As a motivational speaker, among other things, I teach people to motivate themselves. And one part of this process, is helping them reconnect with the power and purpose of what they do, and its value to those around them. Because I believe that unless you believe in yourself, you’ll never get to where you want to be. And today’s message I am sending out to all those mothers who chose to stay at home with their children instead of taking a job outside the home. If there is someone likely to burn out, lose sight of the vision, and feel unappreciated – it’s a mother.
Apparently there are those in our society who feel that mothers who don’t work outside the home don’t have a voice. What could she know? She’s a stay at home mom who never worked a day in her life. This judgment infuriates me. Well, any kind of judgment infuriates me – but especially something so far from the truth. So I feel compelled today to shout out for all the stay at home moms. I have been both a stay at home mom, and a mom who has a job outside of motherhood. I actually run a business from my home – try that for confusing! We need a new word for that.
I do not like the term “working mom” because motherhood, no matter what else you have going, requires a tremendous amount of work. Yes, many mothers check out and shirk even the most basic of mommy duties. But most do not. Most are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, loving their children as much as any other mom. So just because you chose to go get a second job – does not entitle you to ownership of the word “working mom.”
So all of you mothers out there who are surrounded by dirty laundry, changing diapers, driving carpools, and trying to juggle a household – who have felt the sting of another person’s words – belittling you, and telling you that you do not have a say because you are not making a contribution – I would like to share these words of truth.
1. Motherhood is a job. It never stops. You don’t get a break – you are always a mother. You don’t get a paycheck, but you handle new duties every day. Everything is in your job description. You have no guide book or manager to tell you what to do. You don’t get to leave at the end of the day. And you take this job with you on vacation. If you are a mother that has decided to do the job – don’t let anyone ever tell you that it’s not work.
2. Your voice counts. What you think matters. Your vote for who will run this country is JUST AS IMPORTANT as anyone else’s. Let no one tell you that you are unqualified to make those kinds of decisions. You are smarter than most of the people making those decisions. And what you believe, and your principles, hold just as much weight as how many books someone else reads- or who can quote Shakespeare.
3. Your role as a mother has lasting value. Show me a job where people are responsible for molding the future of our country – the next generation. You are there in the most crucial stages of a child’s development. Your care and nurturing will determine a great deal of how that child functions in the world. Their health, their nutrition, their physical well being, their safety, their egos, their view of the world – is in your hands. Again – find me a job where there is more on the line. One day you may enter the workforce and someone may tell you that you have no skills. Perhaps you don’t have the tools they are using in the business world today. But, sister, YOU HAVE SKILLS. You have skills you don’t even know you have. And you got them from being a mother. On the job training.
4. You aren’t perfect. It’s not in your DNA. Humans don’t have the ability to achieve perfection. We will always fall short. You will have days where you get it right, and days where you get it wrong. Forgive yourself and celebrate what you are doing well. And understand that there is always an element of your child’s development and life that you can’t control. The hardest part of motherhood is letting go and letting our children live for themselves. The choices they make are not your fault.
5. Nobody can demean you without your permission. Can’t remember who said that, but it’s true. There will always be someone (shame on them) who will turn up their nose at you because you are “just as mom.” Apparently society has continued to devalue the roles of parents – and I’m not sure we can turn that train around. But you can let their comments roll off your back like water off a duck. You can choose to find self value and self worth even in the face of those who seek to demean it. And your ability to do this – and have your children see it – is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them. For our children must also learn to find value in themselves without needing others to give it to them.
6. Pay it forward. Motherhood can be a lonely place – where you are desperate to have someone to confide in, network in, share your challenges and triumphs. So go find that lonely mom out there and reach out. Encourage each other. Support each other. Stand together. You shouldn’t have to go this alone.
7. This all goes for stay at home Dads too – who are just as important, and may face even more negativity in our society. More and more fathers are choosing to stay at home with their children. You go Dad!
8. Turn about is fair play. Just as we should cherish and support our stay-at-home moms – we should cherish and support our mothers who have taken a second job. It is not our job to judge or determine what is the right way to raise children. Just what is OUR right way. So don’t turn around and point the finger at another mother because she chose a different path. And to all you mothers who have a second job – you are just as good a mom as those who don’t. Never let someone tell you that you shirked your responsibility as a parent. Hold your head high. YOU choose your priorities. YOU choose what’s best for your family. YOU choose what’s important. Now stand tall in your own beliefs. And don’t look at me to determine your worth.
Okay. I’m done. I hope this post brings mothers of all kinds a little encouragement and hope. And even more – that from now on, they won’t need a post to feel good about themselves.
Please share this with moms you know who may need to hear it.
Your wacky motivational speaker stay at home mom who works at home,