Contrary to popular teenage belief, the job of a mother is not to force bad fashion, annoyingly badger about room-cleaning methodology, or monitor chore-duty with an iron fist. I’m not a mother yet, but my respect for them has certainly grown exponentially past that old ignorant framework as I now interact with mothers on a daily basis. I was told growing up (and still firmly believe, by the way) that all moms go to mom school where they learn how to DO…well…everything. No?
Sides of the Fence
In my search for said mom school, I tumbled into what is probably one of todays’ and every decades’ hottest social issues: the debate of the working vs stay-at-home mom. It began gaining steam way back in the 60’s, though mothers have been breaking into the workforce steadily since 1860. It used to be the going consensus that woman should only work to kill time while searching for a husband or after her children had grown and left home. Today, of course, that is far from popular opinion.
According to a new Pew Research Center study, 61% of mothers are employed out of the home and a record 40% of all households with children under age 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. Still, stay-at-home moms are on the rise- up from 23 to 29% in 2012. Whether for economic reasons, personal beliefs, or whatever other reasons that land on the table, all this mumbo-jumbo statistic talk is really just to say that the workforce is a choice that mothers and families must make every day dependent on their specific needs, desires, and situations…. and it’s a big one, too.
America is so wonderful in that way, isn’t it? The fact that there are choices to be made is a blessing in and of itself. Still, the decision is tough and it affects families in a very real way. Unfortunately, a lot of moms end up resenting their decision or feeling guilty about it in some way or directing those emotions towards other moms who have chosen the alternative. So there’s this hanging tension of someone constantly vilifying the stay-at-home mom for sitting around baking cookies and watching TV all day or harping on the cooperate mogul for sentencing her children to pain and suffering of growing up as a “latchkey” kid. In reality, both of those extremes are, for lack of a better term and with the country girl in me stirred, hogwash.
Digging Under the Fence
While I am not a mother myself, I am half-way through my twenties which means oodles of peers and clients are having kids and figuring out this motherhood gig all around me. There are so many options available to today’s mother and I am constantly fascinated by how women are finding ways to fulfill personal passions, follow their hearts and beliefs, and nurture their children in different ways. I wanted to get more personal and see who these moms really are behind the statistics, how they dealt with the working-mother debate when it reared its head on a personal level, and how they continually adjust and manage their lifestyle. A few brave moms have already agreed to sound out about their family choice and how they “make it work.”
Starting next week, I’ll begin featuring a new mom every Monday in a series that focusses on all the ways women are creating their own definitions of motherhood. My goal is not to favor any one lifestyle choice over another, but to simply showcase all the awesome things women are doing for their families. I hope to feature women of all ages and races, from a variety of states and workforces, celebrating motherhood in all its versatility and greatness, and hopefully mitigating some bitterness and resentment that may linger about others’ lifestyle choices concerning work and family. After all, every mother grew and pushed out a beautiful little human being so that right there makes them pretty AWESOME in my book.
What does motherhood look like to YOU?
If you’d like to volunteer and lend your voice for Monday’s Moms, shoot me an email to let me know! I’d love to hear your perspective and so do other moms reading this blog! Just hit the Contact tab on my website for a direct shot or send a message on Facebook with your email address so I can get in touch with you.