What comes to mind when you hear that an educated woman, a woman who once had a burgeoning career, has stepped down to become a stay-at-home-mom? Really, what do you think? That she is a great mom? That she wasn’t really all that successful and found the hidden trap door in the floor? That she couldn’t hack the pressure of the dual lives that most parents lead? That she found the best solution for her family? That somebody’s husband must be doing well or that somebody cannot afford childcare? That you pity her or want to be her?
Today, at The Atlantic, Lisa discusses the question she dreads most of all, “What do you do?” (Photo credit: John Schultz/flickr)
The four most dreaded words in the English language, according to a recent study, are, “We need to talk.” But for me, as a long time stay-at-home mom, the four words I dread most are, “What do you do?” It is the question that sneaks up on me at a parent-teacher conference or the sidelines of a soccer game. Each time I am momentarily dumbstruck and struggle for an answer. Yes, I take care of my kids, but working parents take care of their kids, too. No, the question “What do you do?” really means, “What do you do besides look after your family, clean your house, grocery shop, and volunteer in your community?” The question touches on our identity and ambition, how others value us, and even how our children perceive us. The question asks, “What does someone pay you to do?” And for that, I had no answer.
The question every stay-at-home mother dreads: ‘What do you do?’ http://t.co/oFeuWqvUGI
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) July 19, 2013
Conflicted about being a SAHM? The data explains why…this morning Grown and Flown on The Atlantic http://t.co/1RzBHuKwZc
— Grown and Flown (@GrownandFlown) July 19, 2013