Feminism has allowed women to follow careers in various paths. Earlier centuries sought to keep women at home, but today, we have women stepping up to become successful lawyers, doctors, and even presidents of their own country.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have the wrong mindset about what a successful woman looks like. A successful woman is happy and thriving in a path of her own choice. But when a woman chooses to be successful as a stay-at-home mom, there’s a bit of pushback due to the stigma of stay-at-home moms and the belief that they perpetuate what society has been trying to instill on women for centuries.
Here’s why that isn’t the case.
Stay-at-Home Moms in the US
Around 29 percent of moms in the United States are SAHMs. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. This is a huge drop from statistics in 1967 when nearly half of moms stayed at home while their husbands served as the breadwinners.
This drop can be attributed to the economy. In the past, inflation was so low that our grandparents could afford to go to college, buy a house, get married, and have children in their twenties because the term “minimum wage” was literally the wages a person could survive on, not like today.
As such, the salary of one white-collar job was enough to raise a small family. Usually, this was seen as a man’s duty for his family while the woman stayed home to do housework and look after their children.
Over time, however, inflation continued to expand and this work-life setting became impractical. Given the increase of educated women, it became more practical for both parents to work and increase the income of the family. Today, the new norm is that both parents work.
However, many women (and some men) have remained stay-at-home moms for mainly three reasons: because they prefer to raise their own children full-time, they still believe in the traditional notions of women staying at home, or their household is financially stable and they can afford to be at home.
Why Some Women Want to Be SAHMs
Some women prefer to stay at home and raise their children, and that provides many benefits for their children. Some moms are not comfortable with the idea of someone else raising their child while they’re at work, whether it’s a family member or someone trained to raise children.
If their child has a special condition, they may also choose to be a SAHM to provide their children’s needs around the clock indefinitely or until such a time that they no longer need to be around their children all the time.
There’s Nothing Wrong with Being a SAHM
As long as a mother truly wants to stay at home to be with her kids, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s OK for her to leave her job (no matter how successful it is) and go home to raise her kids full-time. If this is the future she wants, who are we to say what makes her life successful when she sees a successful life as one surrounded by her children?
I’ve always believed that feminism wasn’t necessarily about putting women in positions of power. Rather, feminism is about giving women the choice to be whatever they want. Feminism is about removing the hurdles that made it impossible or unnecessarily difficult for women to reach their ambitions on the basis of their sex. At the same time, however, it’s not about shaming women whose ambitions are limited to their own home.
Women following their careers and ambitions have never been easy, especially for mothers. Working mothers are guilted into thinking that they’re not spending enough time with their children, while stay-at-home moms are accused of being lazy and falling into patriarchal practices that keep women at home. Feminism has allowed women to follow either path of their own choice, and no one should be shamed for following the path they want for a successful life.