I had a conversation recently with a woman at Chick-fil-A. My daughters and her granddaughters were the same age. The subject of childcare came up and she asked me if I “get to stay at home” and then told me I am “lucky enough” to be a stay-at-home mom.
After further discussion, she told me her daughter-in-law and son couldn’t be expected to give up their careers.
Guess what? I did! I gave up my career as a technical recruiter to be a stay-at-home mom. We gave up almost half of our income for this lifestyle choice.
I tried to share as much with her – to show her the other side of the coin, but she abruptly stopped listening and began speaking to her grandchildren.
So, I will tell you.
No, I am not “lucky" to be a stay-at-home mom. Luck has nothing to do with it. Our ability to live as a single-income family took hard work and sacrifice.
We don’t drive new cars or go on tropical vacations. There were months during the first few years when I had to say "no" to play dates because we simply didn’t have the money to waste extra gas. We gave up cable and date nights out and many other comforts.
We also opt for the free museum admission and visits to neighborhood parks over play places.
We chose this life and are confident it was the right decision for our family. I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend every day with my kids, to volunteer in their classrooms and with the PTA, and keep them home sick from school when they aren't feeling well.
(Photo credit: Spectrum Photography)
But lucky? No. I’m not “lucky enough” to be a stay-at-home mom. We sacrifice to be a single-income family for the betterment of our children.
I understand this is not an option for all families. It may not be a choice you want to make either, and that's OK. But stop telling the stay-at-home moms you meet they are lucky. That their struggles don't matter as much or that they took the easy route. That they shouldn't be anything but grateful for their situation.
I know there are days when stay-at-home moms struggle with being home all day and yearn for something more.
It is all hard – stay-at-home mom, working mom, single parent. We all have our struggles and need to uplift each other instead of passing judgment on other people's situations.