By Guest Blogger Allison Carter
I am a stay-at-home mom (“SAHM”) to 2 boys, and I love what I do. I worked professionally for years and loved my job. But it was on a dead-end track so when we found out we were pregnant with our first son, my husband and I decided it made sense for me to stay at home for awhile. We would save costs on daycare, I could keep teaching exercise for a little income, and in the meantime I could take some enrichment classes or otherwise reassess and change my career path trajectory.
Yet there are many days where I think about work, and miss it. A college-educated woman who is ambitious occasionally needs more than Thomas the Tank Engine to keep her fulfilled. This is an issue I love to discuss with my other SAHM friends. Yet I have to tell you, there aren’t many these days. Couple that with the observation on my recent trip, I realized that out of ALL the friends I saw I was the only SAHM in the whole bunch. I can’t help but wonder: is the SAHM a dying breed?
I could chalk this up to economy. Dual income means more money to afford the higher cost of living, etc. And for some families I am sure this is true. Yet it seems to me there is another phenomena in play. You see myself and the vast majority of my friends are waiting until they are older to have children, older than the age my mother and her generation was when they began families. That means we have a lot years and a lot of energy invested in a career by the time the newborn comes. It’s really hard to walk away from those years and, indeed, why should we? There are so many options out there with working from home, flexible work schedules, part time work, and so on. With advances in technology the world can be a mom’s oyster. I know that single parents (God bless them all) don’t have the luxury to even have this conversation, but it is something I mull over in my thoughts. (I do have to take a moment to say that while SAHMs seem to be on the decline I do notice in my life that the number of dads who stay at home is ever so slightly on it’s way up.)
Do you think that as us SAHMs become rarer and fewer, we’re just going to go out of existence? Is it no longer respectable or acceptable to be a SAHM? I am genuinely asking since I don’t know. I know that for myself, even though I stay at home, I am still constantly engaging in career-like things such as blogging, writing, conferences, presentations and the like. I just try to squeeze it all in during nap times and at night. I feel as though I have to be doing way more than my mom and her friends did when it comes to having my cake and eating it, too.
Do you think the lack of SAHMs is going to affect us in any way? I know that kids are resilient and as long as they are loved they have the best of odds of making it. Yet when I think about all the volunteer positions that need to be filled to make preschools, day cares, co-ops, schools, reading programs, enrichment programs, and the like “run,” it seems like the SAHM is who we need.
If you think that the SAHM is needed, respectable, and necessary, what do we need to do to get more? Because I could use some playdates. 🙂