Friday, July 22, 2011

In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms

It's been a LONG time since I've read a book that didn't rhyme and had more than about 10 pages haha. However the other day I stumbled across a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) forum online and all the moms were talking about this book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger--"In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms". Well since I won that nifty Nook at Lee's work Xmas party this past year I was able to immediately download the book to my nook and read the whole thing in less than a day. I highly recommend it as a great quick read!

The book is definitely not written to be read by working moms (and frankly, I think Dr. Laura is too hard on working moms at times and includes too much psycho babble on occassion haha)...but it's a must read for SAHMs and anyone who is considering becoming one or would like to convince themselves and their husband that she *should* be one. I especially like that Dr. Laura doesn't include any "statistics" etc. She basically says (and I agree) that you can find research and statistics to support whatever you want. It's pointless to get into arguments over working versus staying at home by quoting research and statistic. Basically you have to go with your heart and what feels right for your family.

**Let me just warn that I have no intention of alienating my working mom readers with this post! I have been a working mom and plan to return to work in a few years so I'm one of you too :-) This post however is meant as a feel-good for SAHMs and perhaps an interesting read for everyone else! Warning complete hehe**

Lately Lee and I have found ourselves saying things like "oh, look at this awesome house! We could probably afford that if I was working..."  and even though I'm loving staying at home I was starting to wonder if I shouldn't just go back to work so that we can buy a big(ger) fancy house and decorate it to the max, etc. etc. I was the one who really pushed for me to stay at home (even before Raya was born, but Lee wasn't on board so I worked Raya's first year before convincing Lee we could do it!), but I'd be lying if I didn't say that at times I miss spending whatever money I want whenever I want.

But this book was just the pick me up I needed. It reaffirmed why I'm staying home and since SAHMs don't have a boss giving them raises or pats on the back this book served that function! I've even bookmarked talking points for the future, should I need to convince Lee I want to stay at home longer than what we were originally thinking LOL.

Because I can already tell I'm going to have a hard time letting a daycare provider spend *my* time with the girls, regardless of whether they aren't little babies anymore! They are just too cute, perfect, and MINE :-)



In case you don't want to buy the book and want a cliff notes version, here are a few of my favorite quotes :-)

This point was EXACTLY the reason I fought so hard to become a SAHM...it's the precise problem we had when I was working: "This 'unisex' mentality of dueling careers, dueling hours, dueling responsibilities, and dueling realities may work for some people-- I don't know who -- but in reality, this much fragmentation of time and attention, and the requirement for all home responsibiltiies to be fifty-fifty, or else there is a fight and hell to pay, doesn't portend good things for a marriage or for the well-being of children."

I believe many working moms truly enjoy working and it works for their family (the book doesn't really think so haha...so there we differ) but I *do* get annoyed when I encounter a working mom who seemingly looks down on SAHMs (which I haven't encountered often at all, which is great :-) but I thought Dr. Laura's "comeback" to those naysayers was great...she says that SAHM's should respond "You're right. Giving up the income, ego, and freedom are very big deals. Giving up the gooey kisses, sticky hand hugs, and those moments when their eyes light up as they discover something...well, those are big deals too, and I"m sorry you're missing them."

I love never missing a moment.


SHe had put on Sawyer's cowboy slippers :-)
Oh, I thought this was an excellent point the book made. Sometimes I *do* have trouble justifying to myself the "lack" of social skills Raya might be learning by not being in daycare. That is typical what working moms state as the benefit of daycare--that there kids are learning social skills. Well Dr. Laura basically scoffs at this idea and says "that is one of the best parts of being a SAHM: when you have your child with you and you're both involved in some outside activities, you not only have more bonding time, but your child is exposed to a wide range of real-world activities and people--an exposure he obviously cannot get in a day-care center."

I had never though of it this way^^...but it makes so much sense! SAHM's don't really stay at home...we go places all the time! We went out a lot more before Brielle came along, but now that Brielle is getting older we are going out a lot again. And Raya (and Brielle) goes grocery shopping, to the post office, running errands, doctor's appointments with me, etc. etc. and we get to go on a variety of "field trips" that daycare children probably don't get to do very often. So yes, daycare socializes children but that's not to say that children with SAHMs aren't socialized!

Today the girls helped me pick out fabric at the fabric store to fulfill one of my custom Etsy orders...Brielle has been doing soooooo much better in the car lately!!



Here was an example of the book "preaching to the choir" so to say haha....there were many parts where I found myself saying "yes! someone 'gets' it!"....she wrote, " Since no goal is ever really accomplished for good-- no kitchen cupboard stays stocked, no diaper stays unfilled, and no bathroom stays clean-- her repetitive efforts can feel thankless and unnoticed."     THIS is the hardest thing about being a SAHM for me. When I was a school psychologist I could check things off my to do list and feel like I had accomplished something. Now staying at home I feel like even though I'm busy all day when Lee gets home from work it's like nothing got done! I don't really have anything to show for picking up after the girls all day b/c just that fast it's messy again.

Raya understands how I feel :-)


Here was another lightbulb moment for me. Dr. Laura was talking about another SAHM who had said "she would watch people's eyes glaze over when she told them she was a SAHM, and she felt like she had to rush in with a 'but, before I left I wass...,' as if to prove her intelligence to them."  I do this ALL THE TIME. Just today actually, the girls and I stopped at the post office and I ran into a high school teacher of mine. He asked if I worked and what I did, and instead of saying something like "I'm raising my girls" I said I was a SAHM...quickly followed with "but I got a degree in blah blah blah and am only staying home for awhile and will go back to work ......."    Seriously, from now on I'm going to own the fact that I'm staying home to raise my kids. I chose this and wanted to do it and LOVE DOING IT....so I shouldn't feel like I have to justify myself to anyone.

I have never regretted my decision to become a SAHM. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. I wish I could have that first year with Raya back. But I"m getting it now with Brielle...




Another part of the book that hit home was when she talked about an ex-child-care worker who was now a SAHM. Basically she had worked in daycares and as a nanny, etc. and was a GOOD daycare provider. Working moms *can* find great daycare providers. And as a daycare provider she really felt she loved her daycare kids and cared for them as well as their parents would if they weren't working. However, "when she later became a mother, she realized that she never had loved those children; she liked them a lot and enjoyed her job. When she became a mother, she instantly felt the difference, in that she really, truly loved her child. 'Nobody,' she wrote, 'nobody could ever LOVE my child and take care of him the way I do."

Enough said.

And the last one I want to share (I swear!) is this quote, which is one that Lee tried using on me as a reason why maybe I should stay working--the "fact" that working moms spend more quality time with their kids because they somehow appreciate the time they have more than SAHMs. Well to that Dr. Laura says "I get furious when [people] proclaim quality time as more important than quantity time. What the heck are they thinking? Do they think you can plan quality time? Of course you can't! It happens here and there. Quality time needs quanity time to find a place to happen."       Basically you can't schedule quality time between 5pm and bedtime. Quality interactions happen all day long and a SAHM has the *quantity* time needed to make use of those quality time windows of opportunity. Preachin' to the choir Dr. Laura :-)

So while Lee will probably continue to bring up from time to time how we could get that house with granite counters, or buy that camper, or take that vacation, etc. etc. if I wanted to go back to work, I now feel more strongly than ever that fighting for my ability to stay home with my kids during these early years was the right choice for us. It may not be the right choice for everyone, but this book put into words so many of the things I feel/love/believe about being a SAHM. Check it out for yourself!

To end then tonight, some more pictures....the reason you all check in with us!







5 comments:

  1. i think it's interesting what we feel we have to say/do to justify our decisions. i mean, i think it's great that you are a stay at home mom and enjoying it. personally, i know that won't be an option financially for our family so i try to think of all the good things about working and day care.

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  2. Yeah, I've done both so I feel like I kinda see both sides. Obviously I didn't like working with little ones, which is why I decided to stay home. But I did give it a good year to try and make it work! Like I said, the book is very pro SAHM, so definitely not a suggested read for people that don't have the option b/c it'll just piss you off haha :-)I'm sure there are pro daycare books out there somewhere too...

    Shawna

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  3. Oh, and I don't think the point of the book was to "justify" the decision, b/c most people who choose one or the other already feel it's justified before they make the choice, or they wouldn't do it. I just enjoyed the book from a "oh, someone else "gets me" sort of thing....since she says a lot of what I"m thinking so much more eloquently than I can!

    The author does come off a little "bitchy" at times though I will admit.

    Shawna

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  4. This is great!!!! Thanks for the post :) I've been STRUGGLING these past few weeks. Feeling like I'm such a half ass mom cause my kid watches TV and it looks like a bomb went off in my house. HAHA. So this was perfect timing :) I hate that I'll never be able to check the bathroom off my list. lol. I hate cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry, but its clearly a fact of life. Sucky. BUT I get to stay home with my babies and my days are filled with sweetness that no one, other than my kids, could give me :)

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  5. I've done both, and neither one was easy!!!
    Love,
    Grama F

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