Exactly a year ago on International Women’s Day, someone on my Facebook feed posted:
“Today we celebrate women that actually work. Not those lazy ones that stay at home raising their kids.”
My heart stopped.
My Latina blood boiled.
I felt like crying.
I felt like screaming at her.
So I took a deep breath, and I said to myself, “Do not pick fights. Pick flowers.”
Throughout my life, I have been lucky to experience many different fields of work.
I’ve been a waitress; I’ve answered phone calls at a doctor’s office (my dad’s office, but it still counts, right?); I’ve been a gallery girl; I’ve worked on a movie set; I’ve taught Literature and Spanish; I’ve worked in retail; I’ve been in coffee shops; I’ve been a yoga instructor and I’ve been a writer—my favorite one.
For every single one, I am grateful. I have learned a great deal from every experience. I have become humble and I truly respect every job that exists.
And then, I became a mother.
None of these jobs have come close to the number of hours and amount of love that I have invested in being a mother. I have never been as tired or as proud of anything in my life.
Mothers create life.
It’s a f*ckin’ miracle.
As exhausting as it can be, watching a child become a person is magical.
It’s true that as women, we still need our independence, and for many of us, our professional growth.
I love my professional life. I love writing and sharing stories that will be of benefit. I love teaching kids about art and literature, and I love teaching yoga. I will continue doing all of this; being a mother doesn’t stop me from developing my career.
But this is a choice.
I have friends who have dedicated themselves entirely to motherhood without even considering going back to work.
And that is fine. I respect that.
On International Women’s Day, we celebrate this freedom. On March 8th, we commemorate the historic struggle for women’s rights. And we have come a long way in this fight.
One of these rights is the right to choose to stay at home with our kids without being judged.
When will we truly become respectful of other people’s choices?
We talk so much about tolerance, so why can’t we accept the fact that some people choose to be “old school?” We don’t tolerate the idea that some people actually find their true selves, their power, and their independence through choosing to nurse and be at home, that this could actually be a woman’s call in life.
We urge everyone to find some fancy profession because we think that’s what freedom is.
Choice is freedom.
Maybe the day we can respect every single woman’s choices in life without judgment, without comparing ourselves, without feeling superior to others for having a paying job, maybe that will be a day so mighty that we won’t need to mark it in the calendar to remember how powerful we are.
Author: Montse Leon
Image: via Montse Leon on Instagram
Editor: Catherine Monkman