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My Fight with the Apron

Although I always planned to stay home once we had children, I never dreamed that I would have a fight with the apron.

While dating we had dreams of someday having children and having a traditional family where I would stay home. This seemed like the perfect plan. Other plans kept getting in the way. We decided it would be better to get my CPA license and buy a house before we had children. So baby #1 came with me working full-time. That first year saw me working a tax season of overtime and 6-7 days a week. I finally went part-time and started a practice at home. I worked through pregnancy #2 then left my part-time job but kept up the business with two children at home. I thought I was finally the stay-at-home mom I imagined. But I was really still the CPA.

My business got to a point where I either needed to grow it more to cover some fixed costs, or get rid of it altogether. I got an offer to sell my practice. Perfect answer! I no longer had to work. When it came time to deliver all my files, I got my first installment of my sale. It wasn't what I expected. I felt empty. I changed my CPA status to "inactive." This meant that I could no longer use "CPA" after my name. I could no longer have "CPA" as part of my car license plate. Feeling stripped I said, "I feel like I should use this check to buy an apron." But I was being sarcastic. Isn't this what I wanted? Wasn't this the dream so long ago? Why my fight with the apron?

I realized that I was always esteemed as a CPA. Women who stay home with their kids are "just a mom." I needed a title I could be proud of. I had heard of many attempts by stay-at-home moms to title themselves as CEOs of their home or family managers. These titles didn't work for me. Being the CPA, I thought of occupation titles that I would put on tax returns. When a man does not work, his title in the occupation box is "Retired." When a woman does not work, her title is "Homemaker." I thought that "Stay-at-home mom" might sound funny after I no longer had children at home. "Homemaker" seemed to fit although it sounded old to me. I decided to take this on as my occupation. I was going to be proud of it, even if no one else was. I soon realized that society did not value a mom that stayed home, no matter what her title was. I needed to be proud of who I was. I needed to be proud of my job. I needed to be proud of my mission to raise my children and be home for my family. Pride came in ways I never expected.

After my battle, it was always fun to me if I was at a black-tie fundraiser and someone would inevitably ask, "What do you do?" I would proudly say, "I'm a homemaker." People don't know what to say to that. They might stumble and say, "Oh, that's hard work." Women might say, "I could never do that." (As if they have ever tried.) Men might say, "I wish my wife would do that." (Has he ever told her that?)

I have now been a homemaker for almost 20 years and I wear my apron proudly. I hope to be an encouragement to those who have chosen this path.