What's A-Parent

This Stay-At-Home Mom's Facebook Post Sparked A Discussion On What It Means To Be A 'Working' Parent

“Dedicated to all the women who give their lives for the welfare of their families.”

What's A-Parent is a series highlighting those who get real about the hardships that come with raising kids. These often untold stories help show parents they are not alone in their struggle, and are doing an amazing job.

The hard work of mothers, and all that they do for their families, can sometimes be overlooked. So, one tattoo artist mom, named Ryshell Castleberry, penned an emotional Facebook letter "dedicated to all the women who give their lives for the welfare of their families." Castleberry wrote the letter in early March after hearing criticisms that a stay-at-home mother "doesn't work."

To make her point, Castleberry reinterpreted a painting by artist and stay-at-home dad Ricky Mujica called Multitasking. The painting shows Mujica's wife, Heather, performing her morning routine before leaving for work. "She is putting on her make up because she is going to work, where she would sneak out into the stairwell at her job to pump milk during the day so that I could feed my daughter while she is at work," Mujica told A Plus in an email. 

Castleberry was inspired by the image, and created her own context by imagining a hypothetical conversation between a psychologist and a husband who says his housewife "doesn't work." But after the husband rattles off a list of his wife's daily tasks, including getting the kids dressed and ready for school, going to the supermarket, taking care of the baby, cleaning, cooking and putting the kids to bed, it's clear his definition of "work" is quite skewed. 

"Enjoy and appreciate your wife, mother, grandma, aunt, sister, daughter," Castleberry writes. "Because their sacrifice is priceless."

After Castleberry's Facebook post went insanely viral, she received praise from other stay-at-home mothers.

"Awesome! Beautiful portrait," Facebook user Samantha Howell commented. "I get a lot of slack for not having a, 'job.' I have four kids, breast fed them all until age of two, and their father is sitting in a cell for the next twenty. I'm a mom, I'm a warrior, and this is a full-time job."

But some professional working moms felt left out by the Facebook post.

"I really feel for the moms who have to do half of this or more and still go to work 8 to 9 hours a day, and come home and work another few, that would be me," Kerenina Windham Molina wrote.

Kristi Potter commented, "And some of us do all this and work!"

Castleberry responded to the criticism with a message that all moms can hopefully get behind.

"You take the POSITIVE that you see from it and leave the rest," she wrote. "The positive I see is that women ... PARENTS take pride in all that they do, sometimes it is just overlooked and they just deserve appreciation for it. Also, as much as I am proud of myself for the things that I do, I am proud of my man for how hard he works. I never said otherwise. I KNOW this situation does not fit everyone's lifestyle, it is not a post for everyone, AND WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE."

Castleberry's sentiment of celebrating whatever lifestyle works best for you and your family is one we like to hear. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article credited Ryshell Castleberry with this image. The image was originally painted by Ricky Mujica and is called Multitasking. Castleberry reinterpreted the image in her Facebook post.



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