I quit my job. It took months for me to make the decision. I never, by any stretch of the imagination, thought of not working. I love my kids and my husband with everything in me, but staying at home and not working has never been a goal of mine. I like earning a check and having an identity outside of being a wife and mother. I worked hard on both my degrees, and I wanted to put them to use. After college, it took me a few years to find what I felt passionate about, so when I found it, I never thought I’d leave. I liked my job, worked with a great group of people, and had a work-life balance. All the checkboxes were being checked. Like many other moms, I was burnt out. A burnout that I’ve never experienced before. There weren’t enough vacation days, self-care days, or sleeping in that could cure my burnout. So I put in my notice, and two weeks later, I signed off my laptop, and that was that.
One of the difficulties I had in deciding was questioning if Black women were SAHM. I realize being a stay-at-home mom is a privilege. Countless families are dependent upon two incomes to make ends meet. Almost 25% of children in the U.S. live in a single-family households. Over 60% of Black children live in single-family homes. A stereotype of black motherhood is this strong, selfless woman who puts everyone and everything before her own needs. She isn’t dependent upon anyone, let alone being financially reliant on her husband.
I live in the suburbs. I love it. I love the quietness—the comfort of a subdivision. I couldn’t imagine raising my kids anywhere else. One of the downsides of suburban living is that there aren’t often people who look like my family or me. I know there are other Black and minority families in my community. But I feel like the only Black stay-at-home mom. At the park with my daughter, in the library, at the Children’s Museum, or wherever the day takes us, we’re often the only people of color around. Representation matters for our children and even for us as mothers.
I know being a stay-at-home mom is my season of life right now. Initially, when I left work, I thought it would be for three months, but now I don’t know. I won’t put a time limit on it. Ultimately, I’ll do what is best for my family and, most importantly, for me. I’ve realized there is no one size fits all for Black motherhood.