On Motherhood…

A while back, I was chatting with an online friend about the impossibility of fitting everything in that needs doing. She is a stepmother with older children and I’m a working mom. Indubitably the conversation turned to SAHMs and how they manage to get things done. My friend remarked that she didn’t feel particularly sorry for SAHMs – after all, staying home with one’s kids is a privelege that not everyone gets to have – and if they can’t get their stuff done, well, that’s their problem.

I guess I can see that arguement…to a point. One could argue that having kids is a choice – and most of the time, it is. Sometimes’s it’s not. Sometimes it’s an accident. Sometimes the child is born with special needs, complicating the issue tremendously. Sometimes people leave the workforce because working and paying daycare at the same time doesn’t make financial sense. It happens all the time, and everyone’s situation is very different, so I certainly can’t pass judgement on that. (And on that note, I know several SAHM who work their asses off doing what they do and it’s certainly no walk in the park).

I have to wonder, though. While the concept of staying at home with my kids to raise them sounds like a good idea, I am terribly happy I don’t. Sounds awful, I suppose. I love my kids. But the idea of staying home with them day in and day out would drive me out of my mind. And that may be just because they are so young right now. It is *exceptionally* hard to get anything done (from writing or mowing the lawn or cleaning the kitchen or whatever) with a 2 year old clinging to my leg. In a few years, that may very well change and my opinion will differ. In the meantime, my house is going to have to remain a mess and I will probalby never learn to cook anything that doesn’t come out of a box.
If I *were* to be a SAHM, I’d probably aim to do something like one of my best friends does with her three –> Saille. She homeschools, is an activist, lives on a farm. It’s crunchy and lovely and she raises chickens and her four year old reads J R R Tolkien and plays the harp. Her kids are probably geniuses compared to mine, but again, it’s not something I think I could do, although I admire her for it terribly.
In the end, I’m selfish. I *like* working. I like being independent. I like knowing that if the worst ever happened, I’d be able to support myself and my kids. Yes, my kids go to daycare. They have a lot of fun there – lots of friends, lots of playtime, lots of learning – they’re not sitting around watching TV all day. Does it bother me that someone else is raising my kids? Not really. I do the best for them that I can on the weekends and in the evenings, but it’s just not in my makeup to be a SAHM by choice.
Studies have been done showing that happy mothers make the best mothers, regardless of whether they are working or SAHM. There tends to be a lot of sniping on both sides, where SAHM’s look at working moms as Satan in heels and working moms see SAHMs as lazy slugs. Of course, neither one is remotely true.
I think for me it’s the loss of self. Women get pregnant and are so often duped into thinking that they need to drop everything in their lives to “raise the babies.” Like somehow surrounding yourself with diapers and spitup rags is the most one can attain in life. Maybe it is for some, but eventually that child grows up and leaves the nest. What are you left with when that happens?
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