This topic weighs heavily on my heart this week as I found myself amongst a group of women who were not sure if I fit into their homeschool category. I work; they don’t. Therefore, I can’t possibly understand them. They are wrong.
Let’s face it, there is no end to the war between the stay at home and working mothers. You here this subject come up often within the ramparts of the homeschool community—sometimes face-to-face on the playground, sometimes online. There is always plenty of mom bashing and questioning on both sides. How can you stay at home and not go crazy? Don’t you want to do something with your life? Doesn’t working make you miss your kids? How do you keep your home clean and stay on schedule with school? “I don’t know how she does it,” is common to hear from either side.
There is also the bitterness involved and yes, even the jealousy. Moms who stay at home can be made to feel inadequate and inferior to their working counterparts, while working mothers can be made to feel inadequate as mothers and wives. If one is right, the other has to be wrong. Right? Not quite.
To add fuel to this fire, the psychologists and medical professionals are always dipping in with their two cents on what is best for the child. Will the child have normal behavior? Will the child be intelligent or have social issues? Will the child need counseling because of an overbearing mother who was always there or because of a working mother who was possibly absent half the time? We can breathe easy that the jury is still out on this one.
There is no end to the war between the stay at home mom and working mothers.
I’ve experienced the benefits and let downs on both sides. For years I stayed at home with my children. I was lucky that I had that option when they were babies. During that time, I went to college and managed to complete two master’s degrees. Once they were all school age, I entered the work force and continue to homeschool and work still today. Staying at home was hard and wonderful; working is hard and wonderful!
As a mother who has experienced both sides, I can honestly tell you that the only choice that is the right one is the one that is best for your family, for you, and for your child(ren). There are plenty of moms who choose to stay at home. This is the right choice for them. There are other moms who choose to work. Working and homeschooling fits together in the same way staying at home and homeschooling does. It fits because it is the right choice for your family.
The truth is that homeschooling parents are unique. They are the parents that choose a path outside of the norm and stand strong against any naysayers. As homeschoolers we need to stand up for one another. It doesn’t matter if you work, or if you stay at home. It doesn’t matter if the stay at home parent is a dad or the homeschooler is a single parent. It doesn’t matter why you choose to homeschool or even how. We need to stick together as a community that believes in a different path for our children and our families. Let go of these differences. Open your heart and your home, the homeschooler next door who is just as exhausted after a long, hard day might just need you.
Amy teaches college English and literature full time. She recently self published a book of poems, and her novel is currently with an editor. Amy started homeschooling her oldest when he was in first grade and now he is a junior in high school. Her other two are 9 and 12. They are eclectic and Amy has dived into several curricula. Her middle son is dyslexic so that’s a challenge in itself. They have done umbrella schools, groups and even online curriculum.