Dr. Laura, I am a college graduate with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation. I worked until I was 6 months pregnant with my first baby. My husband made a promise to provide for all of us regardless of how many kids we ended up having (we both wanted a lot) so I could provide a home and support to the family and allow him to succeed in business. I have been doing this for 31 years! Wow! I have almost completely raised 5 children. 3 girls, 2 boys. Not all perfect all the time, but glimmers of perfection ongoing.
I have also had the honor of caring for my younger mentally disabled sister as she went through breast cancer and debilitating seizure disorder after my parents died.
So, I have for years felt my skin crawl when I hear patronizing remarks about stay-at-home moms. One remark is: “It is the hardest job in the world”. Really? Now possibly for some it is the hardest thing that they, personally, could do. I didn’t find it hard. Important, yes. Exhausting, yes. Critical, yes. Hardest?? What about firemen? Brain surgeon? Military men and women? Scientists? I could think of hundreds of jobs that are harder and I, for one, am offended that people think us stay-at-home moms need that kind of ridiculous absurd affirmation.
Some of the hardest parts of my job are things that come with the territory whether you are at home with them or not, i.e.: chronic or life threatening illness, future threatening decisions made by immature teens and young adults, tough love… Been there for all of them. The day to day, on the job, work of a stay-at-home mom is very busy and leaves you with little time for yourself. It catapults you into selfless living…Maybe that is the hard part for some, but I think it is natural and easy…it should be. I am not patting myself on the back. I use to dream of lying on beach chair with a drink with hours for sleeping and wished for the empty nest most of those years. I can do that every day now and you know what? It’s not what it’s cracked up to be.
Stay-at-home moms also often feel unappreciated and unthanked by the ones who they have worked and sacrificed for. One day that all changes. You look at the moms, dads, husbands, wives, friends, students, employees and citizens they have become…although not all perfect, that is your paycheck. It’s not the hardest job in the world, it is the best job in the world.