Sunday, March 13, 2011

SAHM, professional household manager, domestic engineer.....

Blogs I read often act a springboard for my own writing and reflecting.  And then life events are obvious fodder.

Recently my friend K blogged about how she likes the description "homemaker" and is happy with her choice to be one for the past seven years which, like many of her blog posts, got me thinking about my own experience as a homemaker.

Within the same week, I heard a phrase I hear fairly often which is, "I don't know how you stand staying home with your kids."  Again, more reflecting.....

I am always glad to be a stay-at-home mom for the following reasons:

1. Young childhood is the shortest stage of a person's life, and I want to experience as much of my children's as I can.

2. If I am going to spend 35-40 hours a week with anyone's children, I want it to be my own.  I loved teaching, but I think it is far more important for me to be with my own kids during the years of greatest developmental change than with other people's.

3. It would cause me an insane amount of stress trying to do manage the logistics of working outside the home full-time with very young children.  I know other people do it, but I don't know how.   I would be striving to be the good teacher I wanted to be, as well as the good mother I thought I should be and succeeding in nothing.  Because a person simply cannot have it all at the same time.  It is impossible.  And I have no desire to be a whirling dervish by trying.

4. My husband is simply not the type of guy who could manage getting 3 young kids up and out to daycare or school every day on his own.  He is very skilled at what he does, but wrangling kids is not his forte.  If he had to do this, his misery would know no limits.....and neither would mine.  

5. I get to wear jeans/yoga pants

However, there are plenty of reasons why sometimes I hate staying at home.

1. Although there is considerable flexibility for a stay-at-home mom since I don't have to clock-in at a certain time, my day's schedule is dictated by my children....their hunger, their activity level, their sleep needs.  My "little bosses" control my day.

2. Young children are extremely ego-centric, even when you do everything in your power to help them be respectful, and there is nothing fun or rewarding about having shit demanded of you 8-10 hours a day.  At least most grown-ups in the workplace know how to act civil.  That is not the case of the under 4 crowd.

3. Without a paycheck, an annual review or the like, there is often very little appreciation shown to a stay-at-home mom.  The appreciation that is shown is obsessive with little ones clinging to your legs constantly or crying uncontrollably when you leave....they simply don't think they can function without you.  Which sounds ego-boosting except that it means you are responsible for everything.  And everything weighs a ton.

4. One's brain does atrophy a bit when one doesn't get time to engage one's brain on an adult level by reading books, conversing with other adults, developing or enhancing one's professional skills/credentials.

5. An at-home mom can accomplish an extraordinary amount in any given day and yet it seems like nothing.  I can call 3 electricians for estimates, make 3 beds, do 2 loads of laundry, make supper, take the boys out somewhere fun, feed morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack, read 3 books to each boy before nap, pick the older one up from school and help her with homework, pay bills online, take the recyclables out to the bin, and clean up the living room 8 times.  And yet none of this is worthy of conversation or memorable as having been accomplished.

All of my days at home have an ebb and flow, and within those tides I move between being glad to be where I am and wishing I could just escape for awhile.

I never, ever wish I was working outside the home, though.  As hard as doing what I'm doing sometimes is, I never want additional work.

So I guess that means I'm satisfied.....


Mrs. Haid said...

The parts of this post that resound the most with me are

1) I am really stressed when working out side of the home, even less than 20 hours a week, in spotty 10 week sessions at MU... those weeks when I don't work EVERYTHING runs better. My mood, my kid's mood, my husband's mood... the tone of the house, etc.

2) I don't want to spend 40 hours a week with someone else's kids and sacrifice that time with my own kid. I just love my own kid more than America's kids, and I think that is for the best. For right now.

Kelsey said...

I think for me some of my feelings are a little different - I am definitely happier/ a better mom if I am engaged outside the home in some way. For now volunteering and the occasional subbing job do it for me, but I dislike the never being positive what each week is going to look like.

The item that stuck out for me the most: #5 on the second list - I find it so difficult to explain to Matt what I've been doing all day... I actually really relate to #5 on the first list too. :-)