Sunday, August 16, 2009

Self-affirmations for a Stay-at-home-Mom

Sometimes, we go through crazy times. And sometimes, at least for me, they make me want to scream, and make my voice heard. "I DO have something to say, and I AM worthwhile!" But most of the time, I don't say that.

Is blogging the easy way out? A way to have a voice when you're too afraid to voice it for real? Maybe. There's been peer pressure for a long time, to join the blogging buddies, but I resisted. Until now. Because for today, I need to rant. So, maybe I'll post again, or maybe this is all I'll say? I don't know.

I need to go on the record: I'm a stay-at-home mom.

I'm mostly happy with that. Sometimes I feel like I should be doing great things to change and improve the world - you know: building schools in Pakistan, digging latrines in India, sewing clothes for naked, pot-bellied children, and holding community composting rallies. I have talents -not so obvious ones, mind you (I am not musical, artistic, exceptionally bright, or good looking...) but I can do a few things. Need a well-organized, color-coded grocery list? I am your girl! I can even walk and chew gum (my mom said it couldn't be done; I think she's just anti-gum-chewing). But seriously, when I look at all the things I could be doing, I sometimes feel lame that I stay home taxiing to soccer practices and playing Candyland. I wonder if I am worth the education I completed, if my non-domestic skills are a waste, or if I'm really doing my part as a concerned citizen. That said, I have made this choice; no one made it for me. I want to be home with my kids. I love who they are, and I love that I've been involved on a daily basis in helping to create that. I'm proud of them. And sometimes, I'm proud of me.

So here's the problem. I feel like I'm doing something of value, but I feel like lots of people don't get it. It shouldn't matter to me what other people think, but it does. I've noticed that nothing can make a conversation stop faster, than answering the question, "So, what do you do?" I hate that question. It makes people sqiurm. They don't know how to respond. If I'm lucky, they might say, "Oh, that must be so, uh, rewarding." It is, actually, but then the conversation seems to end, unless I quickly return the conversation to their career, vacation, ambitions, or work out plans.

I'm tired of feeling like a creature from another planet, that super-educated people can't relate to. They just don't know what to say to me. I want to scream, "I am a normal person!" Staying home IS my career. You can ask me why I chose to do it. You could ask me what I do all day. It's a legitimate question, and I'd be happy to answer it. Or, I might be dreaming of a vacation, too. I have ambitions, and not just for my children. For me. I have hobbies, and sometimes, I work out. You'd find that out, you know, if you ever asked - if you thought that maybe, there was something more to me, than my skill at hog-tying a poopy child.

I realize this is my issue. I'm the insecure one. It's not anyone else's fault - though it would be nice not to be ignored! Nevertheless, I know that people don't try to be unkind. They legitimately just don't know what to say. And so, I'm writing this post. On behalf of stay-at-home-moms across this nation, I would like to say:

1. We're good enough (to speak with you intelligently)

2. We're smart enough (to have been able to choose a prestigious career, too. We did.); and

3. Doggonit, people like us (or at least, they might, if they tried to get to know us!)

Thank you. I feel much better now. Anything you need to get off your chest?

16 comments:

  1. haha, I get to write the first comment! Welcome to the blogging club Erin. And about the post. . . ditto. I think that is why I had Kennie so close to Hallie, I really struggled with the decision (well with self worth really) to stay at home with only one to take care of. It was to say the least boring. Now let's see if I can pull of three as well as you.

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  2. Aaahhh, to hear Erin rant is music to my ears! We've missed you guys. Welcome to the blog world. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

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  3. First: Yay! Love your soapbox already. Second: I think you are musical, artistic (in an organized, designy way), exceptionally bright, and good looking.
    Third: I often tell those people this is the hardest job I've ever had, that I've had a lot and this is the most challenging and the most rewarding and the most personal. Most just politely nod and try to move the conversation on. And really, you are doing tons to change the world each day--its just hard to see.

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  4. Shaping the lives of your children and teaching them to be good, decent citizens is much more important than any job that can be done outside the home. Candyland may seem like child's play, but I've watched many, many children whose parents aren't at home and I can see the difference (and our society needs to wake up and notice those differences and the negative impact it's having.) Being a stay-at-home-mom is worth it. Even just for one, and even when they're old enough to technically take care of themselves, it's still worth it. Hold your head up high and proudly tell people that you are changing the world, one diaper at a time!
    I'm so glad to see you've joined the blogging world and I hope you'll continue to share your rants! Better watch out, though... next it might be facebook!

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  5. My new favorite blog! I love that I can hear your voice as I read your writing. I miss you!!
    For the record, you ARE bright, witty, funny, smart (and smart-mouthed sometimes, which I LOVE), quick to bake a huge pan of Mostaccioli to share, will stick your neck out to make sure others are treated with respect and you know exactly what you want and WILL get it (my personal favorite). Not to mention you're a supportive wife,wonderful mother and you've proven your sewing skills. People out there may not understand your career because a lot of moms out there don't choose to make motherhood a career like you have. You provide structure, you provide a learning environment, you encourage them to develop skills AND you play Candyland. I feel sorry for the people whose only satisfaction is their paycheck. Seriously, what will that mean to them 30 years from now when you're laughing and playing with your grandchildren...and traveling the world with a husband you see more often than not. Doesn't that sound like bliss?

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  6. I'm so excited to get to read your writings! I love your mind and now I get to hear what's going on in there again!
    I totally know how you feel. I hate that question, too. I think a lot of why I hate it, though, is that my children have a way of making me feel dreadfully underqualified for this career. They challenge me more than I ever knew was possible. Most of the time I think I'm doing it wrong.
    Excuse me now, while I go discipline my son who is throwing a major fit because I won't let him have SlimFast for breakfast.

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  7. I'm so glad you started a blog! You have such an amazing way of expressing what you want to say. Every thought of writing a book?
    I totally understand how you feel. Many times I feel I have to justify my decision to stay home with my children. Marrying into a family where the girls choose to work (one is a pharmacist, one a dental hygienist, and one a soon to be optometrist) I feel like my choice to stay home is thought of as not as important as what the rest are doing. At least I am the one raising my children instead of the school system, mother in law, television, etc. We may not have the toys and money they have, but I know I am doing what I was sent here to do, and I wouldn't change that a bit!

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  8. I second the statement that you are an incredible mom and are doing amazing work with your kids. But I totally know how you feel. I have struggled with this myself; I think every stay-at-home mom has. But I've also watched my sister who has 4 kids and works. What she has had to juggle and go through to try to do both motherhood and her job well has been beyond stressful. I'm really not sure that you can do both well, or at least without a lot of guilt. Maybe some careers are more mom-friendly thank others. I dunno.

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  9. Woot! Welcome Erin and look at you...cute, cute blog! But not as cute as you!

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  10. Welcome to the blogging community, Erin! I'm so glad you joined us.

    You have a powerful voice and I'm glad you will have an outlet for your rants. You have a way with words and much to share - with your children, with your husband, and with us.

    Hold your head up high - you are doing a wonderful job!

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  11. WOO HOO!!! I'm so glad you've started a blog, and I love your soap box. I agree and dog gone it I like you! I look forward to reading more...I hope you continue!

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  12. You have described so well how it is! I hate going to work dinners with T, for this very reason. I remember one conversation that went like this:

    "So, what do YOU do?"
    "I'm a mother."
    "Oh."
    "Yeah, the pay's not so good, but the benefits are priceless."

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  13. I like mothers. I think that everyone should have one. And everyone would be lucky to have one like Erin! XOXO Sissy!

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  14. I love you, Erin. I love the way your mind works and I can picture you as you're saying these things.
    I think every mom feels this way at one time or another. But, only the few, the proud (in a good way) and the strong can make it through staying home to raise their children.
    You have some amazing children. Keep your chin up and know you are doing an amazing job.

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  15. LOVE your family pic as well. Where did you get that taken?

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  16. Hmm. . . I was randomly going through my email tonight and I found your message about your blog. How did I miss it? It's the best news I've had all week.

    I love reading your writing. It's just like listening to you talk. Great post!

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