4 Reasons Why I Choose to Work

4 Reasons Why I Choose to Work June 1, 2017
4 reasons why i choose to work
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A few days ago, my son asked me when’s the last time I’d had a “real” job. He went on to clarify:  A job where, you know, I “worked.”

Dear Son,

You’ve never known a time when I haven’t worked.

I returned to work the minute I came home from the hospital with you in tow.

No maternity leave for me. You already had an older brother and sister at home, so I went straight to work.

So, in your lifetime, I’ve always worked.

Some people live to work. Most people work to live. I live to work because I get to do a job I mostly love: Caring for your brothers and sisters and you.

Coming out of college, if someone had offered me a position with long hours, no vacation and intangible compensation, I would’ve said, “DON’T sign me up.” I would’ve turned it down flat.

The Women’s Movement was still in its adolescence when I grew up. Bra burning had cooled to a simmer, but women still hadn’t shattered the glass ceiling in many industries. We were paving the way. Staying home was almost unheard of in certain circles.

When your dad and I married, I remember feeling superior to those poor girls who stayed home. I intended to have a career in addition to being a wife and mom.

Women who stayed home were sell-outs, zealots, throw-backs. I wanted it all. I’d been told I could have it all. I could bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.

Umm. .  then I had your older sister. I faced a dilemma about what to do with my life after having a baby. I started wondering if I ought to consider doing something besides climbing the corporate ladder.

So I decided to make home my work.

I kind of felt like I’d be a loser if I decided to stay home after getting all those degrees and buying that nice work wardrobe.

Don’t misunderstand; I respect women who have children and work outside the home. Some do it because they want to. Some because they have to.

But make no mistake—outside the home or in–all us moms work. I don’t leave the house everyday, but I work.

I believe you’re better off because I choose to “work.”  I’m a professional home organizer, which means I’m a cook, a nurse, a teacher, a custodian, an accountant, a concierge, a chauffeur, a therapist, a judge, a jury, a warden, and chief nose wiper.

I would’ve been fired long ago if I’d had a traditional boss. Like the time you fell and broke your arm and I didn’t take you to the hospital because I didn’t think you were really hurt. Or the time I accidentally locked your one-year old brother outside while I went in and had lunch. Sometimes I do a crappy job.

Your dad’s probably wanted to fire me as wife at times.

And many days, I’ve wanted to quit. Everyone has those moments, even when you do something you love.

I hope your question wasn’t precipitated by a perception moms who choose to make home their work are less valuable or less important than people who work outside the home.

That perception is changing, but, in our society, some still think staying home isn’t work.

Believe me, it is. You don’t need an advanced degree to do it, but a lot of moms, like, me have one anyway.

I work just as hard as your dad does but in different ways.

Yes, someone has to work outside the home for money to feed you and house you and clothe you. Someone has to pay for your piano lessons, the Internet, and your Xbox Live. And, I’m glad your dad does that.

But, I’m glad he values the work I do. He appreciates my willingness to stay home because it allows him to go to work to do what he does without worry or concern about you.

Come to think of it. . .  I’ve never heard you ask him about his real job.

But, here are 4 reasons why I “work”:

  1. I work because I want you and your brothers and sisters to be well cared for.
  2. I work because I want you to have someone to laugh with and to talk with and to dream with and to dance with.
  3. I want to listen to your stories and admire your Lego creations. And to remind you even though life can be icky at times, it’s also beautiful and meaningful.
  4. I work because if you and your wife decide she’s going to make home her work, I want you to appreciate her and understand why she’s annoyed when your son asks her when’s the last time she had a real job.

So to answer your question, when’s the last time I had a “real” job? Being a mom full-time is a real job.  It’s work. I chose to be a professional mom because I love you.

I’m thankful I don’t have to leave our home to work. This mom gig is about as “real” as it gets.

Get your real on,

Sheila Signature

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20 responses to “4 Reasons Why I Choose to Work”

  1. Hello Sheila, thank you for writing this article! Truly blessed me in so many ways. I have been a “Home Organizer for over 13 yrs; and received ridicule for it. I love how you point out the meaning of work and how valuable each of us are. I totally appreciate your wisdom, and the understanding you brought to your son. Again, thank you for allowing God to use your experiences to bless others. Blessings to you and family!

  2. Thanks for the bone of saying you “respect” women who work BOTH inside and outside the home. Here are the reasons I did both:
    1. So my child would have health insurance (only this last job my husband has had any) so you could be vaccinated, treated for your numerous ear infections and receive the regular health care.
    2. So there would always be good on the table and a roof over her head
    3. So she would have the same opportunity I did to go to college.
    In all the years she was in school, I didn’t miss one single event she was in. I helped with homework every night. I didn’t do housework until after bedtime.
    Did I envy the hell out of the working at home moms; you bet I did. But even though I couldn’t be home caring for her full-time, I must have done okay. She’s a Jesus loving girl with a big heart, good at her job and a joy to her father and me. So thank God every night you have the choice to be work-at-home moms; you never know when life will change. Just sign me the Christian mom every other work at home mom looks down on and gossips about. I could care less.

  3. Hi, Shiela! I love your site and your posts. I also stayed at home with my 2 kids. The younger one has special needs. I can relate to everyone who chooses the career inside the home and ridiculed by many. I have also shared a similar story on being a stay-at-home mom on my blog. I felt so much better when I published it. 🙂

  4. I realize I was fortunate to be able to stay home. Things could have been different. I applaud you. A lot of moms, working or not, wouldn’t do what you did. Not everyone would make the sacrifices you made. And, they paid off. Your daughter is a Jesus-loving girl and a joy to your heart. I think you did better than “okay.” Blessings.

  5. It’s a privilege to stay home altho it takes some mind-training when my husband asked if I “worked” today – when I was working part time – hrumpf. The other day I thought, It’s a good thing I’m home since my semi-adult daughter called and talked and talked. Empty nesters still work, believe me. Great post!

  6. Thank you, Sue. My semi-adult children still call regularly, too. In some ways, it’s kind of nice. I am my college son’s go-to when he’s bored. I don’t know if I should be insulted by that. I should probably be thankful. : )

  7. Shelia, I always enjoy your posts!! I’m working at home at the moment with 4 kids and without a doubt some people I was at college with feel sorry for me. And over time some of them stop asking my opinion about things because of course, my brain must have died 🙂 Ach well. I love what you write about sometimes wanting to quit, even if you do a job you love. That’s so true – often I feel there’s so much narrative that this is “privilege”, that it’s difficult to say that.

  8. You understand what I’m talking about. I didn’t even mention the people who think you’re no longer of value. Thanks for pointing that out.

  9. What a great post! My three kiddos are now in middle school, and one is graduating high school this week. I have enjoyed working at home while they go to school. Now I have time to go to college and hopefully start my career once they have all graduated high school, and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. It truly is a blessing to to be able to do both.

  10. Sheila, this is awesome! I loved this article and resonated with it completely. Thank you for writing it!

    Thanks for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I clicked over here from the party and ended up reading a whole bunch of your posts. Great truths presented with grace. . . this is my kind of blog! Bless you.

  11. Hi Sheila! I agree: “The mom gig is about as real as it gets!” I can relate to this post for sure. Thanks for the encouragement!