The mommy wars

I just read a blog relishing her new mommyhood. There were some statements that put me slightly on the defensive:

" I could never imagine choosing to work fulltime when I don't have to financially. I don't understand women who have children and continue to work for their fulfillment. I'll be completely honest. I'm sure that will offend some people. But as I watch this little life grow into a human being I just cant fathom giving her up to someone else to raise while I pursued monetary or career related success. Being a mother is truly one of the sweetest, hardest, most beautiful, soul searching, enormous journeys I can imagine. Every day she teaches me something about love, life, humanity and true happiness. When I think about missing this time the sadness is overwhelming."

These weren't offensive........but they do elicit a response. I read a lot of Christian parenting books that kind of paint the same picture but much more harshly. I feel like I need to be defending myself when I read here is my honest response.
I work. I choose to. Sort of. We could not pay our current bills if I did not, but that doesn't mean we couldn't downsize, share a car, etc. and make it work if necessary. I've seriously consider it from time to time but always come to the same conclusion that this is what is best for me. For shaun. and for Owen ( and Tess).
Do I feel guilty? On occasion. Do I worry about missing out? Yes. Do I worry about him at school? Sometimes. Do I work to feel fulfilled? No. Do I work to impress others? No, come on I am a teacher that doesn't impress anyone. I like it. I enjoy my job. Is it more fulfilling than raising a son? of course not.......but I think I can do both.
I don't stay home well. I relish the summers and days home with O. We go to the zoo and swim and ride the train. I don't feel pressure to clean or break out flashcards. We just play ( and sit in time out). But I know that it is temporary. That it is 2-3 stolen months to cram in as much fun as I can. I try not to miss out and be fully there. And then back to grown ups ( and high school kids).
Some women I know were born to stay home. They make amazing meals. Sew things from scratch and seem to have the patience of Mother Theresa. They never seem to grow bored of playing with legos or eating mac and cheese ( and they make the fancy kind of mac and cheese that sneaks veggies in). Long stretches of stay at home-ness make me a bit crazy. After a few hourse I just want to find a nice cartoon for O and take a nap, or write a blog or read a grown up magazine rather than One Fish Two Fish. I don't sew, I hate cleaning. I like cooking, but not the mundane every night dinner-ness. I do occasionally craft and I do slide down slides. I can sing ring around the rosie until I am dizzy, but I also say a silent thank you when shaun's truck pulls into the drive way. I gladly hand off my beloved child and do something adult ( like go to the bathroom by myself) or go get a cup of coffee. I also attack him with my day. I unload all the words ( at least the ones bigger than one syllable) that I have been saving up all day on him. He is overwhelmed, and I think prefers my normal slightly tired from teaching welcome that involves a lot less handing off and words.
So what do I do? Stay home becuase one side of society tells me it is the best thing. It is the good Christian thing....while I drive my husband crazy and deal with my feelings of inadequacy in this role.
Or I teach. The profession I chose becuase I felt it was where God was leading me. Somedays I am tired. Somedays I feel pulled and tugged and of course guilty for my decision. But most of the time I feel good about it. I relish my time with my kid. I savor the summer and days off. I pay someone to help me clean every other week ( but my house is still usually a wreck). I pick up take out more often than I should. Most days you will find me from 4 -6 outside playing with my son. I don't usually count the seconds until Shaun is supposed to get home. Owen seems all the more well adjusted for it. He likes his school ( conviently located across the street) and his classmates ( one pretty brunette named Cloe a little too much). He has a happy mom even if she isn't around every second. I think I made the right choice. For me that is.I may dislike many of the things associated with being home all day, but I love my kid. More than grading papers or my students or my paycheck. If I had to choose one over the other I would gladly pick O. Thankfully, Shaun and so far God has not made it an either or decision for me.


Kate said...

hummm....this is tough. My stance has always been to each his own. Different things work for different people..and I've met plenty of moms who don't need to be stay at home's just not a good fit for them. You just have to be true to yourself. However, one thing I have learned as a parent is self sacrifice. I don't know what we would do if I had to work. With all the therapy Miranda is in and all the extra work she needs...we would be bankrupt if I didn't have a college education and a driver's license. Seriousily, though. I am constantly driving her to therapy... and when I'm not I'm working one on one with her (and Jax although he doesn't need so much of it) on sensory integration, fine motor, gross motor, understanding wh questions... how to talk to your friends...asking your friends situations... you name it. So...that being said... I really believe God has a way of putting us on the track we should be on. I could NEVER decide what I wanted to do with my life... I still don't know...but here I am...reading pediatric occupational training theory books, speech books etc. etc. Our family is lucky that we can do I have a different perspective because I have a child who is autistic...and therefore changes the entire paradigm...
but regardless.. we don't have to always be the same thing or the same person through our entire life...people are always remaking themselves or changing their lives to fit their needs...we can't do it all all of the time...we make choices.