Losing her mother to pneumonia was a tragedy that made Kuae Kelch Mattox, the national president of Mocha Moms, Inc., take herself out of the workforce to focus on her children. But her decision to become a stay-at-home mother was met with incredulity from friends and family.
”This was an uncommon choice in the African-American culture,” Mattox says now. “Our mothers and grandmothers worked. It was not a choice in our community. The path to economic empowerment and success has always been through work. But my thinking was, My career will always be there, but my children will not always be young.”
Now back in the workforce, the mother of three gives would-be stay-at-home moms some advice.
What would you say to mater mea readers struggling with making a decision to either stay at home or keep their jobs?
I’ll tell mothers that we are all in the same boat. Whether we stay at home or work outside of the home, we all make the choice to work to improve the lives of our children and families. I would encourage mothers to view the decision to stay at home as a season in their lives, and think about it from a financial, emotional, and spiritual standpoint.
I encourage all mothers who choose to stay at home to never completely take their feet out of the workforce. Always lean in to your profession, keep your membership to your professional organizations, and remain connected to your colleagues. If you can, work part time or freelance. Come up with a side hustle or a revenue stream that allows you to have the flexibility to stay at home but still generate income. I’ll also encourage stay-at-home mothers to connect with other women in similar situations. The more they talk to others, the more they will realize they are not alone.
However, there is no sense in staying at home if you will feel miserable for making that choice. If you are struggling with the choice to stay at home, consider going back to work. It might be the emotional and mental relief that you and your family ultimately need. No decision has to last forever, and this is a season that you can honor and feel good about.