I’d like to start by applauding all the stay-at-home moms out there! You have the hardest, but most rewarding job of all! God knows, I’d do anything to be able to stay home, taking care of my little girl. Sadly, with the current state of Puerto Rico’s economy, for me this is not an option.
When I had to return to work after my maternity leave ended, my heart just about broke into pieces. I love my job, but I missed my baby. It was even worse when I had to enroll her in School / Day Care when family members could no longer take care of her while I worked. I remember that first day, I went in, handed my baby over to her teacher, kissed her and left as quickly as I could. I could hear my “cookie” crying, while I also choked back sobs and finally collapsed in my car, crying my eyes out. One of the worst days of my life.
Today, my baby still has some days when she cries when we drop her off, but mostly she happily smiles at her teachers. We even discovered she’s made some friends! Some of the older students cry out her name as soon as they see her! She received more Valentine’s than I did!! Her social life is banging!
Having said all of this, I’m still surprised at how sometimes those of us who also work out of the home are looked down upon. You notice by “little” comments that are thrown around, with a certain irony:
“I take care of my OWN baby”
“I don’t leave the raising of my kids to ANYONE”
“My JOB is to stay at home”
But, what if I don’t have a choice?
Recently, I made a comment about this “judging” issue on my personal Facebook page and one of the comments from a fellow, stay-at-home, mom was:
“It can be done. You can stay at home. Just get help from the government, move some things around, and you can do it. Go back to work when your baby starts school”.
Nevermind that her partner has a good job and generates a good income, they don’t need help from the government. Nevermind that said “help” isn’t even enough and requires you to jump many obstacles before you’re even considered in need of it.
Factor in the lack of jobs and the surplus of people looking for employment, and it’s a major risk to quit your job on the hopes of getting rehired, or getting hired someplace else, when your kid starts school. How will I provide if I get lost in the sea of people searching for a job? How will I PROVIDE?
A few years back, when I worked at the radio station, I was sitting in the News Room listening to the program that was on-air, when a male caller said:
“Women need to stay at home and take care of their kids. That’s why there’s so much crime on the streets”.
Excuse me?! I almost fell off my chair and I wasn’t even a Mom at that moment!
There’s a certain stigma around women who work outside of the home that shouldn’t exist in the 21st Century. Some moms are the principal provider, as is my case, some moms are single mothers, some moms have more than one child and the household income isn’t enough.
Our children ARE our first priority, but it isn’t all black and white. Inside that priority is the ability to provide for them. To be able to pay for their food, their doctor’s visits, their meds, their glasses, their school, their uniform. To be able to nurture their wish to play basketball, football, baseball. To take them to the movies, the park. I’m not talking about luxuries, like buying their favorite gadgets, I’m talking about the BASICS.
Working outside of the home doesn’t make us less of a Mom. This is not a competition. And, we’re not responsible for “so much crime on the streets”! We don’t abandon our responsibility to teach them values!
So, hats off to those who have the blessing of being able to stay at home with their little one! And, hats off to those who go out and sacrifice their time in the name of their kids. We are all moms, we all love our babies. Not more and not less than.
Cheers to us!