I’ve never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s not about economics and needing a paycheck, for me it’s about fulfillment and needing adult conversation. Children are a blessing. But I could never measure my days by loads of laundry folded and spots of spilled juice mopped up. It’s not that I think stay-at-home mothers don’t work – they do! Grocery shopping, homework helping, bath giving, dinner cooking, bedtime-story reading, all take effort (shout-out to working moms, who do all of that in addition to full time employment.) But I also need stimulation and variety – and The Backyardigans won’t cut it. So, whether for money or not, I knew I wouldn’t be home baking cookies when my kids got off of school.
There are times that I wish I could be the “room mother” at my children’s schools, helping the teacher pass out snacks and demonstrating how to tie one’s shoe. It would be fun to be the field-trip group leader, and president of the Parent/Teacher club. But then I think, what about after my kids are grown? When class is out and the fieldtrips are finished and I’ve got the second half of my life stretching empty before me. Devoting yourself to your children and their activities seems admirable. But I believe that you should never let your life revolve totally around another person, even your kids.
So I make do with sending store-bought cookies for my kids’ school parties, and attending their school play to simply cheer them on rather than being at every single rehearsal to help sew the costumes. And you know what? My kids are none the worse for it. In fact, they enjoy having a mom who is happy and fulfilled, and who guides them rather than living vicariously through them. They’ve still got their extracurricular activities (karate, hip-hop dance, cheerleading, and various playgroups) and trust me — they LOVE that a busy evening sometimes means a quick stop at McDonald’s, because I wasn’t home all day to make lasagna from scratch. I imagine that as they become teenagers and young adults, they will be more independent and self-sufficient for having had to sometimes manage their own time, fix their own after-school snacks, and be proactive in starting their own homework assignments.
So if you choose (and have the financial ability) to be a stay-at-home mom, kudos to you. It must take a lot of patience. I, on the other hand, will keep my college degree, my professional career, and my own social life, taking my happy and well-adjusted children along for the ride until it’s time for them to fly solo.
(Lengua Latina – Nancy’s Blog #14)