Friday, February 25, 2011

Yep-Me and June Cleaver, BFF

I try to leave the soap box rants off the blog (sort of, at least not about real issues). But I have to say something and since there are like 3 of you listening (reading) I figure this is a safe space. Please tune in for my diatribe about being a stay at home mom (SAHM in blogger world).
Dear Lady Who Sat Next to Me at Swim Lessons,
1) I actually LIKED my job before becoming a SAHM
2) I was pretty darn GOOD at my job before becoming a SAHM

3) I didn't chose to be a SAHM because I had no career, no skills, and no other options

4) Being a SAHM was a willing sacrifice, not a plan B

5) Of course becoming a FT SAHM at 23 involved some paradigm shifting, rethinking, and redirecting of my goals.
6) That shift, however, was not because of oppression, but because of the exact opposite...the opportunity to choose to stay home.
Additionally, I don't want you to say how being a SAHM is "great, but it's so not for me. I could never do that. You are so wonderful that you can do that. I love my career too much. I love my job so much. I could never quit my job. We need the money. We couldn't live without my paycheck. " All of that may be true-but lay off the condescension. Are you trying to make me feel OK about staying at home or are you trying to make yourself feel better about working FT?
Guess what? I thought I would have a couple more years in my career, but when I found out I was pregnant and would have a child, I knew for me and what I believe, I knew that staying home with him, no matter the cost to my career/lifestyle was top priority. Living on a dime, not spending money on frivolous things, learning to live on one income, putting off career goals until another phase of life, it was all a choice. Lots of women wish they could stay home but have to work. I believe being a SAHM is a privilege.
And guess what else? I have lots of friends (actual people) who work FT and raise their children. I do not just hang with a bunch of "mommies" who have nothing to do except talk about how many diapers they have changed that day. Really.
I was talking to a teacher the other day who had a baby in the Fall. All she could talk about was how she wished she was at home, playing with her new baby. She couldn't wait until the bell rang to let her go home. She dreamed about being able to make it work so she be home with her baby all the time. I was. I am. And I feel blessed to have been around for all the bumps, bruises, crazy, manic, sad, lonely, exhilarating, hysterical, bonding, loving, playful, fun, hair-pulling, joyful days. You don't have to try and make me feel good about my decision to stay home. I am pro-choice and this is what I chose.


Kara said...

Jaime! I pestered Aaron enough that he helped me find your blog. When (if) I get to make this decision, I too will feel grateful if I can stay home with my hypothetical little one. You're a rock star!

Brittany said...

I'm guessing you didn't say all of this to the woman sitting next to you? You probably should have...and actually, you're the one who would be most likely to do it. So why didn't you?

Dirt Queen said...

Wish I could have been standing there for that ;o)
I also hate it when people act like just because you stay at home you must be some kind of uneducated swine. It couldn't possibly be because you want what is best for your kids!

Ann said...

42. that's how many diapers i've changed today. (kidding, of course). i'll add one to your list which i've actually done and i hate when i slip and do it. someone says 'what do you do for work?' and a SAHM replies, 'i JUST stay at home.' there's no 'just' about it! i LOVE it! i'm blessed to be able to do it! nice rant-i'm right there with you!

Alyssa said...

According to Bogda (the only other SAHM in our cul-de-sac) another neighbor told her that SAHM's are dumb and don't use their brains. Bogda took offense, I took offense. But then the other day while she was having a conversation with said neighbor, Bogda told her with pride that I had my MA and the neighbor was floored. My favorite part-- that Bogda felt as much pride in my education as I do. Keep up the soapbox- it's fun to use my brain once in a while ;)

Amy said...

You should have handed her a bon bon and told her that debate is sooooo 1997.

Lauren in GA said...

Perfectly, perfectly, perfectly put. I loved every word.

I got chills (I am not kidding) when I read, "I believe being a SAHM is a privilege." I could not agree more.

I was talking with Mike once about how hard it must be to miss your baby's first steps, etc. I got teary when I said, "I'ts messy and far from glamorous most days...but I am so glad I have been there every step of the way, literally."

Jenny said...

@ amy...that debate is so 1979!

so proud of you Jaime!

MomSchwartz said...

Jaime, I always enjoy your blog and this one is great! I'm of the generation that started making fun of women who were SAHMs. Anyone who thinks a SAHM is dumb hasn't had the job. I'm VERY thankful I was able to be a SAHM for 18 years before I had to go to work. Keep up the good work.