A lot of people view stay at home moms as opting out of the careers they have trained for through college, maybe even worked in for a number of years. The choice is often looked down upon, as though stay at home moms are wasting their knowledge and training.

But I don’t consider it opting out, even when moms choose not to find a way to work at home. Often it’s the best choice for the family. Many workplaces just aren’t flexible enough or demand so many hours that it is hard for a professional woman to keep up with a career and a family. Flexibility in workplace hours would help, but many employers don’t offer much in the way of flexibility.

No wonder so many moms head for the home. Not many welcome the idea of scarcely seeing their family. Just think how many professional jobs essentially require 80 hours a week. And childcare expenses can eat up that second paycheck for a two-income family.

And while stay at home moms are put down for being lazy, working moms are put down too. They “don’t care about their families”. They don’t have their job as their first priority, and are ignored when it comes time for promotions.

What I find really sad is how far behind the United States is on family friendly policies. It’s one of the few countries to not have mandatory paid maternity leave. And other policies make it hard for parents to work too.

But I really think stay at home moms are lucky. Opting out if you like, but sometimes with few options.

Except that now it is possible to work at home. It always amazes me how many discussions of stay at home moms ignores that part. And it’s not limited to daycare or direct sales, although for many these are still excellent options.

Stay at home moms can do all kind of work. Start their own home businesses. Work at jobs that do not require face to face interaction. Work late at night or early in the morning. The options and the flexibility are simply amazing.

Honestly, I don’t care if people think of what I do as opting out. I’m making the use of my skills that I choose to make. In my case that includes running a challenging home business. I love it and I cannot picture living any other way.

[tags]sahm,wahm,work at home,stay at home,parenting,family,working parents,opting out[/tags]