Every Mother Works

Undoing the stereotypes of the "stay-at-home" mother

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Every mother works. Full stop.

Over generations in this country, we’ve built polarizing archetypes in American culture of the women who go into an office and the women who stay home. Two ends of a spectrum that is so broad, complex and grey.

Every woman, the moment she becomes a mother, will work harder than she has worked before. Our bodies prepare us during ten months of pregnancy – our minds slowly responding to biology and rewiring for our children’s needs, as we move from the day to day of our former selves to getting poked and prodded at appointments to preparing our homes to taking extra conscious care of our health. Then the months after we recover from labor, our bodies physically nurture and keep safe these vulnerable beings while we track milestones and learn as much as we can about their nuanced needs and wants. Then our roles evolve to teaching, entertaining and designing and facilitating their small worlds – activities, schooling and a nurturing home and family unit, which is no small feat. The healthy and happy development of our children is the biggest job we will have whether we make it our full-time priority or we hold it sacred alongside paid work.

I’ve had ten years of brand experience before I became a mother and by far and away, the re-brand of the “stay at home mother” is my biggest and most fascinating challenge.

At some point in our society, Americans created broad generalizations and assumptions about the women who chose to prioritize home and family for periods of time.

If we achieve one thing with the Mother Untitled dialog, I hope it’s that we put a face to the category of mothers, which I proudly claim membership of, who confidently and consciously choose to restructure work, build their own business for more control, or take a full pause to create space to parent. I hope that we can slowly undo the stereotypes of the “stay at home mother” and recognize this group of women as a vast and diverse pool of women who are creative, connected and relevant during this time while giving much of themselves and their time to their families.

I believe that if this category of women is celebrated for taking on the role of raising children and truly seen for all of their dimensions, they will be that much more accepted and supported when they choose to shift back into the paid workforce. Because they never stopped working.

This story was first published at www.motheruntitled.com

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