Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago · 4 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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A Different Type of Leadership

Many women chose to stay at home and raise their children. Many of these same women give up good paying careers because they want to be home with their children. Some women feel undervalued and isolated, especially if they happen to be with a group of women and men who work outside the home and spend a lot of their time 'talking shop.' 

I found myself in groups of people over the years, even within my own home where it seemed talking about work became a habit and I would sit there twiddling my thumbs, or at times, walking out of the room because I felt I had nothing of value to add to their conversations which suddenly seemed so foreign to me. I quit my job when oldest was almost 10 years old, a choice I will never regret. 

Staying home with your children is a full-time job. Yes, I know... that's been said many times but it's so true. Many women decide to take on more than they can handle because they feel a sense of guilt for not bringing a paycheck in. My daughter is experiencing this phenomenon right now and I keep reassuring her that you can't put a price on being a full-time mom. 


A Different Type of LeadershipN

The most important thing in life is
learn how to give out love, and let
it come in.

-Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with
Morrie

I know of some stay at home moms who expect their husbands to participate in 50% of all chores, which means getting up in the middle of the night, cooking dinner, cleaning up after dinner, doing laundry, getting the kids ready for bed, giving the kids their baths, taking them to Dr. appointments and allowing their wives to leave as soon as the man's work day ends because the mommy needs a break. Kudos to the men who do this but that is not how I chose to run my home. My daughter doesn't run hers like that either. I'm not sure if there is a right or wrong way as long as it works out ok for both parents and the man doesn't get burned out beyond his limits. 

Call me old fashioned but I felt it was my job and I took it seriously, to do all the cooking, clean up after dinner, get up with crying or sick children in the middle of the night (except for weekends, I would ask for some help with night time awakenings, running an errand without 2 kids strapped to me...),  things I felt were on a smaller scale. 

Many women who stay home with their children become the Chef, the ultimate life coach, great debaters, negotiators, learn to function on less than 4 hours of sleep for quite some time, financial planners, taxi cab drivers, volunteers for many events that come up through out the years on behalf of their children or for other causes they involve their children in, party planners, travel agents, and mighty maids!  Some of these same women go to bed feeling as though they still aren't contributing enough. I think in part, some women feel guilty because no-one tells them how worthy they are. No one shares with them how appreciated they are. 

When my husband came home from work, his day was done. My day was only half over. I couldn't ask him to help me (maybe I should have?), but I felt it was my duty to allow him to unwind and just enjoy the kids because he was the one going out to work each day and bringing home the paycheck. I see my daughter experiencing the same guilty feelings and I keep reminding her that her job is just as important. I also try to remind her that her husband does appreciate all she's doing but he may have a hard time expressing it. I found this to be true after our kids moved out. There is a lot of stress for both parents when you're raising children. Communicating concerns without throwing insults is healthy if you're feeling like a burned out mom who isn't appreciated. Chances are highly likely that you're very appreciated but your husband isn't able to express his mushy feelings. 

I also found in hindsight, it was best to have serious chats when we were both calm... it's a tough balancing act at times but not impossible. My husband reminds me a lot NOW that I did a job he could have never done. I wish I would have heard those words a bit earlier but it all worked out the way it was supposed to. I have no regrets and he was left with no regrets. We gave up a second income but for us,  it was worth it because my children were raised with the values we as a couple wanted to instill. 

It's important to remember that you still need to find some time for yourself. If you don't make time just for you, you'll feel resentful and more isolated. Getting your children involved in activities with other children also allows you to meet other women who may have something in common with you. 

Remember, it's not selfish to make time for yourself, we all need and deserve time to unwind and not lose the core of our being.
Don't ever underscore the importance of your job. I used to have some women tell me that it must be nice to stay at home with my kids. My answer, "Yes it is but the grass is never greener on the other side." I worked fulltime for almost 10 years prior to staying at home, so I knew the price women pay that have to work or choose to work as well. Without a second income, we didn't have the money to do some of the things I would see other families doing who both brought home a paycheck. We all have choices and we chose the lifestyle we had without regrets. 

I'm curious if more women who are staying home today have an agreement that both, mom and dad do 50% of all chores and duties with their children? Have trends changed and are men more proactive with their kids today than they were when I was raising my children? I would love to hear others stories who are either staying at home now with children or did stay at home while raising their kids. 

Women who stay at home are just as vital as women who go out to work. Never underscore the importance of your role. If you are at home raising children, you are a leader with many roles. Remind yourself to repeat that over and over if you feel under appreciated. Never feel guilty for choosing to be at home with your children who you brought into this world with love. 

Repeat: "I am a leader who my children look up to."  Oh, and drink a lot of coffee! 


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Comments

#27
Absolutely, Lisa it is a balancing act. I believe teamwork can make a couple stronger. Now that we (my hubby and I) are both retired we share in keeping up our household. It's actally fun. Sending hugs.

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #20

#25
Devesh Bhatt, thanks for sharing your story. It's quite interesting to hear other's perspectives and even from a cultural point of view. I had to laugh, "Oh wait, I sound like my mother." haha, I probably do to.

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #19

#24
Hi Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, thanks for sharing your story. You are so right, many mom's do not have the choice to stay at home. My mom didn't and I was a latchkey child too. I agree, I actually wrote this hoping younger people would get involved because I was really interested in hearing their perspectives about what they feel their husbands should be contributing to the home and more. I have seen shifts in what men do today and I can honestly say, they take on a lot more household chores and seem to be more hands on. Not all households but I'm hearing about it and seeing it firsthand. I wonder how men feel about this? I know one man who is "expected" to take the kids as soon as his work day ends, cook dinner, clean the kitchen, do laundry, baths, and more- that's the 50/50 part I was speaking of above. I wonder if this is the new norm and guys are ok with it, or if it's not a norm and some men are burned beyond words. I see nothing wrong with men helping but when a woman doesn't work, I think it would be easier if the man had some time to breathe just like women need. To me, it's a balancing act. Not sure if I made my point or if it sounded confusing?

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #18

#23
Much respect for you Kevin Baker. I used to have friends say to me when I finally decided to stay at home, "It must be nice." My answer: "The grass is never greener on the other side." It was hard to be a working mom and hard to be a stay at home parent and they both came with many positives too.

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #17

In India, usually we get the approach, the sanity, the plan from the fathers, they know the world and the nuances The insane levels of commitment to do things, the ambition from the mothers. There is a term in Hindi called Trishanku which means stuck midway in indecision. My generation, the married with children, they are indecisive .. They rejected tradition but haven't really gathered the conviction to implement their decisions and feel that their kids are bossy over them, both men and women. Whatever the situation , isn't it ultimately about doing what's needed, oh wait, I sound like my mother :)

Lisa, I feel there is no right or wrong, however, I believe it is better for the children that they have a full-time mom. Of course, in some cases, there is not the option for the mom to stay at home and raise the children. Due to technology and other outlets, stay at moms have more options to pursue their interests. I shared in a post written by Pascal that I was a latchkey kid coming home to an empty house. That's where my love for music was helpful to me. I even did my homework while listening to music. Perhaps, this experience helped me in the long run since there were times in my life when I lived alone. I commend you for your outlook on being a stay at home mom and a loving wife. It is a full-time job for either parent. This is a very important post especially for our younger generations.

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #15

oops I did see that! Well, thanks again for the mention and I'm glad my words inspired. :))

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #14

#18
I'm so sorry I missed your comment Savvy Raj, I will leave this tab open and read it later when I have time.

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #13

#19
I think you may be right about it being a famous song Lyon Brave ;-)

Lyon Brave

4 years ago #12

I believe children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way. I just made that up. It wasn't a famous song or nothing. ;)

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #11

#14
I think what you did and continue to do is admirable Deb Lange. Working part time, scheduling everything around your kids had to be stressful. That's why I always said, the grass is never greener on the other side. I worked full time until my kids (well my son) was almost 10. So, I can attest that no matter what a mom chooses to do or has to do in many cases (doesn't have a choice, that is) the bottom line: It's a very tough job but one none of us would trade no matter the circumstances. I can't imagine how hard it was taking care of your parents until they passed. Some people thrive on work, most people would love to be able to stay at home- everyone differs. It sure is a balancing act and life is not easy. Congrats on becoming a grandmother! Raising children is the most rewarding job but also a very stressful one given the circumstances or even the day ;-)

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #10

#13
Aurorasa Sima, I wonder if the younger generation feels this type of guilt today or if it was more common when I stayed home in the 90's? My daughter moved out in 2008.

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #9

#9
Interesting yet sad story about the woman who chose to stay home Vivian Chapman, yet her father made her feel as though she was a failure. I didn't mention in my buzz above how hard it is on many who go out to work and would much rather be at home who feel a lot of guilt too. That is another important topic, which is why I said the grass is never greener on the other side. Yes, there are women who love to work outside the home but many don't have the luxury of choosing. We did take a loss in our income and basically lived from pay to pay... but we managed. We were far from rich during those years and we are still playing 'catch up,' and my kids have been out of the home for almost 8 years.. my daughter lived at home while going to College. It's sad that women take on so much guilt whether they are home or out working but I guess it's human nature as a mom to do so. Thanks for your comment!!

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #8

#8
Thanks for your comment Sushmita Thakare Jain. You made a great point about parenting, it sure is a balancing and juggling act. Nothing is carved in stone when it comes to raising children whether one works outside the home or stays home with their children. There isn't a rule book when it comes to parenting! We will all make mistakes but I always told myself as long as I learn from them and remember it's the positive outcomes which outweigh the negatives that our children remember.

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #7

#7
I'm glad your wife never regretted staying home with your children Ali Anani. It's nice to hear she did things for herself too, because that is really important. Sounds as though she has some great talents. I'm sure both of you were and continue to be great role models for your children! Thanks for sharing Ali. I forgot to mention that its also important to keep individualism because our kids grow up so fast and many women feel lost when they leave the home.

Lisa Gallagher- I love your balanced approach to the issue of working women. My wife is an outstanding engineer. She opted to quit her job to raise our three daughters. She has never regretted that. Accomplishments in raising three lovely daughters filled her with joy to see them growing and become achievers. She did, like you, manage sometime for herself. She enjoys drawing and designing (she is also a gifted clothing designer) and painter. I help her sometimes, but she would rather I don't. I am touched by your buzz because it touches my personal life.

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #5

#5
I think the expats have a lot in common and they wouldn't feel guilty. I know many women in the US that do because so many do work outside of the home. It does depend on where you live. For example, my daughter in law lives in a progressive city in Colorado and she's met many women who also stay home. I"m glad you had the experience of staying home with your daughter and I bet you were tired! It sounds like it was extremely busy. What were the leaflets for Dean Owen? Respect to men who don't expect their wives to do all the parenting too!!

Dean Owen

5 years ago #4

Many of the women I have talked to over the last few decades are expat wives who are perfectly content not to work and they hang out at the mall everyday or do yoga classes whilst the maid does the house. They do not feel guilty as far as I can see. Certainly some get bored and choose to work. For me personally, I can't think of a worse life than being an expat wife sitting around waiting for the next trip, but I respect their choice. I mentioned in an article I did a bit of single parenting when my wife was on assignment recently. Most tiring thing I have ever done in my life (and that includes handing out leaflets on street corners, fronting supermarket shelves, waiting tables, and working 16hr days in Global Capital Markets). Respect to all the single parents!

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #3

#3
Hi Richard Buse, looking back and even while in the midst of raising kids on one income, it wasn't easy at times but very worth it. For us it was a personal/values choice. I had no control how my kids were being raised during their formative years with the exception of being with them for about 4 hours each day prior to bedtime. The lack of income had an impact but it didn't compare to the emotional impact we felt when our kids were with sitters all day. The decision to stay home paid off 10 fold. You brought up a great point about men who stay at home, I've known 2 in my neighborhood and I noticed they were received a lot of accolades from many, accolades a woman would never receive. But kudos to them if he can stay home!

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #2

#1
i have no clue how much most parents pay for childcare in the US now, but im sure it may hinder some women from re-entering the workplace too. Its sad when couples really need the extra income but childcare makes it impossible. You have a lot of moms at home! Thats cool you help out Pascal Derrien!

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #1

In Ireland providing how prohibitive the cost of childcare is, the stay at home mum status is not a choice but an econcomic necessity insofar that it has prevented roughly more than 200 000 mothers to got back to work ( Pop. 4.6 M) triggering skills gap on the job market. Home chores are a very demanding job I try to do my fair share but we get extra help to come to terms with some aspects of it. :-)

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