Traditionally the term stay-at-home conjured up visions of women having "free" days to toil away since they weren't reporting to a 9-to-5 job. Stay-at-home moms often had a stigma attached to them where the perception was they spent their days eating bon-bons and watching daytime television.
Most stay-at-home mothers would likely say nothing is furthest from the truth. Not then and not now.
While stay-at-home mothers may have a bit more flexibility in their schedules, and have the indulgence of being able to spend a lot of time with their children, they also give up a lot in order to do this. Unfortunately, even in modern day, some people fail to realize the level of sacrifice that some women give in order to tend to the home.
The fact society has evolved to be more accepting of women having choice to either work in or out of the home is a positive movement. There is still a way to go, but definitive progress.
Fortunately the perception of a stay-at-home mom has improved over the years, and nowadays mothers are viewed more positively. Yet on the same token, some of these same negative perceptions are given to working mothers as well. It seems perhaps it is still a gender issue rather than a 'mom' one.
Years ago there were higher levels of discrimination and stereotypes and, while over time these have been erased, that glass ceiling has not yet shattered. Regardless of which choice a mother makes when it comes to working in or out of the home, there are still segments of populations that criticize.
Despite the recognition and accolades stay-at-home mothers are beginning to receive, there are still negative views. As a result, a stay-at-home mother's work is sometimes either undervalued or under appreciated because there are no dollar amounts attached to the work she performs.
Another consideration often overlooked are the things a mother gives up when she chooses to forgo a paid job to take on the unpaid position of homemaker. For instance, it is not uncommon for a mom to feel she's given up a piece of her identity as she awakes to her job in sweatpants ,which within the course of an hour, are probable to be covered with applesauce, yogurt or cheerios.
Before motherhood she may have had a career and a highly interactive life outside the home. After having children, life changes, and when a mother chooses to remain in the home, this transition has a more dramatic effect. A career is only one of the many things a stay-at-home mother gives up in order to remain at home.
Moms who opt to stay at home to raise the children not only sacrifice a paying salary, in some cases, they give up a level of autonomy. While this is increasingly changing due to the opportunities of telecommuting and the ability to pursue income online, essentially a stay-at-home mom's first commitment and primary responsibility during the day is to tend to the children.
Outside interaction is another facet of life stay at home moms sometimes forgo because their job keeps them busy inside the home, and this job focuses on children. Lunch dates, after-work get-togethers and other social events are often foregone in order to attend to home matters.
Society places a dollar value on most everything these days, and this is one primary reason why stay-at-home mothers are not appreciated enough. If the job doesn't pay high, this is often a perception of less worth. The other sacrifices mothers give up often aren't given consideration as a tradeoff.
Yet it is one of the most important jobs anyone could take on.
Hopefully the trends of recognition the work a stay-at-home mother does will continue to be acknowledged and all mothers appreciated for what they do, whether they choose to work within the home or without.