By Sumiti Mehta
When I made the decision to be a stay at home mom, it was because I wanted to be the one to greet my kids after school and be available for things like homework and school projects. Yes, it was a financial sacrifice, but it has been worth it.
I know my husband feels the pressure to support our family, as a Senior Manager with a leading global professional services company; he has long hours, and big teams in the United States and India. Seeing how hard he works, I feel obligated to do the majority of the housework, not because we are landing in traditional Indian gender roles, but because I actually have more time. I know this is helpful (and while there are so many things that are important in my role as a stay at home mom), I sometimes have this annoying sense of fading confidence telling me I will have tough time re-entering the workforce in the future. I realize I haven’t quite truly faced my fear of “What will I do when it’s time to go back to work?”. Fortunately, our finances are not dire and I appreciate that I am able to stay home. Especially considering that an enormous number of families in the United States do not even have the option to consider staying home with their kids.
There are and have been times while looking at friends and women I meet, I feel a bit envious of their careers, the escape from their families and their alternate lives of “meaningful work”. They are career-oriented women who are contributing to the real world. It seems that they have it all; putting in a full day of work and then heading straight to evening school events with smiles on their faces, outfits, makeup and hair intact, while I’ve spent my whole day at home doing stuff around the house or running errands. I have close friends who work full time and are incredibly accomplished and well-respected in their fields and community. They have children too, and they are genuinely good parents. They seem to have everything, while I only have half.
I do love being there for my boys, for their school presentations and activities. I feel satisfied that I can help them with their homework, school projects, volunteer regularly in their classrooms and at their school; get to know their friends and teachers. But can I put these on my resume? The answer is, no. Do I worry about not being able to re-enter the workforce smoothly? The answer to this question is, YES! I worry about it a lot. My choice to be a stay at home mom has been a great leap of faith, trusting that everything will work out in the future.
As for the right now, what matters most is my meaningful work for my family and that I have been and I am here for my kids. I think stay at home moms need to be reminded that what they are doing is important and that is why they chose to do it. I have set out to raise two fine young boys, and that’s a huge accomplishment. For now, I hope my meaningful work will continue with good, compassionate and happy children who grow to be respectful, responsible, kind and happy men.
Sumiti is a Natomas based mother of two boys, ages 6 and 12. She is a very involved parent and community member and has been nominated three times for NFactor Community awards for her work with kids, schools and the community. She also volunteers as a tutor for a non-profit organization, “Reading Partners Sacramento”. On weekends and holidays, her family loves to take hiking trips.