Monday, September 21, 2009

The Issue.

As mentioned on Thursday, I’ve been considering this post for a long time. If you so choose, read on with an open mind and please remember these are my opinions, only. I don’t expect you to agree with me or even like what I have to say. All that’s important here is that you respect my opinion and I will respect yours, whatever it may be. Feel free to comment…just don’t be bitchy, mmmkay?

Buckle in and grab some corn. It’s gonna be a long one.

For what it’s worth, my mom was a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM). Both my Mom and Dad worked insanely hard to provide the life that my siblings and I had. And make no bones about it – we were a normal, middle class family. No silver spoons here. But, we traveled all over the world. We took dance lessons. All three of us went to college. We had a beautiful home. My parents were at every honors assembly, every soccer game, every concert. Somehow, they made it work while making the best possible decisions, always choosing what was right for our family.

Now that I’m living it, I can honestly tell you that I have no idea how they did it. Not a freaking clue. And I don’t know that I can ever truly express my gratitude for the life I lived and the things I enjoyed. They gave up so much for us. I suppose the only way I can actually repay them is to pay it forward and pray that Joe and I can raise our family with that same mindset.

I’m trying. Really hard.

That said, I’ve lived the life of both a working Mom and a SAHM. It’s no secret that I was blessed to be able to stay home for the first 4 ½ months of Alex’s little life. But I was thrown back into the swirling, whirling world of corporate America on Sept. 1. By choice, mind you.

Let’s just first get it right out in the open that I would LOVE to stay home with Alex. And, to be honest, we could totally swing it. Sure, we’d have to be a little savvier with our spending, but we could do it. Some might argue that a few less vacations or fancy dinners are worth sacrificing to be a SAHM, and someday I might agree. For now, I don’t. Life is too uncertain.

When I look at Alex’s little face, I see the person I want him to become. I see the places I want to take him. I see the things I want him to experience. And I know that the life I envision for him is (more) possible as a 2 income family. I want to take him to Disney. I want him to experience different cultures. I want him to take soccerfootballhockeypianodance lessons. I want him to get a car for his 16th birthday. I want him to attend the college of his choice without the stress of also working a full time job.

So to do all of that, I choose to work. I choose to be a working Mom. I choose to do what I can to ensure that our life as a family is as bright and fulfilled as it possibly can be.

Some Moms (or Dads) choose not to work. I applaud them and their decision and with a little bit of envy still absolutely believe that their children will get to experience everything Alex will. Maybe more, who knows? And to them I *clink* a glass of champagne and say, “Congrats and good for you!”


What absolutely infuriates me to the point of ripping out my hair strand by strand are the moms that actually complain about staying home with their kids. “I never get to talk to adults.” “All I do is play peek-a-boo all day.” “There’s crusty spit-up on my sweatpants every day.” Blah blah blah. Are these women serious? Do they understand that they made that choice? Or that they should count their blessings that they can spend every waking moment with their children? Or that there are moms everywhere (single Moms, preach!) that would give anything to trade in their business suits for stained sweatpants? And, let’s face it, the pressure of your psychotic, power-tripping boss breathing fire down your neck re: the 2 p.m. deadline for the approved global content for the press release launch on Market Wire is just a leeeeeeetle more stressful than your 2-year old asking you repeatedly why the sky is blue all day long. And no matter how shitty the economy is, you don’t have to constantly live in fear of being fired from your Mommyhood. It’s called perspective. And IMO, those Moms need to get some. ASAP.

And while I do complain about my situation from time to time, I assure you it’s mostly just for dramatic effect. As already mentioned, I’ve made what I believe to be the best choice for my family at this moment in time. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I want to throw my computer out the window and never, ever enter this office again. And to be honest, it’s nice to know that I have that option.

And look at it this way, should that little dream of mine ever come true, it will make for great blog material.


Dawn said...

I think having "options" is the most ideal and least stressful situation in this scenario. Some SAHM's can't go to work because they can't get a job that would cover the cost of daycare. Many working moms can't SAH for obvious reasons. Being a SAHM who could go back to work if she felt she needed or a working mom who could choose to stay home if they wanted is a beautiful thing that can illeviate many of the day to day stresses. While I don't believe I would choose to be a SAHM (I stayed home with my daughter for a few months as well), our current financial situation wouldn't allow it and that can be stressfull at times. Great post.

Andrea Schultz said...

Agreed :) I actually think being a very hard though, mostly if you don't have great partner support...

Jessi said...

Kuddos for putting this out there. As I don't have children yet, I am not sure what my actual perspective will be. I do however, agree with you and imagine I will be a working mom......and the perspective on the SAHM complaints is great.

Liz said...

I plan on being a SAHM (as long as our finances can support it) but NOTHING bothers me more than the SAHM's that you describe! Go out and create situations where you can talk to adults! You don't actually have to stay at HOME all the time! It is (and always has been) a GIANT pet peeve of mine. Great post :)

JenJen said...

Great Post.
Most moms go through the push-pull that you describe.
I've done both-for extensive amounts of time, each time. While I agree that a 2p deadline is stressful, I don't think that is is More stressful that the sky questions from a 2year old. I do think, though, it is different. It is different stress.
This different stress is what makes at-home moms wish, on occasion to go to an office, and office-working moms, on occasion, wish to stay the hell at home in their sweats.

Emily said...

Get it girl! I love working - I love doing something that helps other people's children...I love having something that rewards me in a different way then being a mother does. I will say it - and I'm not afraid - I like to work. Yeah, I call in sick here and there because I just want to be at home with Liam - but I know that in 5 years he'll be in school and then where will I be? Also - think about the retirement savings we are getting by working - the health insurance? I guess I'm lucky to be a teacher - I do get to stay 3 months out of the maybe my opinion is skewed... but I here ya, sista!

Joette said...

I laughed as I read the words, "for what it's worth" my paychecks were not "worth" much towards the income value in our household. However, as the commercial goes..."Priceless" is the 'tag' on each of my children. They each are wonderful adults---living in faith and giving so much to this world. I marvel at what a fantastic mom Kristi is to Alex. She amazes me and couldn't be more proud. There are times I watch her and just think "Wow" and my heart melts. I do appreciate you young mothers and mothers-to-be agreeing that a mom should "Never" complain about the menial or monumental events, tasks, etc. of any child. Remember ladies (and gentlemen)--children are gifts from God. They are to be cherished and loved. They listen and mimic. They hear and feel the impact of negative and positive----always! From this old mom to all of you young and soon-to-be moms :) :) the smartest one in the house is that little one--just don't let him or her know it or you'll be doomed! Join forces with your spouse and share the work, fun, finances and discipline. Single parents, you are in charge--even though it's not always the most popular place to be. Remember, there's always someone ready to listen and help. In the end it will not matter if you worked fulltime, parttime, or not at all--if you hang tight and enjoy this ride of life. Most of all--give thanks to God for your precious gift. Pray for all that his or her life should be and continue to love them unconditionally!
Mom Joette aka Alex's grammi! who would give anything to be a SAHG;)...Stay At Home Grammi! :)

P.S. and had I gone back into the workforce, it wouldn't have taken me 2 hours to type this!