Ever since the thought popped into my mind that I wanted to care for my son full-time, I immediately panicked about what others would think. I didn’t realize that there’s a cultural difference between black and white communities in terms of women working. I grew up in a military family where my mom had trouble finding jobs when my brother and I were born because of all of the moving but she had too many jobs to count, starting when I was four.
I always thought that a powerful woman works outside of the home. All of the black women around me did so including both grandmothers, unmarried aunts as well as married aunts. The number of children didn’t matter either, they just worked outside of the home. So when I decided to go back to work after 12 weeks, it was a no-brainer. Afterall, I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree, why not use them? All of that came into question when I was sitting up twice a night pumping breastmilk while the baby cried partly because I didn’t know how to handle breastfeeding a fidgety baby and my supply was always low. Getting up to a two-hour daily commute only to come home exhausted to a crying baby took it’s toll.
I fought hard with myself because it felt so right to be there for him to read, feed, and take care of him instead of staring at a computer all day pretending to be busy 100% of the time. I always wondered how he was doing at the babysitter’s. The mental anguish stemmed from the dozens of voices in my mind of every woman singing the tune of how great it feels to provide for their kids or the hit song, “I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t”. After all, I was right there singing it too. I didn’t want to be one of those women who didn’t earn money. Wasn’t that what women’s lib was all about? I had my own preconceived ideas of what the lifestyle was all about.
I finally decided that I wanted to care for him for a while and get back into the game later. It’s worlds apart from what I was used to but one thing is for sure, there are so many women who stay at home and they are black women too. I also learned that it isn’t all or nothing. Some stay-at-home-moms work full-time and part-time from home, at night and on weekends for extra cash. During this time, they have been my support group as I learn all about raising kids. I hesitated about adding the title of Stay At Home Mom to my resume but I figured it was better than having a gap, who knows?
I’m slowly coming to terms with this particular mommy war as both sides feel so strongly but I’ve decided that I’m going to enjoy the time because i know it won’t last forever.