Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Confession

I don't like being a stay at home mom. There, I said it. I'm sure there are some working moms out there, who would love to be able to say at home and just threw something at their computer. I wish you could too. I wish we could all do what was best for us and our families. And I guess that's my dilemma, because I feel like staying home is what's best for our family as a whole, but not for me. I also haven't worked with kids and so maybe I would really end up hating it.

I grew up hearing many a Sunday lessons about my future role as a mother and how the best place and best career for me was being a stay at home mom. My mom stayed home and I loved it and felt bad for those kids who didn't get to have their mom at home with them. I grew up in Provo, Utah and most of the people I came into contact with were stay at home moms. Conversations always directly supported or had the implied expectation that the ideal for me was to work hard in school and get an education that could be a fall back to the ultimate goal of being a stay at home mom. This is what I thought I wanted. Staying at home was so ingrained and taken for granted, that I never, ever even questioned whether I would like it. I never thought about what kind of a life that would be, whether I'd be good at it and if it would make me happy. A career was a contingency plan: If I didn't get married. If my spouse died. If I got a divorce.

I'm so lonely being a stay-at-home mom. I love being around people and I've decided that mostly means adults. Not that I don't like kids, but somehow they just don't fulfill that deep social need for me. I don't like many of the domestic jobs associated with keeping up a house and making a home. I hate laundry. I hate cleaning. Cooking and sewing are about the only tasks I enjoy. The latter is no longer practical and instead expensive and a hobby which really isn't too conducive with me and children. And cooking looses a lot of it's pleasure for me when I have someone literally clinging to my legs and incessantly and indiscriminately crying. I never anticipated the constant weight of responsibility that never takes a vacations. There are no sick days. I'm constantly on call. There is no work, no where else to retreat to. I don't like playing toys with my kids. I wish I did, but I don't. My brain gets so dang bored. I am not a homebody. I get impossibly stir-crazy if I don't leave home at least once a day. And when you have a child that needs naps, you quickly learn that stir-crazy is better than dealing with a no nap child crazy.

But really I'm just surprised there aren't more Mormon women like me. At first I thought it was just because they wanted to fall in line with what's expected and didn't want to give the impression that they didn't love their children, but then I realized there really are a lot of women out there who legitimately like this homemaking thing. And maybe the ones that don't, are actually working so they aren't the ones at playgroup. But there must be others out there like me. It's like telling men out there, when you grow up you will all manage a fast food restaurant. And you will do it because you are male and because that's what you are best at and what you must do. Some men, would likely love it and thrive at it. Some would just be alright with it and some wouldn't like it. I try to console myself with believing that I'm just one of those who isn't a natural and doesn't love it.

So why don't I just go and work? Part of it is because by the time I had this all figured out, we had too many kids and my teaching job probably wouldn't even cover the daycare cost. We put all of our initial efforts into Russ having the big career and building a family with me staying at home. Hence, I stopped at a bachelor's degree, so I could work while Russ finished his bachelor's. Russ got the masters and I will wait to do it later. And even if I did have a job that would make daycare make financial sense, I still don't know if I would want to not have a parent staying home with the kids. I loved having my mom home and I want that same thing for my kids. I want to be there for them and if I am going to work, I'm going to work AWAY from home.

10 comments:

BowSweet said...
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Kori said...

I don't think you are alone in this, but I do think that as your kids get older your roll changes and becomes more fulfilling. I have always felt as my kids have turned 2-2 1/2 that all of the sudden life became easier.

I think being a mom of a toddler is SUPER HARD, tedious and frustrating, and often unfulfilling in a lot of ways.

I also think, like you said there are men who have to do sucky hard jobs they hate because that is their roll. I know Dan would rather stay at home and write, but that's not an option and he has to fulfill his role of being the provider. Some men work in a coal mine...which I am sure is not exactly fulfilling.

As your youngest gets past the nap thing you will be freer and you can make being a stay at home mom less about staying in the house :)

But CALL ME when you need to get out...cause you can always come over here :)

Kori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kori said...

OH, and I think it's awesome that you aren't selfish and just say, "too bad, I want to work." You are putting your kids first which is awesome. And who knows what the future brings...there may be some awesome teaching opportunity right at the right time for your family :)

Lindsay said...

I can definitely identify with you on a lot of levels....Being a stay at home mom has a lot of challenges! I wasn't expecting any of them. I actually never thought I'd be a stay-at-home mom....I was on track to be a professor and I was excited to work. But all the women in Scott's family (and extended family) have stayed home and I felt a lot of pressure from them (and him) to do so as well. It wasn't a negative thing though - just positive reinforcement of the blessings that come from being a full-time mom. So I thought I would give it a try...and now 5 years later I am still at home. And so grateful!!! But I relate with you because I actually don't like doing housework, cooking, running errands, cleaning up messes, playing legos, etc. And.....I'm really bad at it. (We both joke that Scott would make a WAY better housewife and mom than me!!!) But as bad as I am at it, or dread so many parts of it....it sure beats the pressure/stress/heartache of having to have my priorities in 2 places (job and home) and therefore doing a half-hearted junky job at each. Even trying to work on my dissertation while having kids at home was so stressful for me that I decided I had to just focus on one - the more important one. Some women can do both and hack it.....but I hate responsibility and pressure. I like that in my own home I can do things my way, in my own time, and only answer to my husband and Heavenly Father. That alone means the world to me and sets the atmosphere for learning and loving that I want for my children. Days often do get stressful or boring, or both...but they are mine to tweak and learn from and I've found that to be really fulfilling. Also, I know this might not be a possibility, but a ward change can do wonders!!! The women that you are with every Sunday and throughout the week make a huge difference. I feel so empowered as a mother and much more social in my ward now... And finally, I went through a depressed stage a few months ago and this talk helped me a lot because she talks about how I can gauge true success in my life, how unfulfilling it might feel: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/and-upon-the-handmaids-in-those-days-will-i-pour-out-my-spirit?lang=eng&query=best+homemaker+beck

You are awesome and I was glad we were friends at Duke. Your family is lucky to have you as their wife and mom now....and always!

Kelly Wright said...

Vhari, I love you! Gosh, I have had so many of these thoughts, so you are definitely not alone. I am going to write you as soon as I collect my thoughts on this. For now, though, just try to focus on what you can do right now to make yourself feel better about your life circumstances. Easier said than done, I know. But try not to let it get to you too much (as I myself have done in the past). You are awesome.

As always, thank you for your honesty. It's one of the things I love about you.

Tyler Wright said...

You're not alone.

Tyler Wright said...

This is Kari Christopherson(Robby's little sister.)

Marian said...

Amen to all of it. Especially the hating cooking dinner while a child literally hangs on your legs. I feel very similarly. I hear it changes a lot as kids go to school, but I'm still waiting to see if that's true!

Cyndi said...

I don't like playing Toys with my kids. I mean, if they are playing that means they aren't bugging me! During the day I get so annoyed that nobody will leave me alone. Why are breakfast and lunch so close together? By dinner time I am so sick of the kitchen.
I like this post. Thanks for sharing.

I daydream about jobs. None of them involve childcare or cleaning :-). Although, my mom went back to work when we were all grown up and it was hard for me. Mixed feelings.

You are great.