Because now that I am officially a fugitive-at-large scheduled for surgery that I wasn’t quite expecting to happen so, well, SUDDENLY, I am now carefully spraying down every surface of my house with bleach. And Lysol. And then more bleach. Why? Because GERMS EXIST WHERE CROTCH PARASITES LIVE.

Also, one of the major risks for a surgery like mine is infection, so there you have it. I am trying to minimize my risks WHILE staying sane. Also Also: if anyone knows anyone local who can paint some walls, like, in the next three days, CALL ME.

Because obviously.

(and yes, I was serious about the come sit on my couch, yo, offer)

I invited my home slice Mompetition to guest post for me. So I could go buy more bleach. And maybe stare adoringly at my John C. Mayer pictures. A lot.

But I’m over at Mushroom Printing and I’ll prolly be over at Band Back Together because I am obsessive. They’re group blogs, yo, so you can post there too. FANCY.

——————–

Aunt Becky asked me to do a guest post. Besides a moment filled with excitement and glee, I felt an overwhelming sense of, well shit, what do I write about?  Typically, I like to write about amusing topics.  Perhaps one of my tales from days cooped up in a laboratory, pounding out the cure for cancer.  Or I could tell you the tale of worms who frolicked in my toilet.  That’s right, worms.  Someone (not a member of my family), had gone poopoo in a guest toilet we never used, and failed to flush.  A week went by and I noticed a horrid smell.  I opened the lid and to my horror I found black water and worms swan diving into the sewage.  Yes.  It happened.

But instead, words that Aunt Becky told me (ok, not me specifically, so I guess I should use the word “US”) resound in my ears.  It is important to be honest with your audience.  People yearn for truth and hence, will be drawn into the prose.  Let’s talk about feminism aka, wearing your vagina on the outside, as well as the inside.

Growing up I was constantly told I could be anything:  a veterinarian, an artist, a brain surgeon, anything my little pig-tailed heart desired.  I did my time in high school and then went to college.  I majored in genetics.  It seemed that was not enough, I felt the canines of Virginia Woolf, piercing through my brain.

Next, I continued on to graduate school and completed my studies in cancer biology earning a PhD.  During this time I struggled with infertility and triumphantly gave birth to boy/girl twins after my graduation.  At the same hospital, I had found a fantastic job that I loved.  I utilized my writing talents, people incorporating skills and even had a boss that understood my quirky sense of humor.  Then, I gave birth to my babies and 12 weeks after their birth returned to work.  I smiled each day and enjoyed the coffee break complete with alone time at my desk.  But inside, I was dying.

No one told me it was OK to “just be a mother”.  Staying at home with your children was something our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did.  Stanton and Anthony didn’t work their bustles off so that I would merely sit at home and be a wife and mother.  Oh no no.  I owed it to our sub species to work work work and be proud of my success.  I would stare at my business card mounted on my desk and daydream about what my babies were doing at daycare.  Were they sticking to their routine?  Did the ladies there remember to not do tummy time with my daughter?  Is my son smiling at that other woman who is holding him close.

I worked and worked, some days I would only see them for 30 minutes total.  I was not happy.  Then, it happened.  I got the best news I ever. We had to move.  My husband’s job relocated us halfway across the country to the sweltering craplands of Miami.  I was in heaven.  Now, I had an excuse to quit my job and not return to work.  “OH! getting a job in Miami?  We may only be there for a few years, it’s not worth it for me to try and find a job.”

We moved.  I stayed home.  I was happy.  Sure there were a few days (weeks!) that sucked here and there.  Nap refusals, food thrown in my face, children rolling around on the floor trying to bite one another, all that good infant-toddler transition stuff, but it was the happiest I had ever been.

Then, we had to move back.  We all came back to Texas and suddenly it wasn’t an anomaly that I was unemployed.  Back in our home state, back with connections, back where people spoke English, I had no excuse not to go find a job.  I chose not to and decided to be, a STAY AT HOME MOM (dun dun duuunnn).

I hate it when strangers ask what I do.  I still feel the need to justify or say things like “well just until they start school”.  Don’t worry, I will work again, please don’t think less of me.  I also hate forms.  “Employer?”  “Work Phone?”  My answers are always bitchy or full of sub-text.  I wonder if anyone catches it.

I find it interesting that as little girls, we are given baby dolls to play with.  Yet, when I was growing up I was never told it was “OK” to be a mommy.  Playing mommy was for fun, but you better finish college.  Where was all my inner struggle coming from?  GUILT.  Guilt that I was letting all the women who had come before me down.  I had the brains and drive to be a successful working woman, I owed it to them to climb that ladder.  And then, one day, it hit me.  Feminism is not about being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or being the chief of medicine, it was about having a CHOICE.  I can be a woman in a suit or a woman in a rocking chair.   It’s OK to be a stay at home mom to support my husband in his career and be with my children 24 hours a day.  If that is what I chose to do, so be it.

Many don’t get it.  A woman I once worked has called it a “shame”, and “such a waste of talent”.  Others comment on why I bothered to get my doctorate if I’m JUST going to be a mom.  My friends without children constantly ask me when I’m “going back to work”.  Every time someone says that it makes me want to hurt them, possibly slowly and painfully with voodoo needles.  But instead, I normally follow it up with the passive-aggressive “what do you mean?”  Whether they meant it or not, I thank my fore-mothers for standing up for my rights to be employed by my husband and children.

My only hope, for anyone out there who struggles with the insecurities of this job, is that you are comforted in knowing you are ALLOWED to be whatever you want to be, even if it is a bugger rag for your babies.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

77 Responses to Mommy Daze

  • karen says:

    rock on sister. Raising the next generation is hard WORK.

  • Sam says:

    Oh. My. Goodness.

    What an amazing guest post! You hit the nail on the head for so many topics that I think I’d be writing my own guest post/comment if I responded to them all. :)

    “Playing mommy was for fun, but you better finish college.”

    This was most certainly the mantra when I was growing up. I currently don’t have children and, to be honest, I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a full-time SAHM. But, what I can say is, while I do appreciate women (and men!) who have this fabulous capacity – I think your post made me support it even more. Thank you.

    • Val says:

      None of us have what it takes man! Which is why my kid is running around in just a diaper with a popsicle when its 60 degrees outside.

  • cagey says:

    I went from being a professional, to staying home with my first child full-time. I waddled my fat ass out of that last job and never looked back. I LOVE what I do now.

    However, I also struggle with the “what do you do” question and the “when are you going back to work” inquiries. I am perfectly happy doing what I am doing. I make our lives easier by staying home but it is still difficult to quantify that.

    On the forms that request employment information, I mark “self-employed”. Damned straight.

  • Katie W. says:

    Amen to that sister. I remember hearing “what to you want to be when you grow up?” all the time. Like I had to have it completely figured out BEFORE I even finished high school and got to college.

    I have know since childhood that I wanted to be a wife and mother. Never really had a true passion for a career outside of the home. Kudos to those who do, it’s just not me.

    I too have my days (months) where I want to pull my hair out and run screaming out the front door. But it passes. I know in my heart of hearts that when I am old and gray, I will not be sorry that I stayed home to raise my three beautiful children. I know that I won’t be in my rocking chair on the front porch wishing I had spent more time at work.

  • Katie W. says:

    P.S. As for employment information, I refer to myself as the CEO of Household Management.

  • Maria says:

    Can I get a hell yeah? I am not as educated as you are, btu still. I’mn tired of being made to feel like a dimwit or a waste of space because of what I “do.” Or, don’t do as some people may think.

  • Maria says:

    Ermmmm, I’m sure all my typos helped drive home the point that I am NOT a dimwit, eh?

  • a says:

    I am not really the right personality type to be a SAHM, and I applaud those who can do it. Sometimes. When it’s my annoying SIL, who has a Master’s in Speech Pathology and an almost 5 year old who doesn’t speak as well as my daughter did when she was 2.5, well…sorry to say it, but a little judgement creeps in.

    I am a little jealous of SAHMs, but only because they don’t have (or have overcome?) the compulsion I have to earn an income and be financially independent. Also, they probably don’t have husbands who are good earners but a little flaky (and therefore, can’t be trusted with maintaining my security).

  • Sabra says:

    Mompetition,

    I started following you because it was about damned time I heard another woman (and another mother of boy/girl twins to boot) say the same things I have experienced/felt for years.

    Second wave feminists hate us because we have it all. We can choose to stay home and feel fulfilled. We can choose to go to work and have “househusbands” (I know of one such couple and both have Ph.D.s in Chemistry). If they chose to work, they still HAD to take care of house and home and hate on us because we don’t. Still, our choices as women are still issues with other women. Why? I didn’t know 2 1/2 years ago, I still don’t

    F is for Feminist

    • Val says:

      so is your daughter the freaking queen of the universe too? My poor son never gets to play with anything or do anything without her butting in to tell him he’s wrong.

      • Sabra says:

        Well, we had a singleton daughter 15 months after the twins so the dynamic changed. Let’s just say we thought about having a fourth child, but so feared a third girl that we nixed the idea altogether. For many years they just all three played together or rotating pairing up. Now, however, the gender differences are becoming quite pronounced and problematic…

  • Tracey says:

    THANK YOU! I’m so glad you wrote about this, it really touches home for me too! I used to work full-time when my first daughter was born because I was young and had to. By the time I had my third daughter, I couldn’t afford daycare and I really, really wanted to be home with them. I would feel guilty for missing school trips and parties and then I would feel guilty for calling into work when my children were sick. I felt horrible when they would wake up in the morning and say they weren’t feeling good and I had to actually stop and think about whether they were too sick to go to school/daycare for fear of losing my job or not being thought of for promotions. I decided to quit and stay home, knowing that I could always go back when they are grown. I have days that I feel like I am invisible and then I have days that I feel like I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I always get asked when I’m going back to work and I always say “I am working!”

  • steph gas says:

    while i’m not a mom to actual human beings, i’m a stay-at-home cat mom/wife. and i totally agree that the whole point of FEMINISM is that we have that choice. my entire life goes back to family guy (yes, i’m an actual grown up – i promise). there’s an episode where peter has to go to sensitivity training and basically has his balls taken from him. he and lois attend some women’s conference and the big-shot feminist (voiced perfectly by candice bergen) is all like ‘oh, so you don’t WORK’ to lois. and lois points out that feminism is all about choices – and she CHOOSES to be a wife and mother.

    raising kids and running a household can be a full time job. when i was younger, before we were divorced, my mom was home all day with me and my little brother, and it was great – lots of playtime and quality time. but then my mom was a single mom for quite some time, working one full time job, one part time job on weekends, AND raising my brother and i. and while we may have only had a few hours on the weekends and dinnertime at night, she made all of those moments count – and that’s what makes the difference.

  • Stacy says:

    Thank you! I work part time from home, but am so happy to do the things around the house when I’m not working because it means that our weekends are available for the three of us to have fun and spend time together. We don’t have to rush to the Target or wait for the dryer to buzz. We can do stuff, ya know, like a family and stuff. Just because anyone (man, woman, basset hound) has the option to do it all doesn’t mean that they should, because, hello – misery often ensues. Choosing what makes you happy and fulfills you is the most educated choice you can make. And just because a woman is a mom, CEO, and Martha Stewart doesn’t make her any better than anyone else. Good on ya!

  • Super Red says:

    Thank you… Just, thank you. I’m always amazed and in awe of how women can make it work. When did it become a crime to teach people how to exist in society. Being a mother is such a huge responsibility, and I can’t imagine letting anyone else raise my children. Granted, I don’t have any yet, but when I do, I will be a proud card-carrying mother. My sister raises her three(+unborn boy or girl) on her husbands less-than-30,000-a-year-salary. And they make it work. Mothers are so amazing and resourceful… I hate that “feminism” has tried to take that away from women.

    Being a mother is the ONLY job a woman can have where she can’t be easily replaced by a few “help wanted” ads. Rock On!

  • Michelle says:

    I would say that I definitely don’t have the disposition to be a SAHM. But – that’s beside the point for me, because I don’t have that option. I am a single mother. A single mother who has kept the house (that I PAY for), has 100% financial responsibility for my son, and has had to pay alimony because I out-earned my ex-husband by more than two times. I hate to sound like the voice of dissension here [because in theory, I do agree with the fact that if it is a choice that is all yours and nobody's else's business] but I think I have taken a LOT of flak from the SAHMs in my neighborhood. A very nice neighborhood where I am literally the ONLY divorced, single working mom – living in one of the bigger “nicer” houses that I work on MYSELF, do my own yard (and yes, I SEE your looks as you drive by in your mini vans while I mow my yard on the John Deere tractor in my tank top and shorts – I wave hello, and you just drive on by).

    I’m hoping that maybe my son will forgive me for not taking him to endless fun extracurricular activities or spending time doing art projects at home, or sometimes just not having the energy to make a “home-cooked meal” and relying on chicken nuggets and fries in the oven as “dinner.”

    Maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter if I had the “choice” to stay at home, or if I didn’t live in a neighborhood of such bitchy SAHMs. But rock on to you and your choices – because they’re your business and you don’t need to ‘splain yourself to anyone.

    • choosy says:

      I don’t understand why we can’t all support each other in this. The dissent doesn’t serve anyone!
      Those SAHMs are moms. the end.
      Just like all of us moms, they are doing what they feel they have to.
      We all deserve SUPPORT people.

      Because no matter whether you work or don’t work, you’re still the mom. And that comes with a world of societal expectations. We can all relate!

      • Michelle says:

        Read carefully, Choosy: I SUPPORT her choices and the fact that she doesn’t need to explain her choices to anyone. THE END. Just because my experience is “different” (regarding the SAHMs in MY neighborhood) doesn’t mean I don’t respect their choice to stay at home with their kids. They are lucky to have that CHOICE. That’s all I’m saying. I would hope that expressing one “dissenting” opinion (or rather, experience, I should say – because my opinion is still one of SUPPORT for an individual’s choice) doesn’t brand one as the ‘unsupportive, negative nellie commenter.’ After all, I did tell her to rock on!

      • Cassandra says:

        choosy – it sounds to me like you are saying it’s fine to complain if people judge you for staying home but if you complain when people judge you for going to work then you are ‘negative’?

  • JJ says:

    I think you are one lucky dog to be able to stay home and watch your kids grow up! As a working Mom nothing pains me more than when my 3 year old says “don’t go to work today mommy.” As a well educated stay at home mom, you now have that much more time to pass all that good stuff in your brain onto your kids! Have fun!!!

  • davidgs says:

    Totally with you on the germ-ocide. I just had *minor* oral surgery (and no, it’s not nearly as kinky or as exciting as that makes it sound) and got an infection. And last spring I had knee surgery and … wait for it … got a friggin infection! So go nuclear (or, if you prefer, nukular) on them there germs!! They deserve it.

  • TeacherMommy says:

    Or, from the other side, to get the guilt trips about daring to go to work instead of stay at home–which would not work for me. I wish people would just let people choose what’s best for them and their family without all the guilt. Period!

  • Cassandra says:

    I hear SAHM say this a lot so I have to believe it’s true. However, it’s a little mind-boggling too . . . I think where are all these women who are judging you to cheerlead me because I am constantly met with the tut-tut’s of SAHM’s or those who have no children or older generations of women or men etc etc who have all drawn the conclusion (and feel immensely comfortable sharing it with me) that apparently I don’t really love my children because I’m “letting strangers raise them.” Ironically, I’d rather be a SAHM but our lives didn’t work out that way. Of course, I’ve stopped mentioning that to people because it is swiftly met with “Well, WE *found* a way” – which apparently is intended to highlight that I am either not motivated enough or not creative enough to actually love my children.

    All of which I say (yes, partially to indulge myself) to say – you really can’t win. When it comes to parenting everyone always thinks they have the answer for you and, unlike any other area of life, they all feel very compelled to share in the most baldfaced terms possible.

    • Cassandra says:

      Also – all the “good” preschool programs – your Montessoris; Waldorfs etc. – all are for hours a mother working outside the home could never do. I guess they assume if you don’t love your kids enough to stay home with them you probably aren’t looking for them to have a good education either.

  • Nakai says:

    LOVE this post!! I’m a sahm and SO many people ask me when I’m going to go back to work. I tell them… “When my kids are old enough to stay at home while I attend a birth.” (I’m a student midwife) So many people don’t understand that I LOVE being a mom. When I was a kid and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I “grew up” I would always say, “A mommy and an ambalance driver.” Little did I know being an “ambalance driver” meant Paramedic and Paramedics deal with not so nice things… so, I was a Paramedic before I had kids, but it was too hard on my heart to see the things I saw. I’d rather help bring life into the world than to see it destroyed.

  • Keep being vigilant kiddo. Those nasty microbes are everywhere!

  • Kate says:

    I love this post! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!

    When I was growing up, the question was not, “Are you going to college?” It was “Where are you going to college?” There was NEVER an option & the interesting thing is that my two sisters and I are now college-educated stay-at-home-moms. We all worked for about 2 years and then gave it up to be home to raise our kids. I can’t speak for them, but I know I’ve experienced the same guilt & feeling that I have to justify what I do to everyone. Even now, with caring for 9 children (5 with special needs) & homeschooling, I STILL struggle with feeling like what I do is not enough and I’m a failure as a woman.

    I’m doing things differently with my girls (well, with ALL of my kids, but I’m talking about my daughters specifically here). I don’t put any preconceived idea of what I want them to do with their life on them. I tell them they can do anything they want & if what they want to do involves college, I will help them. If what they want to do involves a technical program (like being a certified dental assistant or a massage therapist or a welder), I will help them to succeed in that arena. If what their heart desires is to be a mom & they don’t want to go to college, I support that choice as being equally valid (because it IS). My oldest daughter (will be 19 next week) had zero desire to go to college. All she truly wants in life is to be a mom. Right now, she works as a respite care provider for her siblings. She got hired by the Disability Services office in town & she gets paid to help with her brothers and sisters who are disabled. Pretty cushy job. :) She’s completely ready to be a mother and take care of a home because she’s been learning how to do it for years. My oldest son wants to be a pastor & also get a degree in computers (don’t know what area yet) so that he can be sure to be able to provide for a wife & family (he doesn’t want his wife to HAVE to work) ~ as such, he is beginning college classes in January as part of dual enrollment while he finishes his last year of high school. His choices involve college. My daughter’s do not. And both avenues are 100% valid & perfect for each child.

    Sorry for the super-long response. Your post really hit a nerve with me. I think it’s fantastic that girls/women have the option of working if they want to, but I wish that didn’t mean that women who choose to stay home with their children are denigrated as being somehow “lesser” because they don’t bring a paycheck home.

  • Amen sisters! Feminism is all about choice and we as women have got to support each other in the choices we make or the lives we have to live because, hey, sometimes, lets face it, there *is* no choice! Why is it that so many women seem to be so judgmental about our lives? I find it strangely easy to forgive from men, I mean, not all of them are potty trained, let alone civilized, so I don’t expect much from the random guy on the street, but WOMEN! Sweet Mary Mother of God! I have GOT to get me one of those “shut your whore mouth” shirts.

    I work on a contractual basis, so I get a lot of “so are you looking for a full time job?” and “so what are you going to do now?” because I’m pregnant and so OBVIOUSLY I’m going to switch careers to something, you know, grown-up n’ shit, that does 9-5 and has paid vacation. Uh, or I can keep doing what I’m doing and not work for a while and then go back to doing what I love to do if it works for me and baby and husband and cat? Actually, before I was pregnant I got a lot of this too, because archaeologist isn’t a real job, it’s something you want to do when you’re five, but then you grow out of it.

  • Marie says:

    Thanks, Valerie for some validation. Where I live, it is a “priveledge” to stay home and NOT have to work. I really should work, financially speaking, but child care would be too costly. I miss work, but I’m glad I have this opportunity to CHOOSE to stay home when they’re small. I’m already slipping out of the house more and more, and today my daughters teacher told me I could sub for her (teaching is my field). I am starting to feel more satisified knowing my futire road is not barred and I can still return. Great post!

  • Sara R. says:

    Exactly! I struggle with that guilt too. I love being a stay at home mom and I always planned to be one, but I still feel the need to respond with “Well I USED to be a chemist, but now I stay at home with my kids” when asked what I do. I wish I could just proudly say “I’m a stay at home mom!” and leave it at that.

  • Maggie says:

    Yes, great post, and not only are you allowed to be whatever you want to be, it is a wonderful gift from our mothers and grandmothers if you can have your first choice (even if they don’t see it that way).

    Me, I have the other guilt. I worry there is something wrong with me that I do NOT want to stay at home with my kids. I love them so, and I think I love my time with them even more than if I was with them all day long.

    I’m so happy for you, and all of us that we have choices! But with choices, of course, there comes second-guessing and stress (hello, school choices anyone??)

  • This is such a great post!! It is totally about CHOICE! The suit or the rocking chair – beautifully written!

    It bothers me when my old work friends say, “Well, call me sometime. After all, I have to go to work.”

    Drives. Me Crazy.

    But I think I’ll borrow your line, “What do you mean?” if you don’t mind.

  • Erin says:

    What perfect timing! I’ve been a SAHM since my baby was born nine months ago. I thought I had finally started to get over this “useless” feeling I’d been struggling with, but this morning all those negative feelings came rushing back. Seriously, I was cleaning oatmeal off the highchair and fighting back tears wondering why I even bothered with college and law school. For me, it’s not only guilt but jealousy; I’m envious that my husband gets an hour of alone time commuting to and from work, or that he gets awards and recognition at work (even if that recognition is only in the form of a paycheck). I wish so many of us didn’t have to struggle with these negative feelings, but it’s nice to know we’re not alone. I think you really nailed it when you wrote about girls being taught they can be anything they want to be; it’s wonderful that we were raised that way, but now we know to tell our daughters (and sons!) that, while an education is very important, being a mom or dad is a worthwhile career choice if that’s what they want to be after all.

  • Roccie says:

    Welcome, Sister of Lupron.

    I am a working mother. I get to work late, I leave early and I drink blogs all day long. I am a useless emlployee for the most part, consumed with scoring my next infant.

    I keep working for The Man so I can pay for my Assisted Reproductive Technologies (aka Test Tube Babies, for those blissfully not in the know).

    If I ever am emancipated from this drudgery to the real gig of Domestic CEO, I will clip the tongue out of the person who questions my aptitude, commitment or choice.

    I love your style, woman. Keep it coming. You still my inner Feminist and I love to keep her fresh and on her toes.

  • Roccie says:

    Shitballs.

    You STIR my inner Feminist.

    STIR still.

    (See why I suck at my job??? Details, mhah.)

  • K Mom says:

    Thanks for the thought provoking post and the interesting comments that follow! I’m all about having choices and respecting those that others make, but I’d like to suggest a slightly different take on feminism. To me, it’s about having the confidence as a woman to not give a damn what other people think about the choices I’ve made, and that’s what I hope for other women (including my daughter) as well. I own the choices I’ve made – only having one kid, working full time outside the home – even though I sometimes get crap about them. Sometimes the criticism gets to me, I’ll admit it, but I try to remember that the next time I find myself being judgmental about another woman’s life.

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  • Jaime says:

    OK – i am saying it, yes the A word… its just like ..abortion… its a Choice and it should be YOUR CHOICE. no one elses.. what works for you and yours may not work for me and mine but however you get along …go on… as long as your not eating cats or something really insane like that…

  • Lisa says:

    Love!!!!!! You hit the nail on the head Val. I am a SAHM and . . . DUH DUH DUHNNNN . . . I homeschool. I am not a freak, yes it’s hard, but it is what I want to do.
    I saw a chain email a long time ago breaking down all the jobs a SAHM does and the prices other paeople pay to have those things done – very eye opening. I am not just self-employed, I am the CEO and worth a shitload of money to my family. :)
    Now – I have mom friends who work and I would never hate on them because they are doing what they have to/want to do.
    Down with all the haters (on both sides) :o)

  • Natalie says:

    I am a SAHM with four boys.

    I hate when people ask when I am going back to work. I, too, feel like I need to say that once they are all in school full time, I will SOOO go back because obviously…hehehe, you know…I couldn’t possibly be fulfilled staying home! I will have to borrow your ‘what do you mean’.

    I agree that the feminist movement is about having the choice. I am happy with my choice to stay home. I get frustrated sometimes, but I know that I will never say to myself ‘WHy oh why didn’t I work through my children’s young years!!!’

    I have a lot of respect for moms who work outside the home. Because they have all the same work at home that I do, just with 8 hours less a day to do it in. Some work because they have to, some because they want to. I don’t even care. As long as you are happy, that is what matters to kids.

    I feel very fortunate that my husband is supportive of me staying home with the kids. I do struggle sometimes because my contributions to our family don’t show up on our bank statement. But they are just as valid. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

  • Joan says:

    This mom also daydreams about her baby at daycare and wishes she had the financial backing to make such a choice. I applaud you! I loved this post.

  • Katya says:

    HELLS TO THE MUTHAFUCKING YEAH

    hating on women for their choices is BULLSHIT. Now that I think about it, hating on ANYONE for their choices is BULLSHIT.

  • eringirl says:

    I am 33 weeks pregnant with twin girls. I have my BA, an MA and a great job. I think I am the type of woman who likes to work– needs to work. But I don’t know. I have always felt the same pressure as you; that because of what other women fought for, I am supposed to want to be in the workplace. But as I face the birth of my girls in the next few weeks I have no idea what to expect. And what I appreciate most is what everyone else has already said– that it is my choice whether or not I want to work.

    Thank you so much for posting this at such a great time for me personally. It is reassuring to hear that other women are embracing the choice to stay home. I know that whatever choice I make will be right for me and my family.

    • Val says:

      Well if you are anything like me, taking care of newborn twins, you are going to be drooling about work for 99% of your maternity leave. And then your first week of work hits and you’re like…uh oh. What the hell is this feeling??? I don’t know if I want to be here anymore!

  • Emthe says:

    Okay, so when I get the What Do You Do question, I reply “Oh! I’m retired. 12 hour work days and kids don’t mix. It made the most sense to retire early.” Then, with a smarmy gleeful look I say, “God, I’m loving it!”

    The looks I get vary, but the whole point is that I’m doing what makes me happy. Screw them. I’m not here for their bestowal (or withholding) of approval.

  • Melissa says:

    Sorry so late to the game, long day at work (I have no kids). I think being a stay at home mom is the best thing you can do for your child if you are able to. As a child of a mom who HAD to work because my Dad died, and then she CHOSE to work after she got remarried I can say that my brothers and sisters were wild children. We roamed the burbs in the 70′s. The neighborhood babysitter who watched ALL the kids whose parents worked during the ERA years were all the same as well.

    I love my Mom, I would have loved being able to be with her more. For her to be less depressed because she WANTED to be a stay at home mom but couldnt. (before the remarriage) – She stayed at home for a couple of years after my baby brother was born, but she had him late and counted on us teenagers to take care of him after he started pre-school.

    I DONT understand my cousin who did get a doctorate from Yale, only to get pregnant immediately afterwards and has never worked since, her kids are teens now, and she never plans to work. I kind of find that a wicked waste of money. But it’s her choice, and I still love her. Just dont get it.

  • Kristin
    Twitter: dragondream
    says:

    What an awesome post. I’ve gotten the same reaction about why I’m not using my college degree. I love this post.

  • dee says:

    If your plan is to be a stay at home mom, do your future children a favor and get your degree in early childhood education so you’re at least qualified to do so. Too many women use the “I quit my job to stay home with my children,” as an excuse for, “I’m really just tired of working to earn a living and want to stay home because my babies are so cute.” Raising children is not easy. Think about working while they are young so you can put away enough money to retire early and stay home when they are in high school — that’s when they really need their parents full time attention — very day after school from the ages of 14 to 18. That’s when the bad influences that can effect their adulthood happens. It rarely happens in the nursery or on the playground when they’re ages 0-5.

    • Val says:

      I don’t know, someone has to make sure they don’t go straight from a bottle to a crack pipe.

    • Cassandra says:

      you raise some valid points; in specific i wish more people actually took the business of raising children more seriously and availed themselves of the ton of information. but in terms of bad influences and what is most effective – the personality is formed in the 0 – 5 years. it’s a bit like a house; if the foundation is shakey . . .

      • Natalie says:

        Exactly Cassandra! Those first years are the foundation. If you don’t do it right at the beginning (which is a constant source of anxiety for me) then by the time they are teens and have all the bad influences etc. they won’t be in a position to make good decisions. And I don’t know that it is possible to ‘fix’ at that point anymore.

        • Cassandra says:

          i used to be quite anxious about that as well but, while i do focus on the fact that it is indeed the foundation . . . i noticed that my parents influence on me has continued into adulthood; seems parenting truly is never done. ;)

  • Rachel says:

    Bravo, madam! You’ve articulated this so well!

    Modern feminism is about the choice- our sisters in the ’80s pulled off that ‘man-up’ crap, and we’ve reached the stage where we can be who we want, thanks to them. And for oh-so-many of us, that choice is a SAHM.

    I gave birth to my son right after I finished my MA (HA! should’ve seen the looks on the dept. heads’ faces when I told them what *I* was doing with my degree!), and have been a SAHM ever since. I don’t like it. I daydream about a 9-5 with suits and laptops… but I know that he’s happy, and I get such joy watching him smile and play (less joy the other 67% of the time, but whatever). And this is my choice. I’ll go back to work, and that will be my choice too. Husband can have his choice then.

    [Aunt Becky, can we get a guest post from a stay at home dad?]

  • Shin Ae says:

    This topic really hits home. Like one of the other commenters said, it was always assumed I was going to college. There was no choice. Ironically, not so for my brother.

    I could not find my groove. I didn’t know what I wanted to be, other than a mom. I was supposed to BE something. I finished university with fantastic grades, but in my mind, my degree had little to do with my hopes or aspirations. I never had a “real” job. I think some of the problem was a huge vacuum where counsel should have been…I think there were options for me if I had someone to help me see them. I had no idea what jobs were available for someone with my training, and the few I could see, well, they turned my stomach. BUT I don’t think of my life as over. I think about going back to school someday, or maybe just using what I’ve already got. The truth is, with each passing year it becomes less important to me. I’m a mom. I have what I dreamt of. Every time I think it could be time for me to do something else, to go to work, I realize my kids need me in a different way, and I only have this once to give myself to them. They are still fairly small. Maybe it will be different when they are older. As I said, I concern myself with that less and less. I no longer feel I have failed somehow if I tell someone that I spend all my time raising these wonderful children. I am so proud.

    Maybe that was my true education? As you said? To know what I want and to have the confidence to be happy.

    • Val says:

      Never do I think higher education of any kind is wasted on children. What does it take to get a degree, hard work, patience, solving problems…all skill sets that are imperative to motherhood.

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you for this post!! Days have gone by, almost a yr since earning my bachelors, the dreams that I had faded. I felt worthless and forget that I do have an important job. I take care of my son. I love him, teach him, and it’s all while caring for my father. My dreams for the future have changed drastically. I just want to nurture and take it all in. BTW thank you for all the work you did with cancer. Cancer sucks, my dad has it and well he’s trying his hardest to kicks its ass.

  • Sam says:

    The only thing I hate *more* than someone saying “Oh, you have an English degree, where (or when) are you teaching?” (If I wanted to teach, I’d have a different, teach-y degree!) is when someone says something like “Oh you stay home, well, they’ll be in school soon enough.” Sure, maybe they caught the annoyance in my voice, or pictured me marking days off a calendar, but if it’s a sentence to serve, it’s mine and I chose it. And I’d rather start climbing the ladder later in life, than wish I’d never missed the milestones. Rock on with raising your babies! :)

  • Andra says:

    Kudos on this post!! I would love to be a SAHM! I am jealous of anyone that has the choice to be able to. Although, at this point, still trying every month for 8 years now, I am jealous of every Mom out there! Either choice is personal to that Mom… And NO ONE has the right to make a SAHM feel guilt for choosing to be at home with their kids. Or making them feel guilt for choosing to go back to work….

  • mumma boo says:

    Bravo! Very well-said, Mompetition. It is all about choice, and it’s always baffled me why there is so much animosity on both sides. Everyone needs to take a step back and realize that if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy, and if momma has the resources to make herself happy by either staying at home because she wants to OR working because she wants to, then she shouldn’t be given any flack.

  • Jen says:

    my kids are older, but i too left a decent career to be a full time. it took almost five years to adjust from being a major breadwinner to see the value in myself as “just a mommie”.
    and, i was also a product of the 1970′s- told that i could be anything- just dont be a mother. or if you do become a mother, dont let it affect you. ha!
    there are many ways to be an awesome mom. for some of us the call is to stay home. for some we network differently and can manage working outside the home. each of us is different, and each child is different. they key is to be in touch with what is right for OUR family.

  • Opto-Mom says:

    Love your post! I’m an eye doctor, and have my own office. I took my little angel to work with me a couple days a week, and she stayed with the grandmas 2 days a week. The grandmas LOVED it, and so did the angel. Now she’s in school, but since I am my own boss, I can schedule around when she has awards or performances at school. If not, I would have had to stay at home because daycare was not for me.

    Kudos to you for doing what is best for you and your kiddos! And I’ll bet you are the bestest buggar rag ever!!!

  • habanerogal says:

    Hope the surgery goes well and that you start to not be in pain all the time sooner than later Big muah

  • Suniverse says:

    Ugh, my aunt, who I already did not like, cemented her place as my least favorite relative by saying it was such a waste for me to have gone to school and then just stay home with my kid.

    Um. Yeah. Total waste. She is the most amazing project I’ve worked on for 14 years. And in that time, I’ve gotten 2 graduate degrees and worked and you know what? I like that I was able to mix those things up. That I had the freedom and the CHOICE to make my own decisions. THAT’S what it’s all about. CHOICE.

    • Meghann says:

      While I was working on my undergrad I had a similar conversation with a fellow student. I always knew that once I had children I wanted to stay at home with them and am fortunate to have been able to do that. When that topic came up she accused me of “wasting the country’s resources” because I was going to school and not planning to “work” my whole life. (I am not sure which resources I was wasting since I: 1) was attending a private, not state school; and 2) payed for my education.)

      My biggest irritation is people that assume I am less intelligent b/c I stay at home. I guess waving around my academic honors would be tacky, but so is acting shocked when you find out I have a brain.

  • UDntNo says:

    Best of luck tomorrow and prayers to a speedy and flawless recovery!!

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