Sunday, October 30, 2005

"Stay At Home Mom"

I’ve never liked the term 'Stay at Home Mom.' The idea of staying somewhere sounds completely uninspiring. Have you ever heard anyone answer the question “What do you do?” with “I stay at the office” or “I stay at my cubicle?” I wonder why? Hmm, could it be because it sounds just a tad bit boring! I just don’t get defining yourself by the place in which you, supposedly, stay.

I assume that the term 'Stay at Home Mom' is a reactive one that came about to differentiate itself from the 'Working Mom.' I must say that if I had to choose between these two jobs based solely on the titles, I’d have to go with the 'working' one over the 'staying' one. It’s just hard to get excited about the passive call to stay.

I’ve always preferred to be the one going away rather than the one staying behind. I would rather move to another state than have a close friend move away. I would rather head off to a conference or go on a trip than have my husband do either while I stay behind. The person going somewhere gets to have an adventure of some sort while the one staying behind is left to experience the same old routine.

Another reason the term Stay At Home Mom irritates me is that Stay At Home Moms don’t really stay at home. They go to schools, playgroups, libraries, bible studies, other mom’s homes, parks, grocery stores, malls, and doctor’s offices, to name a few. So what would be a better term, I’ve asked myself? When someone asks me what I do, what should I say? Recently I tried out this response: “I’m currently working with a small number of clients (two to be exact) in a variety of areas, but focusing primarily on personality assessment and character development.”

I also struggle with the question, “Do you work outside the home?” I don’t want to say “no” to this question, because I know that what I do and who I am isn’t confined to four walls. “Do you work outside the home?” “Yes, my work with clients involves both private and public settings.”

Sometimes I wonder what’s really behind my dislike of the 'Stay at Home Mom' title. Am I embarrassed to be a Stay At Home Mom? Do I think it’s not enough for me, that I'm better than a Stay At Home Mom? I will continue to grapple with these and similar questions, but here’s the bottom line. I’m disillusioned and embarrassed that a vocation of such magnitude and consequence has such a lame job title.

If you have an idea for an alternative job title to 'Stay At Home Mom,' please comment.


Aj Schwanz said...

Welcome to the blogging world! Oh, I'm so excited to get to read your musings.

And I'm *so* with you on the "stay at home mom" misperception. When Judah was little, I said I was in Fluids Management - going in, coming out, etc. :) Now I think more of myself as Samantha Mathis' role in "The American President" - she was his personal assistent. "Sir, you have a playdate scheduled at 9:30, a library appointment at 11:30, and you're booked to romp around in your diaper before your nap. Does that work for you?" :)

Gregg Koskela said...

Marta, I don't have a new title for you, but I will say this: you are being more than a faithful mom to Gabriella and Jonah, you are being a faithful follower of Jesus and a faithful friend to many, and you are being faithful to use wonderful leadership gifts in our community.

And I'm glad for that!

Gregg Koskela said...

And how appropriate that AJ and I are the first to comment on your new blog! I'm really glad you're blogging, too.

(By the way, you should go to the "comments" section of your blogger dashboard and turn on word verification. You'll soon be getting wonderful comment spam if you don't.)

Robin M. said...

Another devotee checking in.

I'm back in the office three days a week now, and "at home" four days a week. But in fact, I'm more a "Running around with children" mom. Sometimes I like to say, "I work three days a week at a scholarship fund downtown, one morning at Silas's co-op nursery school, and one day at my Meeting."

I will also take this moment to recommend a book I LOVE on spirituality, writing, and the mothering journey, "My Monastery is a Minivan" by Denise Roy. She is laugh til you cry funny and profound.

Robin M.
What Canst Thou Say?

Amy said...

I really love how you put words to our "job". I have thoughts swirling in my head constantly about the state of my employment.