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Momma, You WORK!

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Don’t be bullied by society’s error-filled trend toward utilitarianism

Dear Crescat,

I’m a mother of two, ages six and eight. Since my youngest just started elementary school this year, I keep encountering this question from family and friends: “So now that you’re kids are in school, when are you going back to work?” I thought my husband and I had decided that I would continue to stay home, but I am having misgivings now.

Certainly our family could use the extra income, but we’ve been blessed these past nine years. Things may have been tight, but we’ve always managed. I don’t think the issue is the money so much as the perceived notion that my kids no longer need me during the day so I must be doing nothing with my time while they are in school. Even my mother thinks staying at home now is being “wasteful” of my education and talents. My family and friends were much more supportive when our children were babies, but not so much anymore.

I am tired of having my decision questioned by everyone and treated like all I do is eat bon-bons all day. How would you handle the question when asked?

Happy Homemaker

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Dear Happy Homemaker,

Three things:

1) The next time someone asks you when you’re going back to work, you can remind him or her that you’ve never stopped working.

2) Just because your children are in school doesn’t mean they suddenly stop needing you.

3) No one knows what is best for your family except you and your husband.

Being a homemaker is the hardest, most underappreciated work there is, as you know. It’s also the most noble work. To quote C. S. Lewis, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only — and that is to support the ultimate career.”

Momma, you work! Trust me, you work. Whether you’re a mom who labors for a paycheck or not, if you have kids (no matter what their age), you work. Period. Every mother is a “working” mother. There’s no workforce to return to because you’ve technically never left.

Your mother accuses you of wasting your education by staying at home, but obviously she’s not familiar with middle school math. Just you wait. When your kids bring home geometry, you’ll be thankful for that education.

Also what a sad utilitarian way for her to look at her daughter, judging your worth by how useful you are, like a common household appliance. You can tell her I said that.

Honestly, your choice to continue on as a homemaker is quite practical and sensible, hardly wasteful. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to leave my job to pick up a sick kid, drop off forgotten lunch, lunch money, homework or some book. Would you like to explain that at your new job or perhaps have your husband risk his own employment to take on the role of emergency-fetcher-of-stuff?

My goodness, whatever shall you do with all that free time? Why, you’ll probably get all the stuff done during the week that I scramble to cram in my two-day weekend — laundry, grocery shopping, errands, kids’ haircuts and school clothes purchases to replace the ones that are outgrown at an alarming rate. My weekends are busier than my work week. I have no doubt you’ll easily find plenty to do while your children are in school. They’ll also be glad that you are home when school lets out.

If you and your husband have made the decision that is in your family’s best interest, then how people respond to your choices is not your concern. The problem is theirs, not yours. The only opinions that matter are your own, your kids’ and your spouse’s.

You want to know how to respond when people ask you what you plan to do? You tell them, “What’s best for my family.” End of story.

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