Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is a stay at home mom anyway?

So I've been trying to get my head around this anew lately and on the round about I've been doin a lot of justifying and explaining and rationalizing and reworking.

Here's what I've come up with:
1. Every family has to do what works for them (this goes without saying but I'm about to make a strong case for my way of thinking)
2. The kids of families who have one mostly at home parent appear to me to be better off: well adjusted, secure, relaxed, comfortable, however you want to say it, they seem like they got the better deal.
3. When I'm a working person it takes up a lot of my creative energy.  This is the very same energy that I could be focusing on my family's quality of life.
          Examples: making homemade food including bone broth, ferments, and more veggies; growing my own                      food; sourcing cheap or free clothes, toys and other necessities.
4. When I'm a working person the scheduling of it all makes me stressed out especially when trying to schedule childcare too.
5. When I'm not stressed out the family is better off: we eat better, we relax more, we slow down.

So, isn't that the goal?  Stress kills right?  So if I live without all the extras but I live with less stress I'm winning right?  And my family wins too.  Kids don't get shipped here and there, we have the presence of mind to look at each other and take each other in.  We laugh a little more.  We skip the lunch out and the fancy clothes.  But what we gain appears to be health, wealth, and happiness in comparison. Am I right?

Slowing down is the biggest thing I've learned as a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom).  We SAHM's don't seem to "do" much.  But what we accomplish is pretty GREAT (by great I mean large, huge, massive).

I've often wondered what made my siblings and I ok?  We grew up in a household of broke parents who fought all the time.  There are many more details I won't go into. Suffice to say they are on the negative side.

And yet, we all came out of it relatively ok.  None of us is homeless or addicted to substances or in jail.

I attribute this to my mother being at home.  Our early life was not rushed around.  We lived in the same place for 12 years.  We grew like weeds in the earth, warmed by the sun and refreshed by the rain.  No one traipsed us from home to daycare to home and back.  We had the luxury of time and space.

These are the lessons of motherhood: time and space.

1 comment:

  1. This is so on my mind, too, Janelle. Staying at home has its own challenges, but I agree that the rewards have more value to me. I was just taking this all in this morning as I just got my daughter, sick with a rare cold (wish I still had breastmilk!), back to sleep. If I was working I would have been stressed that she wasn't sleeping and I wasn't sleeping and I would have had to get up and leave her all day and come home stressed and drained to a fussy, needy, sick child. I feel grateful to be able to be with her, especially during these young years. [Breastfeeding plug: If I was nursing, I doubt she would be sick. Sad about lost milk supply from this pregnancy. Post coming.... ;) ]

    What really struck me about what you wrote, though, was the time and space part. Have you read Simplicity Parenting or seen the online bookgroup that is starting this week? Well, it's a good book -- simplifying environment, schedule and rhythms -- and this week's question is "What about childhood would I like to preserve for my daughter?" The first things that came to my mind were time and space. I just want her to have room for (as the author puts it) "the slow emergence of her identity, resilience and well-being." Time for wonder and feelings and ideas and relationships to be worked out. Just time to live and be and grow. I need that and she needs that. (http://www.simplicityparenting.com/blog-2/)

    I also appreciate that your own story implies that I don't need to be perfect but I do want to be there for her. That's what does and will matter to me in the end. As Radha and I were discussing, who knows how long we have together. Scary, but real thought....

    Love this, mama. Keep the blog posts coming! :)