Friday, May 6, 2011

why being a stay-at-home mom doesn't suck

I get very irritated when people (mostly other women) insinuate that staying home is easy or boring. I have a childhood pal who just had her second son. Via Facebook, she asked if anyone wanted to take the rest of her maternity leave so she could go back to work. I commented, saying to enjoy the time (heavens knows there will be a post at a later date when she wants nothing but to be home on any given day). She said that she loves her sons but there's only so much tv that a person can watch and only the same 5 hours of cleaning to do.

*brakes screeching*

FIVE HOURS OF CLEANING? I'll be honest here, I do not have a spotless house. I have a lived-in home. There is clutter and some messes. However, even if I cleaned my house from top to bottom, I honestly do not think there would be 5 hours of cleaning time in the process. I'd be getting close to that, but I would not reach 5 hours. Perhaps if I added in laundry time...but I can't help how slow those devices work. I don't clean every day (nor do I know anyone who does...or at least anyone I've noticed who does). I de-clutter multiple times a day (which my home is in some dire need of right now from toys being strung out from the window to the wall...).

I've just started a 31 day cleaning challenge. I'm behind 4 days (mostly because I just started today). I would rather read my kids a story than wash dishes, clean out my refrigerator (which is what I'm putting off whilst writing this), vacuum, or most any other chore that requires effort (all of them). I would rather give 100 underdogs on the swings than scrub my floors/couches/walls and/or dust anything that accumulates dust (everything).

As for this tv stuff. I don't sit around watching television all day. I know no stay-at-home moms who least none who would admit it. I watch tv, while my kids are napping (or laying in their beds quietly chatting at one another as in today), after my kids are in bed, and every so often while they are emerged in their own tv shows. My kids watch 2 hours or less (more of the less) of television each day. It's in compliance with AMA recommendations and my own convictions. Some days we have tv marathons. Other days we have tv fasts. Perhaps we don't call either that but that's, in a sense, what it is. I could sit around watching mindless tv shows all day...but my friend is right, there is only so much you can watch (as I'm on episode 118 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and would like to stop but there are only 143 episodes in the whole series...I'm so close, I hate to quit now - all of which have been watched during one nap time or another over a series of months).

So what do I do all day? I play with my kids or I leave them to play by themselves! I read! I set up crafts! I clean! I exercise! I run to the bank/post office/grocery store/Dollar General! I go to the library! I attend MOPS or play dates! I take Squirt and/or Moore to the park! I cook! I do chores! I call my mom on the phone! I rearrange our clutter! I nap! I read blogs/Facebook/Twitter! I make random things to hang up in my house (currently subway art)!

Do I get bored some days? Yes. I would be lying if I didn't tell you that there are days when I'm bored out of my mind. Those days normally come with bad weather that prevents us from going outside.

Do I wish I worked outside of my home? No. Sure, the lure of adult conversation is there. But that (in no way, shape, or form) outshines the lure of being home with my sons. They are little...but not for long. I want to have as much influence on them as I possibly can before I send them out into the world. I want to soak up these little rays of sunshine (and sometimes storm clouds) as much as I can before they turn into sulky rainclouds of adolescence. I want to teach my sons their ABCs, colors, numbers, shapes, about Jesus...before school and church have a chance to. I believe that is my job...and my honor. I don't look at my "job" as a "job." It's a lifestyle, it's a choice (which is not for everyone, I can assure you), it's a privilege, it's a joy! I honestly enjoy staying home with my boys.

I have bad days here - ones where I literally pull my hair (not out of my head but still), ones where I discipline out of anger not love (not that the action differs but the attitude does), ones where I'm choked by the household chores to be done, ones where I'm bursting at the seams for a day off/night out/good ol' run. It's not always a fun job...but there aren't many jobs that go without bad days. If you work outside of your home, don't you have bad days?

So, please, even if staying home is not for you, don't insult me (and the hundreds/thousands/millions? of other stay-at-home moms). Our lives are not boring or easy. They are hard and dedicated, full of trials and joys, soaked with enthusiasm and commitment. No different emotions than ones of every other person on this planet. The perk of our jobs? Our children. No health care plan or dental plan or vacation days can outweigh that perk.

EDIT to add: I just wanted to mention that I don't in any way, shape, or form think that staying home is the right choice for everyone! No, some women are NOT meant to stay home. I really have no problem with women/moms working; to each their own. This is a decision I made because it fits me, I just dislike when any option is put down because we all lead very different lives and I think we should be respectful of others' decisions (even if we think our way is best...which "best" is argumentative). I didn't mean for this to sound like staying home is the best - it's just best for me.


Linda said...

Beautifully put! I have been a stay at home wife/mom for 27 years. One thing that I never am is bored. There is always something to do.

I once had a neighbor (who did not work outside the home) ask me why I didn't send my kids to a certain preschool daycare to learn their ABCs and such. I told her because that is MY job as their mom. If I am fortunate enough to get to stay home with my kids they are going to learn how to live from me.
And sure some days are hard but as one who is looking back rather than forward so much these days I wouldn't trade my time with my kiddos at home for the best "paying" job in the world.

Studied to be a Mommy said...

Amen. :)

Kim Aberle said...

You said it, sister! My heart breaks a little every time I hear of a new mom going back to work after their maturnity leave is over. I actually ache for them. I was palnning on going back to school this coming fall but I have been praying about it and don't feel lead in that direction. So, I get to stay home with my children and "soak up thier sunshine" some more.
LOVE reading your blog!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think she was trying to insult YOU. I think she's just not made to be a stay-at-home mom. Some people are just wired different. And that's okay. Maybe she's not as motivated around the house or as invested in the same ways that you are in your children. We've worked with lots of different kinds of families and kids, and some are more than content to let TV, church, and school teach their children the things you're so passionate about teaching your own. Save the TV, there isn't anything wrong with that---some of us just aren't natural teachers. Some children thrive in group settings where they learn to be motivated by other children. Everybody is different.

Some women would think that putting a kiddo in daycare so that she can work and get health care and dental insurance for herself and for the child(ren) is totally worth it. Its all on your perspective. I think all us mamas should live in peace and appreciation for our differences. Its even hard for me, but I have to remember not to get too easily offended, cause none of us has actually walked in the others' shoes. :)

EricaH said...

I completely agree with you. I have friends in situations where both spouses work and their kids are in daycare and it works for them the perks are obviously extra money, they take better vacations than I can afford and sometimes i think about that but for me I tried working outside of the home and honestly it was the worst feeling everyday I went to work all I would want to do is be home and I had the advantage of having family to take care of my kids while I worked but it just wasn't for me. I like being able to get my kids ready for school, picking them up, doing homework, being able to be at every practice and game they play in. Maybe one day when all my kids are in school I will work outside the home but for now home is where I belong, and that just me. I have family that sometimes gives me a hard time about not working but i have learned not to take it to heart. They grow so fast, too fast

Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal said...

I had to work up until my 1st was one and it was sooo painful for my heart. I wanted desperately to be with her. I stay home now and can assure you that working outside the home seems easy to me now. I also rarely ever get to sit down and watch tv. Plus I don't even seem to want to watch it - there are a million and one things that need to be done and a million and one memories I want to make with my kids!

Jas said...

great post-i guess i have the best of both-staying at home and watching a few extra kiddos :)

Cheryl @ a pretty cool life. said...

No, being a SAHM doesn't suck. In fact, it's pretty much the most awesome thing ever.

In Light of the Truth... said...

LOVE everything you just said!! I can have a pretty ugly attitude sometimes, but I still feel soo sorry for your friend who is CLEARLY missing out on a wonderful opportunity with her children! What in the world are the kids doing while she's watching TV and cleaning???!

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