Let me just start off by saying that I’m really not the type to jump into these click-bait type of stay-at-home mom articles. (New York Times, I’m looking at you.)
I mean, sure I may have written one teensy, tiny article about being a stay-at-home mom that perhaps a few million people read and that may or may not have inspired that same NYT piece but still, for the most part, I’m just over here rocking my sweatpants, postpartum rolls, and endless cups of lukewarm coffee while doing my thing in peace.
Because really, what is the point of all of this back and forth soul-sucking arguing about being a stay-at-home parent? You either are one or not, end of story, let’s all move on with our lives. Oh, and kids tend to grow up, so your argument for or against at-home parents is a dying one to begin with. Bubble = burst.
But that being said, however, when I stumbled across a piece from fellow Babble blogger Brian Gresko titled “My Wife’s Just Not The Stay-at-Home Type,” I felt all of my stay-at-home mama feathers getting decidedly ruffled.
There’s such a thing as a stay-at-home “type?”
And what exactly does such a “type” look like?
Gresko doesn’t make clear the supposed qualities that stay-at-home mom “types” posses that allow them to do what they do, but he attempts to describe what his woman’s “type” is — she is super involved in parenting! A breadwinner! She helps with the chores! She’s empowered! She tells her husband what to do!
I get what he’s trying to say, I really do. That basically his marriage isn’t defined by gender roles and that’s a good thing, which, of course it is. But let’s also be very clear — there is no such as a stay-at-home type, male or female.
Staying at home, for most of us who have the choice to do so, is a decision based on what we feel is best for our children — not a decision based on what is necessarily 100% ideal for us. Do I love everything about staying at home with my kids? Of course not. Do I stay home because I’m the type? Nope, sorry. There is a lot of sacrifice involved and a lot that doesn’t come naturally to me in stay-at-home motherhood world, but for me, the benefits for our family outweigh the negatives for me personally.
My husband and I didn’t make the decision for me to stay home based on some warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I picture myself baking muffins and building forts all day with my kids. (Although, for the record, I do love a good muffin. Not to be confused with a muffin top, which happens to be quite fond of me and yes, I imagine the two are correlated.)
We didn’t sit down and wonder, “Hmmm, am I the type to stay at home with our kids?” Why yes, yes I am! It’s settled!”
I’m not denying that there are some mothers and fathers out there who genuinely love being at home and some who find fulfillment, meaning, and purpose in it. And I’m not saying that it’s not true that some parents have found that staying at home simply is not in anyone’s best interests, mentally, emotionally, financially, or otherwise.
But what I am saying is when you reduce the issue of staying home to simply an issue of personal fulfillment, it misses the big picture. So much of our defensiveness about stay-at-home parenthood derives from the fact that we have wrapped so much of our identities up in motherhood — and sometimes, staying at home doesn’t have to define us. And that’s ok.
Because staying at home with my children is not about me. It’s about them.
You just can’t reduce staying at home to a type or slap a label on the stereotype of a pearls-and-apron clad stay-at-home mom because it looks different for every person that chooses to do it. Those archaic stereotypes just aren’t true any more, sorry.
Some parents stay home because they have no other choice.
Some parents stay home because they can’t afford day care.
Some parents stay home and work from home.
Some parents stay home and still have to be the breadwinner for their families.
Some parents stay home and clean all day.
Some parents stay home and hire a housekeeper with no guilt.
Some parents stay home and wish they didn’t.
Some parents stay home and bake cookies—and some just want to eat all the cookies.
Bottom line, my friends?
There’s no such thing as a stay-at-home “type.”
There’s one type of parent — and that’s the kind just trying to do what they think is best for their kids.More On