I haven't read Lean In yet. (I'm #42 out of 111 people requesting it from the library.)
I am a stay at home mom. I also homeschool, which in this society gives me a little more credence. But it's the stay at home mothering that I'm thinking about.
My 3yo is going through a rough patch. He's having a lot of feelings and tantrums and it's been this way for months. Every. Single. Day there is emotional upheaval and distress about how things are going and how life isn't how it's supposed to be.
Sometimes, I'm wonderful. Sometimes I'm abusive. Sometimes, I have clarity and calm and serenity and am a font of wisdom and intuition. Sometimes, I can't see him because something in me is being triggered.
I consider it my sacred task as a mother to guide my children through their emotional development. There are so many moments, every day, when this happens. There are so many feelings and conflicts.
I consider it a privilege and a gift to be able to navigate this with them. I consider it one of the most fundamental and important tasks in society: to be in charge of the enormous job of guiding young children through the journey of their feelings. To provide them with boundaries. To be a base of emotional security as they explore.
This is done in the thousands of moments we have together. It's not quality time, it's quantity time. Everything comes up. We have opportunities and opportunities and opportunities to work on conflict resolution, anger management, self-awareness, acknowledgment of mistakes, repairing damage to relationships, creative problem solving, understanding and coping with our emotions... and the kids do, too. ;-)
Good mothering is a major foundation of our children's emotional health. I'm glad I get to practice it full time. So many times during the day I think about how what is happening now and my reactions have an impact on how they relate to the world, their feelings, and future relationships.
I'm not sure why some people feel like staying at home with the children is not one of the most vital tasks we can do for them as individuals and for society at large. (I am pro equal opportunity employment, in case you are wondering.) Raising emotionally healthy children who can function happily in satisfying relationships and contribute their abilities and talents to the world are a gift to the children as individuals and a gift to humanity.