Thursday, February 3, 2011

Definitely not a feminist blog

As I was tidying up during Eliana's nap today I realized (or more so remembered) that I LOVE my life. I have 2 amazing little girls and a husband that loves me and works hard to provide for us! Not everyone can say that and I know that.

There are things that stress me out and bug me and things I would probably shave my head for if it would change them.....but looking at the big picture, I love my life.

Being a stay at home mom is challenging. No joke. Although it probably looks fairly leisurely to those on the outside looking in- it's usually anything but leisurely! While I don't wake up to an electronic alarm most days, I wake up to a human alarm every day. I don't get a lunch break, a coffee break, or set time that my day ends. I feed two children all day long and if I'm lucky I eat something besides Cheese Its. I make lunch and coffee for my husband for the next day, do 1-3 loads of laundry, sweep, vaccum, clean the bathroom, pay the bills, make appointments, work on Moms and More stuff, prepare dinner from scratch, etc etc etc. There is seriously no way to measure how time consuming it is feeding and taking care of a 2 year old and 9 week old.

I worked 8:30-6 Mon thru Fri and 9-1:30 on Saturdays until 2 days before I had Eliana. Two day weekends were something we longed for and got once or twice a year. Customers would say, "you're so lucky you get banker's hours" and that made me want to slap someone. I got to work when it was dark and got home when it was dark AND worked almost every single Saturday. Banker's hours? Bah, it's not 1920 anymore!
I worked in banking which those of you in banking know is actually just glorified sales. So, sales it was and the goals were steep and majorly stressful. Did you know that when you open an account the person opening it is supposed to get you to get a credit card, debit card, savings account, IRA, CD, Heloc, etc? And if they don't get some of those things they can be penalized? And if you do get a debit card but don't activate it within a certain number of days that same person who opened it gets penalized for that? Talk about stressful. But what I didn't realize was that as stressful as it was, I got lunch breaks. I got to pee without a child sitting on her stool watching me. I ate my packed lunch and read a book or watched TV for a whole hour (it was required). THAT was leisurely. And on top of all that, I got PAID!

My life is SO different than it was a short 2 1/2 years ago and I wouldn't go back to that now for just about anything. I think there is a general message out there that you can "have your cake and eat it, too." But honestly (and as you know I am always honest on this blog), I don't think you always can. I feel that if you work full time, something else (or someone else) has to suffer. I realize some of you want more than anything to stay home with your children and I empathize and feel deep sorrow for what you are missing out on and I encourage you to take your feelings to God every day. But that being said doesn't change that I feel it's a tad more 'either-or' than society wants to make us feel. As with everything, it's a choice. If you choose to work full time then you are choosing to have your child watched by someone other than you for most of their waking hours.

I don't mean this as "you are a terrible mom" and a judgement, just more as a dialogue.
So, what suffers when you stay home? Your checkbook and sometimes your sanity. However, I look at my 'baby' who is running and singing and totally a toddler now and it was seconds ago that she was born. Right? The days can pass slowly but the years fly by. I know that I can never get this time back. I can always work, but I won't always have babies. I want to be there when they first roll over, or sit up, or crawl, or say mama, or take their first steps. Those are moments I don't want to share with a childcare provider. Eliana spends much of her waking hours taking care of her 'babies' and making things in her kitchen. I watch her as she is copying me and doing the things I do, only in toddler version. She tells her babies, "mama Elly will be back, OK? It's OK honey." And I know she is saying that because I've said that to her. I don't have to wonder what she is seeing or hearing without me during the day.

Many people comment back quicker than a wink, "well, I HAVE to work." Ok, maybe you do. But maybe you don't. What are you willing to give up in order to stay home? Are you willing to not have all the newest fun toys? Are you willing to not take expensive vacations or eat out regulary or go to the movies? Are you willing to drive an older car or live somewhere cheaper? Do you absolutely have to have cable tv, new cell phones, a home phone, etc? Are  you willing to buy things on sale or even *gasp* buy your kids clothes at Goodwill? My poor husband doesn't even get an allowance (well, neither do I). He doesn't spend money on himself. Ever. There's no doubt about it, for most of us it takes major sacrifice to live on one income.

Do I miss my old paycheck? Yes. I miss eating out, getting my hair done, spending hundreds in a weekend on who knows what (and it was cash), and having no debt. There's a trade off and that's what I'm getting at. For some, the payoff of going to work everyday outweighs the sacrifice of not being with your kids each day. Maybe it's literally the paycheck or maybe it's more intangible such as the reward of being at work and feeling accomplished. We are all driven by something different so it takes something different for each of us to feel that we are successful. To me, being a mom and wife and doing both those jobs really well makes me fully successful. But I was raised that way. Anyway, blah, blah, blah. I know lots of women would totally disagree with me and think that you can have it all........

Can you tell I'm not a feminist at all? To me, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen is beautiful :)

3 comments:

  1. Love your honesty. I'm happy to have someone else watch my son. I have a tough time watching him all day and don't feel like I make enough time for quality learning activities instead end up trying to keep up with everything needs done. I love that I can afford to send him to school and he is learning so much from the other kids. I work because I enjoy my job and how it challenges me.

    Everyone has different desires and goals in life and that's ok because God made us different :D

    ps - "you can have it all is a CROCK as is "work life balance". There is no balance. There's only do your best and what works for you and your family and be at peace with the decision and it's effects.

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  2. Perfectly written.... I <3 what we do and go though it is truly a blessing and honor to sacrifice for what I have!!! Thank you for saying what is on so many moms hearts. I adore you!!!

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  3. I know you wrote this post a while ago, but I wanted to say - You *ARE* a feminist. Feminism is about empowering women & giving them choices. One of those choices is to stay at home with our babies. A true feminist wants to empower women to choose what is best for them & their families, to empower women to be strong, amazing wives & mamas. Feminists are working women out in the bank offices and beautiful barefoot, preggo mamas too!

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