It is the price tag Australia puts on stay-at-home Mothers.
We have been told that Mothers need an 'incentive' to return to workforce. Apparently that incentive is money.
I am all for an honest days work for an honest days pay etc etc, but there is great value to what a stay-at-home mother brings to the community. They do not literally stay home baking muffins and watching Dr. Phil all day. Who would watch Dr. Phil when Ellen is on?
Stay-at-home mothers can be found running play groups, volunteering in the school canteen, helping struggling children with one-on-one reading that is impossible for classroom teachers to provide with their hectic schedules, care for the children of working friends/family, and most importantly - they care for their own children. This frees up spots in childcare centres for those who need them.
I in no way have an issue with any mother who does work and I don't believe they love or care for their child to a lesser standard than a stay-at-home mother. Their choice to work is their choice to make and need not be justified to anyone. I'm completely aware the guilt trip works both ways. Working mothers absolutely get the rough end if the stick too at times.
But it seems that our government views working mothers as contributing to society and stay-at-home mothers not so much.
Decades ago, there was the expectation that mothers would stay home with their children. Women fought for the right to enter the workforce without judgement. I respect this.
But why now do I have to fight to defend my choice to stay home with my children? It doesn't need to be one way or the other. Both can be viewed with equal respect and appreciation. Both can be understood to be important. Each can be lifted to a place that our society can value without pushing the other down.
I am an educated woman. I studied full time while my children were young so I could support my family if *heaven forbid* our family required it, but more so that my family deserves the best of me. I still desire to continue learning. Motherhood hasn't taken that from me. But when Anthony and I decided to have children, we also both wanted me to be home with them while they were young (not just their pre-schooling years).
I knew what I was doing. I knew the decision I was making in wanting to be a stay-at-home mother and it doesn't diminish my intelligence at all. The intricacies of running a household can be as demanding as any full- time job. It somedays provides the luxuries of a long lunch and freedom, and other days leaves little time to eat at all. Somedays the work is fulfilling and fun, such as volunteering in my boys school classes, but can be mundane and unnoticed, such as the hour and a half spent cleaning window tracks with cotton buds.
My desire is not that everyone make a big song and dance for stay-at-home mothers, just that they are seen to be important and valued by the country we live in.
It's a choice we made, and we have paid the price financially by not having a second income, but it's a choice I would make time and time again because I know its important.