Newlyweds are often bombarded with a slew of somewhat invasive questions in the weeks after marriage. Are you taking his name? Do you have a joint savings account? Are you planning on starting a family? The list goes on. As a parenting editor, I'm open to discussing these questions, however, what trips me up the most is when people ask — or just plain assume — I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom when I eventually expand my family.
To be completely clear: I think stay-at-home moms are awesome. In fact, my mother was one herself, and I have tons of wonderful memories from that period of my life. But these days, the role of "mom" looks a lot different than it did in decade's past. Some go to school full-time while raising their brood while others get things done in the board room before going home to make dinner for their family. Of course, there are those who opt to stay home with their kids, though that can be the most exhausting and demanding path of all.
While I believe women should feel empowered to do what's best for their families, I don't plan on being a stay-at-home mom once I have children.
I know what you're thinking. It's easy for her to say this now! But it's not, in fact, an easy decision . . . or a choice at all. Barring any unforeseen medical issues, I plan to work full-time. Here's why.
1. I've Worked Really Hard to Get to Where I am Professionally
As a writer and editor, I truly love what I do every day and I can't imagine, well, not doing it. I am fortunate enough to do something I'm passionate about, and the thought of taking a prolonged hiatus from it makes me anxious — it's truly my creative outlet. Furthermore, it's an extremely competitive field where jobs can disappear before your eyes, particularly given the media's tumultuous climate. It's no secret that leaving — and then trying to reenter — the workforce in any industry is incredibly difficult. My mom went through it once we got older, and it took her a few years to find a gig outside her field. For some, the process can even seem impossible.
2. For Many People in My Generation, Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Just Isn't Feasible
As an older millennial, I'm quite privy to paying off student loan debt and the seemingly astronomical cost of buying a home. Yes, I chose to take on debt in order to get the best education possible — and I'm totally OK with that — but it's just not possible for me to raise a child on my husband's salary alone. Of course, you can budget and cut unnecessary costs, which we already do as a DINK ("dual-income, no kids") couple. But the thought of scraping by while caring for someone else is hard for me to wrap my head around, if we could even manage it at all. I want to be able to buy my kids new clothes for back-to-school season and occasionally go out to dinner as a family, and my paycheck will certainly go toward that.
3. The Workplace Is Becoming More Flexible For Parents
Although neurosurgeons or lawyers might not have the ability to mix up their schedules, between mandated pumping rooms in certain states and more organizations instituting flexible hours, having a full-time job has become more manageable for working parents. I'd be remiss to mention that POPSUGAR is one of those companies that makes being a mom or dad, well, easier. Most employees have the option to work from home a few days per week. And if your kid has a recital at school? Don't worry, we'll cover things while you attend.
4. I Want My Children to Know That They Can Do Anything
As a non-mom, I know I can't fully grasp how stressful working full-time and raising kids can be. I'd imagine it's something like walking through a tornado from the time you wake up until your head hits the pillow at night. That being said, I think it's important to have an identity outside of your children. It can only make you a better parent and improve your marriage, if you're in one. While I'm aware dropping my kids off at daycare will be difficult, I want them to know that it's good to have passions. It's good for them to see you taking pride in something you love. And who knows? Maybe, just maybe, they'll even look up to me one day.