Before you read any further, I am NOT trying to get into the Mommy Wars regarding stay-at-home mom (SAHM) and career mom. Read that statement again, please.
I recently started reading a book titled In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms. This morning it was so refreshing to read that other women have left the career world and stayed home to care for their families. Many people have pooh-poohed the SAHM and made her feel less-than-human. While there are umpteen benefits to being a SAHM, I won’t review them all here. (I might later, though. This book has been quite encouraging and eye-opening for me.)
Here’s the paragraph that caught my attention this afternoon:
Take-charge women who choose to be SAHMs sometimes have a real problem with the fact that you can never really get anything under control; children are by nature unpredictable and resistant to organization, as is the plumbing and the temperature of the oven. To paraphrase an e-mail from one SAHM, you’ll have to relax your exacting standards, surrender the dream of a perfectly organized home with everything in its place, and give up your ideal of perpetually well-behaved children. You have to either assume that attitude and perspective — or go nuts! [Schlessinger:44-45]
Why has it taken me 14 years to see this as truth? I am an educated, super-organized person, who likes to keep things under control. I have high standards, and quite often, I fail to relax those. Instead, I try to keep my house clean and nice (and force everybody else to do the same) instead of enjoying my husband and children. For years I have struggled to keep the house tidy, provide home-cooked meals, play with my children, meet their academic needs, and enjoy time with my husband. That doesn’t come easily, nor should I expect it to be realistic. At times I can do several things well, but I can’t do everything well all the time. It’s just not going to happen, nor should I expect it. Still, I’ve been trying to live like my house has employed a housekeeper, a chef, a nanny, a groundskeeper, a social secretary, a chauffeur, and so much more. I’ve felt like a failure numerous times, despite the fact that my husband, family members, and friends have reassured me (many times) that I’m doing a great job.
Along comes this book, and BOOM! Somebody finally puts into print what I have been trying to do all this time. In my head I was trying to keep everything nice and pretty and beautiful and safe and organized. I was also beginning to go nuts.
Whew! That’s a lot of heavy for you, dear reader.
SO — I’m going to relax my standards and enjoy being a SAHM. Hold me to it, please. God has called me to this vocation, and I need not fight against it. Others would have me feel that I’m “missing out” while being a SAHM. On the contrary, though, I have been blessed with a husband and three children, and it is my privilege and honor to be home for them and with them. Thanks be to God!