Thursday, February 17, 2005

Will being a stay at home mom really make you crazy?

After I read Molly's post on this newsweek article, I just had to read it for myself. Mommie Madness is the author's term for what's wrong with the women of my generation. Apparently, as we attempt to "have it all" we turning ourselves into desperate, exhausted shells of our former selves - unable to string three or four words together into a sentence. We've "surrendered their (our) better selves—and their (our) sanity—to motherhood." Well, first let me say I take offense. I'll admit I might be a little sleep-deprived some days and maybe that makes me a tad slower on the uptake. And, okay, I might say "good job" more times a day than is really neccessary. I also say things like..."let's not pick our nose" and "please take some of that out of your mouth." But come on. This is motherhood, right? What did we think we were signing up for? Being a mom is hard work and sometimes it's dull work and sometimes it's even messy and gross. But along the way somewhere we've forgotten that it's important. Neccessary. Vital. Incredible work. Women not only need to do this job, we need to do it well. And it shouldn't mean that we stop being adult women in our own right. The words "mommy" and "woman" aren't opposites. We should be both. There isn't some mommy mold that won't fit if you dress nice and don't eat sandwich crusts for lunch. So many of the problems this article addresses are caused by our preconceived ideas and our own selfishness (talking about me here). We're so concerned with being "fulfilled" and trying to find "balance" that we've lost sight of our priorities all together. It's supposed to look like this - God, Husband, Children, Home and Church with everything else falling in line after that including ourselves. Now does this mean we have to fall apart so we can take care of others? No. It's just like they tell you on an airplane - you put on your own oxygen mask first so you can stay concious to help everyone else. We have to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others. But we're wasting all our energy chasing the wrong things and not sacrificing where it really counts. I'm speaking to myself here, too. I mean come important was it that I bake and decorate my babies birthday cake from scratch when it meant I didn't get to sit on the floor and play with him and his new dumptruck? They sell birthday cakes at Kroger now:) And since when do kids need every afterschool activity known to man? We're mothers, not chauffers. Not personal shoppers.
I guess I'm just tired of hearing us whine about how hard our lives are when we're the ones holding the cards. Everything is a choice, no one can have it all. Although the author thinks we're all being too hard on ourselves and should look for help (in the form of more and better child care - even for stay at home moms), I think we're not asking enough of ourselves. We need to find out what's important and then get it done. And in the process we need to help one another. If your not enjoying being a mom, figure out why not and fix it or fix your attitude about it. We weren't trained to do this job, much less do it well, but there's not much we can do about that now. So we need to learn (we're smart, we can do it!) and pass the knowledge around. With some good friends in the trenches with us we can lean on one another while we get it all together. And, hopefully, teach our daughters as we go so that they don't think of motherhood as another depressing chore.


reverandswife said...

Will being a stay at home mom really make you crazy? Yes, absolutely! Crazy in love with the God who sustains you and gives you strength for every day. I'm not going to deny that it is tough. Man, somedays I really CANT string two words together. But you know what? It is worth it!! It is more than rewarding. It is purposeful and meaningful to pour your life into others.

Regarding homeschooling - we always have, and plan to do so. Eventually, over the years, people will stop bugging you about this. I like your resolve. Again, ignore shouldabeenme as my poster name. I'm over at Blessings! :)

Coffee and a Muffin said...

Hey Shannon, I found you over at Molly's blog and glad I did! You preach it, sistah! Great post!

Meredith said...

"Although the author thinks we're all being too hard on ourselves and should look for help (in the form of more and better child care - even for stay at home moms), I think we're not asking enough of ourselves."

Ooh, that thought gives me the chills with its accuracy! We have it easier than any other group of women in history, yet we still find a way to be victims. Thank you for encouraging us ALL to step up to the plate.

barbara curtis said...

Hi shannon --

i think you will like my takes on the newsweek article:
The Sound of Women Whining
Here, have a Kleenex. It'll Be Alright
--also some of the other information and encouragement I have posted there for moms!

Shannon said...

Thanks for all the comments. I was talking (in the real world, haha) with a friend today and I started whining! Nothing terrible, just how hard it is to try on a bra when my angelboy (he's 3) is crawling under the dressing room door - can't really run out to catch him:) I might have never caught myself if she hadn't suggested putting him in a morning preschool so I could have some time off. Although with my dear daughter (7m) at home, I'm not sure what she meant by "off." So I corrected myself then and there by telling her I actually thought I just needed to teach him to stay where I put him:) It is hard to be a mom 24/7. But when I come up on a problem with staying home or with the kids, it's almost always an issue of lack of discipline on my part. The chores take all day because I don't get up and get them done. The kids are driving me crazy b/c I'm not putting in the time to discipline them and teach them. I'm feeling isolated b/c I haven't put forth the effort to make new friends, etc.
I hope I don't sound like I'm trying to be tough, but frankly I am trying to be tough ... on myself! I need it!
Barbara - I really enjoyed what you had to say. I'll be back to check you out again!