Last week, as the kids and I were walking to the Monteverde Library, which is about a 45 minute walk from our house, Tristan, my 7 year-old boy, and I had a good little chat. It went like this:
Tristan: “Mom, what do you do for a job?”
Me: “Well, right now my job is to be your mom. I don’t have a job besides that.”
Tristan: “So what do you do on the computer all the time?”
Me: “I am working on a blog to share our experiences in Costa Rica with friends and family. And I am starting a business on the internet to help people adjust to moving to another country and live healthy in another country.”
Tristan: “Can you do that job on the computer at home?”
Me: “I hope so.”
Tristan: “Are you going to be a doctor again?”
Me: “Right now, I am not sure. It depends on a lot of things.”
Tristan: “Please don’t be a doctor again. I just want you to work on the computer at home.”
This conversation hit me because Tristan is not the type of kid to express his thoughts readily. I was touched by his honesty, but I also did not want to lie to him.
Me: “I cannot promise you that I won’t ever go back to work outside the home. But you know what? I am going to try very hard to have a job I can do from home.”
As I reflect on what it means to be a SAHM, I have found that there is a happy medium to the SAHM vs corporate mom-debate: The Work-At-Home-Mom (WAHM). Once kids are in school and the physically intensive phase of parenting is over, many SAHMs work to some extent from home, either writing/blogging, freelancing, telecommuting, or selling Scentsy or Mary Kay or some other product. Others immerse themselves in charity or volunteer work.
Being a WAHM allows for income generation and can function as an outlet for intellectual stimulation and networking with actual grown-ups. This arrangement also allows for a flexible schedule to spend time with the kids and attend to the family. Instead of worrying that I have committed career suicide by becoming a SAHM, I am seeing it as an open door to finding a more flexible, family-friendly career opportunity. I have no regrets about my decision to put my career as an academic physician on hold. If in the end, I go back to practicing medicine, I will be happy that I had at least one glorious year focused on motherhood.
Do you think being a WAHM is a happy medium between being a SAHM or corporate mom? If you are a WAHM or WAHD, what has been your experience? Let me know in the comments below.