Something that exists solely in this little ‘parenting bubble world’ is the ‘battle’ between stay-at-home parents (SAHPs) and working-out-of-the-home parents (WOHPs). In the interests of the ‘battle’, I’m currently a stay-at-home mum (as it’s the uni holidays, which I’m counting as my maternity leave), but come October, I’ll be a WOHM, and SB will be going into nursery – she’s now all registered, and at the minute she’s registered for a full-time spot – all day, every week day. This may change according to our uni timetables when they’re released, but we have no idea, so it was best to register her for full time.
The problem is, there’s another phrase that some SAHPs use to describe themselves – ‘full time parent’. This is often seen in the ‘career’ field on Facebook as some variation on ‘Full-time yummy mummy and loving it!’. Which is fine, it’s up to you what you put on Facebook, but please – can we stop with the full-time mum bullshit?
When I go back to university, I won’t stop being a full-time mum. I won’t just be a mum to her part-time, and no-one else is going to become her mum. I won’t be staying at home to exclusively look after her, that’s all. I won’t be a stay-at-home mum, but I will still be a full-time mum to her. I don’t stop being the one who gave birth to her when I go into my lectures.
There’ll be some of you who read this and say ‘It’s a turn of phrase, it’s just a term, get over it’. To that I say…. no. Stop using the term. It’s designed to make parents who work feel bad. I don’t judge you for your choice to do what is right for your family; don’t judge me for doing what is best for mine. It seems like some people would rather I drop out of uni and do nothing, rather than staying on, qualifying and (hopefully!) getting a job some day.
Why is this? Is it something to do with the stereotype about young mums, or unplanned pregnancies? You may be surprised, considering how liberal a lot of people are these days, to learn that some people still need people like young mums, the unemployed, those without a university education etc, to be the detritus of society. They desperately need for someone in society to be below them, because otherwise, where does that leave them? So when someone from these groups does something out of the ordinary; something that goes against the stereotype, these people can’t cope. If you have a place in society, you should stick to it – apparently.
I have admiration for stay-at-home parents – for me, as much as I love being a parent, it’s lonely and the days seem very long, but they also seem to melt into one big day that’s lasted since April. I’m dreading leaving SB in nursery, but I’m looking forward to the routine that uni brings to my life, and the socialisation. There’s nothing wrong with describing someone as a stay-at-home parent, or a working-out-of-home parent – the trouble starts when we get into this part-time/full-time mum bollocks. There’s no such thing as a full-time mum. It doesn’t make you superior, nor does it make you a better/more devoted/more bonded parent. You are a parent, the same as any other parent – you’ve just made a different parenting choice than others.