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strong, confident woman (where women belong)
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The world is full of opinions about where women belong. There’s Harrison Butker sharing his thoughts about what women should aspire to. And best-selling books attempting to convince us that women need to lean in more or we’re failing our potential. Or the random church lady who confronted me last week to tell me that technology and my idolatry of work was ruining my children. It seems everyone has thoughts on where women belong. 

I actually don’t have an opinion about where women belong or what our highest calling is.

But I have a very, very strong opinion about who gets to decide that for us. Spoiler alert: It’s not Butker, it’s not church ladies, and it’s not authors, influencers, or career coaches.

I was a stay-at-home mom for seven years. I loved getting to be part of my children’s infancy and early childhood. I treasure those memories and years. (Let’s be honest — not all of them, but most!) I think it played a strong role in my children’s stability and character development. But I also felt like I lost significant parts of myself in the process. 

I went back to work outside the home three years ago. I love getting to develop myself professionally. It brings me great delight to have more to talk about than just my children. And I feel it has strengthened my marriage partnership and taught my children to chase their dreams in meaningful ways. At the same time, it, by necessity, means I miss some things and am not as available as I once was.

I love working outside the home. I do not miss being a stay-at-home mom and honestly wish I had gone back to work sooner. I love getting to be more of who I am — and showing my kids what it looks like to bring all of myself to the table. I’m less frustrated, I’m more present, and I have a higher sense of value. I believe it helps my children have a broader vision for what is possible for them. My spouse and I have to work as a team more closely because we are both working outside of the home. I like our marriage better when we’re working together. This is what is right for me, for our family, for our kids. 

But the important thing is that we decided that.

No one else gets to.

If you want to be a stay-at-home mom and you and your partner decide that’s what best for your family, go for it! I am delighted for you!

if you decide you want to be the top player at your job and you hire a full-time nanny and care team to make that happen and that works for your family, you go girl!  

If you’ve got some hybrid of that that works for your family — or something else entirely — rock on.

There is no one singular calling, role, or place for women. We are light years past the era when our bleeding, perpetual pregnancy, and nursing limited us to caring for the fire and the children so we wouldn’t get eaten by wild animals. And to be quite clear, I believe a woman can be in any room, any role, and any job she wants. But only if she wants it.

While everyone seems to have an opinion about where women belong, very few of them actually matter in determining where your highest value lies.

Are your kids fed, clothed, loved, and secure? Do they have the opportunity to see both of their parents thriving?

Are you bringing all of yourself, all of your passions and gifts, to the table? Are you compassionate and caring for others in the process of pursuing your dreams?

Then that’s where you belong.

And no one, except you, gets to decide that for you.

Kristen D
Kristen is Southern by birth but has called Boston home since 2008. Unlike most Boston natives, she still really loves the snow and cold. She and her husband have two energetic and kind sons (2013, 2014) and a sassy baby girl (2016). Kristen jokes that she has a Master's degree in laundry and a PhD in conflict resolution — which she uses far more than her actual physics and politics degrees. After seven years as a stay-at-home mom, Kristen went back to work full-time in 2021, and has found that incredibly life-giving while also an additional "juggle." In her "spare" time, she runs her own business (Murph&Moose), serves on multiple school committees, and runs half marathons. Her passion is seeing moms feel comfortable in their own skin and less alone in the chaos that is motherhood. Loves: gardening, languages, coffee, running, time with her girlfriends, and the rare moments of silence when all three children are (finally) in bed. Dislikes: daylight saving time, non-washable markers, and noisy neighbors who disrupt her rare moments of silence.

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