“And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”
The remarks above were made by President Obama at a speech in Rhode Island on Halloween (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/31/remarks-president-women-and-economy-providence-ri). I know that they have made their way around the internet and I didn’t really pay that much attention to them. To me it is just another case of President Obama inserting his foot into his mouth. He has done that a lot. But then I got to think about what he said. I am exactly who he is talking about. In April, I resigned my position at a community college to stay home with my boys. They are not babies or toddlers. The decision was one that I wavered about. I really enjoyed working, but the strain it was causing to me and my family was not worth it. I began working when my husband retired from the military. Despite what some may think, transitioning from military to civilian life is not easy. My husband and I reversed roles. He stayed at home, going to school and taking care of the boys while I worked. Then about six months later, he got a job. We were both working. It was not easy. Finally, we decided I was needed at home. It was the right decision and a decision that needed to be made. My boys deserve for their mother to be home. I am not worried about having lower wages for the rest of my life if I know that my sons will have the guidance and love they need. I tried very hard to be active in everything that the boys did while I was working, but I missed things. It couldn’t be helped. The boys were very understanding, but it hurt. The email to my coworkers was very honest and open about the reason I was leaving. It was to be a stay at home mom. There is no shame in the decision. I don’t understand who the “we” is when President Obama said “that’s not a choice we want Americans to make”. I am very comfortable with me and my husband making decisions for our family. I do not need outsiders, like President Obama, making decisions for my family. Women deserve more credit than we are given. There is no shame in being a stay at home mom. There is no shame in being a working mother. The point is it is the individual’s choice not the government’s. For the last 6 years, the government has been slowing creeping into our homes. We have been told what we should eat, drink and even what we should think. Women staying at home rose 29% in 2012. There are 10.4 million women who are stay at home moms. There are a myriad of reasons for women staying home, but the decision to stay home is their decision. I have been home for about 7 months now. I am very busy and sometimes probably have too many irons in the fire. I still work. I substitute teach, but it gives me the flexibility to be here for my children. I am active in my sons’ school, my church and in my community. I have been able to focus on my children that I never was able to do as a working mother. Maybe I was doing it wrong, but for me the decision to stay home is one that makes good sense for my family. It may not be what President Obama wants, but it is what my family wants.