Monday, August 17, 2015

Ode to Stay At Home Parents

I was filling out a form and realized for the first time in nearly a decade that I would need to fill out the "occupation" line differently than I have done over the last several years since I am now working nearly full-time outside the home. It gave me pause, because it reminded me of numerous situations where I'd been hit with the "So, what do you do?" question. That question is one that I despise, even though I now have a "socially acceptable" answer. Because I do not for one second regret my many years as a stay at home parent who either didn't work outside the home or only worked part-time.

Being at home allowed me to teach my child who was newly part of our family English instead of having to rush to enroll her in school when she wasn't ready.

Being at home allowed me to go back to school and complete my graduate degree.

Being at home allowed me to attend to the social, academic, and health needs of my children, disabled and nondisabled.

Being at home allowed me to learn how to live frugally and appreciate what I have.

Being at home allowed me the time, energy, and opportunity to exponentially increase my community activism. 

Being at home allowed me to grow spiritually, something that came in handy when I was faced with trials such as back-to-back deaths in the family, my child's hospitalization, a draining legal battle, etc. 

Being at home allowed me to hone the skills that led to me acquiring the job that I have now.

Being at home allowed me an opportunity to appreciate the pressure that women face whether they work outside the home, work at home, stay at home, or a combination of these.

Being at home allowed me to lead the world's largest international HIV clinical trials community group.

Being at home allowed me the availability to travel to our nation's capital and advocate for an end to profiling and police brutality, marching alongside hundreds of others who were also there for the same purpose.

Being at home allowed me to attend the first national HIV advocacy leadership summit for women.

Being at home allowed me to complete a pre-doctoral fellowship in neurodevelopmental disabilities such as Autism, FASD, intellectual disability, etc.

Being at home allowed me to attend class parties, chaperone field trips, and volunteer on campus at my children's schools.

Being at home allowed me to drive over four hours round-trip per day to drive five children to and fro four different schools on three different sides of town.

Being at home helped me - a Black, disabled mom - do my small part in shattering the stereotypes of stay at home parents. 

I respect and applaud all of those who cannot or choose not to stay at home. Working outside the home does NOT make one a lesser parent! But in this day and age when people criticize people, especially women, who stay at home as "doing nothing all day" and/or "wasting their potential," it can be a radical act to stay at home. And though I am currently working outside the home, I have mad love for my people who are at home taking care of business.

"Stay at Home Mom/Dad On Board" image, from Mommyish site

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