Even before we got pregnant I knew that I wanted to stay at home with my children. I didn't feel comfortable leaving them in daycare or with any caregiver. We knew that we were going to struggle financially for a couple of years with only having one income but we knew that it was the best choice for our family. We got pregnant a month after getting married and then when our son was 7 months old, we found out we were pregnant again. One day when my oldest was 2 years old and my youngest was about 7 months old, I took them to visit one of my family members and the question one elderly relative asked me will stay with me forever. He asked, "are you working yet, or are you still mooching off your husband?" I didn't know how to answer the question. I honestly thought that it was a joke but his face said otherwise. I wish I could have thought of something clever, but I was speechless. All I could say was, "I am still just at home with my kids." I said it like I was ashamed and as if I had something to hide.
I have given this a lot of thought the past couple of years. Since this question, I have had two more children. We had four children in five years and yes I am a stay-at-home mother and no I am not "mooching off my husband." Yes, my husband is the one who supports us financially. He brings home a paycheck that puts food on our table, puts clothes on my children's backs, and provides us with the life that we get to enjoy. I am very grateful for my husband and all of his hard work, but I am not mooching off of him. I stay at home with my four children. I feed them, change them, teach them, and even take them on outings. I take my kids to doctor appointments, take my kids to their activities, walk my oldest to kindergarten with all three other children in a double stroller, and I also do all of the household chores. I clean the house, take care of the dishes, do the laundry and I organize things. I give baths, read books, sing songs and have impromptu dance parties when the kids ask. I break up fights, wipe away tears, kiss bruises, give millions of hugs and I get yelled at quite often. I take pictures, keep up with their baby books, plan their parties, do the yard work and I keep in contact with their teachers to make sure that they are doing well.
My husband's role in our family is amazing. He is such a great provider for me and his four beautiful children. I spend the money he makes, but that money he makes is my money too! I don't get paid for my childcare. I don't get paid for the chores that I do. I don't get paid for any of my work. I have never once seen a paycheck for cleaning the toilets, wiping pee off the floor, or scrubbing out poop from the carpet after a kid's accident. Stay-at-home mothers are at home but our job is not easy. We aren't just sitting at home eating chocolate and watching Netflix all day. We are working all day long. We are moving all day long and it is an emotional journey. There are some days that I don't even talk to an adult until my husband comes home. It is not an easy job, but it is a job. I do have a job. A very difficult and often thankless job with really angry bosses that complain about giving them the wrong color sippy cup.
My job is hard. My days are long. I don't get paid but I am doing a very important job. I am not mooching off my husband. My husband and I both have roles in our household. His role is to bring home the cash and mine is to give our children the best life possible while he is away. Don't ever ask a stay-at-home what she does all day, or if she is mooching off of her husband.