Can I say, "I don't go out to work, and that's why my home is always in top order"? No... not really. Actually, on the contrary - although I probably put more hours into housework than someone who works outside the home, our house is messier because we don't just walk out in the morning, lock the door behind us and disappear for a number of hours. Someone is always here to mess the place up, fill the sink with dishes and litter the table with paper, crayons and glue.
Can I say, "I'm a full-time Mom, and that's why my children are better behaved/more accomplished/better adjusted than the children of working mothers"? You've got to be kidding. I love my children with all my heart and genuinely appreciate them, but sibling fights can really escalate around here, and don't get me started on the number of social situations when my kids made me cringe. I'm definitely not raising little prodigies or perfectly bred specimens.
Can I say, "I stay home, so we always have really nice, perfectly nutritious meals"? That's a real good one. During the week, dinner around here is usually some variation of eggs (laid by our hens) - omelette, French toast, scrambled eggs, fritters, pancakes, a simple quiche - and some sliced veggies. So much for gourmet meals.
So what does it come to, at the end of the day? I stay home, doing full-time what others seemingly manage to do very well part-time, and I don't have much to show for it. Those around me who work? Their homes aren't falling apart, their marriages seem to be fine and it doesn't look like their kids are any worse off than mine. So why do I still do it?
Am I choosing the easy way? No, I don't think so, not really. I've heard too many women say, "I've stayed home for X months after my baby was born, and I eventually went to work because I felt I'm going crazy." It can get lonely, staying home when all your friends work. Nobody applauds you for doing the dishes and there's no paycheck at the end of the month.
Of course I could point at some practical/emotional/financial benefits we have, as a family, thanks to my staying home. We never had to pay for daycare. We never have to figure out who stays home with a sick child. There's always someone around to make sure a stray dog doesn't mess with our chickens. And of course right now there's the baby, taking care of whom is full-time work by itself. But most of all, I feel that my home is like a very, very strong magnet tugging at all the strings of my heart and soul.
I feel that what I do is important. Important enough to do it full-time; important enough to do it myself, rather than delegating it to others. And I think that's the key here. It's not like free daycare or free available transportation would induce me to go out to work. I'd still be here, because that's where I belong.