I’m sure you have seen the recent Pew Article or news coverage about the recent rise in stay-at-home moms. The study indicated that in 2012 29% of mothers did not work out of the home, up from the modern era low of 23% in 1999. One stat in the article was that 370,000 married stay-at-home mothers with working husbands, 5% of the 20% (read small– I get lost in the percentages!), have at least a master’s degree. I had two reactions to this: 1. Wow, I am one of the few people wasting my degree 2. There are 369,999 others like me!
According to the study, I believe I would be classified as a stay-at-home mom. I guess if I had to pick I would put myself in that category as well. Technically I do freelance work and I write; however, most of my time is spent caring for my children, running errands and planning for the family. I guess I still struggle with why we are so concerned with which bucket: stay-at-home or working mothers. Isn’t there a grey area? Some in between?
I was chatting at the playground with a mommy friend of mine. I asked her what she would say if someone asked what she did. I could see her struggling with her answer. She is an accomplished therapist who used to work at hospital in NYC and run her own private practice. Now she is mostly home with her little one. She still has a private practice and she now teaches graduate school. She is probably in an office more than her husband (he works from home mostly). So, why the label? Why can’t she be both? A stay-at-home working mother.
I have another mommy friend who home schools her children. Doesn’t she work? Sounds like she is a stay-at-home teacher to me. I think women who work full-time consider themselves working mothers. There are some women who are home with their children and think of themselves as stay-at-home moms. Then there is an in-between group. Those who might work part-time. Might do odd jobs or freelance. However, they spend most of their time with their kids. Stay-at-home working mothers.
Companies offer so many alternatives in today’s society. Work from home. Work remotely. Freelance. Contractor. Consultant. Part-time. Full-time. It is great advantage for the modern mother. We get to define our own paths, even make up new ones. I wonder if this new category, the stay-at-home working mother, would change the study at all? Would the outcome still be the same?
What do you think?