Staying at Home = So Long Ambition?

Hopping on the elliptical one day, I forgot my headphones. So I reached for an outdated copy of The New Yorker to keep my mind occupied for the next 45 minutes. And my blood began to boil.

Inside was an article in which a (childless) author wonders how a bored & intellectually unchallenged stay-at-home mom can tell her daughter education is important when she herself has abandoned her education to be at home.

My face is red just from typing that statement.

See, I’m that mom she’s talking about. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and while working full-time, I earned a Master’s of Business Administration degree at night. I spent seven years supporting my husband through school while I paid the bills. I earned a spot as a “Top 20 Professional Under 40.” I had a baby and decided to be at home with her.

So in that author’s mind, I’ve thrown my hands up in the air and said goodbye to my previous life as an ambitious woman. I’m showing my daughter that working life is over once you have a child.

Come on.

If I took a three year sabbatical from my job to work in an orphanage in India, I would be called inspiring, fearless, impressive. But because I’m taking ta few years away from my career to raise my child, some say I am without ambition, goals or inspiration.

I couldn’t disagree more.

My accomplishments are not erased with my decision to focus on My Girl. My education doesn’t evaporate because I don’t receive a paycheck for a period of time. And my core qualities – ambitious, focused, driven – don’t disappear; they’re transferred to the role I’m playing now and the role I will play in the future as I transition back into the working world.

I don’t personally know a single stay-at-home-mom who wasn’t in the work force prior to having children. And I don’t know a single one who isn’t planning to return once her children are in school full time. And I certainly don’t know one who wouldn’t declare she wants to encourage her daughter to be anything and everything she desires.

Deciding to be at home for a few years isn’t a damnation to a life of servitude to my spouse. It isn’t a declaration that I’m forever done with the career world. It isn’t destitution.

It is a choice that is right for my family right now. And a choice my daughter will have if/when she becomes a mother. And I’ll support her wholeheartedly either way.

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