6.24.2010

:: Freezes mean Carpet Stains ::

:: You know how you have "just one of those days" - well I feel like I've been having one of "those" days for the past two or three weeks! ::

:: Nothing is enormously wrong or out of sorts, things just are. You know, they just are what they are! It all probably started on a huge downward spiral when someone said to me this exact sentence "being a stay at home Mom is a luxury" ::

:: Now this sentence is true, being able {aka: not having to work out of the home} is a luxury. Staying at home day in, day out with everything that it entails isn't necessarily a luxury. The constant repeating of the same sentence "don't hit your brother", "listen to me", "listen and obey first time", "be kind and loving", "eat your food", "now, you get a consequence" is not a luxury and frankly every mom out there would agree with me. We as stay at home mom's don't think that being a 24 hour a day on call nurse, cook, cleaner, dry cleaner, librarian, professional organizer, accountant, budget keeper {not really a term, but you get what I mean}, social organizer, party planner etc. etc. etc. is a luxury ::

:: YES, having that glorious smile of your child come to you from across the table or seeing your little boy clean up spilled mess without being asked can be all the thanks you need to get you through the day. But as a mom you do know that is your payment. In trade for all the daily stuff you go through with bringing up your children and having the luxury of staying home, you get a smile or small example that the work and effort is actually paying off...that is your payment, your pay cheque if you will ::

:: Some days, to be honest, that pay cheque does not feel like it's enough ::


:: Yes, being at home is a luxury, but amidst the small list of "to-do's" that I have to do in a day, I also have to encourage and edify the young men that we are raising, teach and train them in the right way and try to stay sane while doing it. Let alone getting in time with my big boy {Mr. L}...all of this is nor does it feel like a luxury all the time. I do it all in love and most of the time with a cheerful heart, however when this sentence came and slapped me in the face, I was honestly gob-smacked - what did this person really think I did/do all day? ::

:: Now, this person really has no idea as to what I do or accomplish in my day, nor do they care to know. I have full knowledge that this person is speaking in ignorance and really has no clue as to what I conduct during my "working" hours {now isn't that a laughable statement!}, and really probably never will - that doesn't denote the fact that the comment hurt me ::

:: I paid a lot in counselling to say that; "the comment hurt me" ::

:: I work my little rear end off trying to save money, pre-plan gifts/celebrations and the money that will be spent for them, along with meeting the current need of my family by preparing the fridge for the coming BBQ's, year end parties etc. plus ensuring that our bank account is planning for the future of our lives and our kids...this is a daily effort and a lot more work since we only have one steady income - this is not a luxury, but something that we do so I can stay home and raise our children {and that is a luxury} ::

:: Now let me say this, I think that working moms are unbelievable - honestly I don't know how you do it! Obviously, making more money makes the wheel go round that much better, disposable income and the ability to just go out and get something without having to account for it in the pocket book is there, which is a luxury that I don't have. Being a stay at home, I can stay home with my sick baby without worrying about work is a luxury. They both have their pros and cons and honestly it really made me angry that this person felt that they were educated enough in my employment to make such a statement ::

:: My life without working is less then glamorous, and yet worth every minute. I don't feel deprived when my working friends are wearing name brand jeans that make their butts look like they are H O T or when they pick up and head off for the weekend {alone!}. Really, those benefits we don't have the luxury of and yet in the grand scheme of life, it's really all worth it ::

:: I don't often feel the need to give reasons as to what I do/don't do in my day, but this comment caught me SO off guard - I didn't even know what to say. The amount of sacrifice I personally make by being home is some days so overwhelming and not worth it. Other days it's SO worth it a thousand times over. Like today when I came downstairs from putting down a very tired two year old and Jacob had taken the dust pan and the little hand duster and started dusting up a mess of dry fruit loops that Cole had dumped a few hours earlier and I had yet to clean them up - we are constantly trying to train our children to clean up after themselves and when I came down to see Jacob cleaning up after it wasn't his responsibility made it feel like our constant "clean up your mess, it's your responsibility" was worth it all...at least for a moment! ::

:: This is not a working mom vs. stay at home mom post...not in the least, because we all know I do work - partially from home for part of the year, so I do get the juggling that goes into being a working mom and truly my hat goes off to all of you. This is a post about how I need to understand that just because I have kids and do stay at home with them means that unless you do the same as me, you just don't get it. Nor do I get what you do. I don't know all that your work entails, but I don't pretend I do either. I don't negate the fact that you put in an 8 hour work day...I don't know what your day is like...and frankly, to me your life is a LUXURY that I would be willing to trade in for a day or two! ::

:: Because, I don't know about you but my hands stink like poo because my 2 year old refuses to wear a diaper and still {day 7} refuses to make it all the way to the potty for number2 - that's my luxury for the day oh and to top that all off I had a moment of peace to make a phone call by giving my two children freezes as a treat, just to have them come to put them in the garbage {because it's their responsibility} with the open portion down all the way through the carpeted family room, so now in my luxurious life...I get to clean carpets, ah heck, just add it to the list! ::


:: Bottom line, I love my life, all of the crap included. But I will from now on, never, I say never, ever think I know what it's like to be in someone else's shoes or make an assumption that what they do is a luxury. Because truly in each of our lives there is the good and the bad, and some days it would just be nice to have to get up, wear ironed and coordinating clothes and work with others who call washroom a washroom, not "potty"! ::

:: No need to leave any sort of comment on either side of the this debate, because really it's not a debate, but just cheaper for me to write it out instead of pay for therapy! ::

:: Happy Day in whatever your day is made up of {including toddler poo}! ::

** Edited to Add **

I wanted to leave y'all with this quote from the Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

:: The fundamental mission of motherhood is now the same as it always was: to nurture, protect and instruct children, to create a home environment that enables them to learn and grow, to help them develop a heart for God and His purposes, and to send them out into the world to live both fully and meaningfully ::

7 comments:

Meg Baxter said...

I could write such a response...but I won't. Instead, read this amazing poem. I printed it and hung it on my fridge where I see it every day and am reminded of the importance of the mundane moments: http://livingthebeautifullife.blogspot.com/2010/05/inspiring-me.html

But for the record, thank you for writing this out. To be honest, whenever I see you, you're put together, looking fabulous, and you have a huge smile on your face. I've always wondered what your secret is! Turns out, it sounds like it takes just as much effort for you as it does for me to get to that point of being out in public and looking as relaxed and well-rested as non-moms. So thanks for setting me straight. You're right - who are we to assume we know what anyone else's life is like, "luxurious" or not.

Thank you.

Theresa said...

Shawna, it's so crazy that you wrote about this! As a working-outside-the-home Mom I have had a tendency to daydream about staying home. Lately we've been talking about adding a second kiddo to the family so the future of my professional life has been on my mind. A lot.

I think the truth is that both choices are hard and both have their advantages.

What keeps coming back to me lately however is that our kids only need us for so long. That period is finite. Five years from now, it will all be so different!

Thanks for the perspective. Hope you feel better. xo

bari said...

As someone who works outside the home for 6mos a year and is a full time stay-at-home mom for the other six I truly see and appreciate both sides. Since Matthew is mostly a stay-at-home dad when I work our income has been greatly reduced. To be honest, taking care of my 11 month old is much harder on me than my job, which is very very stressful and time consuming (60hrs a wk +travel) I relate it to the fact that when i work in the office I only need one coffee a day but now that I'm back home I need 2 :) That says something about moms! and I only have 1!

Just keep in mind that if someone comments on your choice its a reflection on them, not you. Maybe they do not know and appreciate all that goes it to being a fabulous mom such as yourself, especially because you do make it look so easy! I would like to think that the person meant many people do not actually have a choice to stay home, their bills just will not get paid. They probably could have said it with a bit more tact and a little less dig but i don't completely disagree with the overall statement. Anyone that choses to stay home be it 1 extra day a week, switching to part time, taking freelance jobs every few months (moi) makes a sacrifice. We aren't taking a vacation this year, we can't even afford to see the grandparents. It goes without saying we live in a tiny apartment that is much too small, I don't buy anything for myself that is not necessary, we scaled back on many aspects of our former life and we find ways to entertain ourselves without spending any money. But that was all my choice. I would rather spend time with my son while he is small. The thing is, I do think that the fact we can even survive on 1(ish) income is a luxury. It might be messed up but in the reality of life today I think its sort of true.

Shawna said...

You Ladies are all absolutely correct. Like I said this was not a debate but just a reality check...I have it good, I have it great, but sometimes it's just not all it's chalked up to be!

Meg: Thanks for the poem, I will do the same and print it off and put it on my magnetic board for daily reminder. And yes, it takes effort to be the person I want to be and to be perceived to be - because I think both should match. I am who you see, and I do take my "daily" life of poo and stains in stride, I love my husband and my children and wouldn't change anything, but I also work really hard at finding contentment in the mundane life that I lead.

Theresa: You are amazing to me, I do think you balance your life really well and my hat goes off to you. And you are 100% correct, the kids only NEED us for their first few years, then they are off testing their wings. I try to remember that when all I want to do is go and cuddle with Mr. L and one of the boys grabs me by the neck and says "soooo much" - in response to a question we always ask them "how much do we love you?". We know the pay off is GREAT!

Bari: Thank you for the perspective, it's true. Every spec of what you said. And I agree...sometimes it can be a false reality when looking inward (from the outside) into my "plush" life. I do know I have it good, but just as much as I get out of my life I put in double. That's just the way motherhood works.

Thank you all for taking the time to write a considerate response and encouragement to me. I had thought that I would close the comments for this post, but that just wouldn't be who I am. I want to learn, grow and become exactly who God wants me to be. So thank you for your input, I'm blessed to be in community with you great Mamas!

Jody & Melissa said...

Shawna, you are such an amazing stay@home mom! Since staying home, I honestly can't believe how much stuff (and, literally, crap, as you said in the post) there is to do each and every day! In my opinion, you are a great example of a P31 woman who manages her home, her family, and her finances (through your budgeting and your extra money-making projects). You encourage me to be the best stay@home momma I can be. I think you are rockin' it. And I know just how much you do in order to rock it so well! xoxox Thanks for posting this!

~ Michelle ~ said...

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

Oh Shawna - I have done both and with two little men of my own (just 6 & 9) your "rant" actually brought me joy! I won't even tell you how many times my boys were late for school this year...oh the shame...I started back at an office in October...eek! And I do know this for certain, no matter what choices you make, which sacrifices you choose, what struggles you have, which joys and which heartbreaks - someone is going to think you play in rainbows and ride unicorns everyday! LOL Keep doing what you are doing - you rock it! JaneanB

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