Monday, October 5, 2009

Learning to accept

Something I'm finding very hard to accept is the new title I have. Usually, whenever I'm asked what I do for a living or whether I'm working while Owen is a baby, I answer, "Yeah, I work from home as a freelance writer." Today however, it was very firmly drummed in to me that I am a stay-at-home-mother. And I didn't like hearing that. I didn't like it because I have a pride in me that says I'm somehow more than that: I'm an EARNING mother, a financial contributor to the household income... even though I spend all day mopping up baby sick and only start my writing projects when my husband comes home in the evenings.

I REALLY don't have a problem with women (or men) staying at home after the birth of their children instead of leaving the home to work, and I wish we were all able to routinely spend more time with our kids instead of working. Some people choose this; others don't have a choice. I am very fortunate that I am able to earn some money while wearing my pyjamas and taking care of my son, as not every woman who wants to do this, is able to. The money I earn is minimal, but I do enjoy my work and I get a small thrill every time I'm offered a new project because I'm able to get paid for doing something I love. It's a wonderful feeling and it gives me a sense I'm contributing something more than childcare and housework to my family - as well as helping me avoid the financial guilt I used to have every time I spent money. These days, if I want to treat myself to something small, I can do so without feeling as though I've somehow betrayed my husband.

Today though, I was talking to my therapist about ways to connect with other young parents during the week, and she used the phrase "Women Who Stay At Home" to describe us. It really struck me that this is my true title. I AM a "Woman Who Stays At Home" and I do so because I both want to and I am able to. I'm also a working mother though, so where does that leave me? Should I keep describing myself as a freelance writer, or should I answer more honestly and say I'm a stay-at-home-mother? I'd much rather be a freelance writer, but perhaps that's no longer accurate.

Maybe, just maybe, I can be both.


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