Work never stops for stay-at-home mom
Editor’s Note: This is the first of four articles on area women making a difference in their community.
HOUSTON – Stay-at-home mom is a career most women look toward with envy, but like any job it’s a lot of hard work and there are days you wish you were doing something else.
In today’s career-oriented work world Allison Powell is a classic example of a woman who has made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom and focus her life on her children, her husband, her home and her community.
“It was a choice for us,” said Powell, who points out her husband George Powell was and is still a big part of that decision. “Not everyone can make that choice and that choice is not for every family.
“I’ve always felt your job is what you give up your time for,” she explained. “Sometimes it is for money or career and sometimes it is for family.”
Powell said all working women with family have two jobs. The one from 9-to-5 and the one from 5-to-9.
Powell has an accounting degree from Delta State University and worked for Trammell Crow, a real estate development and investment firm in Memphis, while she put her husband through optometry school.
“It was the late 1980s and there was a big push to hire women in accounting firms and be in the business world,” said Powell. “I liked it and did well. I enjoyed the work and liked rubbing shoulders with other professionals on big projects.”
Powell ventures she could be an executive officer or a vice president of a company if she had chosen that course. But Powell said getting a day-and-a-half off at Christmas and waking up some mornings and wondering what day it was, what project was due and what deadline was looming was daunting.
“About the time George graduated from medical school, Hunter (the Powell’s oldest child) came along,” said Powell. “I tease and say we’ve always been a one-income family.”
Powell said giving up professional dress and the office for potty training and home was a big transition.
“I was fortunate to have women in my church who supported that decision,” said Powell. “Women are very social and need other women to encourage them. I was also fortunate to find women in Houston when we moved here who supported my decision.
“There is a verse in the second chapter of Titus that encourages women to mentor younger women,” Powell said. “Being a stay-at-home mom is my calling. Other women may be called to do other things, and that is the right thing for their family. I have no doubt this is right for me.”
And this is the point where Powell said being a stay-at-home mom is hard work – and lots of it.
She coordinates Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church Houston every year. She sings in the choir, leads Katangello – a creative arts ministry – and is the coordinator for FBC Children’s Choir.
Powell is also a teacher and leader in Mississippi Baptist Convention ministries, specifically summer camps and music education.
“We are currently trying to revive the Mississippi Baptist Singing Church Women,” said Powell. “I also lead seminars on music and worship, SMACK (Summer Music Art Camp for Kids) and I’m active with HeartSong, a state-wide music ministry for youth.”
And Powell now has three teenage children and still has that husband who needs tending to.
“People do know I am a stay-at-home mom and call me to do things,” said Powell. “I’ve learned people call on me when they need help and that’s fine. I’m busy and I call on people when I need help, too.”
She said she learned how to juggle life watching her mother, a professor at Delta State University.
“My mom stayed home until I was in the fourth grade,” said Powell. “She was involved in Junior Auxiliary, the garden club and WMU. Both of my parents taught me you have to be active in your community and give something back.”
Powell has quietly listened to people refer to her as a homemaker, housewife and more pointed say, “so, you don’t work?”
And Powell said there are seasons of life and she may one day re-enter the professional world.
“I think women are sometimes scared to be a stay-at-home mom because they feel they will lose their identity or be too dependent on their husband,” said Powell. “I don’t know if you can do everything and still do everything well. I do know you have to set priorities and make choices. This is my choice.”
Powell admitted paying the bills was important and there are many factors that prompt some women to work.
“But when you make a priority list of your life, most women don’t put money at the top,” said Powell. “I didn’t.”
Powell said one of her defining moments was when she put “The 1,000-Year Rule” to her life.
“What will be important 1,000 years from now?” Powell asked. “What am I doing today and with the rest of my life that will be eternal?”
Powell said the choice was obvious for her.