“Do you work or do you just stay at home?”
Every mom has probably gotten this question at least 50 times. In a culture where we define each other by what we do, it seems to be the default icebreaker. The implication, of course, is that if you stay at home, you JUST stay at home. You don’t DO anything else.
Seemingly in response, there are endless social media posts about being a stay-at-home-mom that list all the roles moms fulfill on a regular basis: chef, chauffeur, maid, nurse, etc. These are probably all true, but they still reduce the role of mom to what we produce. It’s just another way to label and define ourselves based on what we do.
Being a mom isn’t merely about making snacks and applying band-aids. Being a mama is a sacred act. It’s a deep bond unlike any other. Often we are the strongest ties to small people who are full of light and not quite of this world yet. They still hold a bit of magic, and they entrust us with their pure, sweet souls.
And then we bear witness as they learn about life. We grieve as we recognize that the world isn’t good enough for these beings but that it’s all we have to offer them. We hold space for them, we create a safe harbor for them, and we sit on our hands as we let them go one moment at a time. It hurts, but we do it anyway.
We do all of this because we love our children so fiercely that we’re consumed by it. Being a mama, regardless of our other roles, is of infinite worth. It’s a privilege not bestowed upon everyone. And for many of us, it’s our most important work.
There will be those who will tell us that we aren’t fulfilling our potential or that staying at home is easy and pedestrian. They don’t know about the beauty of the ordinary moments. We’ll think back to the quiet hours spent rocking our babies in the dark, and we’ll know without a doubt that being a mama is a holy, bittersweet miracle and our blessing to this world. Let them think what they want; we know better.
A version of this post originally appeared on Empathic Parenting
About the Author
Megan Stonelake is a therapist, blogger, and mama. Her fascinations include child development, empathy, and all things parenting. Head over to her blog, Empathic Parenting, where you can sign up for her newsletter to receive tips and musings on peaceful parenting. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.