In a recent article at the Huffington Post, Lisa Endlich Heffernan said that she had regrets about her decision to forgo her career in order to stay home with her children:
Now, on the downslope of parenting, I have misgivings about my decision to stay home. … Although I am fully aware that being a SAHM was certainly a luxury, staring at an empty nest and very diminished prospects of employment, I have real remorse.
One of Heffernan’s reasons caught my attention: “My kids think I did nothing. They saw me cooking, cleaning, driving, volunteering and even writing, but they know what a ‘job’ looks like and they don’t think I had one.”
I’m not sure whether that is a true assessment of the way her children really feel about the time she spent at home or a projection of Heffernan’s insecurities, but in either case, it’s a sad reflection of the devaluing of the “work” of motherhood in our culture. Anyone who has ever taken on the challenge knows that although it’s not a 9-5 “job” in the traditional sense, the rewards and accomplishments last far beyond a bi-weekly paycheck and deposit in the 401(k).