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There’s nothing to be embarrassed about as a stay-at-home mom in Charlotte

I’m a stay-at-home mom. And even though that’s been my gig for about a year, this might be the first time I’ve committed it to writing (or said it out loud).

I’m not embarrassed or shy about my new role, but I’ve definitely taken time to get accustomed to it.

Before we moved to Charlotte last April, I’d spent five years as a crime and politics reporter for a daily newspaper in Wisconsin. Back then, I’d often jump out of bed and run to court first thing in the morning to see who’d been charged with attempted homicide. Now I jump out of bed and run downstairs to make sure last night’s “Paw Patrol” was successfully added to the DVR.

Neither of these things is better or worse than the other (and I’m not comparing “Paw Patrol” to attempted homicide … although I do often wish we’d get to see Chase the POLICE DOG take down a hardened criminal). They’re just different, and moms all over the world have been dealing with this transition for generations. Or they’ve dealt with a different transition: going back to work full-time while leaving their kids in someone else’s care.

Sometimes I read on social media about “mommy wars” — women judging other women about their parenting decisions. Among the most divisive is whether a mom should work outside the home. If you read the comments on any article that even mentions this topic, you’ll begin to think women are pretty much screwed either way.

Work outside the home and you’re picking career over family and shirking your maternal duties. Stay home and you’re giving up on that career you worked so hard for — and draining your hard-working partner’s pocketbook.

It’s enough to compound the already mind-boggling anxiety of becoming a new parent. So my unsolicited advice is to ignore it. Use the time you would’ve spent reading those comments to squish up some play-dough with your toddler or finish up that last bit of work so you can get home early. Feel secure that you’re making the best decision for your family, and know all the other new parents are dealing with doubts just like you.

Fortunately the Queen City is a fabulous place to be a mom, stay-at-home or otherwise.

So many stores here offer little play areas for youngsters to burn off energy while mom shops. Even the breweries here are full of moms (and dads) holding a baby in one hand and an IPA in the other (more unsolicited advice: invest in a hands-free baby carrier so you can hold TWO IPAs).

Many Queen City companies are starting to offer extended maternity and paternity leave. Others are encouraging parents to work from home. Talk to your manager and/or HR department about what’s possible in your situation.

As for me, I became a journalist in the first place because I love telling stories and taking on a good challenge, and I hate doing the same thing every day. And I’ll tell you what: being a full-time mom to a wild 20-month-old boy has all those bases covered.

Photo: Sarah Pryor

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