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I've had it. I'm tired of calling myself a stay-at-home-mother. Stay at home? I left the house on at least five occasions this week alone.

I've hated that this title ever since I chose to give up full time work for full time mothering and household maintenance (although I should have read the fine print stating no time off for weekends, vacations, holidays or sick days).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the job even through all the whining, spills, unrecognizable stains, and the repetitive disorder which inflicts uncontrollable bouts of deja vu forcing you to repeat the same statements or acts hundreds of times in one day. Through all the battles and tears (even those of the kids), diapers, boo-boos, and vomit, there are these creatures that make you go all weak in the knees despite it all. I love the job. It's the title I hate.

Stay at home for me conjures up images of home arrests, security bracelets, and guards posted outside of doors. Is it any wonder people usually give me that pitying look when the conversation veers into the dreaded "what do you do?" moment. Over the years (13 to be exact) the most common reply has been to say something along the lines of "Oh, I wish I got to stay home too," before moving on to someone who gets to leave their house. It's like telling a prisoner in solitary confinement how lucky they are to get some "me" time.

Popular culture shows working mothers as strong, confident, chic women ready to take on the world. Heck, they even have their own magazine. Your stay-at-home mother, on the other hand, is seen at home or, if she is out of the house, trapped in some massive SUV (which really is like a house) schlepping kids from one activity to the next. Is she confident? Is she stylish? Nope, her hair hasn't been washed in days and she's wearing the same sweat pants for weeks praying no one will notice. Do we get a magazine? Nope, all we get is sympathy from those looking at us through the fog of sterotypes.

I'm not trying to add more fuel to the cultural wars here between mothers who work outside of the house and those that work from home. I'm just trying to get an update to our image- a little p.r. razzamatazz.

For you moms like me who've been dissatisfied with the stay-at-home moniker, the next time someone ask what you do throw some title at them that knocks them off balance. Maybe an out-in-the-world-mom or a domestic resource manager. Or try just printing up your job description and just handing it to them, smiling gleefully as they sift through all the pages. Hey the President of the United States has a massive bureacracy to help him get the job done; you on the otherhand have only your wits. Whatever it is you tell them just make sure it's more colorful than just being someone who simply stays in the house.

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Comment by Maureen Daniels on March 20, 2009 at 11:17am
Totally relate to this post and I'm really horrified by the woman who commented to you Ana bout your choice to stay at home to raise your children. I think a lot of people don't understand why a well educated woman would want to stay at home but I do because it does save us money and I do want to be home for my boys to train them to be strong and decent men in our society. It all starts at home.
Comment by Ana on February 22, 2009 at 12:57am
Hehe... As a "former" SAHM I can relate all to well to this post. I think that when a woman is a black SAHM she tends to get an additional dosage of questioning, weird stares and reactions. I remember 6 years ago in my first bout with SAHMhood I was in the park with my 1st born. I struck up a convo w/ an AA woman in her 50s-60s. We were talking about post secondary education and past work experience. The inevitable question of "what do you do, now?" came up. I let her know that I "chose" to stay at home to raise my son.

Her mouth drop and she expressed disdain in my decision. She couldn't believe why an educated black woman would want to "waste her life" away when she had such potential. Then she went on to say the only SAHMs she knew were collecting welfare and were lazy. I couldn't believe the ignorance of this woman, but unfortunately her views run rampant among a lot of AAs.
Comment by Makasha Dorsey on January 11, 2009 at 3:08pm
Being the Chief Operations Officer of the Dorsey home, I totally understand your gripe about accepting the title of "stay-at-home" mom. I work from home bringing in a modest income and I save our family a substantial amount of money because I do work from home. Even during the times I didn't bring in money, I knew that raising my boys myself is what mattered to me.

I don't knock working moms, everyone is entitled to their choice but please respect my contribution to the world. I am raising children who I believe will be model citizens, great husbands (2 boys), and phenominal dads.

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