For my whole life, I have wanted to be a mom. If you’re my family, this is no surprise to read in the slightest. For my friends, this isn’t shocking either. Ask me any day and I’ll pull up my baby Pinterest board filled with nursery ideas and must-have supplies for new moms. I’ll talk to you for hours if you let me about different ways to deliver a baby, why I believe midwifery is the way to go, and how many kids I want to have. I’ll dream up scenarios of traveling with my family across the globe, hiking with a baby close in a sling, and prepping for lunches for years on end, sticking sweet love notes in lunch boxes. I imagine this passion to be the same as someone wanting to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher.
For my whole life, though, I have been embarrassed of this. While I’ve only had two serious boyfriends (and if you’re counting outside of high school, only one), I have been on a lot of first dates, and I always get asked the same question:
What do you want to do when you grow up?
I have two answers at this point; I’m at a fork in the road.
- I want to pursue a career in Public Health and combine my love for film and photography with my passion for community and helping others, or
- I want to be a mom.
I have chosen #2 for my answer about 4 or 5 times.
“What are you going to do when the kids get older?”
“So you don’t even think a career is important?”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
If a guy told a girl he wanted to be a stay at home dad, she would swoon! She would love it! She would be so happy! Maybe its just the guys I’ve gone on dates with (I mean, there’s a reason there was only one date…) but I know that a huge stigma exists against stay at home moms and its extremely frustrating.
A New York Times article, The Stigma of Being a Housewife, was published in 2010. Although it is six years later, the content is still true.
“In the 1950s, women were expected to stay at home, and those who wanted to work were often stigmatized. Today it’s mostly the other way round, pitting women against one another…”
I don’t really understand why such a stigma exists, pitting people against SOH moms. My childhood was incredible and I owe so much of that first to my mom, who stayed home with me until she went back to school when my little sister was born, and then my dad for supporting my mom’s decision and supporting her 100%. Do I think that women who work and parents who have busy jobs neglect their children? No! Of course not! Do I think they are shitty parents? Absolutely not.
I think the biggest root of the problem, in correlation with the stigma, is the unfamiliarity of being a stay at home mom. Yes, it is popular, but it is not talked about. It isn’t celebrated on the same pedestal as doctors, CEOs, lawyers. Men who had stay at home moms their whole lives will still scoff at me when I say I want a family and wonder why.
“It’s easy to stigmatize or romanticize the different paths we choose. The true challenge is to dig deep enough beneath the surface to understand each others choices or, at the very least, respect those choices we don’t understand.” via
You might not understand why I want to raise babies for a living, but I don’t mind. You don’t have to understand. All I ask is for your respect and attention; the same you give to everyone else with a different dream job.