In today’s society, it is not uncommon to hear stories of women who are making great strides to go above and beyond the call of duty in all areas of life. From making your own baby food and pumping in between board meetings to being CEO of a fortune 500 company, there are countless opportunities to shout, “You Go Girl!” in a world where the limits of women seem to grow less and less visible.
Even still, there is something new on the horizon for women who don’t want to give up cutting the crust of little sandwiches NOR killing a presentation in the boardroom. These women are millennial moms who are redefining motherhood — with a dash of 50’s housewife and sprinkle of Ms. Independent — they are establishing a new meaning for “having it all.”
Surprisingly, this is not solely left to White Christian families. This new phenomena of the Work-at-Home Mom (WAHM) is reaching the diverse corners of the world in efforts to make a financial contribution while prioritizing the family.
According to Pew Research Center in 2014, “60% of Americans said children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family.” The research goes on to state that, “Stay-at-home moms (SAHM) are younger, poorer and less educated than their working counterparts. 34% of stay-at-home mothers are poor, compared with 12% of working mothers.” The sample was derived from mothers 18 – 69 with children younger than 18 living in the household, and were unemployed in 2012.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the most current research available on the subject. In addition, the research appears to be rather limited, leaving an array of questions and concerns.
For example, the very definition of what it means to be a SAHM is shifting. The research defines a SAHM as a woman, aged 18 – 69 with a child under 18 living in the home and unemployed. Yet, there are a growing number of SAHM who have decided to work from home, which causes questions for whether this new-aged mom is accounted for at all.
As with most things, we have polarized the conversation around a mother’s working status with her commitment to her family. We’ve confined the SAHM to being a homemaker, while the working mom has somehow chosen to prioritize her work over family. Yet, none of the above have to be the case.
This information is not to be used to fuel the next Mom War, but to celebrate a new order. Women are choosing to be professionals who stay at home, not having to choose to nurture our maternal instincts over our professional drive or vice versa.
These women are making a brave attempt to balance both family and work from a centralized location and it’s not easy. Can you imagine managing a million dollars, while depending on the predictability of a two-year old? Again, it can seem like a nearly impossible task.
Sacrificing a traditional work environment for home offices that are not always sound proof means that more jobs must be created that are sensitive to this new employee. One who is dedicated, with less tradition hours, but can get the job done.
The benefits include saving on childcare cost, flexibility of office hours, and having the opportunity to play an active role in their child’s formative years. WAHM have also found the time to start businesses and pursue employment that they are happier doing, which allows for a better employee in general. For an employer, this means access to skilled employees that are willing and able to work, who can manage tasks with little supervision.
So, to all the WAHMs out there, we salute you! We hope that more research can be done to better understand the WAHM and how to support her.