Women can all agree on one thing: Motherhood is tough. Being a working mom is tough. Being a stay-at-home mom is tough. There is no “easy decision” and, ultimately, it boils down to what’s best for you, your child and your family. Thanks to my career in the beauty industry, I have always been surrounded by powerful women who know how to command attention in the boardroom. It’s been such an empowering learning experience and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, once I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately felt a twinge of anxiety—Would I have to leave my career to take care of my baby? It’s a dilemma that every mother must face, and while I have always wanted to pursue a professional career, I also wanted to stay at home with my child.
After my all-too-short maternity leave, I returned back to work part-time but I still felt like I was missing out on quality time with my son. My husband works crazy hours and night shifts, and constantly shuffling my son around on my workdays became difficult. After a couple of months, I decided that it was best for my family to stay home with my little guy. I was elated—I wouldn’t have to miss out on major milestones and I was able to bond with my son. Unfortunately, I did hear a few “How can you stay home with a baby all day?”, “What will you do all day?” and “I could never do that— I have to work” responses once I told people that I wanted to become a stay-at-home mom. I started to feel as though I had given up my entire career “just to take care of a baby.”
If you have kids or have ever babysat a toddler for more than a couple of hours, then you know that it’s absolutely exhausting. Raising a toddler is like having a pint-sized boss yell and scream at you all day long while you walk on eggshells in hopes of preventing another meltdown. What’s more, you start to feel basically “invisible” to the outside world—your main role is to care for, transport and play with your child all day long—minus any financial rewards, breaks or recognition. I can honestly say that I have never worked as hard as I do as a SAHM—but I wouldn’t change a thing.
I’m really proud of what I’m doing for my family, but, according to today’s standards, I’m anything but a “girl boss.” Here’s my proposal: We redefine the term to include any and all women who have accomplished their personal goals, whatever they may be. You don’t need to be flashing designer bags on Instagram, going on expensive vacations or even climbing the corporate ladder in order to be a “girl boss;” if you’ve always dreamt of being a mom, or are taking time off to enjoy your child, you’re still killing your goals, one day at a time. There has always been a division between working moms versus SAHMs—but there shouldn’t be. Women have other things to worry about besides defending their choice to work or raise their children full-time. As women, we need to come together and recognize the value and power we all have in our day-to-day lives. If we have any hope of destroying stereotypes, then it must start with us.
Photo Credit: Instagram/@susangiatti