which is a polite way of saying that there’s going to be stuff you’re expected to do outside the scope of your title.
I don’t have a hat in the race of what “stay at home moms” are called officially, but I do know what it’s like to not feel that your job describes everything you do. I understand that sometimes you want your title to scream everything you’ve accomplished as a way of validation. But I know my worth at the company is beyond the title on my badge. And stay at home mommas, I respect you and think you do incredibly valuable work, no matter what you are called.
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