Angel Hamilton is a former educator and the founder of the bluegrass mom. Both kids are bathed, hair combed, teeth brushed, dressed and fed breakfast. My son and I crafted this awesome car out of a cardboard box while I fed the baby. Laundry is done and I’ve folded it twice to have it dumped out by the toddler why Didn’t He Invest More time. It’s not even noon and I’m ready for nap time.
Okay, maybe now I’ll have a break to eat. Take him to the potty, put on his favorite show and make a snack for him. The baby is awake, and my oldest son and husband eat. I change the baby and put him in his swing. No time for me to eat, I still need to pump. I pump while my husband cleans up from supper and bathes our oldest son. Did I mention I’m also recovering from a c-section? This is just a tiny snapshot of what I do every day as a stay-at-home mom. I’m doing my best to keep all of the spinning plates up.
Oh, I’m JUST a stay-at-home mom. Why do I downplay this role? Maybe it’s because my career once defined me. I used to be a leader in Louisville, Kentucky’s nonprofit community. I led an after-school program in my childhood inner city neighborhood that was recognized for its success in shaping and changing the lives of many people. And, as someone raised in that very impoverished community, I’d become a poster child of success for the children we served and the donors. I had gotten out, only to return and help better my community.
I loved working with children, loved helping them recognize their potential and watching them achieve it for themselves. Few experiences have given me more joy than seeing the children I worked with grow from learning to read for the first time, to graduating high school, entering college and becoming successful adults. To say this was a career is to understate things. It wasn’t just a career, it was my life. My day did not end when the after-school program ended. Teenagers would come over to my house afterward for dinner, to bake treats, to do homework or just because they were bored. I truly loved them as if they were my own. A little later into my career I felt that the community needed more than an after-school program. I began to dream of starting a private school for low-income children in the neighborhood.
It was a dream that many in the community and city were excited about, and one that I was determined to achieve. I worked hard to realize this next step in my career. I have two master’s degrees in education, and was on my way to begin a PhD in urban education at Columbia University. Instead I met a man five months before I was planning to move from Kentucky to New York for Columbia. I knew immediately that he was unlike any other man I had ever encountered. He was intelligent, compassionate and genuine. Did I waste the time that I had poured into my career?
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For the first few months after my son was born, I watched in awe as he slept for the majority of my days. Wasn’t I meant for more than just changing diapers? Wasn’t I going to change the world, or at least my small corner of it? The pride of my new role didn’t come overnight, but grew as my boy grew.
I came to understand everything this new role entailed, and the complexity of it. Now, two years into my new life as a stay-at-home mother, I’m here to say with pride that no, no I didn’t waste anything. I had poured so much of my self into other people’s children, but now I have the opportunity to invest all of my time and energy into my own. I know there are many other women who still struggle with the decision to stay home with their children. They say, when asked, that they’re JUST stay-at-home moms. It can be difficult to take pride in a role that often isn’t recognized by others as work. There are no accolades or recognition for the labor intensive job that we do, not even from the little people we pour everything into!
But don’t miss the moment that will change how you feel about being a stay-at-home mother. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors. Living Newsletter Get the latest career, relationship and wellness advice to enrich your life. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice. Vonie Long, president of the United Steelworkers’ local union in Coatesville, Pa. Donald Trump was saying everything Vonie Long wanted to hear, not that Long believed him.
The head of the United Steelworkers’ local union in Coatesville, Pa. Long was sitting in his electrical-maintenance truck in June 2016, listening on the radio to Trump give a speech on trade at an aluminum plant on the other side of the state, outside Pittsburgh. Trump had begun with a tribute to the steelworkers who built America. He blasted the politicians who pursued globalization and pledged to fight unfair trade practices that threatened U.
Long, a stout man with a bristly gray mustache, was impressed. Republicans didn’t usually talk like this. And while Long, a Democrat, voted against Trump, after the election he hoped that Trump might actually follow through. But it hasn’t panned out that way. A year into Trump’s term, the factories have not roared back. Trump has taken few of his promised actions on trade and manufacturing. The American steel industry has suffered as the market floods with imports, forcing prices down, all while the Administration dithers and delays over tariffs.
As Long sees it, no one should feel more betrayed by the Trump presidency than the archetypical Trump supporter: the white working-class voter whom Trump dubbed the Forgotten Man. And yet, to his great frustration, many of his fellow blue collar workers don’t seem to grasp how Trump has abandoned them. As of last month, the President’s approval rating was 46 percent among white non-college-educated voters, down 7 points since he took office, according to the polling firm Morning Consult. The immovable loyalty of Trump’s narrow but vocal base has broad ramifications, not just for the Democratic Party but also for the nation. Unbridgeable divides make governing nearly impossible: there can be no consensus in a politics of blind tribalism. But the real tragedy of Trump’s broken promise to the working man is the missed opportunity it represents.
The blue collar man is the mascot and enigma of the Trump era: endlessly analyzed, endlessly interrogated. What do you think of the President now? Paul, a slight, fine-featured 51-year-old, tells me as he drives his battered Ford SUV down the two-lane highway out of Coatesville. There’s kind of a list of reasons why he hasn’t done this or hasn’t done that. But Paul keeps coming back to places like Coatesville anyway.
He’s not on a mission to win votes for the Democrats. The massive plant that looms over the town is the U. Today the plant is badly diminished. The steelworkers’ local that Long oversees now has just 580 members at the plant. Like Long, Paul hails from Trump Country, having grown up in rural northwestern Indiana. A former trade lobbyist for the AFL-CIO, his association is funded by American steel unions and manufacturers.