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How Stay-at-Home Moms are Compensated

16 Aug

Bonus check: our family portrait 2010.

This weekend I was paid a compliment by a close friend and family member. She thanked me for all I had taught her about mothering and expressed joy in spending time with me and my girls. I was humbled by her kind words, and admitted that I’ve never really considered myself all that great at being a mom. But I do try hard, and I strive to be better today than I was yesterday. While appreciating her sentiments, I thought about the term “paid a compliment.” It made me smile because stay-at-home moms must take what we can get in terms of payment.

What are some of your favorite rewards of mothering? I came up with my list (in no particular order) of non-monetary forms of payment:

  1. Wildflower/weed bouquets,
  2. Drawings (especially traced hands turned into birds or trees),
  3. Whispered conversations at bedtime,
  4. Make-believe playtime involving mama doll and baby dolls,
  5. Impromptu serenades by a budding rock/country/classical songstress,
  6. The soft touch of a child’s hand,
  7. A sleeping child in my arms, no matter how young or old they are,
  8. Kind words of appreciation from a spouse or another parent.

I’m reminded that I chose this path for a reason. I willingly gave up my lucrative career (hey, I’m a designer, so lucrative is a subjective word) to raise our children. I knew that the education I received from this job would surpass all other degrees achieved, but possibly unappreciated by future employers. I do sometimes envy moms in other countries who are paid to stay at home. Not so much for the money they receive, but for the validation. Perhaps that’s why we use the term “paid a compliment.” For so many of us, kind words of encouragement are the compensation for the work that we do.

MOM DARE: I’ve issued a similar dare in the past, but it’s worth repeating. This week, offer your words of kindness, encouragement, support or gratitude to the mothers around you. Give them an example of what you notice that impresses you. As moms, it’s so easy to get caught up in the exhaustion and the meltdowns and the never-ending chores. We tend to lose focus of all that is right and dwell only on what’s wrong. Make an effort to be more supportive of mothers around you and watch your own support system grow in the process. We really are in this together, and surely it’s time we all got a raise.

Grace and peace.

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