To the moms that refer to themselves as “just a mom:”
You are everything that I hope to become.
Let me back up before I continue.
I was raised by a father who grew up farming. I legitimately don’t know if you’ve ever seen a man with bigger calves or more muscular hands. The ability to earn a living was often discussed with emphasis on “earn.” His fatherly preaching? Don’t stumble over feelings of entitlement, work hard, education is crucial, and women developing a skillset that will give them the ability to financially support their families know what’s up with Survival 101.
(I’m sure that went over my head for a good while, but as life would have it, this realistic perspective came in handy and is now better appreciated.)
My dad wasn’t necessarily a feminist, but he very much applauded and encouraged women’s self-reliance, married or not.
Because of that, I have MAJOR admiration for women in the workforce. Whether they’re employed out of necessity or by choice, their representation in every sort of job fills me with pride. For real. Being in the single, working mom category really ignites the Beyonce spirit.
I work outside the home, and as a mom of three, it’s tough-emotionally as well as physically.
But, even as I work, do you know who I am REALLY in awe of?
Stay at home moms. The “just a mom” moms.
The women that include, “I don’t work. I’m just a mom!” in their introductions always stump me. JUST? As in, you JUST have the bathroom to hide in for alone time? You JUST get a quiet minute if you stay in your car a few minutes longer than your kids, trying to achieve invisibility? Standing ovation.
Motherhood doesn’t overshadow their capabilities. They are just as strong, determined, educated, and powerful, yet honorably decline the workforce. All those student loans? A promising potential career path? Affording a different lifestyle? Do you know how much selflessness that takes to watch previous goals dissipate in the rearview, even if they’ll be revisited in later years? I’m so amazed by these women and their steadfast decisions to just stay home with their children.
And by “just to stay at home,” I mean join their kids hand in hand on the front lines, battling a scary world. These moms are wise, and know that, if they can afford it, their time is most valuable teaching their children before sending them off to the world.
“Just a mom” is a woman, who, by choice:
braves the isolation that comes with young motherhood.
makes do with just a little less than she might if she worked.
is completely, utterly, painfully selfless.
stretches herself to be everyone’s everything, constantly.
never gets a break.
is always, always on the clock.
Before I had kids, I asked of stay at home moms, “What do they do all day, every day?”
Now, I wonder, “How do they do it all day, every day?”
Although I don’t see an opportunity to stay at home in my near future, I wonder if I am brave enough to become “just a mom.” Even before it was financially necessary, I found enjoyment working outside the home. Am I brave enough to let go of years of education and hard work? Am I that noble and self sacrificing?
Would I lose myself?
…maybe that’s the point.
You “just a mom”s are everything I aspire to be.