When people ask what I do, my usual response is that I GET to stay at home with my babies. I answer that way because I feel it is a privilege that I get to have.
I understand it is a privilege because it’s not one I was always granted. I worked until Lauren was just over 18 months old, and at that time it became apparent that it was time for me to transition into staying home.
I want to be clear here. There was sacrifice in order for this to happen. It wasn’t always easy, but we made it work because it was the best thing for our family.
It was a choice just like just about everything else in life. I think that’s why I’m writing this. I am so TIRED of seeing people try to invalidate or put down or show contempt towards the choices of others or this one in particular.
People say things like:
- I’d do that kind of stuff with my kids, but I actually work.
- It must be nice to not have to work.
- Oh you just stay home?
- What do you do all day?
- You must be so bored thinking about kid stuff all day.
- I’m so jealous. I wish I could sit around all day or just have to play with my kids.
These are a few examples from a long list that I’m sure many could add to, but again it comes back to choice.
When we decided that it was best for me to stay home, we sat down with a calculator and figured out what it would take to make that happen. If you are someone who longs for that, sit down and figure out what it will take. You may have to make lifestyle changes, but if it’s what you want, do what it takes. If it’s not or you don’t want to make those sacrifices, BE CONTENT WITH YOUR CHOICE WITHOUT DUMPING ALL OVER WHAT SOMEONE ELSE’S CHOICE GIVES THEM.
Don’t try to put that person down or tell them how jealous you are – do what you have to do you can have the life you want.
If you do not want to stay home or really do need to work to help support your family, flip to the other side of the coin and imagine the reverse of the potential comments for your situation before you say these kinds of things to moms who stay home. I’m sure you have your own list of words that have hurt you.
I had to work as the best thing for my family at one point too so I get that on a personal level, but how would you feel if someone said something about your decision to do what you do that put you down or invalidated your choice? Those comments do what they are intended to – they hurt.
There’s no intention on either side that makes either okay. I want to be clear on that. We all make our choices and live with them, but it’s never okay to intentionally wound someone because what they do day to day looks different from you. If you want a different result, make a different choice.
I say all the time that I truly believe that everyday is a wing and a prayer mission where we are all doing that best we can. It’s easier to be in it when you are being encouraged.
Maybe that’s what I really want to say. Instead of putting anyone down, encourage them. Most of the time we just get snapshots into the lives of others so you don’t have enough information to know where they really are or what hurtful words can do to them.
Be conscience and consider every word before you speak it. There are some people who seem to have it all together but are really just barely holding up all the walls around them. One unkind statement can topple so much so seek to encourage and build up rather than delivering the final blow.
Be kind. Be encouraging. Be the person you need to have hold you up in this world some days.