Saturday, May 24, 2008


Did you get the title of this post? Some folks will and some folks won't......those of us moms who have chosen to stay at home with our kids recognize it immediately....cuz that's what it stands for Stay At Home Mom.

There's a blog I read regularly that is a spring off from another one...the author of "That's a Cute Little Farmhouse" is now living in an old house that took years to ready for inhabiting and recently created a new blog called "Beyond the Farmhouse". College educated, she was a career minded person during the restoration project and up until she became a mom of two small children.

She realized that she was a better mom when she stayed at home with her kids and so made the choice to do just that. Some of her new posts deal with this transition in her life and the comments she gets from other folks.....and I bet it is mostly other women...cuz I speak from experience...24 years of mostly being a stay at homer!

I realized it myself when I worked a full time job when Nikki was a baby. I wasn't able to be both great at my job and great at parenting and great at being a spouse....something was always suffering. I just didn't have the energy that it took to do it all.....I found myself wishing for naptimes for a minute's peace, asking my mom to take Nikki so I could get the house "really clean".....I found myself resenting my responsibilities as a parent, a spouse and an employee. When I was at home, I wanted to be at work; when I was at work I wanted to be at I too made the choice to give up a "career" and be a full time mom and wife.....and I heard the comments.......

One of the more frequent comments you get from other women is that they couldn't do it because they'd be bored.....and I always remember thinking three things...1) hard work is sometimes boring and 2) how can teaching your child, spending time with your child be boring? and 3) bored people are boring!

Being bored was never something I had an issue with for long when I became a stay at home mom - possibly because I always stayed busy with some interest or directing the choirs at church and giving private lessons where ever and whenever possible. And I crocheted and cross stitched and gardened and read while my children napped. Oh there were moments in time where boredom threatened to creep its way into my world, but then a kid would come in wanting to learn something new and there I was, on the spot to be the teacher.

There were times I knew that I would be better appreciated if I had a job where I actually got paid for the work I did.....the kids would have liked to have the newest car off the lot to show off to their friends, and be the first on the block to have the new DVD player or video game system or whatever else happened to be the current "new" thing...

And if I had a "real job"....a "paying" job, then I could just pay someone else to do the uglier chores of life like laundry, and housework and yard work....and I could spend "quality" time with the kids...buying them everything they wanted because I probably still wouldn't have had the time or more likely the energy to teach them to actually work for the things they wanted because OUR job was to provide with the things they needed - not everything they wanted.

Now, I'm not saying that working mothers can't do all that I did as a SAHM....because some of my closest friends were working moms who put me to shame in some friend Kathy was one of those women. She worked a full time paying job and was always spending real quality time with her girls - doing crafts with them, coaching them on whatever sports team they were involved in at the time and somehow she managed to do it all...and still have a spotless house, a manicured yard and she didn't pay anyone to do any of it for her. But I learned very quickly that, for me, working full time and parenting properly was just not something I was very good at....something was going to suffer. And I was lucky enough, like my blogger friend, to have the choice.

But I resented those women who would say to me "I could never stay at home with my kids....I'd be bored to death".....because of the way they'd say if I was somehow not as good as they were because I could stay at if I was a boring person because I made the choice to stay at home. Those who instead asked me "is it boring?" showed respect to me for my choice because they were asking an honest question that deserved an honest answer....yes, sometimes it is boring, yes, sometimes I wonder what I am missing out in the "real" world, but no I don't stay bored because I'm there for all the little moments that I might miss if I was at work and I keep myself busy and occupied and informed about "real" life in the moments they don't need me....

And then there were the women who would say "Oh, I'd feel as if I were a lazy person if I stayed home". And I'd think, "well if your house was filthy and your kids wore dirty, holey clothes and you ordered take-out every night, then well, I'd agree with you, you are a lazy person".

I won't even go into the times that women who worked for pay would blame all the shite in life on the SAHM's, like the time school started (excuse me....the teachers association etc. determine that - not SAHM's), or schools who demanded volunteer time as a part of attendance (uhm, those schools consider bringing donuts or supplying paper plates as volunteering!)....and did you know that its the SAHM's who cause all school conferences to be held at 3 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.? I had to laugh when a working friend of mine took the day off and was heading home about lunch-time only to find a car behind her, driven by an angry looking woman, honking to get her to speed up; my friend let the car pass, followed the woman and then got out of the car to let her have it...before she could open her mouth the other woman called her a "stupid stay at home mom" friend apologized to me after that for ever thinking that every woman who drove the speed limit was a lazy stay at homer..... (I guess I did go into that just a bit didn't I? oh well........)

Oh, and just a word about the men who made comments from time to calling me "June Cleaver" or some other intentionally derogatory name.....I got a really, really good laugh when one of those men decided to be a stay at home dad for a year.....he'd call my husband and ask him to "please bring lunch and come and talk to me for a bit" ......because he had finally realized that being a stay at home parent wasn't all that easy after all.

And yes, we struggled financially through those years..I cleaned other peoples toilets sometimes, and babysat for three other kids sometimes, and once even negotiated an office job from the hospital room where David lay because he'd be on disability for 6 or more months................but as soon as possible, I was back at doing what I was best at....being a parent. We didn't have cell phones for every member of the family and we didn't get a new car as soon as the old one was paid for, and we didn't get really great vacations every year...but I got a whole lot of stuff in witnessing every single "first" for myself the real first time it happened. You can't get those moments back.

Before we knew it, our two oldest were grown up and out of the house....and I'm very, very glad that instead of cells phones, vacations and new cars...I watched them grow up from the front row. And guess what? My own growth didn't stagnate during those years....I became a genealogist, a gardener, a canner, a cook who experiments with new recipes and so much more, ..............all things that I know, in my heart, I never would have done as a full time paid worker because I didn't have the energy it took to "have it all".

Finally, feminism was about choice as much as it was about equal pay. I don't believe that those women who fought for our right to chose to work outside the home, or to get a college degree and work in a corporate office for the big bucks instead of the MRS degree, to stay single or get have "it all" would appreciate the fact that those women who choose to do those things treat so many of us who choose to stay at home with a lack of respect.

And that lack of respect for choice is what my friend the blogger is feeling when she writes her blog about this, let me take just a moment to say "hey girl.....I respect your choice". And, for those of you who choose to work a paying job.....and do it all well....I respect not only your choice, but your ability to do it all and do it well.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment.....!


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin