Good morning! Hello, friend. I heard the most surreal conversation yesterday. A woman called in to an advice show asking if it was okay for her to stay home with her kids. Apparently she’d been getting a lot of pressure from her friends to continue to work as some kind of women’s movement empowerment statement.
“Your husband is okay with the idea of you staying home? He’s okay carrying the whole financial burden and you guys can afford this? (It was a financial show.)” The woman said that her husband was supportive and that it was her friends that were pressuring her.
This is so surreal. Look, the women’s movement wasn’t about making us all cookie cutters of a different cookie. It was and is about life choice. If you need to stay home and you can stay home, good heavens, do. After decades of “you must stay home” it will not be a victory if all we do is swap out one must for another. “You must work” is no better than “you must stay home” because it doesn’t take into account our different skills, situations or needs. No more musts. No more musting.
I didn’t quit, but I did take a massive step back in my career when mine were little, and I was SO MUCH happier after I did. Happy. It’s a good thing. Now that they are older, it feels right for me to pour more energy into my career. And I’m loving it in a way that I wouldn’t have when they were munchkins.
Choose what works for your children, your heart, your marriage. And don’t let anyone guilt you into living a life that doesn’t fit you. If you need to work outside the home, do that. If you need to stay home, do that. If you need to go conquer Kilimanjaro, do that. Thankfully, we have choices now. CHOICES. Thank God.
And while I’m at it, if you need to get a cleaning lady, do that. (In response to the working mommy friend who said she felt like she was “cheating” if she got a cleaning lady!) And if you need to feed your kids off paper plates because you just can’t face another load of dishes, do that. We are not machines, we are human, and human life is messy and imperfect. If everyone is smiling while eating off paper plates, you’re winning. Go.
Making these multi-faceted lives of ours work is a wonderful, challenging, ever-changing dance. Listen to your music. Please don’t spend your life living somebody else’s dream, or worse, trying to live up to some idealized version of who you think you are supposed to be. Know who you are. Know why you are who you are. Then go do that.
Happy healthy kids. Happy healthy marriage. Happy healthy mommy. There are so many ways to accomplish these goals.
The radio talk show host told the woman to ignore her friends and live the life that worked for her and her family.