Stay-at-home moms, caretakers shouldn’t be viewed as less successful

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Tomorrow, I am going to drop out of college. I am going to get a job, plan a wedding and hope to have children soon after. Thereafter, I am going to be a stay-at-home mother and caretaker. I am going to be what people may call a “housewife.”

I want to care for my children’s needs from sunup to sundown, with the help of my husband. I want to be a homemaker and clean and cook for my family. I will not have a college degree and that’s alright, because this is my dream and my passion.

What do you think?

You judged me a little bit, didn’t you? It’s alright. That’s a pretty normal reaction based on what we, as students and young people, have been taught. Our criteria for “success” involves a college degree, resume-bolstering academic achievements, a high-paying job, and our routine morning stop at Starbucks.

We look at people like Steve Jobs and Anderson Cooper, and think, “Wow. I want to be like that. I want to be successful. I want to change the world, and really be somebody.”

That’s all good and kick-ass, but even Bill Gates has a mom.

Somewhere along the lines, we lost sight of the starting line – our upbringing. I catch myself doing it too. We hold college degrees at a higher value than we hold good parenting. One might say, “Yeah, my dad is an engineer for Boeing and my mom just stays at home.”

She “just” stays at home. She “just” gathers, prepares and cooks the meals that nourished my body for years. She “just” vacuums, scrubs and dusts in the hard-to-reach places that I never knew existed. She, and the other stay-at-home moms like her, “just” instills the character, education, state of being, values and manners into the next generation of human beings. No big deal.

Chrissy Stockton wrote a Jan. 14 article for the digital magazine Thought Catalog under the alias “Amy Glass,” titled, “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry.” At the start of her column, Stockton writes, “Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same.”

And she’s right; they’re not the same. They may not even be equal. But the notion that being a stay-at-home mom is less “difficult” or “demanding” than a “woman who works and takes care of herself” needs to take a staycation with three children under the age of 10, prepare their meals, maintain a household, make it to every appointment and sports practice on time (with snacks on hand … or else) and having a happy face for their partner when they come home from work at the end of the day. Oh, and “take care of herself.”

The vision that Stockton loses sight of, and that many of us young people have lost sight of, is that success in monetary terms can only exist if our ability to pursue such success is present. Without a healthy birth and upbringing, our state of being, in that sense, would be much harder.

Therefore, a stay-at-home mom can have the same, if not more, “value” than a college degree or high-paying job. Of course, caretakers do not only have to be mothers. My dad adopted the title “Mr. Mom” when he stayed home with me for years. Whether a person’s caretaker be a mother, father, grandparent, sibling, foster family or ape that saved them from a hungry cheetah and raised them in the jungle, the point is: without them, we’d be lost, or frankly, dead.

I can’t imagine a world without these tireless caretakers. Our college “bachelor pads” give a good insight to what life could like with out them: a lot of sticky floors, frozen dinners and laundry sniff-tests.

So don’t hate on stay-at-home moms- they “just” gave you your life, anyway. And remember, Bill Gates has a mom too.

Laura Meyers is a sophomore in pre-journalism. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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