Honor? Stay-at-home parents
Get a 'real' job...
I taught my kids how to read and write, I potty trained them and did arts and crafts. I saw them crawl, walk, and speak, for the first time. I volunteered at their schools, I went on field trips and chaperoned. Myself, and only one other parent, ran the PTO for more than 5 years, because all the other parents had ‘real jobs.’ I ran book fairs & fundraisers, drove them to and from practices and games. I helped them with their homework and projects, attended all back-to-school nights, parent-teacher conferences, award ceremonies, graduations, plays, and or events. I stayed up with them when they were sick and or had nightmares. I nursed their boo-boos, refereed their fights, made them their lunches, prepared their snacks, I listened, cried, consoled, and supported them through their countless break-ups & make-ups. I cooked homemade meals, did the laundry, cleaned the house. I also had the honor of doing these things over the years for many other children, while their parents went to work; some paid me for my services, others could not afford to, but paid what they could, when/if they could.
I had to put out fires, pull hot wheels out of toilets, bleach walls and floors, because someone thought poo would make for a great finger-paint. In my ‘free time,’ I cleaned the homes of the parents that had ‘real jobs’ to help supplement the income I was not able to provide or contribute, as a result of my decision to stay at home and just “sit on my a$$ all day, doing nothing.”
There are many that will argue that this is not or was not a ‘job,’ and they are entitled to their opinion. After all, who in their right mind would apply for a ‘job’ they were not paid for? No pension plan, no dental plan, no overtime, no 401 K, no raises or promotions. You don’t get sick leave/pay, no substitutes can or will be called in, no vacation time, no hour long lunch breaks, and often times you must forego 15 minute “breaks” altogether. Oh, and lest I forget to mention again, no paycheck. Squeezing what felt like 48 hours into a 24-hour period...it was the most fulfilling, time in my life.
Being a stay-at-home parent is like being a ‘ghost writer,’ you do all the work, while someone else takes all the credit. Then again, even a ‘ghost writer’ gets paid. We just aren’t paid monetarily; we are paid with hugs & kisses, and phrases such as “I love you. You’re the best mom/daddy ever.”
Not surprising it is not recognized as a 'job' for some, but it is the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of one’s life-whatever title they want place on it.
I’ve heard many refer to it as the most underrated, underappreciated, thankless, over looked ‘jobs’ a person can or will ever hold. While I agree on most of those comments or opinions and statements, thankless is not a term I am familiar with. For I did not and do not believe our children are not thankful for all that we do/did for them-they just don’t always verbally express it. Besides, I feel as though I am the one that should be thankful for the opportunity to be a stay-at-home parent, not just for my own children, but for the parents of the other children, who had to go to their ‘real’ jobs. I was blessed to witness, partake, and be involved in their lives, and felt honored and privileged to contribute, in the raising and upbringing of these remarkable, amazing, talented, precious, beautiful, souls. I hope one day they will, or are, able to look back on this time as I do, with fondness. Some knew me or referred to me as ‘auntie Quel’ or ‘mom #2,’ being that they often spent more time with me in my home, than in their own homes, with their own parents.
Whatever they call/called me, whatever title people want to bestow upon me or any other stay-at-home parent, is irrelevant. I made the choice to stay at home and raise my children and as a reward, I was compensated, in ways money cannot or could not ever pay. While this may not reflect or present well on any resume or application I fill out, as I begin my search for a ‘real’ job or career, now that I am a single parent, in search of employment. It does not detract or deter from the fact that I believe I held one of the most prestigious, challenging, rewarding, positions, anyone can ever have-a stay-at-home parent.
© 2011 Raquel L Pierson