I couldn’t be more grateful that women have a choice. Choice to work, choice to be home with their children, choice to work from home etc. But just because we technically have choice, doesn’t mean all choices are well supported.
I’d like to start by getting something out of the way, I’m not against spending time away from my children. I LOVE spending some time alone, with my husband, with my friend’s, childfree. And I understand there are women who LOVE their work and want to return to work. They should have a choice and they should be supported in doing so without guilt and with love. I hold up my sisters who choose full-time work wholeheartedly and I value their contribution to the world. But this post isn’t about them. I used to be them and I have to say, at least I got some bloody respect and appreciation from the general community when I went to work! (Not that being a working mother isn’t without judgement…..for realz we can’t get a break no matter what we choose, but I digress 😆)
When I first started exploring homeschooling enough to start telling people who’s opinion mattered to me, the most common response was “I could never spend that much time with my kids!” There wasn’t a mother I spoke to who thought she could spend ‘so much time’ with her kids. Not one mother had that kind of faith in herself. They didn’t have that faith in me either it was pretty clear 😉! Nor did I have faith in myself.
I’m not sure why I was surprised, we are told at every turn we can’t do it. We have literally convinced ourselves as a society that we can’t be with our children full time.
Woman have been mothering since the beginning of time. Maybe, just maybe, the kids are not the problem? It’s all the other bullshit woman are told they have a choice around but are severely judged by society if they don’t live up to expectations and follow a certain set of unwritten rules. It’s become more normal to outsource the kids than to outsource some of this other ‘stuff’ taking up our overfull lives.
Somewhere along the line, as we continued to drown in our ridiculous overwhelm, we’ve been convinced that the only solution, the ‘break’ we need, is from our kids. Only, by forfeiting full-time motherhood, can we be a fulfilled, return to work and be a contributing, respected member of society. WTF!
After the age of say 1yr old, the expectation is that you return to work. And homeschooling? Well, that’s generally considered by the greater community a luxury at best and a lazy, self-centered, helicopter parent, drain on society at worst, although the tides are turning ever so slowly, this is still the underlying belief of the majority.
So I just wanted to shine a light on the other possibility for a moment. The women who choose full-time parenting, homeschooling and even more so- those that would if they thought they could!
What if motherhood/ parenting was given the respect and support it deserves? What if we acknowledged it as a full time (more than full time, 24hrs a day) job with the same respect as someone who went off to work and made money? And we acknowledged that the outcome of that full-time job was well adjusted, well-supported people who would contribute to society and change the world for the better, in the majority of cases?
In a society that is constantly complaining about the attitude of today’s youth, but takes more and more time away from parents, it seems to me that taking on full-time parenting might be one of the most valuable things a person could contribute to society.
So why do we treat it as a ‘lessor than’ way to spend your life after the first year? or even earlier?
I wonder how many women would choose full-time motherhood if we told them they CAN AND COULD and that we as a society valued their contribution and supported them?
And I wonder how many parents would be empowered to choose school alternatives like homeschooling and unschooling if we said YOU CAN DO THIS instead of SOMEONE ELSE COULD DO IT BETTER and it’s too much for you.
What if we investigated ways to teach and supported mothers to manage motherhood/ parenting better? How to parent respectfully and wholeheartedly? How to set and manage their own boundaries? How to live life with their children by their side, exposing them to the real world and still be fulfilled and have a sense of self? How to create communities that support them, with people they connect with, instead of just random people who happen to have their baby at the same time?
What if we made it ok to send some of the other bullshit away? What if we sent away the cleaning or the cooking or one of the millions of other things that we are responsible for? What if we made it ok and supported outsourcing other things? Not just the kids? So we had the energy to give our children the support, time and unconditional love they deserve without running ourselves into the ground?? or being overwhelmed with guilt?
What if we taught and supported women to create alternatives to the 9-5 career? Not that they are EXPECTED to do this, but if they have a great passion/ career that can contribute to societies collective joy or function, and/or provides them fulfillment, what if we supported them in finding alternative ways to do that and make money from that, without separating from their children?
What if we stopped telling mothers they can’t be with their children full time. And started telling them they can.
What if we told women, they were MADE FOR THIS. And that we value and appreciate them and their contribution to society as a full-time parent.
I wonder what would happen then?