The Black Stay at Home Mom - Thoughts
Today I want to discuss Black Stay at Home Moms (SAHM). Some of the myths and some of the reason my husband and I are considering having me stay at home with our kids. Some of the questions I will be answering are, why am I considering it? Have I always felt this way? What are my fears or hopes from staying at home with my children? What does life as a SAHM or WAHM look like in my vision?
In our community there are usually 2 main stereotypes that we fall into when we leave a traditional 9-5 to stay at home. One, you are lazy and on welfare. Two, you are rich and privileged so you don't have to work. Although there are definitely instances where these two stereotypes are true this is not the majority of us. The conversation should never end there.
We have plenty of black woman now who are choosing to stay at home or work from home to care for their children. As of lately there actually has been a serge of African American women who are leaving their 9-5's and making the conscious effort to have a more present role in their kids life. Which often times includes home schooling their children as well.
Have I always felt this way?
No, absolutely NOT. I gave birth to my oldest daughter at the age of 17 during my senior year in high school. At that time I knew that I needed to work and provide for her. I have always been taught and told that you have to work hard and provide for your family. I was raised by a mother who always worked hard. My dad made very good money and could have very easily allowed my mother to be a SAHM if she chose to be. Side note:She tried it for like a week and went back to work. She is not wired that way. Working and having her own thing was important to her and I respect her for that. She raised my brother and me on her own for about eight years by herself until she met my step-father (my dad he raised me). So a lot of my independent traits come from her and my work ethic from both her and my dad. He was a great provider.
My grandmother, on the other hand, was a house wife.She raised 11 kids of her own and even some of my grandfather's siblings and countless grandchildren. I never had a bad outlook towards the woman my grandmother was. She was the model Stay at Home Mom. Always up before the sun hot meals daily, housework handled, gardening handled and my grandfather loved and respected her.It just wasn't appealing to me as a young mom.
I raised my oldest daughter on my own for 15 years. That left me with very little room to stay at home with her. Looking back I do notice that around the time she was finishing middle school my mindset started to shift away from wanting to climb that corporate ladder. So, I took a huge leap of faith left a well-paying job with plenty of opportunities for additional promotion and I moved from Philly to South Carolina. All because I knew that traveling for work every other month and working long late hours was not beneficial to my daughter. I knew she needed me to be more present. I promised her that when she started high school I would do just that. And I did. While I continued to work it was definitely not as all consuming as my previous job. For me at that time staying at home still was the furthest thing from my mind. Eventually, I remarried and had two new babies as well as 3 new step children. So my idea of my focused time quickly went out the window. Had you asked me 19 years ago would I be a stay at home mom or even 5 years ago my quick, no pause, the answer would have been HELL NO! I need my job. But in all honesty, my kids need me as well. That is what matters most.
Why am I considering being a Stay/Work at Home Mom?
I am more aware of the things that matter most to me, which is my family. I have a ton of guilt when I leave my job and I am too tired to do much more than cook dinner and put the kids to bed. I really want to have a more active role in my kid's life beyond the weekends and holidays. I want to be a bigger impact and in more control of what they are learning and how they are being taught. I want to ensure that the values and history of who we are, is being taught to them daily. I have trusted daycare's and public schools for many many years to help educate and teach my children. I know that it is extremely important for me to be more involved in that process on a daily basis.
What are some of my fears and hopes of being a SAHM?
One fear is the social aspect of it. What will my kids be missing out on? Will they be teased when they meet new people? Will I be able to stick with it? Will my family judge me for my decisions? Financially can we make this work? This is definitely not a decision to be made in haste. However, if you know in your heart that's what you want, then at some point, you have to just go for it. Believe in your vision for your family and jump. Everything isn't for everyone so please don't feel as though I am telling anyone they have to do this. I know I will be met with side-eyes, questions, doubt and more. My hope is that in time this subject won't be so taboo in the black community. I hope that I can provide some additional inspiration to others. Showing them alternatives to what society tells you that you must do. It simply isn't true we have other options.
One of my hopes is that my bond with my kids will be even stronger than it is. I also hope that I will be able to show them that being unique and following your own values is empowering. I hope by seeing my transition from Working mom to Stay at home mom shows them that women can be whomever they choose. Also, my hope is to have my home run so much more smoothly and provide a less chaotic environment for my husband to come home to after a long day of work. Coming home and not having to worry about chores and other things of that nature will allow us time freedom. Freedom to be present at the kid's extracurricular activities. To do more family things together and to even save money in the process. Having him on the same page as me makes the idea of it all very tangible and real.
What does life as a SAHM / WAHM look like for my family?
Education: I am still on the fence as to whether or not I want to home school my girls, as well or still send them to public school. Which ever I choose I see myself having time in the evenings to go over homework with them and do additional lessons at home to keep them on track. I also plan on teaching them more about their heritage. Black history is more than a month and our history started before slavery and did not end with civil rights. Not to go off on a tangent but it is so important for them any child to know who they are and where they come from. Also being able to incorporate our spiritual beliefs into their everyday learning is important.
Home & Health: I see a minimalist lifestyle in my home. One that stays tidy longer (wishful thinking but I am believing in faith, lol). I will have more time to meal prep and workout with the hubby. I see a family garden in that vision and more structured night routines. Us as a family just living a more Holistic and Conscious lifestyle.
Finances: I plan on continuing with my photography business and my startup consulting company. I definitely plan on having other non-traditional streams of income. I also see us being able to save more money. Just the cost of daycare and after school care is a huge saving by its self. Having more time to plan meals and grocery trips also means less money wasted on fast food and junk.
Love: As for my kids I just see them having parents that are less tired less cranky and who have more quality time to spend with them. As for my husband it's almost the same as the kids. We will be less exhausted and have more time to dedicate to each other. We won't be running in opposite directions trying to get the kids to games while the other is running errands or headed to a different game for another kid. More one on one time spent communicating and loving on each other.
Overall this isn't something that I take lightly. This is part of multiple conversations with my husband. This is planning and researching. I know it won't be an overnight thing unless something drastic happens at my current job. Being a SAHM or WAHM is not for everyone. I would never knock a mother who couldn't or just didn't want that for themselves. Everyone has to create what works for their family. For me, in this present moment as I go through some spiritual transitions and other mental transitions I truly believe that this change could only add value to my family and their experiences.
Please help me to keep the conversation going. What are your thoughts on this topic? Are you a SAHM/WAHM and what tips or suggestions do you have for me or others? Have you tried it and decided it wasn't working for you? Leave a comment below or on one of my social media platforms. I would love to chat with you. I am always up for learning from others and their life experiences. Let's expand our minds together.
Until next time, Peace Peace!